Tag Archives: Fibro-fog

13.1 Miles of Smiles

Despite looking like a healthy 28 year old with an active lifestyle, I wake up each morning facing a battle with Fibromyalgia.  After being diagnosed in May of 2011 I feel into a bit of a FIbro-funk and started feeling like I had lost a part of my identity.  After over 20 years of being a dedicated active dancer it was hard to face the reality that my pain would never completely go away.  One day I woke up and realized I was taking precious days for granted.  I needed to get my butt back in gear and take advantage of what I’m so very lucky to have, so I set a hefty goal for myself.

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On February 26th I donned my Livestrong apparel from head to toe and obtained my goal when I crossed the finish line of the Disney Princess Half Marathon 3 hours, 10 minutes and 4 seconds after crossing the starting line hand-in-hand with my most amazing boyfriend.  We were just two runners in the sea of over 19,000 others who were all there to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  Paired with all of our fellow runners millions of dollars was raised for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  This amazing organization has helped my family directly and I couldn’t think of a better first half marathon experience than one that would benefit LLS.  If the Disney volunteers weren’t motivational enough then the LLS volunteers and fellow runners were there to help push everyone across the finish line.

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Despite severe knee pains starting around mile 6, I achieved my goal of not giving up and finishing all 13.1 miles with a smile on my face.  It truly is a motivational run when you see how supportive all the runners are.  Women cheered each other on, inspired each other and my boyfriend showed me just how much he truly accepts me for who I am and all that comes with that.  My Livestrong shirt was stamped with the phrase “Fight Like Hell” and it became my motto of the day through the pain and slight rain.  I watched cancer survivors run to raise money for the organization that helped them each step of their way without any hesitation.  We ran as team “D.W.A.R.F. Awareness” in an effort to “Dance, Walk and Run for Fibromyalgia Awareness.”

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Having Fibromyalgia, I knew there was a chance that my body would be pushed to its limit in trying to complete a race that lasted multiple hours with strenuous activity.  Despite the few tears that popped up around mile 9 from the knee pain I knew I had a mission.  I was there to walk for those who couldn’t right now.  With each step the pain was more and more debilitating, but it reminded me of all that my loved one experienced during his multiple battles with Lymphoma.  I watched him lose his hair and his mobility, but he never gave up and I knew I was meant to do the same.  Each step closer to the finish line was for him.  His strength to wake up each morning and continue to fight for another day kept me moving.  I wanted to make him proud and complete the goal I set for myself when I told him I would finish no matter what challenge I faced.

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For those who wake up to the daily challenge of cancer, know that you inspire those around you.  You’ve touched our lives and we see your strength, even on the days when you might doubt it yourself.  I was fortunate to have an amazing boyfriend by my side to lean on for strength.  He is my rock like so many of the other runners are to those they love that are affected by cancer.  He held my hand, reminded me that nothing could stop me when I put my mind to it, and pushed me forward so I would achieve my goal.  His kind nature, acceptance and understanding of my challenges helped me give back to a loved one who has always been there for me when I needed him.  Without a doubt I would do it all over again and I intend to do so while I encourage others to do the same for this amazing organization.

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Part 4

Did you ever play with string cheese as a child?  The fun was pulling it apart and watching as the cheese tear into strips.  The day I walked into my doctor’s office I used string cheese to describe what my muscles felt like every time I moved.  My doctor has kids so I knew he would immediately get a mental image of what I was feeling.  My joints were on fire, my muscles were paying me back for every dance step I had ever taken during my 2 decades of performing but felt like they were ripping apart every time I moved, the headaches were increasing, I was almost bordering on being narcoleptic due to how exhausted I was, suddenly I found myself having no memory at all, the increasing pain in my abdomen was just getting to be too much and it was starting to feel like breathing was too painful to be necessary; welcome to a day of living with Fibromyalgia.

Although I was happy to find out what I was up against, I was heartbroken to hear that there is currently no end to the pain and exhaustion as no one knows how to completely make it stop.   However, I had a choice to make…sit on the sofa and let it take over my life or start the battle and refuse to give up.  I chose the latter and the uphill battle has been challenging but very rewarding.  Just recently I started to fall back into what I like to call a “fibro-funk” and slowly let the dark cloud try to pull me back in.  It has taken me a few weeks to see through the fog, but I woke up today and realized that I need to remember why I chose to battle against this.

On the day of my 25th birthday I ran my very first 5K.  I did it just to prove to myself that I could and told myself I would take on a farther run in the near future.  Well here I am, three years down the road, and I never completed that challenge I gave myself.  It’s time to shake off the fog and set my sites on a goal once again.  I’ve decided that I am going to start training again so I can once again complete a 5K and now take on a half marathon this coming spring.  I have no goal race time in mind as just completing the race in one piece is what I strive for.  In my world, where there are challenges just trying to get up off the sofa to get something to drink, completing a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment.  I hope this means that I’ll continue to push myself so that the year I turn 30 I can hopefully take on a full marathon or maybe a bicycle race.

I plan to raise money for Fibromyalgia research during my runs as they are still searching for what causes this and until they discover that the chances of finding a cure are slim and fleeting.  There is so little they know about the cause, symptoms experienced and treatment.  I know that October is the month that we all focus on “saving the ta-ta’s” since, as my mother pointed out in one of her blog entries, it has a much catchier slogan.  However, I am a perfect example of how the awareness of Fibromyalgia is slim.  It’s time for me to contribute to the answers I demand on an almost daily basis and this is how I have decided to do it.  I’ll be donning my purple, the official color for Fibromyalgia awareness, both in my clothes and the color of my face by the time I finish these races but it will be worth it every step of the way.  In January Matt and I will be taking on a 5K and debuting as team “D.W.A.R.F.F. Awareness” and then a half marathon in February.  We’ll be “Dancing, Walking And Running For Fibromyalgia Awareness” in 2012 and I hope that you’ll chose to support us on our endeavors.

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