You’ve Got A Friend

 

OK, so it sounds (and feels) schmaltzy to quote that decades old Carole King song, but it’s the first thing that came to mind the other day. I was at the gym doing my knee rehab exercises, feeling good that I was there, back finally, but also frustrated that I am rehabbing something again rather than spinning away at cycling class or walking briskly on the treadmill. I had my iPod on and Pearl Jam’s The End was on, it was a well-timed playlist with the mellow, beautiful, bittersweet song ready cool me down. A friend came up to me and said “I just want to tell you you’re a Rock Star.” “Why?” I asked, completely baffled. I hadn’t seen this person in weeks, we’re not close friends but we have friends in common, see each other at the Y, our kids go to school together, we’re neighbors; she’s in my life but tangentially. “Well, because I heard you’d been injured and I see you here now and it’s just great to see you back.” I almost burst in to tears. Happy tears, grateful tears, tears that remind me that I, in fact, have many friends.

I have a chronic illness that sucks. I know in many ways I’m lucky. Many with fibromyalgia are in wheelchairs, use walkers, are on so many drugs they can’t see straight. For the most part, I do really well. I exercise, get help with things that flare my illness, am able to rest when I need to, have support from my family around it and as my doctor pointed out at our last visit, am in the top 1% of his patients in terms of functionality. That’s the top one percent. That’s damn good.

I still have constant pain and suffer occasional and awful flare ups that cause me to back off exercising—one of the few things that keeps me sane and usually helps me cope with my illness—and sometimes even back off life. Fibromyalgia does more than cause physical pain. It causes depression and other cognitive dysfunction, confusion, what we insiders call “fibro fog.” As a typically bright, alert and witty person, it is especially demoralizing to be at a complete loss mentally. To be unable to find the word, keys, locate your car in a parking lot, find your way to a destination you’ve driven to daily for years, get through a trip to the grocery store. It’s frightening, embarrassing, overwhelming. It sucks. And remember, I’m in the top one percent, so these things don’t happen often and when they do, they don’t last. But if they’re happening to me, imagine what my fibro sisters and brothers are living with.

Good fortune is mine indeed, in friendship, in family and even in health. Sometimes, I find myself feeling like crap but it’s just part of life now, I deal with it, my husband deals with it, even my kids. At dinner the other night my son asked about my day and I said my knees hurt. He said, in all his four year old wisdom “Mom, when we’re at school, you should just rest if you hurt.” So, I think I will because no matter what, I’ve got a friend, many in fact and a family and so much support and love and good fortune, winter, spring, summer or fall.

Comments

  1. heartwriter says:

    Great wisdom in your words. And I appreciate learning about fibromyalgia, I didn’t know all that. I am currently writing a series on Gratitude and reading your words goes right along with that. Thank you for the reminder. You are teaching us so much, keep writing.

    Like

  2. *smile* I’m glad you recommended this post to me.

    I had to grin at the mention of brain fog because I remembered something that happened to me during the first weeks after I was hit with this disease(it was hard to find it funny at the time – but it’s funny to me 20 years later.)

    I once sat in my car in the driveway for 20 minutes because I didn’t understand how to get out, I wasn’t even sure what “out” was, just knew I had to do something next. I did know it had something to do with “that thing” (the door) and just as my husband came out to see what was going on, I “found” the “thing” that opened “the thing” and accidentally made it work.

    I’ve got a lot of those stories (afterall, it *has* been 20 years with this) but that one came to mind – thanks for the smile 🙂

    Like

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