• Momma T

Living With What If's

Updated: Oct 30

When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had so many questions. My most daunting questions was how bad will this get? A question that I soon found out had no definitive answer. This big question was followed by so many what ifs. What if my pain gets so bad that I can’t work? How will I help provide for my family? What if I’m not able to keep up with taking care of my teenage children, driving them to activities, providing them with nutritious meals and attending school events? What if I’m one day unable to keep my house clean, do laundry and make a nice place for my kids and husband to come home to. I had adjusted my life so much already due to arthritis and chronic pain. I had lost my ability to run a 5K which only a couple years ago I had very much enjoyed, I was no longer able to go skating with my family, I had to watch them downhill ski from the chalet, I can’t demonstrate to my kids how to kneeboard or go with them for a bike ride. What else was this illness going to take from me.

The first few weeks after being diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching, trying to figure out how I was going to get my old life back. How I was going to stop the pain from taking anything else away from me? It took me quite a while to realize that this was probably not going to happen. I learned to live with the fact that I was most likely never going to run again, or do a lot of things that I was previously able to do. It took me even longer to come to terms with the fact that I was most likely always going to have some type of pain, every day, some days worse than others. I decided that I needed to learn to take the bad with the good. I would try to make the most of my good days and not dwell on when the next bad days would come. Instead of focusing on the stuff that I could no longer do, I would concentrate on the things that I could do and make the most of them.

I may not be able to run and go on long hikes or knee board but I can still fish, swim and kayak. There is something to be said about being on the water that is calming to the mind and body. Kayaking allows me to exercise without putting pressure on my knees and swimming is an awesome physical activity for anyone with chronic pain as it is very easy on the joints. I am still able to get the endorphin rush that I used to get from running when I catch a fish, dive and splash around in the water with my kids.

I may not be able to skate or ski anymore but I can still drive a snowmobile, my wonderful hubby has always been an avid snowmobiler and he encouraged me to give it a try. After my first ride I was hooked. The freedom I feel when we are out on the trails is absolutely amazing. The adrenaline rush, beautiful scenery and fresh air somehow make me forget the pain even if only temporarily. Sometimes I may suffer the next day but the feeling of freedom that I get is worth it! I am grateful that he encouraged me to try something different. This is now my new favorite winter activity!

I also have to learn to ask for help, I am terrible at this. I have always tried to be very independent and don’t like relying on others. I am the one who takes care of everyone, not the other way around. I have to stop trying to do it all myself and start asking my kids and husband for help, because if I don’t ask for help or let them know when something is too much form me, how will they know. I also have to take the help when it is offered, I have a really bad habit of saying no and telling them that I’m fine even when I’m not. I have to remind myself that they would much rather have me participate in the fun things with them then have me scrub the floor or clean the bathroom. They are more than willing to help if I would just let them. If I would just admit that I can’t do it all.

I guess what I am trying to say is that instead dwelling on what I can’t do I am trying to take on new challenges and find joy in new activities and to learn to ask for help and support when I need it. If I can give anyone some good advice when dealing with chronic pain is to try to let go of the things that aren’t as important and hang on to the things that bring you joy and don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know what you might find enjoyable!

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