True life. (Photo credit: axiomphotog)
Some time ago, I wrote a post regarding a professor who asked me to do creative writing about my experience of having fibromyalgia (FMS). It is true that I have written poetry that deals with the subject, and even began a somewhat semi-autobiographical novel some years ago. Still, I remain uncertain of retaking such paths. Instead I am now considering what it would be like to write about my process of change, i.e. change towards improving my life.
The reality of living with FMS can be one that is punctuated by a series of losses: continuous loss of health, loss of self-perception, loss of self-esteem, loss of employment, loss of status, loss of friends, loss of family, loss of supports, etc. The list could go on ad infinitum.
On a weekly basis, I take time to research the latest developments in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Typically, the titles are filled with words such as “fight,” “battle,” or “war.” Of course, I understand the desire to motivate those who are living with FMS by using such words. Who amongst those of us with FMS, hasn’t felt as though fibromyalgia were waging war against our bodies, our minds, or even our very souls?
27/365: fractured reality/grace under pain (Photo credit: Samie Harding)
Still, why fight against? Why scream a battle cry? Why wage war? For what purpose? Our bodies are the spaces in which we exist daily. Why should we be in conflict with it?
Mother Teresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” I am in agreement.
I choose never to be anti-fibromyalgia. I choose, instead, to be at peace with fibromyalgia. It is a part of who I am. It is living within my body. Thus, embracing, rather than rejecting it, is the obvious choice for me. It is a matter of shifting one’s mindset.
So, what is this next step? Beyond having shifted my mindset, I have decided to take the step that I have been utterly avoiding for a multitude of reasons. I have decided to become vegan and live gluten-free (I am already vegetarian). As some may know, animal bi-products as well as yeast and gluten can provoke digestive problems, especially for people with IBS, which many people with FMS experience.
End of Summer Still Life (Photo credit: mystuart)
Moreover, I am letting go of other foods that can create disharmony within me, such as nightshade fruits and vegetables that aggravate pain: tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), eggplant, and sweet and spicy peppers–yes, I know I am living in Italy. 🙂
Will this be challenging? Perhaps. Is it the right time? Absolutely.
At the start of this post, I wrote that fibromyalgia can be about loss. Well, that was my mindset about taking this next step. I was focused on losing.
In my mind, all that I could see was that I would be losing, once again, more foods that I love (in this case: milk, bread, and the above-mentioned fruits and vegetables). Furthermore, the thought of having to “lose” certain foods felt too much like “dieting,” of which I am not a fan, i.e. unless absolutely necessary for medical reasons.
I could not see the gain. I could not see the invitation for living a peaceful life with my body, and thus with fibromyalgia.
Yes, it is true that FMS can push one to leave behind old and unhealthy patterns, even places and people. Yet still, it causes us to arrive at a new understanding of ourselves, learning and using new and healthier patterns, experiencing new internal and external places, and meet new people who can support us as we make our journey.
vegan food pyramid adapted from recommendations made in “A new food guide for North American vegetarians” (2003) from the American Dietetic Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am excited to have taken this next step, and am doing so with the help of The Vegan Society that offers a mentor for 30 days (The Vegan Pledge). The next thirty days begin my journey towards a new way of eating and living. Over those days, I will update as I can, including places in Rome and in the U.S. that are vegan and gluten-free friendly.
Cheer me on, as well as yourself and others, on taking another step towards living peaceably with FMS!
And remember what Mahatma Gandhi said,
“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”
Thus, think positively about living with FMS. There is much to be gained!
Until Next Time,
P. S. I will be adding an Italian version of this post as well.