“If only I could explain
“If I only could explain
from the shackles of chronic pain.”
― Jenni Johanna Toivonenadvertisement
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1985 when I was 13 years old. I’ve been living with this condition for more than 30 years, so I honestly don’t remember what it was like to be consistently pain-free. I can, however, pinpoint one moment in my 20s when I briefly peered through the window into that existence.
My now-husband and I were at a large amusement park that required a lot of walking. His arthritic knee was bothering him and my fibro was starting to kick in, so we each popped a Percocet from a prescription I happened to have for a nasty burn I’d gotten at my restaurant job. I hadn’t actually taken any for that pain because it was bearable and I wanted to be able to monitor how the burn actually felt, without masking the symptoms.
Let’s stop and consider that for a moment. I’d managed to skip taking pain meds for a second-degree grease burn but was willing to take a pill for the fibro because it actually felt worse.
Oh my goodness.
As the meds kicked in, I looked at him, wide-eyed, and said “I think this is the first time in more than a decade that I haven’t felt any pain. ANY. It’s absolutely glorious.” He agreed.
I also didn’t experience fear. Normally hesitant about the tall coasters, I rode them repeatedly that day.
I caught a glimpse of what my life could be like without pain and without fear, two things that regularly try to drag me down and pull me under.
And you know what? It was terrifying.
I have an addictive personality. And I knew I could become hooked on that pain-free sensation. Over time, I would become tolerant to the drugs, and then I’d need larger doses, and then I’d be down in the abyss. Dependent. Doped up.
So I never took Percocet again. I don’t take any medication for the fibromyalgia except Aleve on the slightly bad days and a muscle relaxer before bed after the REALLY bad days. I do my best to manage the symptoms through non-medicinal means such as exercise, stretching, the occasional massage, and physical therapy if it gets really bad.