Thursday, November 25, 2010
Fibromyalgia and Death
Fibromyalgia and IBS don't take holidays, breaks and don't care what's on your agenda. I have been in extreme physical pain from my chronic illness since November 9th when my best friend, Michelle was admitted to the hospital after collapsing. She had battled stage four lung cancer for over two years and the cancer was winning.
I sat motionless for six days in a hard, hospital chair on the sixth floor looking out on the world around me through autumnal trees and swirling leaves. I watched as my friend slowly faded before me and through it all I was in so much physical pain from my chronic illness that I did my best to shut it from my mind. I had to be strong for her, for her family and for her three year old son, Grayson. I had to set my illness aside, remove the pain from my mind and be there for my friend during her last days on this earth. I wanted my Fibromyalgia to take a holiday and it wouldn't, even to give me few days to be there for my friend.
I sat with her, held her hand, prayed, sung Amazing Grace and even painted her toenails while she lay motionless in extreme pain. I felt bad that she was laying there before me in the dim evening light in so much pain that she could not even speak but only softly moaned when her morphine was wearing off. I thought of all the times that I have cried and complained because I was in pain and hurting but my pain was nothing in comparison to what she was going through that very moment.
I could not and would not let it be known that to sit for six hours a night in this hard chair, my back was going numb and my feet tingling. Instead, I prayed and asked God to help her and not me. I wanted her to go peacefully to the place that we all dream of going to one day. I told her twenty four hours before she died, sitting beside her bed, that it was ok to go to Heaven now and that God was waiting for her and that when she got there, there would be no more pain and it would be glorious.
I saw what pain she went through the last two and a half years and I felt selfish for even complaining about my back hurting or the fact that I had to shit too many times a day. Here she was in private agony, fighting so hard to win a battle that eventually took over every part of her, her mind and her body, and the day she died, November 15, 2010 at 6:30am, I was ashamned that I felt relieved for her. I felt bad for thinking that I was glad that she was gone and with God, because I knew she would never have to feel pain again and this tiny part of me was jealous. I don't want to die, don't get me wrong, but waking up every day in pain is not only physically draining, but emotionally draining as well. The sadnessI fell now that she is gone is enormous, and it has made my chronic illness worse. I went for Acupuncture and that did not help. I went for a massage and that did not help.
It has been one week since we buried Michelle. Today is Thanksgiving, the day we should be thankful for health, friends and family and I can't help but think of her and I do smile knowing that she is no longer in pain but I miss her terribly and wish she had more time on this earth, with her husband, with her son, and to continue to be my best friend. Today I will be thankful for friends, family, health (even if I have IBS and Fibromyalgia), and most of all, I am thankful for my new guardian angel that I know is watching over me right now. For today, I can rest easy on a soft couch and think of her tonight. Happy Thanksgiving Michelle. May you find peace in Heaven next to God.
(Picture above is titled "Sacred Hour" by Christophe Vacher)