It’s been a wild month.
We moved. Four years, 2000 square feet, eight people, one dog and two cats’ worth of stuff to box up and transport from point A to a smaller point B. All my insecurities exposed to those helping with the move, helping with unpacking, helping with getting that old house back to how it was when we got it. Insecurities about not being the best (or even the mediocre-ist) at housekeeping, organization, stewardship. I hold this deep seated fear of not being good enough and losing out on relationships and good gifts and acceptance. Lots of Jesus, lots of therapy, lots of books…but it still rises up.
I can often just laugh at my weaknesses and feel great about my strengths but…
And sorry, but moving is stressful.
But for all of the stress and freaking out…it went really well. We had many helpful and cheerful hands that day. Lots of old friends, new friends and family to help us. There was laughter and hard work and pizza and it was a good day.
Now, we must just find time to unpack everything and figure out where it’s all going to go. We love our new home and it feels good to start fresh in a new place. To mark the end of a season and welcome the beginning of a new one.
Over the past two months, the kids have been sick over and over. Lots of tummy bugs and snotty noses. Lots of sleepless nights. (Lots of sleepless nights.) They’ve shared some of their sicknesses with the whole family. Lots of laundry, lots of feverish kids in laps, tired eyes, short tempers, but good times too. Little girls singing “Let It Go” at the tops of their lungs, dance parties, playing outside in good weather.
And, in the midst of the joy and the insecurities and the stressors…I am having so much unexplained and acute pain.
It started in my joints back when Lila was a newborn. I followed up then with my doctor, got a diagnosis of perhaps rheumatoid arthritis and that is where it ended. I couldn’t take the meds while nursing, so I kind of just ignored it….thinking I’d deal with it once Lila was weaned.
Then I got divorced and had no health insurance so there was nothing medically I could afford to do.
The pain waxed and waned. The more stressed I was, the more I hurt. For a time, I followed a vegan diet and found real relief.
I got married again, I had health insurance again and I went back to the doctor.
This time, adding Vitamin D to my body all but erased my symptoms.
And all was well for quite a well.
But I have recovered from surgery. I’ve been dealing with joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue and sensitivity to cold for the past few months. It’s been significant. Some days, I hurt at a level 8 or 9 out of 10 all day. Some days, I have great mornings and even afternoons but really rough evenings. Some days, I wake up and feel like I haven’t slept at all. I’m grateful that it’s not been worse but it has not been fun.
I finally have a diagnosis. And no, it’s not a “catch-all diagnosis” and it’s not “what they say when they can’t figure out what’s wrong” or “all in my head” or “just depression”. And yes, it is a “real condition”. Chances are good that it won’t get any better, though I will have good days. Chances are that I can alleviate symptoms with some life style changes that I predict I will not enjoy. What we know for sure is this: This is a real thing.
From the Mayo Clinic: Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
So, it makes sense that it presented after Lila’s difficult birth. It makes sense that it worsened during the stress of my divorce. It makes sense that it came on with a vengeance after Nora was born and after all the drama that came with it.
I’m processing it all. John bought me a book on the subject.
We are reading and learning about things that help. Laughing that of course I got a disease that is characterized by nerves over reacting! Conventional and unconventional ways to alleviate the symptoms. We are thinking about boundaries and guidelines- go to bed in time to get at least 8 hours, do less during the week, schedule rest times, nap times, taking it easy in the chair of healing with my heating pad times. I’ll be saying yes to less and resting up before and after. I’ll be taking walks and doing yoga and considering how my diet of candy, pasta, coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper might possibly be improved. I’ll be asking for prayer.
Through it all…through the discouragement and the weariness and the pain and the stress…I am feeling a sense of Emmanuel. God with me. A legit feeling of Emmanuel. Not just the declaration that “I know God is with me.” and wondering when I’m going to feel it. His real and true presence. I have felt freedom to cry and freedom to say, “I just can’t do anything else today.” I have felt freedom to say, “Really God? A chronic pain condition on top of everything else?” I have felt hopeful about this new season, in spite of it all. I’m learning to let Him love me and to just be where I am…for the good or the ill.
This is where I am today. Being still in Him. Being present with Him. Laying the pain in my knees and in my heart at the foot of the cross.
Beloved, be loved. It’s what we were made for.