Arms, Please

Dear Fibro,

You’ve gotten into my arms a lot so far this week. I was trying to do some light work in my garden & you set off the alarms! From shoulders to fingertips, you were a blaring, raging siren screaming at me to stop. I felt the energy drain from my whole body & my arms began to tremble in resistance to this force of pain pushing from within. I don’t know how to process moments like this–there’s no tidy category in which to file this combination of ache, weakness, and powerlessness. May I please use my arms without quite so much ruckus for the foreseeable future?




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?


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?