You and I have been together so long I don't even know for sure when you first entered my life.
Was it you that caused that excruciating pain everyone said was growing pains when I was seven? Was it you that drained my energy so quickly and easily? Was it you fibromyalgia that prevented me from having a normal childhood?
I may never know the answer to that. But I do know it was you that reared your ugly head when I was merely a teen. While other young ones my age were having the time of their life, I was constantly saving my energy for only the most important things.
It was you fibromyalgia that left me in so much pain day in and day out. It was you that caused debilitating fatigue, no matter how much I slept. Because of you I missed out on so much. Because of you I genuinely thought I was dying.
I hoped with all of my might that if I ignored you, you would eventually go away. I would have times that I thought you were gone. But you always came back.
I tried so hard to hide the damage you were causing. I didn't want anyone knowing the pain you inflicted. I was convinced they would think I was making you up. I was worried that they may treat me differently. So I hid you, like a dirty secret.
The time came that I could no longer hide you. You were taking over my life and I just couldn't ignore you anymore.
I had just gotten married to a wonderful man. I was the happiest I had ever been. But you didn't care. You struck me again, hard and heavy.
The doctor felt sure it was you. After lots of testing I was told he was right. I had just turned 22. I was in the prime of my life. But here I was being told I would be sick the rest of my life.
“It won't kill you”, the doctor assured me, “but the pain may make you wish it would.” I was shocked a doctor would say such a thing, but he wasn't wrong.
Because of you I have been on and off multiple medications, vitamins, supplements, and diets. I have spent a countless amount of money paying for doctors and treatments. So much money that my family could have used for other things, money that might as well have been flushed down the toilet.
You have inserted yourself so fully into my life that sometimes I don't know where you end and I begin. You influence my thinking, my decision making, and worst of all my relationships.
What could my husband and I done together if you weren't around? Would we have traveled the world? Would we have spent our time helping others? Would we have spent our time going to concerts and going out dancing? I guess we will never know.
What kind of mom could I have been had you not forced yourself upon me? Would I have taken my boys to the park everyday? Would I have spent hours playing with them? Would I have made all their food from scratch, ensuring they grow strong and healthy? I will never know.
What could I have become? Who could I have helped? What things could I have made or spent my time doing if you were not a part of my life?
With you in my life I have to spend my days sitting, moving as little as possible so that I have the strength to take care of the most important things.
You are always on my mind. Even when you give me a brief reprieve, you still haunt me. I know you will come back. I know that in this life I will never be completely rid of you.
Sometimes it feels like you hate me, like you want to make me miserable. It feels like a deliberate, personal attack against me and my happiness.
I have to admit though it hasn't been all bad. Because of you I discovered a whole new community and support group. I found that I was not alone.
Because of you have learned to be more sympathetic and sensitive to the suffering of others.
You have helped me to discover what is truly important in life. I now understand more fully that who you are as a person is what really matters.
I am able to better appreciate the little things in life. I have learned to never take small acts of kindness and friendship for granted. I have learned to to be gracious, to be content, to be patient.
I have learned a lot about myself. I have seen how I respond to the darkest of days. I have seen myself hit rock bottom, but not give up. I have seen myself come dangerously close to giving up, but I haven't, and I know that I won't.
Because you are a part of my life, I know that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I am a survivor. I am a warrior.
I have learned to accept you. I will never stop fighting for the best life possible, for me and my family. But I also know that I can not fight you. I know I have to accept that you are a part of my life and learn how to make the best of what I have.
Whether I like it or not you will always be a part of my life. You have shaped my life. And for good or bad, you have shaped the person that I am.
You have definitely changed my life, but I have learned not all change is a bad thing.