A Weekend Together

Dear Fibro,

You certainly made sure that we spent the weekend together. I was completely exhausted and in pain all through Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, missing a Birthday Party Saturday night because I didn’t have enough energy to go. I could imagine how you would protest against the loud noises and commotion of the venue. In retrospect, I’m wishing I would have pushed myself a little bit more to at least make use of the time at home — more reading or sketching or something . . . Will you help me to remember this if it happens again?

Thanks,
Nicole

Blue Sky Blues

Dear Fibro,

I’m feeling blue today–drained of energy and enthusiasm, dragging my consciousness through the hours. I woke yesterday with a migraine, vomited, and felt sick almost all day. The headache subsided enough for me to run a couple of errands in the afternoon, but after that I crashed and slept and slept and slept. Today, we’re in a fog together–a fog in which, sadly, I’m struggling to hear any voices of encouragement but just feeling as though I am wrapped in a great blue blanket that is blocking any sweetness of life from reaching me. It is a warm, sunny day outside, but you prickle at the heat so intensely that I can barely stand to be in the sun. 

I went to church today, and you were poking me in the back and legs throughout the service (rather rude), and the sermon was about the importance of having faith, and I felt like you and the voice of depression were both jeering at me about how small and fragile my faith feels and how weak and helpless I feel to do anything about it. Would you just back off a bit? Please?

-Nicole

A Heavy Rain

Dear Fibro,

There’s a heavy rain tonight–it started as a gentle sprinkle that I could barely feel while pulling up a few weeds and popping a few seeds into the ground. I had gotten home from work a little earlier than has been the recent norm, so I made dinner and watched a PBS show before getting up to do some outside work. I didn’t realize that the clouds were going to begin dripping just around that time!

I took advantage of the few minutes I had before the rain started coming down harder, and then I headed for the cover of my back patio and sat down in my old blue folding camp chair. I leaned my head back and listened to the rain coming down and then straightened up to look around. The grass was glistening, and a single robin perched on the post, then hopped down and bounced across the lawn as though suddenly aware of the rain and darting for shelter. The leaves in the highest branches of trees across the street were swaying and bowing against the falling water. The sky looked heavy, grey like a thick flannel sheet.

Sometimes I know that you like to act up when it rains, so I was thankful that in those quiet moments, I was able to just sit in silence and appreciate beauty despite how I felt you creeping across my shoulders and settling into my lower back — firing waves of burning discomfort through the network of nerves.

Now, a few hours later, I’m really aching–arms, shoulders, back, legs, knees . . . almost everywhere . . . and very tired, even though it’s only 9:30ish . . . and I know that these feelings are your doing, but I know it’s also not worth getting mad. I’m wanting to take this time to remind myself . . . and to remind you . . . to take those moments like we did earlier, when the time is available, to just sit and watch and breathe in the crisp smell of rain on a cloudy spring evening.

I’m starting to believe that part of the key for us to live successfully together will be for me to make sure I don’t get so focused on you that I miss the other things that are so beautiful. There are things that are really rotten and disappointing about life, but I know I’m going to need to sometimes shake it off, duck under cover and watch the rain.

I hope you’ll sleep well tonight so that I can, too.

-Nicole

In the Garden With You

Dear Fibro,

Tonight, we gardened. It was a nice night — slightly humid as though rain was gathering up in the clouds. We were surrounded by the echo of children’s voices playing in a neighbor’s yard. I dug holes in the dirt, and you protested when I bent over to lift large clumps of the earth into my garden-gloved hands.

I moved some flowers that seemed to not be in the happiest place they could be, and I planted some new ones–two shocking fuchsia dahlias that will add a splash to the mix I’m mixing. It seems like every week I find a new plant to add — last week it was two beautiful lilies that remind me of my great-Grandmothers. Every time I see them now, I am reminded of my roots that go deep into the earth of Pennsylvania via Germany and Maine via Quebec and France and . . . beyond.

Oh, Fibro–I’m surprised by how easily I push you to the side when I’m in the garden, even if you’re nagging at me, causing me pain or just discouraging me from trying, from leaning in and breathing deeply. There’s something about that place, of breathing in the sharp smells of late spring earth, that transcends your boundaries for a while. I may have aches and pains tomorrow from the work, but they will be worth it. I am thankful for this patch of ground that I call home and thankful for the time, treasure and ability to cultivate and care for it.

This is our home, Fibro. We are living here together. That is why I want to make it the best that it can be. Maybe you’d be willing to lend a hand?

-Nicole