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Prepared for Battle

by Katrina Byrd

“See you tomorrow, Ms. Byrd.” Jessica wrapped both her tiny arms around my neck then grabbed her book bag and fled the class area with a burst of energy. I never dreamed of a day when a hug from a child so loving as Jessica would reduce me to tears.

Four years ago, after many doctor’s visits and tests, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My diagnosis gave me a name for my chronic pain and tiredness. Unfortunatley fybromyalgia is not a well known disease. As a result, many people are unable to comprehend the agony experienced by fybromyalgia sufferers.

What is fybromyalgia? It is a chronic disease characterized by musculoskeletal pain, multiple tender points, and escessive fatigue. Because of my four-year battle with fybromyalgia, I’ve been privy to its symptoms, which have taken my body by storm, and forced me to make choices that would affect the rest of my life.

My struggle with fybromyalgia compelled me to face the harsh reality that my body may be riddled with pain for the rest of my life, and to lessen the pain, I would have to take medication with a variety of possible side affects.

At first, this bleak reality left me drowning in a sea of depression. I embraced the all too familiar “woe is me” routine. Eventually I had to choose to put on the full armor of God. The battle with this disease will take nothing less. The helmet of salvation keeps me form listening to those negative messages geared toward convincing me that I’m useless or that no one cares. The breastplate of righteousness and shield of faith enable me to move forward with my life in the confidence that God is going to take care of me. The belt of truth and shoes of peace give me the assurance to face the truth about my disease (it’s painful) and still have a zeal for life.

Living is my goal.

As a candle maker, my days are very long. I often have to attend shows, weddings, and other job-related events or appointments. In addition, I serve at my church. I teach Sunday school, work with children’s church, and serve as an amateur photographer. I also maintain an adequate social life, dinner parties, football games and cultural events.

“How do you do it?” One member of my support group asked. “I just do,” I replied. But in actuality, it boils down to a choice. I choose life in spite of the pain. Faith is an intricate part of my life and it is why I can maintain such a vigorous schedule.

If you are suffering with fibromyalgia, take heart. It is possible to live a full, satisfying life. With God all things are possible.

For more information on fibromyalgia and what you can do to cope, visit:
The Fibromyalgia Network and Prevention Magazine.

©2006 Katrina Byrd. All rights reserved. Used by permission.