Reprinted with the kind permission of Melissa Swanson and Fibro Warriors Living Life
Alarm rings at 5:00 am. I jump out of bed to start making fresh blueberry muffins and the evening’s crock-pot dinner. Out the door by 6:00 am for a full day (up to 10 hours) of work followed by whatever after school activity my kiddo had for the night.
The night ends making sure our daughter’s homework is done, bath and bed, leaving me a few hours to pick up the house, play on the computer and watch TV before going to sleep (roughly 10:30 pm).
Flash forward 8 years…
Alarm rings at 6:00 am. Slowly, I get out of bed to get my morning medicine. I lie back down in bed, hitting snooze until 6:30 a.m. The next 30 minutes I get dressed and apply my makeup. Again, I return to bed until the last alarm goes off at 7:15 am. I grab my bag and ease my way down the stairs to head off to a 7-hour work day. After a short drive, I am home, changed into my pajamas and laying down on the couch for a nap.
I can’t recall the last time I made blueberry muffins so a week ago I decided I would bake for my family. The blueberry mix packages sat on the kitchen counter for eight days. I finally had enough energy to make them today. It isn’t as if it takes a lot of energy to open two packages, add milk, stir and bake. Unfortunately, that is still more than I can do nowadays.
Then … I would religiously decorate the house the first of each month for whatever holiday was that month.
Now … It happens when it happens. It is November 12th, and although my Halloween decorations have been put away, my Thanksgiving decorations have been in a tote sitting at the bottom of my stairs for a week. All I need to do is ask to have it carried upstairs. I hate asking. After all these years, I continue to struggle with asking for assistance.
Then … I planned ahead. At the beginning of each month I would plan out and go shopping for the entire month of meals. We would seldom run out of grocery items, and when we did, I did the shopping and the majority of the cooking.
Now … There is no plan. I simply do not have the energy to think or create meals. For the past four years, I have relied on my husband to do the majority of all cooking. We run out of everything often. Thankfully, our daughter is old enough to drive and will stop and pick up groceries whenever we need them.
I have spent a lot of time looking back at what I used to do and what I am not able to do any longer. My comparison list between then and now could go on and on. Socrates wrote, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on the fighting the old, but on building the new.”
Yes, it is important to be realistic about what you can do, but it is equally important to not limit yourself to what you have done in the past. Instead of continuing to look at the past, I plan on looking toward the future. Push myself, just a little and give myself credit when credit is due.
After all, I am a Fibro Warrior ~ Living Life!
Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author of Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 16,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in "Living Well with Fibromyalgia" and the NFMCPA "Advocate Voice." She's a graduate of the 2014 Class of Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association and a member of the Leaders Against Pain Action Network.
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