I May Be a Bit Tired

Sometimes I just get tired. Not the I-don’t-have-any-energy tired. That’s like, me all the time. I mean the sick and tired kind of tired. The utterly weary tired.

I’m tired of needing to go to bed, almost wanting to go to bed, and refusing to because I know I’ll just stare at the walls for an hour and/or wake up every hour for the next however many and/or wake up in three hours completely unable to go back to sleep.

I’m similarly tired of wanting to go to bed but deciding not to because I know I won’t be able to get comfortable, no matter how much my closing eyes imply sleep is very near.

I’m tired of reaching dinner, having only been up 2 or 7 hours, and thinking how I probably won’t make it through the show I was going to watch at 8, as my body is already in shut-down mode, having also accomplished nothing that day.

I’m tired of twitching all night, meaning during the part that I’m asleep, to the point of almost scaring my husband, all unbeknownst to me while it is happening. Which probably has a great hand in the problem above this one.

I’m tired of jumping around between experimental supplements, having given up on prescriptions, hoping that something like Sam-e, 5 htp, B-12, or Passion Flower will somehow make me feel much, much better.

I’m tired of forgetting to take my 7 vitamins (literally) and then feeling guilty for not feeling well, mistakenly thinking if I had taken them I would actually feel good.

I’m tired of acting like everything’s okay when it’s simply not.

I’m tired of going to the doctor every so many months like someone who’s … not my age.

I’m tired of leaving things to my husband to get done because I’m too [insert tired, weak, shaky, sensory-overloaded, depressed, in tears, or as I generally feel is the cause, lazy] to do it.

I’m tired of the current state of my wreck of an “office/jewelry studio” that I don’t seem to have the physical/mental capacity to tackle anymore.

I’m tired of chest pains that really have nothing to do with my chest at all but are just the annoying locale fibro has chosen for the time being.

I’m tired of people mistakenly thinking I can just do something and get better and be back to “the old me.”

I’m tired of trying to explain my problems, shortcomings, allergies, food needs to people, inconveniencing them with things that are much more than an inconvenience to me.

I’m tired of looking my husband in the face and thinking, Yep, I’m really not here right now.

I’m tired of hitting the same wall every night, when I sit down and wonder at the fact that this. is. my. life. for the rest of my life on earth.

I’m tired of it all.

And I’m tired of being tired of it all.

That is what fibromyalgia looks like.

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This Window I Live Through

As humans, we want to see things for ourselves—to believe them, to understand them. Even if we can’t see something in person, we want to see pictures of it to really believe it, hence, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s one reason that it’s so hard to believe invisible illnesses like fibromyalgia are really as bad as they’re cracked up to be by those who claim to have them. We can’t show you visible proof of them, unless tears count.

I wish I could somehow capture this life with fibromyalgia in a picture for you. Because, look at me and you’ll see I look quite healthy. Honestly, even I find myself looking at pictures of others who have the same or a similar illness and thinking how okay they look. Even I can’t completely weed that tendency out of myself. But you just have to take our word for it.

This lack of ability to capture fibro in visible form then leads my writer’s mind to try to describe it in the best metaphors I can possibly contrive. To capture it in comparisons that will resonate with your experiences and make you think, Oh my gosh, that must be torture to live with, and actually feel a rush of the experience itself for an instant, kind of like watching Titanic and for a brief moment almost actually feeling what Rose is experiencing.

Yet I really can’t even do that. I’ve compared fibro to a prison, in what I feel is the closest example my mind has produced. But the longer I get to know this disgusting enemy of mine, the more comparisons fill themselves out in my mind. Some of which probably do nothing but drive the illness’s bleakness and complexities home for me more than for those who I pass the comparison along to.

Nevertheless, I’ve mentioned before that there is always something wrong. But believe it or not, I actually am still human in the midst of all this, though it honestly does not feel like it. And I am realizing further why that is. While there really is always something wrong in the fibro sense, things actually do go wrong now and then in a simply human sense. Yes, I still get colds and paper cuts and hiccups. But when I know that every single one of my body systems is affected by this illness, I suddenly find that I have absolutely no sense of what is “normal” and what is the fibro living itself out. And further, what problem is “just fibro” or actually something else wrong entirely?

