Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh no's and Hallelujahs

I've learned that blogs--or their writers--can be quirky things.

For example, I currently have five different blogs.  The main one I write on is a professional blog and has to do with my career.  Cool, right?  Absolutely, because I have always loved what I do.  If that interests you more than this (which it very well might) you can find it at

The last several days I've been pondering the start of another blog, one that focused on me and my personal life rather than continuing with this one.  When I started this blog, I intended it to be focused on my son and of course, my favorite TV shows.  I'm not sure where I thought I would fit in.  Maybe I didn't think about it.  I have a bad habit of doing that, putting myself behind everybody else and figuring I'll slip in and fill the cracks.

Well, the cracks have decided that I should be front and center for awhile.  And I am not digging them at all for that decision.

I'm not sure when it started...probably five or so years ago, when I was around 35.  It started to get harder to get up off the floor.  My back began to give out, and I was exhausted a lot of the time.  I also got sick a lot.  It wasn't unusual for me to get sick once a month.  It was irritating but I wrote it off to stress and weight, and figured I'd get around to it when I got a round tuit (ha, get it?).  Besides, my son was more important at the time, as was my daughter.

Way to go, genius.

I feel like I should be exhibit number one in some doctor's presentation of the effects of stress on the human body.  Surprisingly, my condition continued to worsen until I became unable to work full time (or even close to it) at all.  The human body is an amazing thing.  When I refused to slow down, it forced me to, by causing me to vomit every day for weeks.  I was left with no alternative other than to quit one of my jobs (working with children and adults--one that I had loved and wanted to continue).  As unfair as it was to leave the children after six weeks at this position, it was more unfair to cause them to have substitutes in and out, and for their teacher to be ill nearly every day.  My supervisor asked me if leaving was what my "heart" wanted.  No, I wanted to say.  It's not what my heart wants.  My heart wants to live up to your--and their--expectations; to be the kind of teacher I know I can be; to enrich the lives of the people I encounter.  But what my heart wanted really had very little to do with it.  Every bit of my body was screaming for rest, for release.

Two weeks later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Most people are familiar with the fatigue and muscle aches that come with fibro.  And yes, I've suffered my fair share of both.  However, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia comes with a bevy of other related illnesses, including migraines, tension headaches, complete exhaustion, difficulty with memory (fibro "fog"), IBS, and more.  The disorder is chronic and requires daily management through both medication and choices in diet and exercise.  The only thing more overwhelming than the symptoms are the specialists required to treat it.  Primary care physicians, rheumatologists, endocrinologists, pain management specialists, therapists, psychiatrists...and the tests--x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, sleep studies.

I'm currently half way through the evaluative process.  I have a diagnosis and have found a good rheumatologist as well as a therapist I'm fond of.  I have appointments with other specialists.  I am so thankful not to be alone through this--my mother has accompanied me to many an appointment, and sometimes just having someone else there is comforting.

I have never before found it so difficult to concentrate.  Some days I'm as on top of things as ever and other days I feel lost in that "fibro fog" that makes it hard to think.  For someone who has always prided herself on logical thought and reasoning, it's a cruel reminder that I am not who I used to be.  The loss of the ability to keep up with a large group of preschoolers is painful as well.  I miss the excitement, the joy of watching the inquisitiveness on their little faces.

Recently a friend of mine told me that she had attended a church service away from home.  She was visiting her daughter in another city, and they had gone to church.  The minister had made the statement during the sermon that the only answer to "Oh no!" is "Hallelujah!", because the oh no means God has bigger plans in store for you.

I have practiced turning my oh no's into hallelujahs lately.  It's hard some days, such as today, when I found I would not be teaching this summer.  I need the money desperately but there's not room in the schedule.  My friend reminded me of all the potential hallelujahs in this moment--to pursue things I have wanted to pursue; to work at home at my own pace; to have more time to focus on my healing.  And she is right.  Despite my fears, hallelujah Lord; you have given me the opportunity to grow and be creative beyond measure.

So this blog may see a lot more action from its author.  And it may not be about attachment disorder, or television, or anything predictable.  All I know is it's mine, and it will go in whatever direction it drives itself.  I don't have the energy to drive right now, but it's all going to be okay.  We all know who's at the wheel anyway.

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