Chronic Illness Story By Vanessa

Chronic Illness Story By Vanessa

Climb Rock, walk around the center of Pasadena and discover the pier in Santa Monica … that has become the first time that my husband has been with me. At that time , I didn’t imagine my life only a few years later would look very different.

I was a bit thrilling seeker when I met that man I would eventually marry and always looked for the next adventure. I liked climbing, winter snowboarding, hiking, shark diving and almost everything else you could imagine. I recall that I was full of energy and life. Only two weeks before I was asked to become his Wife I constantly looked for a next challenge and even ran the half marathon! I couldn’t have at that point imagined how our married life would begin differently.

A few months before our marriage, even after full night’s rest, I started feeling tired and groggy. I started changing my mood and didn’t feel like myself anymore. I decided to change my lifestyle by changing my diet, increasing intentional vitamin intake and stopping my hormonal birth control. Those changes led to improvement, and although I did not feel 100% myself yet, I certainly felt better and I thought it would end.

I believe until today that vitamin failure diagnosed by my then doctor was at least partly responsible for the changes in mood and energy that I had experienced at the time for the hormonal birth control. But now I know, too, that another culprit existed.

I began to experience severe pain in my own body shortly after our marriage day — especially in my back , shoulders, arms and legs. I started to feel groggy again and almost every day struggled. I have finally been referred to a rheumatologist and diagnosed with fibromyalgia, as well as after many, many doctor appointments, blood tests, MRIs and a host of other exams. My husband was my greatest supporter and assistant with all this.

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I am unbelievably humble and touched by his patience and willingness to take care of me and this unpredictable disease. Nevertheless, however, I can’t help but feel that I am completely different from his wife nowNaturally, I’m still at my core, but we tend to stay in a lot now. In years, although it was one of our favorite things to do together, we did not go climbing rocks. We often go out for fun, but I’ll get wiped out for a few hours and we need to shorten our plans.

I imagined a marriage full of fun and adventure and although there are still elements of this in our marriage, it’s different from what I thought it could be. Fortunately, I found ways of significantly managing my symptoms of fibromyalgia. Flexibility was very helpful in our marriage – not just on behalf of my husband, but also on my part.

Flexibility to tweak plans if required. Flexibility to change things when I feel that an inflammation may be on the horizon. Flexibility to allow me now without judgment or resentment to be who I am. I decided recently to pursue a goal which has eluded me for a while – to get fitter. For anyone, and certainly someone with fibromyalgia, this can be a very challenging goal. I think that might be part of why I’m chasing it — challenging myself.

But I have to learn to be flexible even there. There are days when I just want to go to the gym and I can get through that. But I can’t and should n’t go to the gym for other days and when I have those days, I learn to be flexible with myself. I learned that it is I, not my husband, who are most deceived by the way that fibromyalgia affected our marriage, but that a little flexibility can be achieved with me each day.

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My name is Vannessa, I live in southern California, and I am 32 years old. Roughly two years ago, I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I was determined not to let it check me. Naturally, this is easier said than done sometimes. While I do not always like it, I try to remain positive as much as I can and I hope to be a source of encouragement and support for others whenever possible. I like reading, crocheting and watching my husband. I enjoy having a time with my family. A fitness journey has recently begun I’m resolved to keep to, although it won’t be easy.

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