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The Thief

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Someone broke into our car a couple of weeks ago and took almost everything.  Like many people, we spend a great deal of time in the car and keep a lot of things in there.  While this experience was minor compared to the daily struggles of many people, it did cause me moments of discomfort.  I found myself comparing the emotions I experienced to those I live with daily because of fibromyalgia.
Someone went through our personal stuff!  Ewwww. They took the special angel coin my mom gave me before she died.  The Fossil card case that held gift cards given to us as Christmas presents; my husband’s iPod – his cherished treasure – yep, they got that too.

Similarly, fibromyalgia violates my life.  It takes moments of pleasure from me.  I didn’t invite this roller coaster ride into my life.  I didn’t ask for this spirit-crushing fatigue. 

Did we lock the car?  Even though the insurance agent told us that today’s thieves can break into almost any car without damaging it, did we leave the car unlocked and invite someone to take our stuff?

Did I do something wrong so that I “deserve” fibromyalgia?  Do I just not exercise enough?  Maybe I need to lose weight, lighten up my mood, work harder…  Is it my fault?

We thought our car was safe because we park in a secure, gated lot. The thief climbed up on an electrical box and jumped over the fence. Shouldn’t the property manager have done a better job in maintaining the safety of our vehicle?  How can this happen?!

How can my body betray me like this?  How can I feel almost fine one day yet barely able to function the next?  I try to do the right thing – eat healthy, get some exercise, look on the bright side – yet this disease just won’t go away. 

Mark Twain said “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured,” and I have worked to remove anger from my life as much as possible.  I must admit, however, I did have a moment of steaming at the thought of someone pawing through our personal belongings and taking them. 

Likewise, in moments of weakness, anger can creep in when I think about the toll taken on my life by the muscle spasms, the unexplained pain, and the severe exhaustion caused by fibromyalgia.

Each day since, we remember something else that was in the car that we no longer have.  We reach for the scissors to open a package and realize, oh, yeah, he took those. It’s so annoying thinking about the many things that are now gone.  Seriously, did he need that floss, hand sanitizer and Kleenex in that cute little bag?  The total value of everything taken barely exceed our deductible so it’s not worth the frustration – and potential increase in our insurance rate – to even process a claim. 

Every day with fibromyalgia is frustrating.  Dealing with the physical symptoms is wearisome, the brain fog is annoying, the pain is … well, painful, but knowing that some people don’t even believe there is truly anything wrong is almost too much to bear sometimes. 

I had a small collection of photos from a wallet in one of the bags, and that was left in the front seat. I appreciate that and can send thoughts of love and kindness to the Thief.  Maybe seeing those pictures made him think of his mom, his siblings, someone who loved him and would want him to find a better life. 

Fibromyalgia has brought many amazing people into my life and I am grateful.  I appreciate good days because I know not all days are good.  Bad days aren’t as bad because I know good days are ahead.  There is always something to be grateful for. 

Yes, it’s creepy to think a strange person now has possession of some of our possessions – including paperwork with our name, address and maybe other identifying information – but in the end, it’s just stuff.  We aren’t hurt.  Our car wasn’t damaged.  It’s okay. 

Yes, fibromyalgia is a part of my life, but it isn’t my life. It’s okay.

Epilogue:  A detective called my husband this past week to let him know he had arrested someone who had some documents with our name on them in his possession.  Indeed, it was the Thief.  His car was loaded from top to bottom, front to back with not only our belongings, but those of probably 100 other people.  We retrieved some of our gifts cards and my library card. 

Cindy Leyland is ProHealth's Fibromyalgia Editor.  Cindy also serves as the Director of Program Operations at the Center for Practical Bioethics and the PAINS Project Director. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, enjoys hiking, reading, volunteering with Synergy Services and being Gramma Cindy.

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