When I moved to San Francisco it was not because I had family there, a fantastic job opportunity or a carefree life which allowed me to relocate to the second most expensive city in the United States. It was because like Tony Bennett, I had left my heart there. My husband and I converged on that tiny city packed to the gills with people, places and things beyond our wildest imaginations. It was a city full of transplants, people from all over the world who came looking for something else, too. Our first few holidays were quiet, just the two of us. Working retail left little time to travel home during the busiest seasons and we danced around the thriving metropolis, filling our day with wherever the mood took us. After a year or so we made friends and those quiet holidays turned into boisterous celebrations with others who either could not or did not want to go home to spend it with their family of origin.
As I examined this trend further I realized after a few years these folks we had been hanging out with, lending a helping hand when needed or dragging along on our own adventuresome escapades had at some point ceased to be just friends. They had become our "friend family". Those you called on when sick or in need, told what to do when they were obviously screwing up their lives or spent weekends away exploring the magnificent nuggets of culture and beauty Northern California is known to have many of. They were the ones I called when I was sick and needed a bottle of NyQuil, fruit-punch Gatorade and saltine crackers. The people who after a long day at work programing computers came home to help my husband program his own presentation due for class the next day. And the ones you could have a knock-down drag-out fight with and call to apologize a few days later, friendship resuming where it left off, no grudge held too tight.
I see so much pain, heartache and division the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia brings to some patients and their families. Facebook posts, emails, comments on this blog, the hurt seems to come pouring from so many directions. From disbelief to abandonment there is no shortage of abuses chronically ill sick people in constant physical agony are forced to endure by those they need the most, when they need them the most. Reflecting on this I realized I have entered another phase of "friend family" building. Living with chronic pain and illness is a very different reality than living without. As much as the healthy people in our lives try or don't try to understand, we all know unless you suffer from it, true comprehension cannot be reached. Through this little computer here I have met people from all four corners of the earth who are struggling in their own way to figure out how to live life with this illness. Some of these people I have gotten to know very well and have become members of my expanding Fibro-friend family. People who understand my limitations because they too have the same constraints placed on their lives. So go build your own Fibro-friend family! Guard your heart against those who will only condemn and judge you and seek acceptance in the family of your choosing.
Thanks for joining,