Is that chest pain just fibro, or is there actually something wrong in there? Is that stabbing pain in my temple that makes me gasp just the brief invisible knife that travels around my body, or the sign of something life-threatening? Is that rush of anger the medicine talking, or am I that hateful? Do I really feel as bad as I think I do, or does everyone feel this way and I’m in fact just lazy? Is it the fibro fog keeping me from being excited about a happy event, or am I really a messed-up person who can’t even get excited for people I care about? And is it the fibro fog making me feel absolutely nothing emotionally right now when anyone else would be panicking, or is there something else entirely wrong with that part of my brain?

How do I know what is “just fibro” and what is “just human”?

And in all of this, I’m finding that fibro has become so much me, and has been for such a large part of my life, that I really don’t even know who I am without it. In every area of my life. In every emotional reaction and lack thereof, am I that animated for real or am I just trying to mask my depression around others? Am I that dull for real or is it just the fibro fog? Am I even awake right now? Do I really even realize that I’m married?!

I really don’t even know if I really know what is going on anymore. Like I am a robot performing (minimal) daily tasks, without all of the real emotion that accompanies living and knowing that you are really living. Kind of like living this life through a window. A cold window in a splintered frame against a blur of laughter and darkness.

The Weirdness Hall of Fame

So, it’s pretty much a known fact that fibromyalgia causes pain and tiredness. Those are the main symptoms. But, as my post including 100 fibro symptoms showed, there’s far more to it than that, such as brain fog, internal issues, and depression. None of those are all that strange to hear.

But I have got me some symptoms that are just flat-out weird.

You may have heard of people who sometimes feel like there are bugs crawling on them. While I do experience the feeling of bugs on my skin that aren’t really there maybe three or four times a year, I much more often see—or think I see—bugs that aren’t really there. Sitting here typing on my laptop, I’ll think I just saw a bug dart by on the arm of our loveseat, or while I’m sitting on my bed, I’ll think I saw one out of the corner of my eye dart across the carpet. It happens a lot. I guess the only good part is that, since there usually isn’t really one there, that means I don’t have to track it down and squoosh it.

I can remember first experiencing this next problem when I was still in college, a good two years before being diagnosed. I get this feeling along the arch of my right foot that feels like there’s air blowing on it. That’s about the best explanation I can give to convey its weirdness.

Far more debilitating is what happens when a limb falls asleep. I like to sit on my legs, cross my legs, etc., a lot, but even without such help from me, I experience some part of my body falling asleep almost daily. I remember what it felt like years and years ago—it’s just briefly numb, then tingles as it wakes up. No big deal. But now, when something falls asleep, especially my leg or foot, I know I have to do one thing to keep what begins as a rather painful feeling from becoming a really painful feeling.

Hold still. Don’t move. [Groan…]

Problem is I can’t really hold perfectly still, a phenomenon I discovered when I had that MRI done last year. My muscles won’t stop twitching long enough for my foot to hold completely still until it wakes up. So if you ever see me stand up and say, “Oh no, my foot’s asleep,” and then freeze where I am for a couple of minutes with a grimace on my face like there’s a nail in my foot, you’ll know—it simply doesn’t feel at all like it does when your foot falls asleep.

In a slightly similar phenomenon, whenever I wake up, I find my hands and particularly—

Just saw a bug that wasn’t there, seriously; it was a black one. Sorry.

I was saying, I find my hands and particularly my feet, beginning about two thirds of the way down my lower leg, to be quite cold and numb-feeling. Yes, even if I wear socks. That’s a rather disturbing happening but a regular one. Haven’t given up trying to remedy it just yet.

A couple years ago, I discovered this one: the front of my scalp, roughly around the beginning of my part, will randomly feel extremely sensitive, as in no touching, generally for a few days. It’s quite painful.

My newest addition to the weird symptom list is an unaccountable, unpredictable sensation of heat from my throat down to my stomach. No, I don’t think it’s heartburn. I’ve had that. Not really burning, just heat. Is that possible to have one without the other? Kinda like Moses’s burning bush, except maybe the opposite? I thought I had found one common denominator for the happening: I had had food with garlic in it previous to the occurrence. But then it started happening without garlic, but with onions. And now it tends to happen when I’ve had neither and take a shower. Ugh.

Another rather new addition to my list, more so than the sand-papered scalp but less so than the heat with no burning, is the full-out feeling of a sunburn on the back of my neck when I am in the sun for even just a couple of seconds, literally, or when I get hot. This is one of those common fibro symptoms I’d read of but never experienced, and then it finally arrived. I knew I had a sunburn on my neck, so when I asked someone if my neck was red and they said no, it hit me. Duh—fibro. Good. Grief.

