My alternate universe made me feel as though I was living inside a glass bubble. My real, and very normal life was just out of reach on the outside of this crystal clear glass.
My new reality, on the other hand, is now taking place inside my bubble. I felt as though my forehead was pressed against the cold glass…just glaring toward the outside world.
I saw everyone else going about their business in a ho-hum, ordinary, and very carefree way, but they were all a blur.
I felt so out of touch…
There were many times I even wondered where God was, but looking back now, He was with me the entire time. As strange as it may sound to some, in looking back, I now see that my “bubble” was actually God’s way of protecting me until I found my way through it all. He was intently holding me in his loving, protective, and unchanging hands.
At first, I would continue pretending everything was fine. Very few people knew of my dilemma. Only my husband, son, and maybe two people at work knew of my insidious pain. These are the people I see most, so there was no way to hide it from them.
I mentioned my concern to my sweet sista, Cindy. We were at her pool on a hot, humid, South Carolina Saturday. She is my dearest friend, and she is also a Fibromyalgia warrior.
I also shared it with my daughter, Tiffany. She lived in Arizona at the time. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. She was diagnosed with RA at the age of twenty-seven.
Out of everyone I knew, these two ladies would definitely not discount my perplexing concerns. They were pros living with daily chronic pain. I always “felt” for them, but I never truly “felt” for them until I ultimately felt WITH them. (Read that twice.) They would both genuinely understand my very heavy burden and try to help me navigate my new surroundings.
I did not want to tell my mom at the time because she had an over abundance of her own health issues. I didn’t want to worry her. She never complains, so in a feeble attempt to be like her, I wanted to try and do the same. If you know my sweet mama, you know that’s a very tall order! She’s the absolute best!
I was meandering around in my little world as I was mentally processing everything I was experiencing. It was all very foreign to me.
It had been one month and two days since my mysterious symptoms surfaced. I thought I had bone cancer.
My symptoms instantly ignited and for the first two weeks, I felt as though “little pain monsters” were playing pinball inside my body.
I envisioned them bouncing all around. Once they found a bending bone, they would extend their long, ugly, arms and legs and grab onto each joint. Their grip greeted each bone with a big ‘ole bear hug.
They remained there until all of the other “little monsters” found their place as well. It was then, they seemed to morph into some type of poisonous plant. Their grip tightened, dug in, and each one ultimately rooted themselves deep within my bones!
Two weeks following these events and upon my entrance into my weird little bubble, I surmised they were in for an extended, and very unwelcome stay.
By July 19, I was 100%, unmistakably, undeniably miserable!
My scheduled appointment with my OBGYN arrived! It had been scheduled a year earlier, so it came at exactly the right time! I felt as though I had plummeted to about as low as anyone could go.
I know, I know! What can he do? Intense bone pain is not his specialty, but I didn’t care! Given the opportunity to sit in his office and discuss how I’ve been doing was all I was waiting on! I just needed to see, and talk to a doctor…any doctor!
Until about a month ago, I had been an energetic, happy, and healthy woman. God is great! My marriage is great! My family is great! My my job is great! I use present tense here because it’s all still true. I couldn’t ask for more.
Is my life perfect? Absolutely not! It never has been, and it never will be. I would truly experience difficult times, but I was, and still am blessed…far beyond what I deserve.
I had been tossing around the idea of making an appointment with my regular family doctor. I had only seen him once in my lifetime for dull, prolonged headaches more than ten years ago. After a little blood work, he found that my issue was just due to an iron deficiency. That was an easy one. I just knew he would think I was nuts in this particular case.
The appointment I had with my OB doc would suffice for now. I actually considered him my family doc anyway. He knew me much better.
“The Littlest Things…”
I always took these small acts for granted. I actually started to write this article about my doctor visit, but as it turns out, getting TO the appointment would be my battle for the day. First and foremost, I had to exit my bubble and try to step back into my real world for a time.
Once I got dressed in a not so routine way, I recall looking at the doorknob of my back door leading into the garage. My hand was begging me not to open it. Really? It’s a stinkin’ doorknob, for crying out loud! Crying is exactly what I wanted to do, but I didn’t. I’m much stronger than that!
I grimaced before I even touched it. I reluctantly opened it with my right hand. It felt like I was grabbing a porcupine. My left hand was even mad at me for doing it. It seemed that my left hand was taking up for my right hand. Sweet thing…
All of my pain mirrored. If the right knee hurt, the left knee did also. Right index finger? My left index finger felt it too. Right elbow? You guessed it! Left elbow chimed in too.
A really bad day was when all of my bones hurt at once! This is what happened on July 19, 2016. It was a great day to see a doctor, no matter what his specialty was! At this point, I could’ve cared less if it were Dr. Seuss! I just needed to see a doctor!
Lord? Please have mercy on my sweet soul!
