Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Is A Kind Of Anniversary For Me

Thanksgiving in 2004 consisted of watching my husband eat turkey dinner from the hospital cafeteria perched on his roll-away chair while I laid chained to my hospital bed by an IV, MPO. It was during my most severe Pancreatitis attack, the one that precipitated all these health problems I have been plagued with since. My celebration was a push-button of Dilauded that would zonk me out so as to dull the true pathetic-ness of my situation (and the unbearable pain of Pancreatitis). In 2005 we planned to spend the day with my college roommate and her new husband and then head into San Francisco to see Cirque du Soleil in the evening. I wanted to bring still-puppy Yorkie with us to their house, not wanting to leave him alone for 14 hours or whatever ridiculous amount of time we were planning to be gone. My friend had a cat. A giant indoor cat that Yorkie would chase around tirelessly trying to get her to play with him, bouncing up and down in front of her as if on hydraulics, barking. Well kitty was not having it and usually all he got was a swipe on the nose that would send him yelping and running. My husband did not want to bring Yorkie, feeling my friends husband did not like how he interacted with the cat. What ensued was a horrible fight and he won, so I proceed to be the biggest bitch I could possibly be to him for the rest of the day. The show was amazing but everything else pretty much sucked because of my attitude. 2006 was a beautiful and crisp day of radiant sunshine we spent at the Cliff House, a hoity-toity foodie establishment steeped rich with San Francisco history. Our window table overlooked the magnificent Pacific ocean, waves crashing into the rocks below and the sunset, oh my the sunset! A blazing inferno ball of orange slowly dipping into the vast ocean as the sky turned from pale blue into every shade of orange, gliding into a rich purple darkness. It was a wonderful day, one we still look back on with fond recollection. 2007 was spent at my Father-in-law's and by 2008 we had moved to Arizona and spent the day at my Mom's. Last year we went to my Aunt's house and my Cousin, an over-zealous born-again minister, spent the duration of the meal "challenging" us for being Catholic. I could barely taste my food and my husband vowed to never spend another second in his presence. It was not very pleasant and took me MONTHS to get over.

So yesterday was spent at a different Aunts house, and it was lovely. The food was INCREDIBLE, everything, every pie crust and even the cranberry relish, made from scratch. The company was fun and upbeat. My husband and I were the orphan children all the adults (who's children were elsewhere) adopted for the day. It was a good time spent with great people and amazing food. What more could one ask for? The winter holidays always bring up a strange emotion of reflection. Especially Thanksgiving. I measure my life against the benchmark of that horrible Pancreatitis attack in 2004 and assess my progress, success and challenges. This year I have A LOT to be thankful for. I am ever so grateful to be alive after the 2 strokes in July, and am thankful for the medical care and brilliant doctors that diagnosed me before the other 8 strokes that were moments away from happening claimed my life or functioning. I am grateful for a husband that has stood by me through immeasurable devastation and still loves me and enjoys me in all my complexities. I am grateful for my parents and the emotional growth that has taken place this last year with my two mom's, my Mother and Step-Mother. I am grateful for the friends and family that love and support me. I am grateful for the challenges I face in life, for they are forging me into the person I am meant to be. I am grateful for adversity and criticism, for I am learning how to NOT take everything so darn personally and realize the true problem lies with the criticizer, not me! I am grateful for my puppy-children, and the addition of Porkie into our family this year, rounding us out into a perfect square.

But I am astoundingly and ever so grateful for the storm that has flurried up around this blog. I am grateful for each person that reads it and is helped in some small way. I am grateful that enough people found support and started posting on my Facebook page as a way to commune with each other and that morphed into The Fibromyalgia Fun House which is now a rockin' support page! I am so grateful that each person with Fibro I have met rose up in me a true desire to make a difference, hence The Fibromyalgia Crusade was conceived! I am grateful to have a defined path I am heading down in life that will make a tremendous change in the reality of living with Fibromyalgia for the many misunderstood and criticized that endure ignorance and spitefulness. I am just as pleased as punch and as happy as can be that whatever hardship or pain or anguish I have gone through has led me here, to this place right now. I am SO grateful to have met so many wonderful souls that have expanded my point of view in so many different ways. I anticipate a future full of hard work and accomplishment and I am grateful for the opportunity to get up and go finish that apple pie from yesterday!

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah,
    Thank you so much for sharing! My story mirrors your in many ways. Your positive perspective has halped me adjust my "tude" several times. It's so easy to take the low road and get bogged down. I am determined to live my life as an example to those around me, healthy included! It is my hope that they see that even though life circumstances may be hard, it how we handle it and choose to live that matter. We can choose to have a positive "tude"!!! Thank you again for sharing!! Keep up the wonderful work!

  2. What ensued was a horrible fight and he won, so I proceed to be the biggest bitch I could possibly be to him for...............Well bully for you!

  3. I love the part where you said their criticism are their problem. Because I'm not the same person as before and have limits that strike whenever they freakin feel like, I've lost some friends.
    I feel they think I fake some things. One ex-bestfriend in so many words accused me of having flare-ups at just the right times...NO ONE BUT US AND THOSE VERY CLOSE will ever understand. They aren't there when I'm throwing up every other day, or on the bathroom floor in so much pain my husband can't do anything but rub my back or ankle.
    No one sees us up all night, short of risking death by taking so many sedatives. It almost seems like our brains don't register some things. Right now, I'm up at almost 5am after no sleep. I took my max on sedatives and lay there.
    And we learn to hide things sometimes, don't we? We learn to push ourselves to do things when we have to; then we 'pay for it' soon after.
    I guess this is when we learn who really cares enough to learn what exactly we're going through and be there when we need help.

  4. I find a FEW true are worth far more than MANY surface relationships. Not everyone is going to understand, that is what family is for! LOL But friends, you choose, and if they are not supportive I believe it is time to move on...! Blessings

  5. Leah...I never realized pancreatitis precipitated your fibro. I was diagnosed with CFIDS in 1990 (after getting ill in 1989) and had a double-whammy with fibro and pancreatitis (post cholecysttectomy, no stones) in1994. I've had episodic pancreatitis and was hopsitalized in ICU in 2000 after I was given Sulfa. The docs have never figured out why I have pancreatitis, they *figure* it is autoimmune-related at this point. But I've never heard anyone else with CFIDS/fibro mention pancreatitis. Thanks for being such an outstanding person and a crusader for those of us with fibro!!