Adapted from a letter by Petula Renee Wright
Each morning, my eyelids are the first thing to move. I open them slowly and take inventory of my body. Flexing my fingers. Pointing my toes. Turning my head. Arching my back.
Yup, I think, still in pain and stiff as usual.
More than 10 years ago, I realized I was waking up each morning exhausted, my body ached and my head hurt. Sometimes there would be tingling sensations and numbness. After many years of complaints, doctors’ visits and tests, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia in late 2007.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread pain condition. My symptoms include pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, stiffness, headaches, depression and difficulty concentrating including forgetfulness and an inability to multitask. Other people with fibromyalgia may have different symptoms, as they can vary from person to person.
When I first noticed the symptoms, I just had myself and a daughter to care for. In 2002, I had a husband. In 2003, I had a son. In 2005 and 2007, I had two more daughters. Now, it’s just me and the children. Despite the symptoms I endure, I still have to rise each morning to tackle my responsibilities.
Dealing with fibromyalgia has become second nature. On the simplest level, it feels like adjusting to a new haircut or breaking in a new pair of shoes. The difference is, I won’t grow out of it or break it in. There are times when I overdo it and have to put my feet up for a few days or move around slowly with my back slightly hunched. But, at just 41 years old, I don’t want to be totally out of the game.
That’s why I keep going and try to remember to put myself and my health first. Am I always successful? No. Do I know and respect my limits? I try to, because no one else will. With a balanced approach, including medications that help with my symptoms, I can keep going.
My condition isn’t visible and people sometimes question its validity. So I find strength from deep within to validate my own reality. It’s that spirit – that quality – that pushes me when I wake up in the morning and slowly open my eyes.
The health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. All decisions regarding patient care must be made with a health care provider, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.
Supported by Pfizer Inc.