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In September, I had a major kidney infection and acute appendicitis requiring emergency surgery. I was in bed for weeks and was never able to fully recover. All the while I was trying to get caught up with coursework for my Nursing program.
As it turns out, I never really recovered. My health got worse and I developed a condition known as fibromyalgia (FM).
I hated the diagnosis originally. I felt so completely debilitated! And so in contrast It seemed impossible that all this could be the consequence of this vague “condition”, one that evades all objective testing, a “syndrome” that many people still don’t even believe is real.
Many people, including some health professionals, really don’t believe FM is even real. Shamefully, I have to admit I thought the same - that was until I got sick with it. Not that I thought that people living with it were ‘fakers’, I just was just living in blissful ignorance about how utterly debilitating complete-body pain and exhaustion can actually be - and how much it can destabilize one’s life. My life. I have had to stop practicing yoga. I’ve had to take a Leave of Absence from Nursing School. And sadly, I’ve had to stop shooting porn - at least for the time being.
I wish the pre-FM cynic in me was right; but of course she was wrong. And so were other parts of me. Like the woman in me who thought her body was a machine, fuelled by stress and ambition, that I could perrenially ignore the lack of care I took to nurture and love myself. You see - I have spent my whole life running. I was the fat kid, the gay kid, the trans kid, the freak, the addict, the whore…I could go on. I thought if I invented new words for myself and worked really hard that I’d outrun the past and the lingering pain. But one can’t run forever. Eventually, we all break down.
From what I’ve started to read about FM, I’ve started to realize that this is about way more than just unending pain and perpetual exhaustion, often (like for me), making it impossible to go to work or go to school. FM is often conceptualized as a physiological response to emotional/social stress that often becomes unbearable. And so in a way I see this - or am perhaps at least trying to start to see all this - as not a time when I’m unable to do *everything* that I once could. Instead, I’m doing only the things I really need to do. And most importantly; most importantly, I’ve stopped running.
What doesn’t kill you often makes you sicker. In spite of what how our Macho-Cartesian society measures “success”, taking on so much to the extent that we are in a state of perpetual stress - this is not a picture of happiness. This is not a portrait of health.@12 months ago with 1 note
The genesis of my fibromyalgia (which I will be writing about much in the coming couple of days) extends most proximally from a horrible experience last September. I spent 30+ hours in the ER at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto with (undiagnosed) acute appendicitis that eventually required emergency surgery.
The trauma of the experience led both to chronic pain; it also triggered a dependency on painkillers for a long while as well. I was terrified…I’m still terrified (especially now that I may be branded by some so-called professionals as an “addict”) that I will once again find myself not receiving adequate management for acute and/or chronic pain.
@12 months ago
In accordance with my “never shut the fuck the up” mentality, I’m slowly writing a short piece on the current “moral panic” of opiate painkillers in the health care professions and its consequences, specifically the pervasiveness of inadequate pain management and control.
It’s time we started talking about this!