Much more serious than the fake sunburn, though, is a discovery made shortly after getting married. My husband had cleaned the bathroom while I was still in bed (as he does for me—he’s that amazing), and when I got up, he was done, so I went in the bathroom. As soon as I got in there I started feeling strange, and by the time I came out only a couple minutes later, I was about to pass out. It was an odd feeling, being on the verge of passing out with no stomach pain, which is how it happens any other time I almost pass out, thanks to fibro’s best friend IBS. Anyway, I got to the couch, where I soon recovered. And my husband immediately knew the culprit. Oh, I’m sorry—did I not mention that chemical sensitivity is another symptom? Oops. So bleach and I aren’t friends anymore, as it was in a cleaner he had used. And now it makes sense why Soft Scrub always made me feel weird when I was younger, as it has bleach in it. And also Static Guard, though for that one just chemicals and not bleach, obviously.

Finally, I’ve saved the most flat-out random, weird symptom for last. My ears do itch a lot, on the inside, which is also a symptom, but my right ear has a phenomenon all its own. It will suddenly, without warning or cause, turn bright red, as if it suddenly has a good fever, and burn like it also, to the point I’ll sometimes have to hold something cold on it to alleviate the heat. Every now and then it happens after I’ve touched it, but usually spontaneously. This also means I can’t wear earrings (and don’t have my ears pierced), as it can’t handle anything touching it. My left ear has done it a couple of times, but my right ear very faithfully does it at least once a week. Even my doctor was baffled by it, as it serendipitously happened once while I was paying him a visit.

So, never think that fibromyalgia, with all of its pain and tiredness and depression, is anything close to boring, as I never know what each minute will bring. And if you ever see me with a flaming red ear, please try to ignore the outburst, as it always calms down eventually.

All My Fault Even When It’s Not

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the rather common phenomenon of people taking any negative happening that involves them in some way and twisting out a reasoning that involves their being the one at fault.

I am sure there is some psychological explanation that leads people to do this. But I’m content to go with the thought that they care so much about the people in their lives that they automatically want to take the blame for everything. Even when it doesn’t make sense at all. I sometimes have this tendency myself, at least inwardly, and have a husband who has a very strong tendency toward it, so I’m getting used to trying to combat it when it is probably well-meant but completely irrational.

For some reason, feeling guilty is an easily come-by feeling, in so many areas, chronic illnesses included. And I don’t just mean guilt over the dishes piling up for a few days. (Gasp, I know.)

It is extremely difficult to articulate exactly what fibromyalgia feels like physically. A lot of people compare it to the flu that never goes away, for lack of a better common experience with healthy people—a terribly wanting analogy in my book. But it is just as hard, if not harder, to articulate exactly what fibromyalgia feels like emotionally. There’s a double thrust of steady artillery flying at the emotions, each vying for attention and exacerbating the conflict by the others’ presence.

Life like this stinks. It leaves you upset, disappointed, and unsatisfied and feeling unaccomplished, unhelpful, quite a failure, and definitely less than human.

But as if the unignorable stabs of all of that aren’t enough, there’s the more subtle but equally crippling feeling that I have recently discovered thriving in the back of this over-stimulated, exhausted mind: guilt.

How silly—it’s an unexplained chronic illness with no cure, no certain cause but only guesses, all of which are not my fault. And also knowing I’ve dealt with levels of this since I was about twelve settles the fact: I surely did not cause myself to have this. I didn’t drop the ball on life, not exercise enough, not eat well enough, spiral myself into depression, or grasp at straws for pity and attention. Fibromyalgia chose me; I did not choose it.

So why do I even begin to feel like I’m to blame for my life being like this? The fact that I know my having all of these problems not only inconveniences family and friends but confuses them, burdens them, saddens them, and worries them. Especially my husband, obviously. I know he understands. I know it doesn’t make him upset with me or disappointed in me because he knows it’s not my fault and I don’t exactly have control over what I can and can’t do each day.

But honestly, I figure it’s a lot to ask to expect people to never, ever get annoyed when I have to put off talking to a good friend on the phone for a few days because I couldn’t get out of bed in time to call her, when I don’t even want to think about fixing dinner and ask my husband if he could just pick up something, when I miss a month or more of Sunday morning services because my sleep cycle is so out of order, or when I finally fall asleep just after hearing my husband leave for work in the morning, the birds chirping (a.k.a. screaming to a non-morning person) and the rest of the world up and living like you’re supposed to.

