Friday, August 3, 2012

I Have Let Myself Go

I gave my husband a new handy dandy techno-fab phone for his birthday last week he is quite enamored with. He was playing with the camera last night and took some pictures of me. Well when I saw them I started crying! I look simply awful. My face is as round as a basketball, puffy with the pallor and texture of unbaked pastry dough. My limp yellow hair just blends into the illusion, providing no contrast or definition whatsoever. I have enough bags packed and ready to go under my eyes for an ample trip around the globe. And my chin? Oh how I wish it stopped at double! Folks are so reassuring, promising me this is just what Prednisone does. They say it's water weight, chipmunk cheeks, you look fine, don't worry. But I am worried! Horrified, embarrassed and really mad too. I have only gained back the 10 lbs. I lost in the hospital at the end of July but my face looks like it did when I was 30 lbs. heavier on Lyrica. I can blame some of this on steroids but have to take responsibility for my part as well. I have been eating. A lot. My portions are big. I eat for pure enjoyment without a thought to calorie or consequence and I am practically visiting the frozen yogurt shop daily. Oh yes, I am a full and willing contributor to this rapidly expanding problem, pun very much intended. 

I am a vain girl. It's in my blood, I can't help it. My darling 94 year old grandmother still puts on makeup everyday if that tells you anything. Ten years selling beauty in a tube left its imprint on me, too. So for me it's vitally important to feel confident in my appearance and I ain't apologizing for it, either. But with an illness as tricky as Fibromyalgia this resolve frequently works against me. How many times have invisible illness patients heard the phrase, "But you look so good I just can't believe you are sick!" and wanted to smack the purveyor of such careless insensitivity? I have, more than a few times. I believe this is one of the reasons Fibromyalgia is so dismissed. For the most part we just don't look sick. Eventually this disease takes its toll on the outside, though. Patients can enter deep levels of sleep deprivation, fall victim to the side-effects of prescription drugs, lose the ability to exercise or slip on a permanent frown-meets-grimace as time and illness wear on. It was easy for me to stop caring about what reflected back in the mirror when life became about surviving and enduring. It seemed ridiculous to spend effort and energy to primp and fluff myself up when there simply was no energy to spare. And what a waste to slather on makeup or coif my hair just to sit at home alone and feel miserable!

But think about a time, before you got sick, when you came down with the good old fashioned healthy person flu. After a couple of days of miserable bed sweats and delirious dreams the fever would break and you would drag your sorry ass into the shower. That action alone made you feel better, marked your arrival on the doorstep of recovery. Basically you started doing things to make yourself get well again and eventually you did. Last night was a big wake-up call for me. I believe if I want to be sick then I can live looking sick, but if I want to improve I must project that desire on the outside of my body, too. So I may have a face as round as the moon but damn it if I don't have a little blush and eyeliner on to balance out the puffiness. I may be bloated and hurting and have not one bit of energy to spare but garsh darn it, I am putting on jeans instead of sweats and brushing my hair! I am determined to look in the mirror and see a person that still, despite all the hardship, cares who is looking back at her.

Thanks for joining,

This blog was originally published on 9/22/10. As I re-post it today I am sitting in my sweats with no makeup on but can happily say I did brush my hair!


  1. I'm sporting the Prednisone Moonpie face myself this week, after heavy doses for an asthma attack last week. It's charming. Not.

    Today I bought hot rollers- I can no longer hold my arms up long enough to use a curling iron to do my hair, but I think I can manage to get the rollers in.

    I put a face on yesterday for the first time in months.

    It's not because I think makeup and good hair will magically make me better. Fibro doesn't work that way. After 13 years of this, I know that, but looking presentable makes me at least emotionally not feel so gross, so it is worth it.

    Besides, there's something wonderful about people thinking I'm my daughter's sister and not a grandma! It definitely stokes the old ego to hear such things.

  2. Looks like it’s award season again! As such, since your blog is so inspirational and encouraging,I have chosen to nominate you for an award called the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

    To check it out and accept, click on (after 10.30am Melbourne time tomorrow – I like to schedule my posts: Sorry!)