I did manage opening my back door. I would also have to tackle lifting the handle to my car door as well, but first, I would have to maneuver down three brick steps leading into my garage. My knees were swollen and very tender. My feet and ankles were uncooperative also. Steps were absolutely daunting to me.
Once I accomplished all of that, I sat in my car. I took a deep breath…in through my nose, and out through my mouth. This was, and still is, a stress reducer for me. It also mentally placed me in an “instant reset mode” to get me to my next thought. What do I tackle next?
My keys are usually always hooked just inside of my purse. They weren’t there. I searched for them with my feeble little fingers. I couldn’t find them.
“I will not go back inside to search for them!” I thought to myself.
As badly as I needed to see Dr. OB, I also thought, “I will call and cancel my appointment and sit here awhile if I must! I can’t go back up those steps right now.”
There was no one home to help me.
I looked over at my pink and green coach bag again, and there they were! It was my keys…in plain sight! They were on the seat next to my purse the entire time, unless God miraculously placed them there for me, which He very well may have done.
It wasn’t even 8:00 a.m. and I was already mentally drained.
I had never done that before. My keys were always in the same place. I always hooked them on the side of my purse. I felt like an idiot. Maybe it WAS God. They were not there moments before. I tried to convince myself I wasn’t losing my mind.
This pain is physically and mentally grueling. It is different. I thought my life would never be the same.
My mind was a mess. I was thinking of everything, and nothing all at the same time.
Ok…now I have my keys. What do I do now? (Deep breath…in through my nose, and out through my mouth…RESET!)
I had to pick up my keys. I knew it would be very uncomfortable turning the ignition. I do not have a push button start, but this would’ve pained me as well. I had to do something; otherwise, I wouldn’t be seeing any doctor!
I begrudgingly picked them up. Of course, I couldn’t turn it using my thumb and index finger. I tried! My thumb was too weak to push it over in order to make the key turn.
It was excruciating, so I “hooked” my index and middle finger and placed my key between them to crank my car. It wasn’t always easy doing the simplest of things, but I always found a way.
Ok what’s next? (Deep breath…in through my nose, out through my mouth…RESET.)
“Oh dear! I need to fasten my seatbelt!” I thought to myself.
Thinking about pulling that heavy seatbelt around my body made me feel as though I was pulling a truck out of the mud. The seatbelt was as daunting as the steps I had to climb and descend everyday. My shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers…unspeakable!
Releasing the seatbelt once I arrived at the doctors office would be even worse. Pushing the release button with the tip of my finger was near impossible. It sent shivers up my spine just thinking about it. I started a new thing where I would use my index knuckle instead. This would also be painful, but not quite as much as the way I would normally do.
“Do I really need to buckle up? Maybe I could get away with it for just one day. No! If I don’t do it today, I won’t do it tomorrow.” I literally said this out loud to myself.
I distinctly remember this conversation with myself because I thought about a highway patrolman I know. He and his adorable wife are dear friends with my daughter Tiffany.
I saw his handsome face in my mind. All I could imagine was Trooper David pulling me over and writing me a ticket. Would he really? I had a plausible excuse…or did I? I could try and explain my dilemma but I doubt very seriously he would believe my sob story.
Never-mind! This is NOT a plausible story! Some of this stuff is too outrageous to believe! I can hear him now…going home and telling his sweet wife my very far fetched and inconceivable story. How embarrassing would that be!
I’m sure he, and all other amazing law enforcement officers hear all kinds of ridiculous explanations for not wearing a seatbelt. My excuse would fall pretty far from what one would consider the truth, but it was indeed, the absolute truth!
I would fasten my seatbelt every single day! It wasn’t for me. I did it for Trooper David Jones. I wasn’t happy about it, but I did it nonetheless. Thank you Sir for being in my head telling me to buckle up everyday. I know this is something you had no idea I was even thinking all this time! I appreciate you all!
I truly never thought about how intricately everything worked together to perform such mundane tasks.
Although there are still days I feel pain here and there, they are nothing like they were! With my medication, my bubble now sits on the back burner. It is not in the forefront of my every thought. My thoughts and pains are neither lurking in every breath I take.
The RESET breaths I would take on a regular basis from 2016 to now would very slowly diminish.
I catch myself still doing this every once in awhile. Many times, my deep breath may exit as an audible sigh. Either way, this now serves as a gentle reminder that when I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, or even audibly sigh, I would be in a much better place than I was on July 19, 2016…when my pain level was a 10 on my 1 to 10 scale.
Right now, “I’M GOOD, I’M GOOD,” so I can “carry on, and smile along the way!”
By the way, I did make it to Dr. OB, the first doctor of many. You’ll never believe what the nurse said when she called me a few days after my appointment. My sista Cindy is the only one that knows! If she’s reading this, she is smiling right now because she told me that’s what they would say! I will tell you soon.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV (always)