And yet, even though no one has chewed me out for these things or really implied frustration with me, I assume they must be feeling that way at some point or another. I feel like it’s my own stupid fault, even if I didn’t cause the illness after all, for not trying harder or something. Maybe I am a lazy bum. Maybe it is all my fault for all my social and house-cleaning shortcomings.

Even though I know thousands of other people feel just like me, the guilt is still there, intangibly, hauntingly, so evenly spread over my unpredictable emotions that even I am sometimes fooled.

So what do I do about it? Well, when my husband starts the irrational guilt thing, I lovingly but firmly tell him to stop. It’s completely irrational, and he sees that.

Now if someone could just get into this brain, give it a good shake, and show it how completely irrational it’s being, maybe it would see that and shut up. And then maybe I could start trying to deflect just one line of fire, instead of two.

Help—Someone Stole My Internal Clock

So, guess what time it is. I’ll give you a hint: it’s dark outside. All I hear is the ticking of the clock here in the family room, a few tractor trailers going by and hitting the rumble strips on the nearby bridge, and the sound of these keys clicking as I type. The baby in the apartment below isn’t even crying right now (though time is certainly not in charge of those outbursts) but is sleeping like the rest of the world. No, the late night shows didn’t just go off. The early morning shows are actually starting about now, though I never watch them.

It’s 5:16 AM. And I didn’t just get up.

It’s funny (not really) how some rare nights I collapse into bed at midnight like a normal person. Sometimes it’s because I did one or two too many things that day and will pay for it the next. Or maybe there’s no obvious reason at all for me to be tired, like when I’ve only been up for about six hours. That’s a favorite of mine. In both cases, you never know when I’ll wake up, or rather actually get up, as I generally awake umpteen times during the night—or I mean, during the time I attempt to sleep.

But then most of the time, the world goes to bed, and I sit down and twiddle my thumbs at the computer, playing Angry Birds (I know, seriously?), making jewelry, writing songs, sending emails, finding gluten-free recipes on Pinterest, or occasionally doing the dishes. I twiddle for anywhere from three to six hours and finally get my husband’s lunch ready for him and go to bed. And then I usually lay there for a good hour or more, until after his alarm goes off a time or two or three and he gets up, takes a shower, and gets ready. Soon I hear him leave and lock the door, at which point I finally fall asleep well after the sun has begun to appear, turning the blinds that should be quite dark an annoying shade of morning. Good night, morning.

What’s even more fun is that you’d think those nights I go to bed “early” (midnight), I would then get up a decent eight or nine hours later. But actually, sometimes I end up having to get up, either from unignorable wakefulness or insufferable dreams, just about three or four hours later. Or, more often, I sleep something like fifteen hours and get up just before my husband gets home from work.

I’ve always been a night owl. I remember the thrill (yes, I’d say at the time it was a thrill) of staying up until, say, 10:30 at night reading kids’ books when I was like nine years old. That might have happened three times. Then by the time I was fourteen, I would stay up and write, in bed, until 11:30 or midnight or 1:00 AM. I thought that was late.

By the time I was in my late teens, I was staying up until 3:00 and 4:00 AM. There for a while, I thought I was just a night owl. But it didn’t make sense for it to just get later and later like that, as I would then have to sleep later and later. (This all went over really well with my family, by the way.)

By the time of my fibromyalgia diagnosis, the late nights were not shortening, and when I finally went to bed one morning to the sound of my dad getting up to get ready for work, I was a bit disturbed. This was crazy.

Turns out, one of the five bazillion symptoms of fibro is a reversed sleep cycle, which means wakefulness and best brain energy (key word, best) at night, when you should be in bed. But that then smashes up against another problem: unrefreshing sleep (we don’t go into the deepest level of sleep, we wake up a lot, dream a lot, etc.), which means we practically can’t wake up.

Now there is really no time that’s off-limits for me to be awake during and no time off-limits for me to be asleep. I used to feel bad, almost guilty, like I was doing something wrong when I would stay up until 1:00 … then 4:00 … then 7:00. But there must be something about 8:00 AM, because when I reached it, the numbers quit bothering me like that for some reason, almost like they lost significance to me. Like, I’ve done it—I’ve finally stayed up all night long, until all the world is up and running. My body officially has no timepiece it lives by, and they’re all just numbers to me now.

