Being able to get out of bed. Before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I always wished I could stay in bed just for ten more minutes when my alarm rang. When you live with fibromyalgia you soon learn just finding the courage to get out of bed every morning becomes overwhelming. Some days I get up and I find myself back in bed an hour later because sitting on the couch is painful, movement hurts and is unbearable or I cannot function at all. The chronic fatigue and pain can become very debilitating!
Being able to shower and personal hygiene. Before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a shower was refreshing, a way to wake up and relaxing at the same time. Showering never felt like I was using any energy. Now, showering can be painful and exhausting. The longer I stand in the shower – my legs begin to ache and my feet and toes hurt with jumping pain. I never know where the pain is going to hit next. Washing my hair makes my arms ache, feel heavy and my fingers begin to cramp up. I often get out of the shower feeling absolutely exhausted and find myself laying back in bed to recover! I never thought I wouldfind myself having to rest after showering. Some days even brushing my hair hurts. The brush touching my scalp can cause pain and if I comb over a few knots in my hair it can trigger my brain to send out migrating wide spread pain through-out my body! Even brushing my teeth can hurt at times. My hands may cramp up and ache, and my back begins to throb from standing in front of the sink
Being social. I was never an overly social person, but I still went out to visit friends. Living with fibromyalgia I have become a home body. I do still try to keep in touch with friends through text or a quick call. I do miss going out for dinner, concerts or just hanging out in general. Being social and interacting with others when living with chronic pain can become exhausting. Even carrying out a conversation is difficult at times as I suffer from brain fog and often search for my words.
Sleeping without any issues or waking up feeling refreshed. Since I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia I have not been able to get a decent night sleep. I took part in a sleep study which revealed normal findings. The pain constantly wakes me up all night long, or insomnia decided to attack. I often lay in bed and experience “painsomnia”. – exhausted but in too much pain to sleep. Even when I do manage to get a full night rest, without waking up I wake up feeling exhausted and I can’t function!
Grocery shopping. Before fibromyalgia, I used to automatically go grocery shopping every Saturday or Sunday morning to prepare for my busy week ahead. It just becomes a routine. Now to find the energy to drive to the grocery store is hard enough yet alone shopping. I have a difficult time pushing a grocery cart once it begins to fill with food. It absolutely exhausts me. After walking two or three aisles, the chronic fatigue sets in and it feels like I am dragging fifty pound weights behind me. I often have to rest the after shopping. Some times I can recover other times it becomes a movie day because shopping has proven to be too much.
Standing and walking. We learn at such a young age to stand and walk. As adults, it just comes naturally. I was one of those people who was not in a rush to get my drivers license as I grew up in a small town where walking everywhere was feasible. I used to walk to the stores, work ect. Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I am lucky to make a 15-20 minute walk. My feet hurt when I stand and I get major pain in my back. I miss just being able to go for daily walks.
Being able to work. Most people can’t wait for a day off of work to rest and just relax. I was like that before fibromyalgia. Now, I wish I could work! I’ve had to remain off of work due to the forever changing symptoms , pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is unpredictable! I miss socializing with coworkers, providing for myself and being independent. I do count myself lucky as I receive disability, but when on disability it is a fixed income that is lower then what I would make working full time! Cost of living continues to increase, but my monthly income remains the same.
Being able to be physically active. I used to be someone who was always on the go – biking, hiking, walking ect. Now, I have a difficult time walking up a set of stairs or taking a walk for even 15 minutes. The first thing doctors or health care providers tell someone with fibromyalgia is to exercise. How do you exercise when you do not have any energy to do it?
Being able to travel. Before fibromyalgia took a front seat in my life, I was spontaneous and travelled all the time. Now travelling takes alot of preplanning. It is exhausting having to imagine every single scenario that could cause chronic pain to increase or go out of control. I find even driving 10 minutes too much for me these days.
Cleaning and laundry. We all hate cleaning and laundry! However it is part of life. When you factor in fibromyalgia, both tasks become overwhelming. I often try to break up cleaning into smaller tasks to make it manageable. After I vacuum and wash floors I am struggling with lack of energy, major fatigue and pain through out my body or stop many times to rest. I often find myself having to lay down for several hours after. Folding laundry causes my finger joints to ache and my arms feel like they are on fire. I have found myself hanging most of my clothing in the closet to avoid folding so many articles of clothing.
Eating without pain. Eating a meal when you live with chronic pain can be challenging. Most times we eat and don’t really think about it. For myself I developed TMJ and my jaw hurts and locks if I bite down wrong or if I attempt to eat certain foods. I am often left with jaw pain after every meal. Some days even eating with a fork or spoon creates pain. To grasp the cutlery may cause my hands and finger joints to ache. I have been telling health care providers lifting food to my mouth and chewing the food makes me exhausted.