I have had
Quite enough
Of this disease
That makes me ache
Robs me of my sleep
Fills my rolodex
With funny sounding
Doctor’s names.

I have had
Quite enough
Of this disease
That no one understands
That doctors can’t cure
Stalking invisible
With weird tasting
Metallic pills

I have had
Quite enough
Of this disease
That costs me money
Steals my independence
With slow and steady
Insidious intent.

(C) 2004, 2013 Brenda Ann Eckels

I wrote this poem on June 19, 2004, long after the second exhusband decided to trade up to a sexier french version of me complete with two new kids. I was at that point into my 9th year of treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Battered Woman’s Syndrome inflicted on me by the monster. In many ways my life was quite well – my biological children were safely with me the vast majority of the time, I had a new career I enjoyed, and I was for the most part self sufficient. Oh, I still had thoseĀ  aweful days the support checks didn’t show up, but by 2004 I viewed them sort of like winning a scratch ticket, and by mentally accepting they would never be a proper amount or of a proper regularity, I learned valuable lessons in how to make do. I still had the trip four times a month to the police station where the monster finally learned how to behave properly at a visitation pickup, but his waiting until 1 minute before the deadline no longer left my heart racing in fear he had taken them away again. My nights were not haunted by flashbacks nearly as often by then, in part because he was prohibited from talking to me on the phone. I was slowly healing from the loss of the man I considered my soulmate. I was still in the town I loved, and was putting a portfolio together to pursue adopting a child from Haiti to finish my family, not knowing God already had a child picked out for me.

But, no matter how well my life became, no matter how good a day I had, the pain, fatigue, changes in taste, and other symptoms of fibromyalgia remained. Every morning I would awaken and for the briefest moment open my eyes and feel…nothing. Then, I would move. Perhaps just flex my hand or begin to slide a leg and the pain would ricochet through that area of my body. The simple act of sitting up in bed involved wave after wave of pain, each crashing onto the one before. I would grit my teeth and pray my mantra….”Gotta pay the landlord” over and over until I somehow was showered, dressed, and was ready for work. I would work all day with pain inside me, go home and cook, parent, clean, and watch tv with the pain gradually rising in intensity until finally I could no longer bear it and I would go to bed and Darvocet. Usually 6 or 7 hours later, I would repeat the entire process, over and over until the weekend when I would be able to sleep an extra hour some days.

This poem was written with an angry, frutrated, disgusted voice as I let vent all of those feelings I had about being sentanced to a life of pain. Looking back, I can remember how overwhelming it was, how much I longed to give in some days, and stubbornly spit in the face of the disease others. I believe that had I not gone through all this, I never would have survived the much worse pain that the addition of MS caused. In some respects this is a poem from one of the less intensive days of the crucible that God forged me in.

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