Now, what to do about all of this, I have no idea. The best solution I can think of is a sleep medicine besides Melatonin and muscle relaxants, which I’ve tried. However, that solution bothers me, as I want to fix the problem that’s making me not get refreshing sleep, which I feel is at least one of the main culprits in many of my problems, instead of just treating the symptom. But maybe I’m living in a dream world. At any rate, the problem is at the top of my list for when I go to the doctor next.

Meanwhile, this complete nonexistence of an internal clock grew to bother me so much, that I finally took the topic to a popular fibromyalgia page on Facebook recently, simply wanting to know if anyone else with fibro was severely dealing with this aspect. I knew the admin of the page often took questions others posted and reposted them as a regular status, gaining many, many more views and responses in the process. So I posted:

The admin did soon repost it, and I could not believe the responses:

Forget what the people suggested in their comments—almost a thousand people liked it?! (Which in my book is a quick way to say yes.) Here I am, in the middle of this ridiculous, helpless, sleep/no sleep nightmare, wondering if maybe I’m just not trying to go to sleep, or maybe I’m just not trying to get up, and I see this. Somehow I don’t think a couple thousand people are fed up enough with this aspect of fibro to bother finding a fibro page on facebook and participating, sharing that they deal with it too, what they’ve taken for it, what they’ve tried, and how they thought they were the only one, while being too lazy to try to do anything about it.

We’re all in the same boat.

And with that jaw-dropping discovery, I feel vindicated. The proof from the response is more powerful than the responses themselves. I read as many as I could, like comments about sleep number beds and drugs I’ve never heard of; none of us has an answer or a cure for this problem.

But somehow knowing that as I sit here, the clock ticking, the trucks going by, the morning now here, I’m in the company of several hundred other sleepless people, I suddenly feel . . . a lot less alone, even if just in this one struggle.

A Hope, a Longing, and a Comfort: Three Fibro Anthems, Part II

This second song has become basically my life’s anthem anymore. Dying to do what I can’t and to be how I can’t be. The song is “Wild Horses” sung by Natasha Bedingfield and written by her, Andrew Marcus Frampton, and Wayne Wilkins (not to be confused with the other song by the same name about not letting them drag you away).

Again, somehow this is comforting from a fibro-sufferer’s perspective. And to someone without fibromyalgia, it gives them a brief glimpse into our life. I won’t copy all the lyrics that apply here, as I’d be copying almost the whole song; on so many levels, this song sums up the cries of my life (quoting myself, not the song):

How did I get here?

Why is this happening?

Why can’t I just do what I want, clean the house, fall asleep when I need to, go visit my best friend, run buy groceries, go out with my husband?

I see how I want to be, but I’m stuck in this prison of a body.

Why can’t I just be free??

I’ve mentioned before that I experienced fibromyalgia symptoms many years before my diagnosis. So on retrospect, I don’t see myself as ever really having been “normal.” But at least I thought I was. And as best I could tell, I was normal. Just an introverted, melancholy personality. Who had a few unexplainable quirks in the pain department. But besides all that, healthy. And compared to now, I definitely was. I used to be able to take hours-long shopping trips, buy groceries when I needed to, go to bed at night without crying more often than not, and experience activity-altering pain only about once a month in the female realm. I was free.

Now I am locked up inside my worst enemy, one that basically controls my muscles, my skin, my intestines, my thinking, and my emotions, just to name a few.

It’s very easy to look at others who are healthy and living like they’ve not a care in the world and be … saddened. Among other feelings. But then, since a lot of them have no idea what I’m living with, chances are a lot of them have their own personal struggles in any number of forms. So longing to be free like it appears others are, while easy, would be very hypocritical of me.

