September 12, 2011
By rodriguez, New Haven, CT

i thought i knew pain. i thought i could handle anything. i thought i was invincible...but that all changed when i met this new kind of pain. the kind that sneaks up on you out of nowhere. the kind that never really goes away. its always lingering inside you. its the most evil thing ive encountered in my whole life from suffering from severe spinalbifida, scoliosis, arthritis and bilateral clef. im 18 now and now its when i meet this monster.

but it was just lingering in my muscles for about 2 days before it latched out in an ambush on me. my family and i were at Wendy's. we were all talking about the new school year and how its been going for us kids. im the eldest of 3 kids. my sister is 15 and my brother is 12 now. this day happends to be his birthday. my folks bought him a big baconnator. he loved those, plus a medium frosty. we were all enjoying ourselves when i noticed that it hurt to swollow the fries. my throat was closing up. i just shook it off thinking it was my arthritis but now come to think of it..i dont swell in my throat.

i knew i wasnt ging to be able to go to sleep that night. its happend a couple of times before, so i wasn't worried. when we got home, i was awake all night tossing and turning in bed. restless. i felt so uncomterable. my chest hurt so bad, so did my back and shoulders. if i only knew that the next day was gonna be the worse pain ive felt i would've told my mother how i was feeling that night.

the next night was our chistian meeting. i was looking forward to it because i wanted to hear the brother's disscussion. he's so cool and his wife is so nice. he's puertorican like my family so we talk the same way..thats how my family and the couple clicked. anyways i loved his first disscussion up on the alter last week so i couldn't wait to hear the secound one. my whole family was looking forward to it also. i felt horrible. i just got out of my college classes and it was intense. but i hid my misery so that my family wouldn't have to miss the meeting.

so i got ready. looked my best and after my mom was done with her 2nd shift we were off to the kingdom hall. we were all very happy and exited to see all our brothers again. we haven't seen them sense our vacation to the carribean its been 2 weeks. so we were all pumped to see everyone again. once we got there i noticed a sharo pain on the top of my neck. wierd but i've been having those latley. before the meeting started i saw my best friend sitiing a few seats behind mine i wanted so badly to talk to her, but she seemed bad..really pale and her eyes were blood shot. at that moment my body told me to sit down. as the meeting went on i felt all sorts of aches and pain in my body. my legs, thighs, my ribs, my neck and then my back. i was growing aggitated. whats going on?! my mother noticed my figiting so she looked at my and mouthed the words to me

"Are you okay?" she asked alarmed. i can't lie so for once i said

"No" i shook my head. i was so sleepy and weak. my brother and i switched places. he usually sat next to mom. i lay my head on my mothers shoulder and closed my eyes while the brother was conducting the weekly congregational book study. my head started to hurt. but the worse was yet to come...

my chest hurt right in the middle. ive been strong until this point. but even super man has his limits. well i was trying to fight my crytonite with all my strength. but the thing was that all my energy was sucked out of me. i couldnt even hold the bible in my hands! it weighed a ton to me at the time. my hands were cramping up. i started to panic. i knew we had to leave, my mother said we could. but i didnt want to, i was gonna beat this thing! i can do this! i was not gonna let this happen..but then as the brothers started to sing. all the fight i had in me...ran out! i lost. this mad me angry. i hated to lose. i couldn't contain the frustration in me any longer. i kept telling myself not to cry. not infrount of the whole congragation! we sat in the very frount so everyone would see me!

"Lts go to the bathroom" my mom whispered to me as the singing ended. we both got up. i could feel everyone's eyes on my mom and i. my tears became water falls by then. the walk to the exit seemed like an eternity. the pain was unbearable. my bosy was shuting down..literally. my mom embrased me in her warm arms when we reached the door to the bathroom. i cried and cried. i cant do this! im not invincible. im was a big smack in the face.

"lets go home?" my mom asked.
"no" i kept shacking my head, i could speack the words. my throat was closed up. whats happening to me? My God, whats wrong with me?! i was so scared i felt like i was having a heart attack. the chest pain was speading to my left side. i was so horrified at the possibilities with me. my mom had tears in her eyes. she left me with my friend who followed us to the hall and she sat me down in a chair.

"its okay, mami..its not your fault."
she gave my tissues that were in my bag and she tried to calm me down. a few secounds later my sister and brother and my father were walking towards me. my sister was crying and my brother was spooked. he looked scared too. we were going home...not the hospital. i refuse! i just got out of that place like a month ago!

then something surprising happend a bunch of the brothers came pouring out to the hallway. they were all asking what happend. my folks explaineed that i had sever chest pains and i needed to go home now.

the elder, which happens to be my best friend's husband, came to me and said, " this isn't your fault.." he gave me some very comferting words and i felt a little better. the brothers who came out shook my hand and said that they hope i felt better soon. i just smiled and nodded thanks.

as we were going home my mother connected my phone to the meeting. we could hear the brother's talk on the we didnt get to miss it after all! my da got the idea of getting me some over the counter pills to help me out with the pain. my pain was only escalating now..the pain was so much...i can''t even expalin it.

the brother was talking about how the eldest of the children in the family was the one who would reciev the biggiest blessing and inheritance form the parents. at that moment my sister gazed at me. it was so hard to see her so scared so i looked away..when we got home i took the pills, after the meeting ended my mom and sis looked up my symtims up on the net. while my father and i watched tv..sports mostly. like a half hour later my mom comes up from the cmputer crying to me.

"listen this is what you might have honey" she showed my a prited out paper..the subheading read "Fibromyalgia". right then i flashed back to all those comercials on tv about that. it never crossed my mind. we had a long talk about how i need to take good care of myself now more than ever. because this doesn't have a cure. my mom is scared. ive never seen her so sad and vunernable as i saw her on that night. i can't fight this. i have to deal with this. compromise a few things in my life so that it doesn' lash out at me. this isn' a battle needed to be won.

i know i have to be careful now. im not super matter how much i want to be perfect and participate in everything..i cant. i gotta take it easy for a while.

before i went to bed that night my sister walks up to me in my room, crying.

"you are crazy know that" she was shivvering and very upset.i walked to the bathroom...i cant stand to see her cry. it really does kill me. i hugged her tight. "dont scared?"
"yes!" i pull away "well you shouldnt be..i'm gonna be fine" she gives me this look "how do you know that?" i sigh i hug her again. "dont leave me!" her whisper is barley audible. "i wont let that happen" i whipe her tears. "now go get some sleep, okay?" she nodds. i take a nice hot shower and call it a night. tomorrow is another day...

The author's comments:
this happend recently and i was scared. ive learned alot about fibromyalgia and i am seeing a doctor to help me cope with the pain. i dont consider myself as invincible anymore but i know i can deal with painful day at a time.

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