Writing the details of what you’re going through while you are suffering it can be a bit much. It was for me this time. If I was feeling well enough to write the last thing I wanted to do was recall the symptoms so that I could write about them. This time around was hard. Much harder than the first because it was done over a much shorter period of time. The last time I began eating a fully organic diet a few years before I started eating a whole food diet. The whole food diet was almost a year before I began the GAPS restrictions, etc.
This time I already knew what I had to do and began it all, cold turkey, at the same time. The repercussions were pretty severe. The detox was awful, and not knowing how long it was going to last was difficult to manage. But, alas, a mere two days after I thought I couldn’t handle the severity of the symptoms anymore and went looking for help, they began a hard, fast decline. So fast that I was left feeling like it couldn’t possibly have been as awful as I thought it was, or that it was just a lull and would come back.
It hasn’t. Four weeks ago I took a big plunge and enrolled in a beginner’s ballet class for adults. I won’t lie. I was scared. I almost backed out over and over again. I almost left during class for fear that I was going to overdo it. When the instructor told us at the end of class that we were now going to do one full minute of situps every part of my brain went NOOOOOOO. No! Bad idea! Don’t do this! But I did. I did it. I never expected that I could even do it, just that I would try and either hurt myself or plain not be able to DO a situp. I simply could not believe it when I did it. I got tears in my eyes. The music ended, the class clapped, the teacher beamed at us and told us how proud and excited she was to do this class and we walked out the door into the sunny parking lot. My family was waiting in the car, expectant, wide eyed. The class had gone 1 hour and 45 minutes. They couldn’t believe it and as I watched them watching me walk across the parking lot I knew in that moment that even if I did suffer the next day that it was worth it. The way that I felt in that moment; the strength, the pride the freedom… even if it was never to happen again, it was worth it.
As if that wasn’t enough for a happy ending. If that wasn’t just almost too much to take it… the next two days came and went uneventfully. No flare ups. Nothing that said Fibromyalgia. I felt what I assume every other dancer felt the next day: the muscles that I hadn’t used before. When I told my husband I did cry. I cried because of the relief. I really was so scared. I cried because I felt like an ass. I cried because I had lived without symptoms for sooo long and then made choices. Choices that I knew I shouldn’t make. I made excuses. I felt guilty for where I had put myself again and where I took my family when I went there. I cried for all the food I ate that polluted my body, for all the times I stayed up watching a movie instead of going to bed. I cried for all the times I should have made infusion instead of buying a cup of coffee. I cried and got all the crap out and then let it float away because they didn’t blame me.
It’s hard. In the world we live in, in the culture we live in: it’s hard. Even when you know, from personal experience, what you need to do – it’s hard. And that’s okay.
I’d like to say that I won’t do it again. That I’ll never let myself feel another Fibromyalgia symptom again, but I know that that’s a lie. I know that it’s been a matter of weeks since I proved to myself that I have control of whether or not I experience Fibromyalgia and I STILL had an ice cream cone in the historic center last night while sitting with friends.
That’s who I am. There is some part of me that needs to understand exactly, exactly what I can and cannot do. Exactly how far I can go. Exactly how much, how long… I just need to. I first proved to myself that I could live for years without symptoms. Then I needed to know how much of the restrictions were certain and how certain they are. Now I know. I really do.
I’ve learned some new things this time around too. Playing with specific types of foods to see my level of sensitivity to them. Watching which symptoms are affected by what choices. Knowledge is power. It’s enough for me to be able to say that I will likely never eat gluten again. I will never eat anything that contains an additive, binder, or “naturally derived” adulterated ingredient again.
I want to do more than survive the ballet class. I want to find strength and grace that I have never known. I want to dance in the recital next year. :-p Yesterday I hiked for one hour straight up the side of the mountain next to our cabin. We barely stopped as the thunder clouds rolled in. My kids wanted to make it “all the way to the top” and so did I. Just as we reached the summit the sky opened up and rain poured down on us. We were on a new trail with nothing beyond a sense of which direction would be a sure trail down (rather than to an impassible gorge). We’re adventurous and never take the same trail down that we took up. We follow the elk paths and we have real adventures. It was another hour down the mountain via a valley that a spring fed creek ran through. It was like a different world in there. The ridges rising a hundred feet over our heads and the grass and flowers grown as tall as my daughter were so different from dry desert mountain all around it.
I want that more than I want any of the things that I can’t have. I want that more.
To our health.