Let’s Talk Fibromyalgia

Never tell a woman she looks tired. Am I right? I mean, why not just tell her she looks awful? Or old? If a woman looks tired, trust me, she already knows it. She’s already tried layering on the concealer and if she hasn’t, maybe it’s because she’s too TIRED to stand in front of the mirror to heap it on. When I was around 18 years old, in the prime of my youth, someone told me I looked tired. It hurt then.

Today, my daughter and I heard the ice cream truck. We ran outside in our jammies waving our dollars in the air, trying to catch it. When Mrs. Ice Cream Lady pulled over to our curb, she took one look at me and blurted out, “You look tiiiired. Didn’t you get any sleeeep last night?” Then, she used both of her index fingers to outline the shape of her own eyes and said to me, “Your eyes are blaaaack all around heeere. Are you siiick?”

Yeah lady, I’m sick. Siiiick. Now give me my damn ice cream!

What I really told her was, “I have Fibromyalgia. I got lots of sleep last night, but it didn’t make a difference.” She suddenly looked nervous and replied, “I don’t know what that is,” and scurried over to the freezer to grab my daughter’s Push Up. But I didn’t let her off the hook. I stuck my head through the window of the truck and called out, “I have an autoimmune illness! I slept fine last night! I’m siiiick!” I made sure I could be heard over the truck’s 30-year-old engine.

Another no-no: If a woman’s midsection looks as big and as round as a soccer ball, don’t cheerfully ask her how far along she is. I’ve learned this one firsthand – well secondhand, actually. My friend politely asked his neighbor this question once and she stormed off muttering that she wasn’t pregnant. I look pregnant sometimes. Trust me, I’m not. It’s called bloating and if it isn’t from the effects of simple PMS, it’s from something I call Fibromyalgia, also known as Fibromyalgia. I haven’t been asked if I’m pregnant yet, but I’m just waiting for the day. I’m 5’11 and 135 pounds. I’m thin, but with Fibro and IBS, some days my stomach is distended to the point where even I’m tempted to purchase a First Response test. Come to think of it, I have been asked. Last year, my three-year-old daughter asked if I had a baby in me. I told her NO and we both proceeded to laugh our heads off. (It’s okay when your unknowing, little girl asks.) “Mommy’s just bloated, sweetheart. Bloa-ted.”

Mrs. Ice Cream Lady was right, you know. I did look a bit racoon-ish. But I don’t care. It really started my day off on a negative note. Am I overly sensitive? Yeah, sometimes. I examined myself in the mirror after we got back inside the house and honestly, I didn’t think I looked half-bad, considering. My eyes have been much more black than they were this morning. And when you have a four-year-old daughter who thinks that Mommy looks pretty enough to make-believe she is Rapunzel’s queen-mother, everyone else’s opinions go out the window.

Tonight’s question: Has anyone ever pointed out an obvious Fibro-symptom to you? How do you address it? Talk soon.

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