Yet again, we are in the middle of a glorious British summer (I hope you sense the sarcasm in my words) ‘cos this summer is turning out to be anything, but glorious; unless of course you count the glorious rain. It’s been bucketing it down for days, not continuously, but when it starts a whole days worth of rain comes at once. Ironically, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather myself, like I’m coming down with a cold but its not actually getting here. I’ve also been feeling the cold, I’ve had to fight the urge to put on the heating; it’s bloody August I shouldn’t need heating. Although, physically I’ve been feeling a little off, mentally I am in a better place than I was a couple of weeks ago. If only I could get my mind and body to work together; on good days I’d be unstoppable but on bad days I’d probably crawl into a cave to sleep.
I need to capitalise on my good mind set; I need to somehow stop fighting against myself and somehow learn to accept my limitations, including my illnesses/diagnosis/disease. Unfortunately, this is what I’m finding most difficult. Somehow it is easier to accept I’m failing in some way than to believe it is because of something outwith my control (saying that I do need to take more responsibility and work at being kinder to myself). To that end I’ve decided to embrace my diagnoses of fibromyalgia and lipoedema and try and find out as much as I can about them; find out how they affect others and learn how to manage the symptoms, if possible. To that end I’ve been checking out other people’s blogs; there are a lot of people out there in similar positions and on one hand it makes me happy, ‘cos I’m not alone, but on the other it make me very sad; I know how hard it can be.
To some extent it is only now that I am really understanding how hard it is because I’ve been living in denial for such a long time. I am only starting to truly understand what is meant by chronic pain; it does not relate to the intensity of the pain, but to its duration. I thought chronic pain meant you were doubled over in agony all day, unable to move. I had really no idea that it meant you had been living with pain for more than 12 weeks. To that end I have been playing down my problems, just because I’ve not been living with excruciating pain every day I thought I was some sort of fraud, yet I’ve been living with pain, to a greater or lesser degree, daily for more years than I care to remember. To be honest I think it all started when I had a cholescstectomy (gallbladder removal) in 2010. That’s seven years I’ve felt broken. Looking back I wish I’d never had that surgery, I feel this was the turning point in my life, when I turned from a fairly happy-go-lucky, overweight woman into a fucking, freaky, miserable, depressed old fart. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here, I think it took longer than the length of the surgery to turn me into an old shrew, I think menopause in the last couple of years has only added to my problems.
Surgery was a defining moment in my life. I remember finding it painful to move afterwards, I remember being freaked out by the scars (even though it was keyhole surgery). I think I generally freak out about my own body anyway, I had to get my husband to take off the plasters and clean the scars ‘cos I was too chicken. I was off work for a couple of weeks, scared to do things round the house in case it ripped up my insides. I remember being frightened when my cats jumped on me in case they disturbed my insides. I remember sitting up, to sleep for weeks (I still do even now to some extent) fearful of lying down ‘cos I couldn’t breathe properly. I kept my husband at arms length for a long time over fear of pain, disturbing my insides etc. I remember being discharged from hospital with no information, no pain killers, no dressings, nothing; is it any wonder I was fearful. Deep down I think I wanted my Mum to look after me, but she couldn’t be there. Not long after I think that’s when I became aware of pain, particularly back pain, for the first time. Initially, I thought it was as a result of my surgery and the effects would wear off. I ignored this for a long time before realising it wasn’t going to go away. One thing I do know is the before surgery person was very different to the post-surgery person I’ve become, I used to think anxiety, depression, chronic illness was something that happened to other people and that I was just fat. I thought if I lost weight all my other problems would somehow magically go away; it seems I was not only just fat but I had a huge side order of delusional.