When Life Knocks You Down


Unless you’re new around here, you know that – since Briony was around 18 months old – I’ve been having mysterious neurological complications from my fibromyalgia. At least, that’s the working definition of what’s going on, according to my specialists, after many, many, many tests including brain scans, nerve conductivity tests, and more.

This issue manifests itself differently all the time, but the two biggest factors in play are that I sometimes fall and I sometimes drop things. It’s like my brain sends a funky message that tells one of my limbs to play dead – without enough warning to do anything to stop it. No one knows why, so no one knows how to stop it. It usually just happens once every two to three months. But it’s a big enough deal that it’s the number one reason why we chose not to have another child (before I developed PCOS and endometriosis and discovered that it probably wouldn’t have ever happened anyway). It’s also the number one reason why I live life attached to my iPhone – so I can call someone for help if I ever manage to really hurt myself. It’s a deeply messed up kind of normal for us.

The short story is that I don’t know when it’s going to happen. But I’m starting to be able to tell when I’m most at risk for it to happen, based on what I guess is most easily described as a subtle electrical feeling in my arms and legs. Based on that clue, I’ve known since last week Wednesday that I was more likely than usual to fall.

It finally happened today.

It was almost a relief because I’ve been living in fear of it for almost a week, waiting and wondering when and where and if it was going to happen. It can make me a little bit crazy. Mercifully, it happened at home this time – with no witnesses, nothing in my hands, and nothing dangerous around me. I didn’t hurt anyone (my worst fear). I didn’t humiliate myself in front of an audience (a close second).

But let me tell you, there can’t be a lot of things in the world more frustrating than finding yourself on the floor and knowing that it wasn’t your fault – it happened simply because you have a brain that occasionally turns evil and betrays you. I lay there for a minute and said a few of my favourite four letter words (okay, fineā€¦ just one of them – over and over and over again). Then I picked myself back up, finished making dinner, and took Briony to dance class.

She’s in bed now and I finally have a second to assess the damage. I’m nursing a sore spine, a bruised shoulder, and what I’m hoping are three sprained and not broken toes. All things considered, NOT TOO BAD.

I’m not exactly sure what the point of telling you all this was. It feels better to talk about it, to make sure that it’s not a secret. For me, putting words to something strips out some of the fear that’s attached to it. And I think it’s important for the people in my life to know what a day with my particular little collection of chronic illnesses can look like.

So, now you know.

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