Update: Where My Fibromyalgia Isn’t


Hours after I uploaded my last post, I saw my nurse practitioner (NP), the only medical appointment I’d had since the beginning of the pandemic (excluding vaccine shots), and learned that I’d lost, not gained, weight–twenty to thirty pounds.

Given this sizable amount, how could I have been so wrong?

It turns out there are quite a few answers:

  1.  I don’t let a scale into my house–nothing to motivate dieting and consequent self-loathing. Past increases and decreases in my weight have always been accidental. However, I’d never before assumed I’d gain weight when I’d actually lost it.
  2. My height shrank along with the pounds, so maybe my BMI remained the same. After calculating it, my NP declared me “overweight.” Before, when I weighed more and stood taller, I was “obese.” BMI is not the culprit.
  3. My NP told me that weight loss, especially when rapid, can lead to newly hollowed body parts sagging. And these days, more than just my belly sags.
  4. My NP also explained that menopause changes a woman’s body. Weight gain moves down to her belly. I’m menopausal, and my belly, when lined up with the rest of me, bulges and sags more than it once did.
  5. Finally, despite a minor in Women’s Studies and fifty-two years of resistance, I still internalize sexism and fat shame. How could I not in our society? Any change in my body, unless it tightens, feels ugly to me.

No doubt, a combination of these answers explains my mistake. Despite whichever may be the cause, these two things from my last post do not change:

  1. My belly sags farther down on my right hip than on my left, even folding over itself. I learned from my NP that I have “moderate scoliosis,” an abnormal curve in my spine that explains how gravity pulls my belly to the right.
  2. My belly defies fibromyalgia. When settled before the TV, my partner still slides his fingers across my belly and between its folds. No pain. None at all.

Given what this update does and doesn’t change, I’ll finish this post the same as the previous one: my belly equals freedom: freedom from pain, locus of love.

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