Fibromyalgia: Accepting while still Fighting

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How does a person accept something that is beyond difficult to live with without just giving up all at the same time? How does one walk right up to the line that spells acceptance, without dipping their toe over or crossing completely to the other side of that line? The other side of that line, to me, is resignation. That spells giving up in my little mind. And quite frankly folks, I’m having trouble wrapping that puny mind of mine around that idea.

To clarify, I will quote Michael J. Fox here:

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

I’m having trouble with where my toes should be planted – firmly. I don’t yet know how to accept, yet still fight. Will I ever understand this? Maybe that’s part of the whole thing. I’m asking God to show me. He’s revealed many things to me, yet I feel there’s something I am not seeing or hearing yet. I need to be a better listener.

For months and months now, I have been pretty certain that what is ravaging my body is Fibromyalgia, but we had to be sure and rule other things out before concluding that (the doctors and me). Now we are quite certain that I do have this F Beast along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and, like so many other things in my life over the past several  years, I am struggling with the line mentioned above (again).

I have a black and white mind when it comes to fight or flight…and that may be yet another reason Fibromyalgia has been able to run a marathon within my body. Make no mistake, there are clear cut physiological reasons why this happens to people, but working on the mind, stress, and a multitude of other things will only serve to help people who suffer from it.

Working at something usually spells “fight” to me, not “flight.”

Sometimes though, I think I am wrong about that. In fact, I’m sure I am often wrong about it. Sometimes, you gotta just let go. I have always equated that to giving up, but surrender is a form of fighting/battling all its own, it seems.

I seem to need a very good lesson in that arena.

Here’s the kicker: This Fibro/Fatigue stuff is not clear-cut… as in, you figure it out and how to manage it and you’re all good as long as you stay on track. Fibromyalgia is a BEAST of an illness to live with, manage, or even just merely endure. And this girl doesn’t want to simply cope, either. I could write a book or a volume of them about this illness, and maybe I will one day, but for now, it’s about that stupid line thing I mentioned earlier. (have I told you I hate the line yet?)

So….I have come to the conclusion that I need to accept this “diagnosis”, this illness. Let’s just call it what it is: ILLNESS. Ug.

And I am bummed out tonight friends, because I just don’t know how. I truly mean it when I say that I am certain I just have to pray for it ~ this acceptance. Acceptance of this illness that has no cure. Acceptance that there are more bad days than good ones. Acceptance that I have a butt load of work in store for myself just to be able to manage. Acceptance that I will probably never be the same again. Acceptance of day to day, and minute by minute change. (Have I told you I hate change unless I choose it for myself?)

Acceptance, acceptance, acceptance of things that my entire being screams against and wants to conquer, crush, obliterate, and fight to the end over!

But I know it’s key…this acceptance thing. I just know it. Somehow, fighting (not giving up) is a key player too. But I have to tell you a secret about that: They don’t get along. They don’t like to be on the same team. At least, not in this chick’s head.

And that’s gotta change.

So back to my question: How does one accept something, yet fight (which you HAVE to do with this illness if you want to have any quality of life at all) at the same time? If you have the answer, oh please, dear one….please share.

I know people who had or have cancer or other illnesses- received their diagnoses, course of treatment, and fought the good fight. They had to accept they had cancer, MS, RA, Lupus. They had the choice to fight or not to fight. They had the choice (hard one, as it was or is) to accept or become bitter and stubborn. Some were cured, and some weren’t, but all that I know personally fought. ALL.

So why do I feel so badly when there is honestly a part of me that doesn’t want to fight? I know that part of the answer is that somehow, I feel guilty because my illness isn’t “as bad” as some of the other ones out there, yet I want to give up.

I think also, that some of my own struggle is that there’s nothing that seems concrete to fight this thing with – one has to approach it holistically and hope for the best. But I guess that’s pretty much how it is with anything of this nature, isn’t it? Fibromyalgia may be more obtuse than other things, but it’s apparently not going to take my life.

Or is it?

See, you don’t die from Fibromyalgia. But it does eat away at your body, your mind and your soul. Chronic pain wears you down, yo. It’s literally a full time job to manage it. Just manage it. I already have a full time job, and a family to support. How can I keep this up? It’s wearing me down and I must admit, I just want to go to bed sometimes and not have to get up and keep going.

