Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Got Lost Today

Snapshot from my walk
I got lost today. For a month now, I’ve been taking a morning walk every weekday. I head out each morning from my door and pick one of two paths: a hilly route around my block or a flatter but longer route around the dead-end street above my home. I chose the latter today, which makes this my sixth walk on this route.

It’s a pretty simple route: (1) walk from my house to the intersection. (2) Follow the curving street until it reaches the dead end. (3) Then turn around and retrace my steps back to my house. It’s so simple that I’m sure my dog could walk it on her own.

But anyone with fibromyalgia soon realizes that nothing is ever easy with this debilitating condition. As usual, my 7-year-old son (who I cyber school at home) and I eagerly set off on our morning walk with our family pooch in tow. I noticed immediately that the morning air is getting crisper and the beautiful fall leaves are beginning to adorn the world in all their glory. Fall is my favorite time of the year, so soaking up the many sights, sounds, and smells of autumn is exhilarating. And I was filled with such contentment and happiness this morning…

...until my fibro fog decided to strike with a vengeance! One second, I was admiring the splendor of fall and taking a few snapshots with my cellphone. The next I found myself dizzy, disoriented, and with no idea where I was. For a few split seconds, my surroundings looked completely foreign, and I felt like I was lost!

Believe me, my first reaction was to panic and freak out. My heart started racing. My anxiety suddenly reared its ugly head. I began sweating profusely. And my entire body started trembling.

Catching a glimpse of my son, though, in my confused state, I reminded myself that I really needed to take a deep breath and try to come down. I know from experience the more relaxed I can make myself, the quicker the brain malfunction passes. Plus, I didn’t want to scare my little buddy.

As such, I closed my eyes for a few seconds. I took a few slow and deep breaths. And I pushed all the panic away. As soon as I opened my eyes, everything was back to normal as suddenly as my brain had gone blank. I recognized every house and every tree. I could visualize the way home even without looking behind me. With that realization, I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief. Another one of those horrifying (but far and in between moments--thankfully!) had passed.

My son and I finished our walk with our sweet doggy and continued on with our day like any other. Still, part of me couldn’t help but harbor the notion--just for a fleeting moment--what if one of these colossal brain farts (as my husband calls them) settles in and never fades away? What if I’m stuck in a state of intense confusion for the rest of my life? It’s a frightening thought, indeed!

Yet, I refuse to allow that thought to stay and fester. Ultimately, life is brimming full of what-if’s for everyone. Life is forever opening up new possibilities every second: both good and bad. However, only a handful of them ever happen, so it would be pointless and insane to obsess over the bad things that may happen (or probably will never happen) someday. If we focus too much on the negative possibilities, we’ll miss all the wonderful things that DO happen. Instead of enjoying the here and now, we will be squandering the present by worrying over what possibly won’t ever happen our entire lives. That’s certainly no way to live!

Consequently, my weekday morning walks WILL continue like nothing ever happened. Hey, I may get lost for brief moments from time to time with my fibro-dysfunctioning brain. It’s bound to happen since it’s happened before. But I refuse to allow a distant possibility to sideline me from living my life as fully as I can. Fibromyalgia steals plenty of my precious seconds. I’m not about to freely hand over any more of my life!

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