Around 2005, I started to have severe fatigue and various aches and pains. I would come home from work and fall asleep on the couch. I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. I had to pick and choose what I was going to do that night because I couldn’t do it all anymore. I used to work all day, come home, do laundry, clean, play with my beautiful little daughter. Day in and day out and my house was spotless. And then slowly but surely, I couldn’t do it anymore. I had no idea what was going on but I was so drained all the time. And no matter how much sleep I got, it was never enough. I never woke up feeling like I had a good night’s sleep.
Every morning was a struggle to get out of bed and get going. Dragging yourself out of bed when you don’t feel good takes a lot of energy but when it’s like that day in and day out for years, you get tired, worn down and discouraged. After the fatigue came the pain. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t ride in the car for 30minutes without being in severe pain when I got out of the car. My hips hurt so bad, my left one especially. Car trips would exhaust me, even if I wasn’t the one driving. And everything got worse and worse.
I went to the doctor and after a battery of tests and ruling out a lot of nasty stuff like MS, Lupus, RA, my doctor diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2007. While it’s not great either, I was thankful it wasn’t degenerative.
Things got so bad that I didn’t even have the energy to wash my hair. Taking a bath was exhausting. That was December 2007. I remember because that’s when we had the ice storm. Every time I had gotten a handle (mostly) on the symptoms, a new one would pop up. More pain started popping up and it was so bad that it would keep me up at night. No matter how I tried to lay down in the bed, I hurt. Even a hug hurt….my daughter learned to hug momma gently because it hurt. I had insomnia. It took me forever to fall asleep and then when I did fall asleep, I couldn’t stay asleep. I don’t do well with interrupted sleep as it is so this was really no good for me.
My doctor tried me on meds that didn’t help at all. One medication gave me hallucinations and after calling them for 3 days with no call back, I quit the meds cold turkey (not advised but what else could I do?). I also gained 30lbs on those meds in a month. So with that and the fact that he wasn’t very aggressive with things so I decided to switch doctors. My new doctor told me I needed to exercise, start with walking and move. He gave me meds to take at night to help me sleep and they helped. I resisted him on the exercising part. Telling someone who is in chronic pain that they need to exercise and move more and you’ll get the same face all around..the I-don’t-know-about-that face. But I did, I started walking but my doctor said I wasn’t walking fast enough (poop). So I started walking to walk, not strolling.
That’s about the time I had to drive to Stillwater for school which is about 1h20min from where I live. Some semesters…daily. The first semester was really hard on me. I had to stop on the way there and back to take a quick nap because I was falling asleep …not to mention the pain when I got there and then got home. I could barely walk but I walked it off, day in and day out. Sometimes I even went to my car in between classes for a nap until I discovered the library and the awesome chairs there with the even more awesome ottomans. Very comfy place to nap and everyone was doing the same thing. Study, eat, nap.
My symptoms got worse: my pain was now in my elbows, wrists, all the joints of my fingers, my hips, parts of my back. I started having horrendous migraines. One was so bad, I had to go to the ER with stroke like symptoms. My wonderful new doctor knew what it was while the ER doctors were stumped and had no idea what was happening to me (still paying that bill off..grrr).
I experienced numbness in my arms, loss of strength, forgetfulness. Sometimes I would forget the word for things like the trash can or the broom. It’s very frustrating to not be able to call a broom a broom because you forgot what it’s called. I also couldn’t regulate my body temperature. I would get cold so I would put a sweater or robe on and then I would be too hot but if I took it off, I would be cold again. I ran low grade fevers all the time because of this.
Waking up in the morning feeling runover with a low grade fever and exhausted….for years, every single morning. I got so discouraged on some days and just tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of not being able to do all the things that I needed to, that I wanted to do. I had to tell M that I couldn’t go to the zoo or wherever because I was just too exhausted. 🙁 I felt like such a failure as a mom on some days.
The fatigue was overwhelming and I had to pick and choose what got done. Being in school, that meant I had to study and I did laundry for clean clothes but everything else pretty much got forgotten about. The house fell apart.
Slowly though, I started to regain my strength and started to live with my symptoms. Pacing myself to not overdo it. If I overdid it, I would be in bed for days and you do learn what your limits are. There are days where I felt semi normal but I had to remind myself that if I overdid it, I would pay for it for days and it wasn’t worth it.
So why am I writing all of this? Because last Friday night, I went to a prayer/worship meeting at our church. They asked if people who needed healing would come up to the front. I had no intentions of going up there. I had fibro and cfs for some reason and I was powering through it and that’s what my life was going to be like. M took me by the hand and said “come on, Mom” so we both went up there. The pastor had other people come up to pray for everyone that was lined up. I don’t even know who prayed for me. Meanwhile I was praying for M. I just felt that God had done something in me but I had no idea what. The next day, I woke up..not in pain, not runover, not exhausted.
This last week has been the most difficult of my life. So much has happened and I have learned so much and realized a lot of things. I’ve been walking every night with my dog Snow (she’s the only one in shape to walk as far as I want to..we will have to work on the other lazy bums). During my walks, I spend the first part listening to the Christian Contemporary channel on Pandora. The second part I spend praying. God has shown me so many things this week, it’s amazing. On Saturday, while I was walking, God told me that my fibro was gone, the pain in my hips was gone for good but that the other smaller symptoms would take longer to go away. I think God was trying to tell me that He can still do miracles, some are instant, and some just take a little longer. But just because they take a little longer, doesn’t mean He isn’t working on it. I’m holding Him to His promise that the smaller aches in my elbows and hands will go away too.
” This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Do you have any idea what it feels like to walk with no pain in your hips when every step you have taken in the last 8 years has reminded you of the pain? I can’t even put into words what it feels like to walk with no pain in my hips. It’s overwhelming and I am so grateful that He took it away from me!