Those who know me know I am afflicted with Fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with this chronic pain syndrome in 2002, and the last six years have been spent trying to manage this unpredictable condition. Aside from the widespread muscle aches, fatigue, upset stomach and occasional headaches, I also deal with something known as "Fibro Fog".
Fibro Fog affects people in different ways ranging from forgetting what you meant to get from the grocery store, to forgetting how to get home from the grocery store. It is often described as a ping pong ball being rattled around in the head. To me it feels more like a fan blowing into my ears on high speed. The way I am typically affected is that I form a sentence in my mind and when I speak it comes out all messed up. It's kind of embarrassing actually, because to someone who doesn't know me, I'm just a really bad speaker.
In the last few months I have been dealing with the Fog on a whole other level. Instead of forgetting details, I go on complete sensory overload. Flourescent lights, sharp and alarming sounds, and cold air conditioning can make me disoriented. It is like my brain cannot process all of the stimuli and it goes haywire. So, imagine what happened to me last night when my son was screaming, a high pitched shrill scream in an enclosed car.
We were driving home late, and my son who doesn't like riding in cars started crying. Then he decided to practice the new skill of screaming - which he learned from his sister - and let me tell you, that boy has lungs! I was already tired and cranky from the trip, but hearing that sound coupled with the blasting air conditioner and my daughter going "Moooom! Mom? Mom?" was absolute torture. I didn't know what to do or how to handle the situation. So I just started crying uncontrollably. Then apparently I was so stressed out that I bit my tongue and my cheek, and I didn't even notice it until today when it really hurts.
Fibromyalgia may not be life threatening, but it certainly is life altering. Why am I writing about all of this? Well, it's not about feeling sorry for myself. But, I do want to be able to look back on this post some day - hopefully when I am Fibro free - and revisit that feeling. And be grateful that those days are gone, that I didn't have a more serious disease to deal with ... and that my kids learned to ride in the car without having and causing a total breakdown!