Father of three wonderful children ages 15 to 8, the oldest also diagnosed with FMS, I have total and permanent disability according to my doctors, although I don't take total or permanent as completely unchangeable. I may yet reverse this disability, but I am not betting the farm on it. A lot of it is in the hands of a higher Power. Regardless, I am finding value in being who I am, rather than in doing what I used to be able to do. Being is.
My wife is my wonderful aide de camp and caretaker. She points me back at the heavens when I'm knocked down. My faith is important to me. A mountain man at heart, I skied, hiked, climbed, and biked as I grew up. At 20, I was in a car accident that injured my upper back. Therapy and chiropractic helped keep things relatively normal, but after taking a sedentary job and surviving a few serious falls—at home, no less, arthritis and Fibromyalgia set in. Faith and family have kept me going.
I never had a defining moment where I realized, "Whoa! I have a disability!" Life just got increasingly harder to cope with to the point where I couldn't play much. Then I couldn't work as much. Then I couldn't work at all. Finding people who understand has been difficult, but not impossible. My church has supported me and mine for years, helping us make mortgage and utility payments when we’ve needed them.
Perhaps the hardest point was realizing my lower back pain would not permit me to walk more than a single house down my block and absolutely would not let me walk down to the field where my son played football. A power chair was no longer optional for my getting around. I realized that my days as a distance walker and hiker were over. Doing so hurt my pride and my outlook, but getting the power chair was a true relief to my beleaguered frame.
Being a father who can listen and counsel is immensely rewarding for me now. It’s good to be needed, and even better to be loved.