And I find myself still hoping – still hoping I will somehow come out the other side of this thing even though pretty much the one thing that IS conclusive about it, is that there is no cure.

God can do anything and I know it. But I’m just not of those kids who tells their Father to give them everything they want. I believe He will heal me fully if it is His will. He knows I believe it. And yes I do pray about it. But mostly, I pray that unless or until he does remove this from me, He show me more of Himself while teaching me how to live in the process and the part of this story I’m in right now.

So in a way, that part I have accepted ~ and that’s big. I have accepted that God’s will is going to be done, no matter what I do or don’t do.

It’s the physical limitations I am struggling with badly. And the full time job(s).

See, when you have this problem, no one tells you:

  • Hey, you can do exactly this much and you’ll be better (or able to cope)
  • You can walk but not run.
  • You can do situps but not weights.
  • You can eat only veggies or you can be overall healthy with your diet.

It’s all just a mushy mixed bag of “try this, try that” and maybe it will or won’t help you.

The whole thing is so confusing it can drive you nuts, which then puts the sympathetic nerves into even more overdrive, if that’s possible. And if you have the F Beast,  it’s probably possible, believe me.

I don’t know the answers, but I do know there are positive things about this too. I have mentioned them in previous blog posts, but I have more empathy for others than I had before. I have a greater understanding of chronic pain now. I just don’t get to do a lot about it, because I don’t have the energy – ha ha. (Is that funny? I don’t know – kinda a half joke, I guess).

So is it really just about learning about that stupid line of M Fox’s….the line between acceptance and resignation? The line upon which I stand and accept something crappy, yet decide daily to fight according to what lies right in front of me. Some days it’s about fighting really hard, and other days, the fight shows up in resting, surrender, and doing nothing – just coping. I guess that will have to be “what it is” for now.

But I know the answer to that ~ it’s not about just that line, friends. That line does not define me or offer a magic answer that if only I find it, will solve all of my problems. Only God can do that.

Lines can be erased. But God is my Rock.

There is someone who knows even more about suffering than all of us put together – who knows everything about it, really. Someone who understands, who cares, and who has the answer about that dumb old line and then some! Someone who offers a far greater hope for us than figuring out this riddle and simultaneously being able to do two opposite-type things. Someone who is far greater and far more vast than any disease, limitation, sorrow or syndrome.

That someone tells us:

I AM.

I am the Bread of Life….

I am the Light of the World…

I am the Gate….

I am the Good Shepherd…

I am the Resurrection and the Life…

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life….

I am the Vine…

I am from Above…

I AM.

I can accept that fully. Him ~ Jesus ~ The Great I AM.

I can and I do.

And I can fight for that fully. Him ~ Jesus….

I can and I do.

Yah….I’m moving past the line, but not into a place of resignation. The Rock just took its place instead.

They may not be pretty, but my feet feel better already.

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4 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia: Accepting while still Fighting

  1. We are so moved by your post, the human spirit is far more stronger than anything that can break it. Our hopes and prayers are with you and your story will inspire many others to fight and never give up. Please send us your valuable advice and experience whenever you find the time to do so.
    Thanks so much for sharing

  2. Annie,
    I am sure you are over run with info. (after including #Fibromyalgia in my FB & Twitter post and adding a tag to a couple blog posts, I am getting quite a bit) Anyway, I was wondering if you have run across this Dan Neuffer (CFS Unravelled). If nothing else, he gives a pretty thorough explaination and maybe some hope. It helped me at least understand somewhat what you are facing. Here is good article.

    http://www.cortjohnson.org/blog/2013/02/24/a-single-cause-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-core-system/

    Continuing to pray for you. Missing your posts.
    Chuck

    • Thank you SO much for this, Chuck! I haven’t had a day to get to reply until now…I am fully checking this link you sent me out. I have been reading and studying all I can get my hands on at this point. I am working with a doctor out of Alabama too and he is starting to help “build me back up” – he focuses on sleep, mood, digestion, and the entire adrenal support system. One week, and I see a bit of progress – less severe pain – sleep starting to improve. Thanks too, for sharing this stuff out sometimes – I write it so that anyone struggling with anything at all can hopefully see there is a way to learn from God, let Him support us in an even deeper way, and praise Him even in the most difficult of times. It’s amazing how many folks need the comfort of knowing they are not alone in whatever trial they face!!!

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