So I’ll settle for the symbolic realm, as my creativity is comfortable there anyway, and let Natasha put into words what I am not and what I wish I could be.

~~~~~

In case you missed Part I of my Three Fibro Anthems, go here.

A Pile of Dirty Dishes: My Life Personified

A pile of dirty dishes. That’s all it is.

It’s not enough that the once wreck of a family room is now somehow in order, cleared of almost all unnecessary additions, the floor vacuumed. It doesn’t matter that the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom floors find themselves the cleanest they’ve been in weeks. And it doesn’t really help that all clean laundry is finally put away.

None of those accomplishments make the pile of dirty dishes any smaller or any less in need of being cleaned.

The former accomplishments are definitely that—accomplishments. Leaving my legs sore in places I had completely forgotten had muscles that could be made sore. They are tasks that had weighed on my mind for days, likely weeks, and that were spurred on to desperate completion by an unexpected impending arrival of company. It had to be done.

Now, the company gone, the house has not had time to become a wreck all over again. But as eating never seems to end, neither do the dirty dishes.

I never liked doing dishes. And I gather few people do.

But being a wife put a new perspective on that task, and I find that as much as I dislike it, I am the one who’s supposed to do them, and also the one who’s here all the time, so they must be done, of course. So when I do them, the view of a clean kitchen brings quite a pleasant feeling inside, knowing I, the wife, have done our dishes.

However, it is a known fact that dishes never really cease being dirty. Literally as soon as the last one is put away, a dirty cup appears in the sink, beginning the next mound to be tackled … later.

So, dirty dishes? A pile of them? That’s nothing new. And neither is the eventual though delayed tackled-ness of them. So where lies the problem?

Returning to the beginning: the clean family room, cleaner floors, and put-away clothes? And what they left me with? Or rather, what they took from me? There’s none of that left to conquer those dishes. So I do not stand at the sink, winning the battle one plate, one fork at a time. I rather sit here, slouched in a chair, tears running down my face, looking across the room at the enemy.

And I cry, not because the dishes are dirty. Not because they will remain dirty for who knows how much longer. And not even because I don’t want to do them.

But because I cannot do them.

Further, that it is actually not in my best interest to do them. And not only that, but because I see the piles of dishes dotting my horizon for the length of the rest of my life on earth and know that every single one of them will look just like this one. The number of personnel will change. The levels of dirtiness thereof will wax and wane. But I will not change. Every pile of dishes will look like this one: My struggle personified.

Life calls. Duty calls. Housewifeliness calls. And time after time I must tell it to wait. Because I can either answer as my mind wants to, as I feel a wife ought to, if I have enough left in me to do so, and therefore spend the next day or week in bed, completely unable to do any of the former; or I can put things on hold, say no to two-thirds of all I need or want to do, feel like a complete and utter useless bum, and let the dishes sit there. And catch a glimpse of the rest of my life, sentenced to playing a losing game.

How many people can say they have sat and cried like their heart was half-broken looking at a pile of dirty dishes? Almost laughable, the thought. Almost. Just not in my tired mind.

One Important Answer

For some, a fibromyalgia diagnosis means answers to questions. For me, while it was that in some respects, it more so opened up questions that would now have to be answered.

I had only been dating my now-husband for a couple of months when the bad headaches and eye pain started. Then one day in particular, when I was with him, I just started crying, seemingly out of nowhere. And the only vague reason I could offer was, “I just don’t feel good….” I was aching strangely all over and just didn’t feel right anymore.

I was a little afraid that, because the problems all seemed to explode out of nowhere, he would think that I had been having these mysterious health problems for ever and just hadn’t told him (as we knew each other for a short time before we started dating), only to let it out after we were dating. But thankfully he didn’t think that.

Of course the diagnosis brought the expected questions of why in the world I had to have this, how in the world I got it to begin with, and how in the world I was supposed to live the rest of my life this way. Those are the questions that don’t have cut-and-dry answers.

But one new question needed a yes or a no, and it was for him to answer.

We had started becoming more serious about our relationship a little before I found out I had fibro, and when I discovered a website that listed all the known fibromyalgia symptoms, along with lots of descriptions, I thought it would be helpful for him to read it all. It turned out to be a turning point for him. It was more than just helpful information; it was a sobering glimpse into what a future with me could look like, and it, understandably, looked far different from what he had assumed it would be. He had to seriously acknowledge to himself the new reality and decide if he wanted to live with someone with fifty unpredictable, debilitating, life-altering symptoms. I had no choice, but he certainly did. And I wanted him to have full opportunity to be spared of it all, even if that’s not exactly what I wanted, because we both didn’t need to suffer with this.

An altered view of future life with me made him think, but that was it. And he chose me—in spite of my problems, pain, struggles, incapabilities, and unpredictableness. I did not choose fibro, but he chose it to be with me. And he has been the most understanding, most comforting, most loving person in this ever-stretching valley. Even today I honestly don’t know how I would have made it this far without him—though God clearly knew I wasn’t supposed to, as we’ve now been married 3 ½ months.

Many of the questions fibromyalgia poses may never be answered. But one huge one was: my now-husband said yes.