Image by nouQraz via Flickr
My fibromyalgia seems to be in flare-up mode this week. Every body part aches so much more and the tiredness seems to permeates all the way to my bone marrow. Both these symptoms shrank my energy envelope and my corresponding ability to get things done this week. Perhaps the culprit is Spring, with her temperature swings, occasional rain showers, blowing winds and pollen everywhere. Oh, and her lure of it finally being Spring gardening time that beckons me back in the garden and get me overdoing it.
But you what really let me know I was having a rough time? I snapped at Robert several times this past Tuesday and got into two different quarrels with him that day too. My even temper and good nature appeared to have left the building. It's like an alien slipped in and took over my body and now I'm the host for someone entirely different. Someone overcome by chronic pain and fatigue, lashing out, dazed and confused.
In return, Robert got mad at me and snapped back. Taken aback, my first thoughts went something like this: Apparently all the comments I made in the car on the way to our doctor's appointments Tuesday about how my pain and fatigue were so much worse didn't register with him. You'd think that after 5 years, he'd recognize that when I feel worse I have a shorter fuse.
Then I realize that's not the real issue here.
My hubby's life doesn't revolve around chronic illness, which means he had lots of other things on his mind. Given the state of our household, that he is the sole wage earner, I hope he never knows life with debilitating chronic illness. I need my husband to be healthy and fully functioning. He doesn't know what chronic illness feels like, so he simply doesn't understand how a flare-up can turn me into a totally different person. He just doesn't get it and that's O.K. with me.
I guess if I wanted a husband who could tune into every little detail about me and recognize the signs of my bad days before I do, I should have married a fellow mental health professional. Instead I married an engineer and engineers like to fix things. In many ways, our complimentary approaches is a key to what makes our marriage work: I help us recognizing and talking about the problems and then he helps us solve them. So you can imagine how unfortunate it is for him when he hears over and over again from my doctors that there is no fix for what ails me.
Hearing those words is hard for him, because deep down, my husband wants the real Selena back. So in defiance of the chronic illnesses that have a hold on me and won't let go, he won't stand by and let the sick Selena allow herself to be transformed into someone else . He keeps asking me to be me, like I was before I got sidelined and consumed by all my health problems. He wants me to do as much as I can do, be as much as I can be and act like I used to act before I became disabled. In many respects, he dogged determination to get me back inspires me to hold onto who I am and not be transformed into someone else by my illnesses.
Five years ago, I was never a person with a short fuse and I was not a person who snapped at other people. As I sit here writing this, I realize that I don't want to become that kind of person either. Instead, I need to better recognize how increases in my chronic pain and fatigue affect my mood and stop flare-ups from taking over and turning me into a grumpy mess. Yes, I need to learn to take additional steps to better care of myself in these situations instead of taking it out on my hubby. That's what the real Selena would do.
Thanks for breaking through my flare-up bad moments this week and reminding me who I really am, Robert. I love you for always reminding me who I am despite chronic illness.