That Stubborn Mule Called Fibromyalgia

Every morning commences an epic personal battle. To the outside observer, it may seem nonexistent, inconsequential, even laughable. The daily hurdle I face is one most people leap over without a second thought beyond the usual groans of having to leave the warm cocoon of sleep for the demands of the day. For me, it is not that I want to stay slumbering and hidden away from the world, it is that I want to boldly leap into the new day, but my body physically refuses.

Think of it like trying to kick a stubborn mule into walking when he doesn’t want to. That’s how I start every day of my life with fibromyalgia.

This morning was especially rough. After a unusally demanding and long Tuesday, my mule of a body decided it was just fine staying immobile under the covers, thank you very much. I sighed, reasoned, argued, and even threatened (no breakfast for you if you don’t get out of bed this instant!), but still my muscles dug in to the sheets and refused to budge. Sometimes, when my muscles and brain are at an impasse, I give up, releasing back into unconsciousness or grabbing a book and reading the day away.

But not today. And certainly not on days I have nonnegotiable obligations. So I prod, I stretch, I remind myself of everything I hope to accomplish in the day. I reminisce on how satisfied I feel with life the days I greet the sunrise, coffee cup and writing pen in hand. Some days I lose the battle, other days I struggle valiantly until I finally emerge victorious into the brightness of late morning.

And today I conquered. I faced down my sluggish muscles and ordered them to carry me to the kitchen. Then I sat down with a rejuvenating cup of coffee, allowed the caffeine to soak into my veins, and heaped on the heating pads as I settled in for a day of writing and research.

Yes, I am wrapped in three heating pads. I never said I vanquished my mule. Only dragged it braying and squealing into the next room. Tomorrow the battle begins all over again. Who will prevail? Stay tuned.


About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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