You’d never ever guess in a million years that I was fighting lung disease. And that I have fibromyalgia and Ankylosing Spondylitis. That every single step radiates pain through my body, that my core fells like it has been pummeled by Ali in his prime, that every time I left my arms it feels like I’m trying to lift a MAC truck. You’d think that I look a little stiff, but also that I looked fit and healthy. I like that – it allows me to lead a fairly normal appearing life and allows me to “fool” clients and employers enough so that I can continue to work!
It’s funny the kinds of pains there are. Sometimes every single bone in my feet and hands hurt. Sometimes, it hurts in my ribs just from breathing. Turning my neck can take every ounce of being, and I didn’t know that the backs of my elbows could hurt so badly just from lifting a box of dish detergent. Sleeping at night sometimes feels fine, and sometimes the mattress feels like a slab of rock where no matter what it simply hurts just to lay down. Lifting myself from the car seat is agony, and sometimes it is almost physically impossible — it doesn’t hurt, it is just my legs (which can still press 300 pounds fairly easily in the gym) won’t lift the weight of my body. How is it a person can out press much bigger and buffer people, but then can’t lift my 160 pound frame out of a chair? Or that I can fairly easily do 125 pound bicep curls on the machines, but can’t lift a box of detergent with one arm. Go figutre… On the plus side, I’ll never be tempted to join a bar fight (not that I would anyway), since if I can’t lift a box of detergent how in the heck am I going to push around a human being 🙂
The first minute of walking or moving is usually the worst, and the frequent shooting pain when I lie still eventually passes, so I do all that I can do – I ignore it best I can and just keep moving until the pain becomes a charlie horse instead of a broken bone. I’m feeling proud because after nearly 5 years I’ve been off my pain medications for nearly 5 days. I hurt like heck, but I am making it, and it is good to know that I am sparing my kidneys, which are strained by these meds. I feel very happy that I’m able to keep functioning despite my pain, and I feel very lucky because I truly believe it is a matter of luck – I’ve been wired to keep going despite the pain, and many people aren’t so lucky, or they are wired to fight the pain but honestly the pain with AS/Fibro is odd because there are times when slow movement and the inability to move is actually involuntary (i.e. making it a matter of mind of mind over matter to walk through the pain is a little bit like thinking the person can will themselves to hold their breath for 30 minutes – no matter how much will there is, it just isn’t physically possible 🙂 ). So, again, I truly do feel very lucky (and I’m not just saying that)! My annual trip to the lung doctor and rheumatologist is a reminder of just how lucky I am – there are truly some heartbreaking cases in the waiting area every time I visit.