Fibromyalgia is considered to be, at least partly, a genetic disorder. When I think of my family, I cannot think of anybody who may have suffered from this. But I also recognize the possibility that it may have gone undiagnosed in a family full of arthritic people, especially since it is a relatively new diagnosis, and even now some doctors debate its validity.
With that in mind, I am reminded of my mother, who did inherit osteoarthritis from her mother, and has lived much of her life in pain. Though most of her pain was concentrated on the legs, I now wonder if she had some milder form of fibromyalgia since her pain started at a very early age. Even now, I understand that her arthritis is in the relatively early stages, which may or may not explain how much pain she is in, and how much trouble she has walking.
Despite all of that, she is one high energy woman! She can pull all-nighters like any teenager in a college campus and make it through the next day and a half before crashing. Although she is sometimes slow and needs to hobble, she is extremely social and takes part in every activity. I have almost never heard her complain of the limits her pain set for her. In fact, I am not sure she let her pain limit her at all!
As my own mobility has declined recently, about two decades sooner than my mother’s did, I am more in admiration of her spirit than ever. I admire her ability to take it all in her stride and never let the pain or discomfort stop her from living her life on her terms.
A few days ago, my mother celebrated her golden-jubilee birthday. I painted her the featured image – Lady with Magnolia (11X14, oil on canvas). That lady in the painting is, indeed, my mother. Along with being a birthday-ode to a flower-loving woman, the painting (which I found quite challenging) was my way of expressing my admiration for a woman who has inspired me to always rise to every challenge life sets before me.
As her daughter, I hope that I never let my pain limit me from achieving the most important goals in my life. And I hope to be able to always define myself as an individual with several qualities along with chronic pain, instead of letting the pain define me.