What Have You Been Doing?


Northville Mom Enjoying a New “Up North” boutique hotel
Hotel Walloon, located near Petoskey, MI.
We were trying to look casual as we verified the person sitting outside my room was Ashley from Hard Core Pawn on TLC (it was)!

When I see friends they often kindly ask, “What have you been doing”.  I worry my answer is boring and that eventually, they’ll no longer want to hear it.

When I was young, I never imagined living with daily chronic pain. Like most people, I expected to feel fine well past my child-rearing years. It was something I knew people struggled with, but I expected it to go with things you can see. Like a car crash, a bulging disc on an MRI, old age itself. Truthfully, I don’t think I thought of it much other than the fact I hurt sometimes, even as long back as high school. I blamed it on minor car accidents, scoliosis, and being out of shape. I would get better and my mind would go elsewhere; thankfully my nativity carried me through.

Almost 18% of American adults deal with severe levels of pain. Although some of these people will improve, the numbers are staggering. Through your social network, it’s likely you know someone, maybe multiple people, going through life-altering medical and emotional events. You know you have it “better” and feel guilty even indulging your mind in your problems.

I have a friend who has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, neuropathy, and Parkinson’s Disease.  All devastating conditions that severely impact her mobility and quality of life. Yet, she always prefaces her latest challenges with the fact she could have it worse. I find myself echoing those words in my mind hoping that I can somehow will myself to stop feeling. To stop feeling tired. To stop feeling like getting through the day is challenge enough. To finally have an answer about what I’ve been doing, other than taking great care of my kids.

Anyone suffering with invisible chronic pain goes through times when they wish they had something to show for it. Maybe that way they won’t feel guilty taking the only remaining seat on the bus. Their employer, spouse or friends may understand why every decision and future event starts with thoughts of pain. Is it too much to do? Will I enjoy it? In reality though, Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain suffers know they’ve been blessed. They can assimilate and look perfectly healthy. They can pretend they are “normal” and sometimes if they are lucky, they may have periods when they almost feel that way.  We know barring the unforeseen tragedy, we will live another day, another week and hopefully many more years. Sometimes I say to myself, well if this is my “thing” then I am lucky; it could be much worse!

That’s what carries me though. Reality and knowing that everyone has their struggles. This just happens to be mine.And in the scheme of things, it really isn’t that bad. I am here, writing this blog and I know that I can get up and walk and enjoy another day with my kids.

So, what have I been doing? I’ve been getting through the day. I’ve been trying to stay positive and enjoy the moments and people who make life worth living. To me, that seems like success even if it’s not what I used to think it was.

PS: Look up Fibromyalgia images or go to a community message board on the subject. You see postings like the things below. I don’t want to be the “poor me”, “look at me”, “I deserve your empathy” person. I don’t always succeed; especially on bad days. But I’ve come to realize that’s okay too. It’s part of what I am doing…..



One thought on “What Have You Been Doing?

  1. I hate that question. I’ve been working and sitting my ass and watching too much tv that isn’t even entertaining. That’s what I have been doing. I work fulltime and I’m only a so-so mother. (And I know lots of mothers who work fulltime who are extraordinary parents.) So, I know what that means and how uncommon but valuable it is to be great at that. To be great at anything would be awesome but to be a great parent is to respond to the highest calling.


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