I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain Syndrome. It is a condition where I experience pain in a lot of my body parts. In my case, they are usually both of my wrists (you would usually see me with wrist support on), my shoulders, back and upper thighs.
There came a point where I would literally cry in pain at work and due to the severe pain on both my legs and arms, I had to go home limping. In the beginning, I had to take some time off from work to undergo Physical Therapy every other day. I also had to take pain medicines when it would get really painful (up to now I still am taking them).
The last part of every therapy session consists of me riding a stationary bike for 15 minutes. While riding the bike, I observe the other patients in the area. It is a gym-type place in the Physical Rehabilitation Department where different equipments are being used by different patients, depending on their physical needs. I noticed that the most common patients were older people who have either undergone some accident or stroke; it was very rare that I saw injured athletes trying to restore their strengths or treat their injuries.
My case is rare for my age. Even the Physical Therapists who are around my age told me that I am too young for this type of illness and that their usual patients with Fibromyalgia are usually older people.
With those statements and looking at the other patients, I couldn’t help but say to myself…”I shouldn’t be here”….”I’m too young for this”…”Do something…before its too late!”.
After those 2 weeks, I tried to modify my lifestyle including my “work-style”. Fortunately, I was advised to work on regular day shift since based on our observations, the pain would usually occur late in the afternoon until the evening and I couldn’t take pain medicines at work as they make me drowsy. So, in order for me to still deliver my work effectively, they transferred me to a schedule when I endure less pain to no pain.
As I started doing work during the day, since most of my colleagues and project calls are on night schedule, I was able to focus more and prioritize what was on my list of deliverables. I was able to work quietly with less stress (by the way, stress is one of the triggers of the pain thus, a bit difficult to treat). It is a bit challenging for my role as a supervisor since I am not able to regularly talk with other supervisors that I need to work with (especially those onshore due to difference in time zones).
With the new set-up, I was able to complete my goals for the day without rendering overtime. I would leave for home on time and just take a few calls (at home) as necessary. And then I observed that my colleagues were stressed and couldn’t finish everything during their shift. I realized that I was like them way back, before my illness manifested. I overused what I had. I lost focus on what was important. I just hope they will not end up having the same illness that I have.
Currently, I still experience pains but it is much more tolerable now than before. Aside from working without having to go overtime, I also try to look for things that will shift my attention from the stress of work to something that will make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but there are just times when you can’t control things and this leads to stressful moments). One thing I did was to commit to learning how to play my violin. Sometimes I do crafting (currently working on my diamond stitch), write on my blogs and even teach some youth to dance for church (a passion I stopped doing the past 2 years). This is helpful for me since I am able to stretch those muscles again, but this is something I do during times when I am really not in pain.
I am still on my Fibromyalgia Journey and I am hopeful that God will help me get rid of it totally. You may ask, do I regret my mistakes at work (when I let it succumb me too much?)? Honestly, there are times I thought to myself…”I should have done this or that” but since I can’t revert my mishaps and it is useless to dwell on them, the best thing that I can do for now is to learn from them and move on. God has a purpose for everything, as what we usually say.
Life is a continuous journey…and I am still excited to explore it, whether in pain or not.
By the way, we always have a choice. I can actually choose to succumb to the pain and just be miserable all the time, but instead I treat it as a challenge to be better and grab every opportunity available to me when there’s no pain and just take a rest when there is. It is not easy but with some back-up from above…I believe I can do it!
I am not sure what you are going through right now, but if ever you are in a not so pleasant situation (maybe my journey is nothing compared to where you are right now)…I pray that you will not lose hope and that you will choose to do more!