Being a dad with fibromyalgia is a difficult life. The days are long, lacking energy and being racked with pain. You end up staring at the clock, trying to survive to the next min, hour, anything to the time when you can get relief. However, when you have your kids involved, this adds a new level of pain, shame, and hardships.
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 2 years ago, my daughters were 5 and 7. I was already a full-time dad with tons of responsibilities. I was working full-time, managing flareups, and trying to find time and energy to be a dad. Over the next 2 years, my condition and health worsened. I had to leave two jobs over my medical conditions and ended up a stay-at-home dad. My wonderful wife picked up the slack on the job front, and my daughters started helping me at home.
I would have days were I could not move from the bed. My daughters became super troopers and would ask, “Daddy, are you having a bad pain day?” “Yes baby, I am.” My soul would be crushed at having my daughters help me. I was the dad. I should be the one taking care of them. Over the next year, I would learn to swallow my pride and shame, and learn that I needed to accept help. My girls adjusted and learned to cook, clean, and help me around.
Then my wife got pregnant.
We were overjoyed. I love my daughters and wanted the best for them. Now there would be a new little sister added to the family. I was so happy for a moment. Then it dawned on me that my new daughter would never know a daddy who was not in pain. This new life would never be able to see me at my full best. Would I have the energy to keep up with this new little one? Would I be able to overcome the pain to be there for my wife? How was I going to be able to help?
I was terrified and ashamed.
Throughout the pregnancy, I did my best. I got a part-time job to help with the bills. I helped around the house, pushing myself in ways I thought were the most I could give. Little did I know that more was required of me.
I was only able to hold the job for a few months before pain and fatigue set in and I was unable to continue. Amazing family and friends pitched in support in ways that still make me tear up. I pushed though until the wondrous day of the birth of my new baby girl. I was a proud dad for a third time. We brought this bundle of joy home and she is amazing. She laughs and talks and makes life so fulfilling.
My health chose to find this happy moment and turn things to 11.
Over the past three months, I have had my pain levels spike and maintain those levels for weeks. After two weeks at a time with no relief makes for a serious mental breakdown. I had to find days to which to take heavy meds just to get relief. Caring for a newborn is difficult in the best of times.
Doing it with Fibromyalgia is a nightmare.
There are no breaks in the day at which you can just lay down to try and relax your body. The little restless sleep that never gives rest is gone. You learn to survive on even less energy, more pain, more problems. That survival has made me go back to watching the clock tick by the minutes until my next moment of peace.
I find time to catch a break in these small moments of the baby sleeping. I rest for 5-10 min before another daughter needs me or I try and summon the energy to complete a task of housework. I would not trade my life with my beautiful wife and amazing daughters for anything. It just takes me longer and is harder for me to do the things that need to be done. Sometimes I don’t know how I am able to get all the daily tasks done. I feel that makes me a super hero.
#hugapony my friends.