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Posted on 1. May 2014

Fighting the Fog

By Tammie Allegro

One of the benefits of being part of an online community such as IG Living is finding inspiration from others’ stories. It makes me realize I am not alone, and many people have walked and continue to walk a tougher road than mine. And while this doesn’t minimize what I am going through, it helps me push a little harder and be a little stronger.

Sometimes, I hear terms about my autoimmune condition that seem obscure and far-fetched. Then, they become reality and knock me off my feet. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I did so much research. One might say too much research. I searched every website, article, blog and Facebook group I could. I heard so many horror stories that I was preparing myself to retire before I hit 40. Slowly, I relaxed a little because a lot of my “bad days” didn’t seem to compare with what I was hearing from everyone else. So I thought: I must have a “mild case,” and I will be able to manage just fine.

One symptom of fibromyalgia that I thought sounded the most fictional is called the “fibro fog.” Really, I am supposed to believe that you just suddenly go from a high-functioning woman to not being able to remember the most basic things? I actually giggled when I read about it initially. Well, shame on me for taunting the universe. Turns out, I have experienced this fog on many occasions. It has gotten to the point where it is affecting my relationships, my home, my children and even, occasionally, my work. I have had moments when I am working on a task and I completely forget what I am doing and why I started. This can be incredibly scary, especially if I’m out in public. It’s one thing to forget a date here and there, but to forget that I just swiped my card for a purchase while the lady is patiently waiting for me to enter my pin is embarrassing. Thankfully, fibro fog has never happened while I am driving. 

Another symptom I thought I was managing really well is my energy. I am not good at sitting still and doing nothing. I prefer a day that is packed with activities and tasks. I will even create tasks just so my day is packed. I used to go home after work and bake if we had nothing planned for the evening. I used to be the first to volunteer when someone asked for help, anything from moving to watching friends’ kids so they could go on date nights.  Now, I‘m proud that I make it to the end of the day and am still awake enough to drive myself home. My family knows that, most days, I am going to come home and spend the duration of the night on the couch. Not because I am lazy, but because I don’t have anything left in the tank. That is why I relish sleeping in on Saturdays and spending time with my family. I don’t make plans with others because I just want to make up for the time I don’t spend with them during the week. I am playing catch up a lot these days. 

It’s easy for me to be hard on myself, and sometimes the guilt is intense. Then, I have to remind myself that I am doing my best. I am managing working, being a mother and wife and having a chronic illness. The combination is taxing. There are days I think I am at my absolute max, and then I read a comment or a story from someone who is fighting a much harder battle, and it gives me that extra strength to make it through the day, in spite of the fog. 

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