On Wednesday, John and I are going to see my favorite band, Mumford and Sons. I am extremely excited and this was kind of both of our big Christmas/Birthday/Valentines gift to one another because I got the tickets too late and basically paid an astronomical amount for them.
It’s worth it for us though. Or, maybe I should say for me. John loves them, but not quite as much as I do. I sometimes think there is a 6th sense and that is the thing you experience when a song touches something in you that seems otherworldly. It’s bigger than the sense of hearing, because an amazingly written song can bring all of your senses into sharp focus.
I wrote something about Mumford & Sons a few years ago that I wanted to reshare.
A song that I have heard this year which has touched me deeply is “Roll Away Your Stone” by one of the best bands to emerge in the past five years, Mumford and Sons. For about the past 6 years, while I was able to experience many joys in life, especially my two children, Shaila and Nico, I found myself struggling with physical pain and weakness that doctors could not diagnose. I found myself feeling increasingly helpless. The doctors told me I was depressed, to which I replied, well, “Well duh. How long did it take you to get that degree again?” (Apparently it made me cranky too).
If you feel sick ALL the time and your body hurts so much that you have to give up the things that you love – like running, it makes you sad. Holding a guitar was hard on me, someone who had always taken pride in my athletic strength and abilities.
Holding my kids was tough, but that was one thing I always pushed through.
So yeah, the doctors told me it was depression, which I acknowledged could be a secondary issue.
Again, its a little bit of the chicken and the egg conundrum – which came first? Not positive, but I felt like the physical limitations did push my world into some darkness.
I could barely lift my kids. Look, if that’s not depressing, I really don’t know what is.
This year the diagnosis turned to one of fibromyalgia. To which I said, “Fibro my WHAT?!” As I listened to the doctors explain the symptoms, I started to feel relieved. I FINALLY had an answer. The symptoms I had matched the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Basically you hurt all over. Your muscles could be crunchy like mine were. You could have exhaustion which could render you more tired than the most tired pregnant woman.
But the relief kind of turned to something else pretty soon.
I let the doctors prescribe me meds. And the meds took away some of the pain but made me even more tired. And I couldn’t help but feel that maybe this wasn’t the problem either.
And I realized I would not let this physical pain continue.
So I fought. I fought to have MRIs. I made finding a solution a priority. I made coming up with a recovery plan more than just “upping” my meds. I think the enormity of what my life would become if I accepted this diagnosis hit me when I went to my rheumatologist. I could tell she was busy but wanted to get more than a five minute checkup.
“So how are you doing since I put you on the Lyrica?”
“I think it helps.” Just to be clear, Lyrica would help with pain for almost anybody. Like if you had a broken nail, it would help.
“Well, let’s go on and up yours then. Let’s double it.”
Um, ok. And I realized that my path to recovery would always just be about conquering the systems, not the underlying issues if I did things this way.
I wasn’t going to take this lying down, even if that is the position you want to be in if you really have fibromyalgia. Lying down in a bed, for long periods of time where sleep washes over you like the warmest blanket.
I decided to lift that blanket. To reduce the meds. To look for real answers. Sometimes those are with a doctor. Sometimes they reside with me.
And I am trying to get stronger every day. There are days when the diagnosis feels like a distant memory and I forget about it completely. And then there are days where I am thrown into a fatigue so deep that when my children stand next to my bed and say, “Mommy, are you sick?” I can hardly look up to reassure them that I just need a little rest. Even though it’s much more than that.
You told me that I would find a hole,
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal,
And all the while my character it steals
Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart
I look at the past few years as a long walk in many ways and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it home. Some bridges have surely burned, those which should have even earlier and those which were too unstable to begin with.
By and large, the ones that needed to remain intact, have. I am able to plot a course to where I need to go with the support of those bridges.
In the last line of the verse, Mumford uses the word “Restart.”
I have decided to restart. This blog represents the me I want to embrace going forward. There are times where I have to restart again. Maybe not all the way back to the beginning, but I take a few big steps backward and have to remember that it’s not a race. That I am not racing myself.
I have to just remind myself that I am stronger than I think and I can burden the weight of these stones. And I have to start pushing the ones I can’t hold away.
“It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works”
I am always trying to find my grace. I still don’t know how this grace thing works. Trying to figure it out is tough. And maybe in finding grace, we have to stumble a few times and be quite graceless about the whole thing. And I tell myself it’s okay.
Please join me? We can start with small grace things like telling each other if we have spinach stuck in our teeth as a starting point before moving on to bigger things.
Rolling away our stones. Together.