The Princess from “The Princess and the Pea” is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

I am convinced this princess didn’t feel the pea under that stack of mattresses because she had some princess spidey skills or keen princess pea detection abilities.  She had to have felt it because she had Fibromyalgia.

She wouldn’t have been diagnosed back then because the medical community is just now catching up with what thousands of men and women have been saying for decades—”We hurt!”

I am definitely no princess with fine linens and my bedding and sheets tend to look more like a pack of wolves were fighting for their territory, but when I lay down, I can feel even the tiniest crease in my fitted sheet touch the sides of my leg.  My nerve endings scream, “Get away from me pea!”  I then have to flatten out all of the wrinkles trying to steal away my good sleep.

It’s pretty ridiculous, really.  Sometimes when the pain is at full speed ahead, my sheets can look more like a snake pit rather than a comfortable place to rest my body.  A piece of string on my leg can feel like a hot, burning metal wire searing into my skin.  Every crack, crevice, and wrinkle now becomes my mortal enemy.  If I was on that stack of mattresses, that pea may as well have been a bowling ball.

The one thing I know to be true about Fibromyalgia is that it is just my human cross to bear living on this side of Eden.  In the DNA lottery passed down from generation to generation, I hit the screaming in pain, nerve endings on fire disease jackpot. I also know that it won’t last forever.  It won’t be my eternity.  It won’t define me as a person.  And it won’t change my place as a child of God.

We are all dealt a DNA hand of one form or another.  What we do with it and how we respond to it is what shapes our lives.  I have to admit I didn’t respond very graciously going through the “What in the world is happening to me?” process and most of that time I can honestly say I wasn’t seeking God for help or guidance.  I was just plain mad.

It’s been ten years since that diagnosis and many more years before when I knew something wasn’t right, and now I have gained something called perspective.  It’s when you crawl out of the soupy mess of your life and look down to see what you were actually swimming in.  Through this process I learned I needed God, I can’t blame God for my post Eden DNA, and it’s when trying times hit I need to move closer to Him, not further away.  My Fibromyalgia has steered my life in many different directions, and I can actually say in a bizarre way it has helped me. I’m stronger mentally, I’ve learned to humble myself and ask for help, and I rely heavily on my Father to meet my every need.  Even though my body dictates what I will accomplish in a day, it won’t ever stop me from doing God’s will.

Our adversities are what make us who we are.  Sometimes they also bring us to our knees which may be the only way we are willing to get there.  It’s how God got me there, and I wouldn’t trade a day of pain away if it meant going back to the person I was—the person who thought she knew Christ but really didn’t.  I’ve been refined through the fire and have many more burning hours to go.  How about you?

Have your adversities brought you closer to God or further away?


The Dreaded Weather: Fibromyalgia’s Nemesis

Two days ago on January 11, the weather coming home from work was seventy-one degrees.  I live in the Midwest, and this is unusual weather for this time of year.  Today, we are under an ice storm warning and upon waking, the temperature was in the twenties.  That is a fifty degree drop in temperature in two days!

To create a perfect storm, today is Friday the 13th and there is a full moon.  I can’t make this stuff up.  Fibromyalgia sufferers know what this means.  A collective sigh can be heard around the world.

Our bodies are human barometers, and I believe we tell the future weather patterns better than any weather person out there.  It starts with that telltale part of our body that lets us know something is brewing.  For me, it is my left hip.  The questions commence: Will this stop here, or will it boil over into a flare-up?  Then the panic and pleading follow: Please don’t get worse!

My body decided to not play nice, so now I am entering through the rabbit-hole.  For an added bonus, the foggy brain is visiting and making me feel like a bumbling fool.  I love feeling like a ventriloquist’s puppet and when my mouth opens, I have no idea what will come out. I meant to say “doctor’s appointment” but what came out was “McDonald’s.”  I love the collection of facial expressions I receive when my words don’t match the context of the conversation.

Sometimes I wish that my ears were like a mood ring.  When different levels of the fibro symptoms occurred, my ears would turn a different color.  At least that way someone on the outside could have somewhat of an idea of what I am battling on the inside.  Can you relate?

If I had dark purple ear lobes, that would mean I’m in a lot of pain and my fibrofog is so bad that you may need an interpreter to understand what I am saying, or at the very least, give me five minutes to process what you are saying, so I can come up with a semi-intelligent response.

By the time I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I dwindled down from a newly professed, on-fire Christian to a lukewarm puddle collecting at the bottom step after a spring rain.  I took God off of His throne and determined He wasn’t big enough to handle something as life-transforming as this.  How could He be?  My life suddenly went from saved to impossible.  Wasn’t He supposed to protect me from this?  I  had just made the decision to become His child after all.

If this sounds even remotely like you, don’t listen to this lie.  I listened for too long and I can tell you the outcome.  I became bitter and lived in a world that I didn’t like or understand.  I stepped into a place that enveloped me in a cold embrace, and I stayed there out of spite.  I didn’t want to believe in a loving God who would allow this to happen.  It just didn’t make any sense to me.

God does love you, and this is not out of His control.  When we left Eden, we entered into a home that has broken our DNA.  Unfortunately, what shakes down from this manifests itself in different ways in different people.  Some people have arthritis, some people have depression, some have cancer, and some have our plight.  The combinations are endless, but our suffering isn’t.  God created perfection in Eden that we evicted ourselves from.  We chose a place He never intended for us to stay and made a way for it not to be our forever home.  We will suffer, we will have pain, and we will have sorrow.  What we have to decide is if whether or not we will have faith: Faith that He can hold us and carry us through, faith that He will never leave us and carry us during our most difficult moments, and faith that He knows our name even when we feel forgotten.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (NIV).  God is holding you in these moments, and our broken DNA isn’t enough to break His promises.  We aren’t in Eden with all of its perfection, but God in His perfection chose to be with us.