Fibromyalgia: My Health Journey

Recently I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a multi system chronic condition that is characterised by chronic widespread pain, extreme fatigue, brain fog, digestive complaints and depression. For a sufferer of Fibromyalgia, stress is a major driving force in exasperating symptoms. It is a lifelong condition (there is no cure) but with a range of therapeutic care, symptoms can be managed and even improved. It sounds like a lot, and it is. It has felt like I’d stumbled into a dimly lit tunnel filled with physical and psychological challenges coupled with medical puzzles that needed a large brains trust to solve. I’ve been in this tunnel a long time, but have now stepped into some sunlight. Rather than being completely devastated by this diagnosis, I felt a huge sense of relief, validation and overwhelming gratitude. For my persistent struggle with extreme fatigue, insomnia, digestive complaints, low moods and pain have for the past 7 years made me question my sanity, and doubt my capabil

The date night we needed to have!

Six weeks ago my husband had a new proposal for me, which at first took me quite by surprise. He sprung the question on me one evening while I was cooking dinner for the family; “Would you like to do the Marriage Course?” (Our church was offering this opportunity. The format… 7 date nights, over 7 weeks focusing on 7 areas of importance to building a healthy relationship.) My first response to this unexpected question was “Why?”; we’ve been happily married 22 years and in that time have grown a lot. We’ve worked through many challenges, raised four children, and experienced the highs and lows of married life. After 22 years we know one another really well!

His response sold it to me.” Even a good marriage can do with a tune up.” We were married young, and started a family soon after. We’ve spent the majority of our marriage raising a family, and time for ourselves has been fleetingly snatched between the constant pressures of children and work. However, what was once a distant reality of having young adults preparing to leave the nest, is now a closer prospect, and with that closeness comes the exciting but unexplored new chapter of marriage. As I reflected upon these thoughts, I grew more convinced at the prospect of taking hold of this opportunity. Why wouldn’t I want to invest in my most cherished relationship?

Now having enjoyed five weeks of the marriage course, I am so grateful to God for bringing about this opportunity. (Being served delicious desserts in an intimate setting with my husband is treat enough!)Yes, there has been a lot of content that we both feel we’ve talked about and worked through at length, but there has also been so much to reflect upon; being intentional with this time to talk about things we don’t often talk through and to see with fresh eyes what is good about our marriage, and what we still need to work on.

So often we can get bogged down in the mundane, nitty gritty stuff of life. We slot into patterns that work without too much thought, but these past 5 weeks have bought a real freshness to our marriage. I marvel at the lovely timing of it; for as we’ve been setting aside Wednesday nights to do this, the rest of our weeks have had a lot of stressful personal family pressures. What’s new hey? Life always seems to have some point of stress, the challenge and joy is to find new and regular ways to connect and appreciate your partner in amongst the life pressures.

While I’m tempted to look back and wish this were something we had done in the early years of marriage, I’m so grateful for God’s faithfulness to us, and for the way he has been at work in both of us. And I’m rather looking forward to what new adventures await us in the coming chapters of our marriage. For now though… I’m looking forward to dinner out together tonight while our teens go to Youth Group. I’m loving these date nights!

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