Thursday, July 14, 2011

Change Is A Good Thing!

Hi Everyone!

Please join me as I continue to write my stories and blogs under the new name.  



© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to "Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Awareness or Understanding? Finding The Courage To Be A Survivor

Vol 3, Issue 1

At any moment of any given day I can go online and find support groups for any illness or cause.  There are MILLIONS of them.  Chances are, each one I will find has all kinds of artwork, clever sayings and symbols that will direct me to take a look at any issue at hand.  If the cause you are trying to bring to the public’s attention is complex and difficult to understand, it’s even more difficult to raise awareness and bring attention to your cause that is positive and productive.

Fibromyalgia Awareness is one of those very complex causes.  Because no two patients have the same exact symptoms and FMS symptoms are so numerous and vary so much in intensity, I often describe FMS patients, treatments and the impact on their lives to be as unique as a fingerprint.

Not long ago, I happened to come across a comment under a piece of artwork supporting Fibromyalgia Awareness.  This is what was stated:

All of us with Fibromyalgia are aware of what we go through.  It's the rest of you who need to learn about how we suffer on a daily basis.

As I read this comment, something about it bugged me.  I mean it really unsettled me and I wasn’t sure why.  Was it that the statement was somewhat defensive or accusatory?    Was I feeling anger?  Sadness?  Confusion?  I was so unsure!  I couldn’t figure it out!

I don’t mean to be judgmental of the writer.  The writer had their reasons and feelings for phrasing this statement in this manner.  There is no right or wrong in the statement.  We are all entitled to our opinions and our feelings. Feelings are never “wrong”, they are just feelings.  Emotion.  It’s what we DO with those feelings that can be considered appropriate or inappropriate behavior.

One could ask themselves:  “Whom was the writer referring to when they stated the rest of you?”  Obviously it meant everyone without FMS, but could it be a family member who hurt them?  A friend lost because of the impact of the disease?  A spouse who left them behind?

Then I found myself asking another question: “What was the writer trying to accomplish?”   If it was awareness, it wasn’t going to be received well.  So perhaps they were not trying to accomplish anything.  Maybe the writer was just hurting and this was the only way they could express themselves at that time.

As I sat pondering all these questions, the original feeling I had kept pestering me.   Why does this statement bother me so much?  It was literally driving me nuts.  No, I’m not obsessive compulsive, but this was really getting to me.  Then it hit me.

I lived in silence for a period of time after being diagnosed.  I tried to hide my illness and live a normal life.  But the problem was I tried to live the life I had before my wreck.  I was trying to be just like everyone else.  But I wasn’t like everyone else anymore.  I was no longer a member of the “Healthy People Society” or as I have come to call it, the HPS.  I use that acronym because it fits so many different circumstances and still applies.  For example, I’ve encountered the “Haughty People Society”, the “Hurtful People Society” and the “Hopelessly Pathetically Selfish.”  That’s just for starters.  I’ve had many different encounters with HPS’s when it comes to my disease.

It is a fact that FMS patients live with chronic pain every day.  If it isn’t pain, it may be the relentless fatigue, or migraines, or nausea, or IBS, or sleep deprivation, or severe depression, even panic attacks and medication sensitivities.  All these different symptoms combine to make a very difficult disease even more difficult to manage.  My point being it’s always something, and its always every day. 

It was clear after my diagnosis that the days of “just push through the pain and do it” were forever gone.  I can push to a degree, but not without paying for it later.   Instead of pushing through the pain, I would have times where I was forced to change my plans at a moments notice.   Specifically, changing plans at the most inconvenient, embarrassing, once in a lifetime or turn on a dime moments.  Maybe it’s a migraine attack, or any one of the numerous other sister conditions that this disease brings with it.  Whatever the source may be, rest assured, if the conditions at that moment is bad enough that I have to change plans, it means I stop and rest or I risk being laid out on the pavement. 

It took a long time to wrap my head around that fact.  I grieved and hid from the world for awhile, just so I could avoid being put in that position.  I was so depressed and lost I shut myself away for 2 years and told myself it was safer than putting myself out there for the world to reject.

But then I realized, unless they find a cure, I’m going to have this disease for the rest of my life.  Is this how I decide to handle it?   Me.  The daughter of the most independent paraplegic anyone could have the honor to meet.  The guy who rather than miss a day of work, drove my sisters car using a crutch to work the gas and brake pedals when his handicapped equipped vehicle was in the shop for repair.  Possibly the most determined man I’ve ever known.  Would his daughter become known as a “VICTIM”!?!


Things would simply have to change in my life.

Now, I’m sympathetic to the writer of the original statement.  I’ve felt the bitterness of lost friends and the rejection of people I wanted to share time with, but because of a form of HPS the relationships could not survive.  I’ve experienced feelings of not being “good enough.”  I’ve grieved HARD over the loss of my career and the hopes and dreams that I had planned to enjoy at this stage in my life. 

Used by Permission of Artist/Writer:  Manuela McPhee

FMS certainly wasn’t part of my midlife crisis!  I was suppose to enjoy the freedom of having grown kids!  Or deal with empty nest syndrome, or share time with my sons and their girlfriends so I would be prepared for the day my boys would marry and have children of their own.  I wanted to travel with my husband.  Just the two of us!

It was very clear that unless I made those near to me aware of my disease, I would continue to have problems maintaining relationships and I would continue to be lonely.  Which gets back to the subject at hand.  What bothered me about that statement?

"The implication that those with FMS are DOOMED to SUFFER the rest of their lives as HELPLESS VICTIMS."
I completely and totally disagree with that conclusion with every fiber of my being!  This simple fact remains:

"If we do nothing.....nothing will be the result!"

My fellow FMS Survivors, how will the world ever understand us if we do not show them courage and strength in the face of chronic illnesses and devastating pain?  No one listens to whiners and victims, but they WILL stand up and take notice of those who survive the pain with dignity and grace.  Choose to be a survivor and never let the pain define who you are!  We have a gracious and loving GOD.  He will give you the courage you need to endure.  This is one of my favorite passages:

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jer. 29:11

In closing, this video is my story of how I eventually rebounded and fought my way back to a new life by God’s Grace.  This was my childhood dream.   I had never pursued it as I never had the time or gave myself the permission.  Had I not been afflicted with this disease, I might never have pursued this dream and had such wonderful experiences with Filly.  

The lesson here?  NEVER give up on your dreams!

Have a blessed life… a blessing to others!


© Robynn “Bobbie” Dinse / Bobbie’s World Blogs
Please note that this short story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author
Feel free to link to "Bobbie's World Blogs"
Thank you!