Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eight-year-old Empress, Fibromyalgia, and What I'm Doing About It

Hi there. I have a secret. A huge secret. For me, anyway. I'll give you a little back story before I spill the beans. When I was a little girl, (yes, little) I loved to run. I loved to bike and ride my big brother's scooter, but mostly, I loved to run. I was one wiry, active little girl. I had the occasional leg pain in the evening- likely after one of my more active days, but I don't remember clearly- but little more could slow me down. I often sang while I ran or biked, usually Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music. I ran because I could, because it was satisfying, and just for the sheer joy of it. 
Then, I turned 8. I don't remember precisely when, but some time during that year, I began to feel a slight resistance when I ran. It was almost as if something was physically holding me back. It started small, and I actually remember very clearly the first time that I felt it. It gradually gained weight, until eventually I felt as though I were running through water, or wearing heavy leg weights.
I don't remember if it began before or after the running-through-water feeling began, but one day, my knee gave out. Just decided to stop bearing my insignificant weight, and for no apparent reason. It annoyed me, as I was in the middle of a wonderful run. It slowed me down, but didn't hurt much. Scraped my knees on the gravel of the driveway, (for about the millionth time of my life) but that was nothing. Just had to wipe off the blood and get going again. I was one tough little booger. 
Well, over the next months, these things happened more and more, and began to hurt. One day, I stopped running. I figured it hurt too much. Pain took the joy out of it, and made me angry, frustrated, and embarrassed. I could wish all day that I hadn't given up; that I had pushed past it, and kept going, but I was eight years old! No one knew what was happening to me. Not for nearly a decade, and by then it was too late. I remember, not long after these events, I was called fat for the first time. In PE, which I used to enjoy, but now hated with a firey passion. It was one of those horrible fitness test days, where everyone had to do specific stretches and work outs, and be weighed and have their fat measured. I even remember the name of the boy, who said it, though he was otherwise completely insignificant to me. I won't name him, though he'll never read this probably. He was just an eight year old kid, who had no idea the impact that would have on me. It was my turn for the gym teacher to measure the fat of my calves with the little forceps-looking thing. (How was this ever allowed, especially in front of other kids?! Do they still do this?!) He was measuring. I wasn't thinking about it really. Just wanting to get to recess.
Then this boy said, "Misty has the fattest legs in class."
That was it. My first time being told I was fat. I don't think I really was at that point, just a little chubby, but that doesn't matter. I was an eight year old girl! Anyway, that began a life of being teased, made fun of, laughed at for being fat. Never mind that it was mostly out of my control. Never mind that I didn't know what to do about it, or if anything could be done. It stuck, and has been a theme from peers, strangers, and my own hurting heart ever since.

Fast forward to high school. During the first year or so, Mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. We'd never heard of this before, as it was a new, almost unknown syndrome. No one even had theories yet about what to do about it. I ended up being diagnosed, then excused from PE by my doctor of the time, as it was too physically, emotionally, and mentally painful. I was bullied until I had just stopped going anyway, not only by students, but by the teacher! ("Better do your push-ups, class, or you'll end up looking like Misty!") Not worth it. If my dr hadn't excused me, I would have dropped out of high school then and there.
 By now, most of you have heard the drug commercials' generalized description of Fibromyalgia. They cover very little, so if you really want to know what it's like, read my post titled How To Learn What Fibromyalgia is Like for Me. Be sure to click on the links to get others' descriptions and explanations.

Okay, enough of the back story. You either get it, or you don't. I'm tired of hurting, and being exhausted all the time for no reason. Plain sick of it, so here's my big secret. Are you ready?

I have started the Couch to 5K program. Yes. I'm serious. The program is designed to transform a person from a couch potato to a runner in 9 short weeks. Today, I did my third run of the first week. I won't fool myself by expecting this to only take 9 weeks for me. That would be silly and discouraging. What I do hope for is that I can do it in 9 months. I'll do each "week" for one month. Shorter if I really feel up to it, but I'm aiming for a month each.
I'm doing this for me, for my body, for my husband, to show all the meanie butts who made fun and hurt me, but most of all, I'm doing this for my three beautiful daughters. I want to give them the example of a healthy, active mother, who can push past the pain, and the years of hurt and hate, and just run. I want to be able to run and play with them. I want to be able to catch them should they try to run off in a public or otherwise unsafe place. This is my ultimate goal.
I plan to blog after each run, but I won't punch myself in the face if I miss. I hope to use this blog as a way of being held accountable, so that I do not skip a run or give up. I also really hope that others who are struggling with fibromyalgia, or other chronic illnesses, pain, or fatigue may take encouragement, and see that this can be done. I can do this. I am doing this.

Encouraging comments, and kind advice welcome. Just hit the comment button at the bottom of the post. If you have something mean, rude, discouraging, or nasty to say, skip it. I've already heard it for 20 years. Chances are, I've said it to myself. I'm done with that. My husband will moderate the comments section, and delete anything unhelpful or abusive before I ever see it. So there.

Thanks for reading. Go out and do something healthy!!

Philippians 4:13

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


  1. Hey, way to go Misty! I'm proud of you for being brave enough to attempt that. I considered it, but it's not for me... I've always hated running... lol. Let me know how it goes... keep us posted!

    Remember... you're my favorite. ;)

  2. Good job mama! I am proud of you! You can do this! I have been struggling with my weight for the past 4 years or so (well, really eight years, but it got a lot more outta control in the last 3.5). I decided this week that I need to do something about it for real... I want my baby to learn healthy eating habbits and I want to be able to be active and play with her without having a heart attack. I started a healthy eating diet and I have lost 4 lbs in the last 2 days... now I just need to work on being more active. This post has inspired me to push through the pain, and also... I LOVE your idea of stretching 9 weeks over 9 months! I would have just said "that's impossible, I will never accomplish it..." You had a great idea to make a goal more realistic, and this is something I can truly learn from, so Thank You! Also, I don't live too far from you, so if you ever want some company on your walks/runs, hit me up... I will meet you there!!! You can do this!!!!!

  3. Thanks, ladies! Your words of encouragement means a lot! Amanda, I will definitely let you know when I'm ready. Thank you. I'm currently running laps around my living room. My itty bitty living room. It probably looks hilarious, but after trying sidwalks/street once, I realized I'm SO not ready. I'll get there. :D

  4. Misty, you are beautiful inside and out! I pray that God will bless you with the desires of your heart on this journey!