Today ANKON has another visitor! Let me introduce you to my wonderful friend Felicia! You may know her as FeliciaFibro! She is an amazing & strong woman dedicated to helping others feel empowered even in the midst of Fibromyalgia (and other chronic illnesses). One of my goals with this blog is to help others learn that you can have life & life more abundantly even if you have chronic illness. Of course this is not saying that you won’t have pain, anger, or grief along the way but we can choose to be resilient and be joyful in spite of our circumstances. And this post is the perfect example of how to do so!
image source: www.flickr.com by benjaminasmith
Last week I had an appointment with a new Rheumatologist. Towards the end of my two hour long appointment he told me that I seemed cheerful and friendly. He followed it by saying, “That either means you are a really good coper or you push it so deep down inside that the pressure is building and you’ll eventually explode. By this part of the appointment (him telling me his summary and plan going forward) most patients cry.” Wow! I’d never had a doctor address my positivity with caution. I guess that shows that he really cares about the full impact of living with fibromyalgia, but he really caught me off guard.
The night of my appointment and the next day I couldn’t quit thinking about how he’d challenged me. For one, I felt feelings of sorrow for his patients who were crying and for him, having to emotionally accept that he often tells people news that makes them cry. What follows is an expanded version of how I responded to my Rheumatologist and my overall philosophy.
I got my fibromyalgia diagnosis first semester my sophomore year of college. By then, I’d already been feeling horrible for 11 months. I was happy to finally have a name to put to all my symptoms and a syndrome to learn about to start making steps towards feeling better. I was young, single, had so many things that I wanted to accomplish and had the rest of my life to live. I knew that I would have to find a way to cope with and happily live with fibromyalgia. What other choice did I have, be unhappy for the remaining ~70 years of my life? That doesn’t even sound like a reasonable choice.
There were many downsides to having and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia at a young age, but maybe there was one huge upside. I never really had the choice of giving up or giving into fibromyalgia. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, I had down days, but overall I was on a mission to understand what was going on with my body, feel better and not let the process keep me from getting good grades, a bachelor’s degree and a job after graduation. I had already started on the path to achieve those things and in my mind there was no turning back. The only route was moving forward, no matter how hard it got. So, this was my new life, why not be cheerful, friendly and present for it? If I wasn’t, what kind of a life could I really have?
Have you ever had a doctor question your happiness?
Felicia has had fibromyalgia for 10 years and is on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. She is happily married, has 1 cat and can be found at http://FeliciaFibro.com.