A Day in the Life

By Allison Jonergin

I awaken with a jerk. Cramps. I leap out of bed, and before I know what’s happening, I’m in the bathroom where my intestines reject yesterday’s meal-of-the-day.

Out of breath and soaked in perspiration, I hobble back to bed. Sunlight streaks through the blinds, prompting twinges of pain behind my eyes. I want to close them, but my anxiety is already awake, and my heart is pounding loudly in my chest. I toss and turn for a while, until I’ve recovered enough from my morning escapade to rise and shower. I forget to bring a towel with me, thanks to fibro fog clearing my train of thought from its tracks, and head back to the hallway closet twice before remembering to grab one. The bristles of my toothbrush scrape against my teeth like nails against a chalkboard. Already my throat is dry and hoarse – a side effect of more than one of my medications. The dry mouth rinse feels luxurious and refreshing, and I swirl it around and around in my mouth, not wanting to expectorate.

I slip off my clothes and steady myself as I step into the tub, using two shower bars for support. I get dizzy spinning around in an enclosed space, and knock a tube of exfoliator onto the floor with an echoing boom. I cringe. At first, I’m tempted to leave it, knowing there’s a good chance I’ll knock it over again. My better sense kicks in, and I realize I have an equal or better chance of tripping over it. I squat and pick it up. The warm water turns cold for a moment, and I feel as though I’m in the blast of a firefighter’s hose. My pain receptors memorize the location of each droplet to haunt me with later, long after I’ve turned off the water.

Guest Blogging with picture of a while 3 dimensional stick figure moving a giant pen
I dress in warm layers of soft clothing, ditching abrasive materials like denim. Allodynia – a pain caused by non-painful stimuli – makes it hurt when fabric rubs against my skin. Moreover, allodynia can make the surface of my head and body sensitive to touches of any kind, even a loved one’s soft embrace. A well-intentioned hug can squeeze me like a garbage truck.

I no longer risk going an entire day with cold feet. I’ll pack extra socks in my purse and slide on a second layer if I’m having trouble regulating my body temperature or the outside temperatures dip so low that the cold takes root in my bones and doesn’t leave.

With fibromyalgia, the trick is getting ahead of the pain using preventative tactics. Eating a diet rich in whole fruits and vegetables fends off inflammatory pain caused by eating foods high in wheat and dairy. Allowing ample time in my schedule to rest during the day relieves the stress of a sleepless night. I’ve crafted an exercise routine that heals and empowers my body when I practice it consistently.

Along with an extra pair of socks, in my purse you’ll find dry mouth lozenges and lip balm. Where dry mouth is, chapped lips aren’t far behind. I carry with me a bottle of water at all times to satisfy my mouth’s craving for coolness. I seek out these small sources of comfort with purpose, planning them into my day.

I hop from one sweet indulgence to the next, relishing in the relief that washes over me, cleansing my despondency until the next guilty pleasure.

Next up, a nap. 

Allison Jonergin is a SUNY Plattsburgh alumna and North Country native. She has fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and endometriosis. She also deals with irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression and migraines.

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