Karen Breitenbach

The Surrender
mixed media
7.5 x 5 in.

“Several years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. This disorder resulted in the loss of the ability to do many things that I once considered part of my identity. I had been doing triathlons, and now some days I could barely walk around the block because of the pain and sometimes I was too worn out to even try. My once excellent memory turned into “fibro fog,” losing items, forgetting what I was doing while I was doing it, I became unable to find words midsentence and feared that people would perceive me as stupid.

Because there is no one way to treat fibro, it’s a bit of a science experiment to find what works for each person. A variety of prescriptions and side effects, supplements, therapy – both physical and cognitive therapy. There is no way to know when there will be a fibro flare, or when it will go away – or if it will go away, or if it will come back. This resulted in a great change in how I saw my life. I felt unsure, a loss of hope, a loss of the way I saw my future. The time I once spent running, biking and swimming was now spent in other ways, including creating art as a way to express my frustration with these changes. This work is one of the results.

© Karen Breitenbach