After we got married, and Larry started his new job with the trucking company, things began to even out for us in many ways.
I was still learning how to function with this constant companion of chronic pain….trying to see how much I could do, how far I could push myself, how much I could “get away with” before it would knock me down for the count. I was beginning to accept this familiar, but annoying cloak of pain, and trying to just live my life as best I could. Many times I would do too much, and throw myself into a bad flare up. Then I would get mad, being literally stopped in my tracks and having to stop everything and….”rest”.
I grew to hate that word. “Resting” did not have a good connotation to me. Resting for me was a kind of invisible “prison”….or a punishment, like a “time out” for a child….something I had to do against my will, because I came to realize that pain was something you had to obey. There was no choice in the matter. If I went too far beyond my limit, I paid the price, and the price was even more pain than usual, and that usually meant days or even weeks or months of “rest”.
I started developing resentment in my heart against my own body. My body was my own worst enemy. I began to hate it. I also began to slowly start to rebel against it’s new limits, and the way it controlled my life.
Larry was thrilled with his new job, so happy to be able to come home after a long workday, have a home-cooked meal, be at home, watch TV before bed….like normal people do. He was so happy to be able to sleep in his own bed, instead of the bunk in his truck or in a motel somewhere far from home like he had with his old job.
He was always sympathetic with me when he saw I was struggling with the pain and understood how miserable I was. He never treated me with anything other than compassion and concern. He knew me before the Pain Monster hit, he knew how much it had affected me, how much it had changed my life and my attitude. He knew I was angry, but didn’t know how to help me, except by being supportive and helpful in any way he could. He was my husband, but also my dearest friend. He let me know that he loved me no matter what. And that meant the world to me.
I had developed an interest in antiques during this time. I had always loved old things but I really started getting obsessed with going to outdoor antique markets, antique shows and also shops and antique malls, whenever I felt like I could handle it physically. My feet always seemed to really hurt a lot after these day long trips, with many hours of walking, but I just chalked the foot pain up to fibro, which I had been told by the doctors that it would not do any damage to my body even though it felt like it was. I decided my feet would just have to put up with my 5-7 hour hikes through the markets as I searched for prized antiques.
I remember one day we went to an outdoor antique market in Colchester, Illinois….it was a wonderful place, a beautiful day out in a wooded area with all sorts of antique dealer spaces set up. Larry & I walked around, perusing the wonderful old pieces and I spotted a quilt hanging on a line. I checked the tag and it was priced quite low. I told Larry, “you know….I am sure this quilt is worth more than this marked price. If I were an antique dealer, I know I could make a lot more money on this quilt.” He looked at me and said, “well, have you ever given any thought to actually renting a spot at the local antique mall and giving selling a try?” I laughed and said, “Do you really think I could?”…..and he looked into my eyes and said, “I think you could do it. I think you should buy this quilt and then go rent a space in a shop or mall and start selling antiques.” And I looked at him, smiled a big smile, and said….”I think I’m gonna do it!!” Then I promptly walked over to the dealer, told her I would like to purchase the quilt, I paid her the money, and off we went, with a quilt under my arm and a new dream in my heart, and my mind racing with new possibilities. I never gave my illness or pain a second thought. I really wanted to do this thing, and nothing was going to stop me. That was in 1996.