There are all sorts of reasons why I haven’t blogged in so long and I don’t have the inclination – or the energy – to go into them all. Way back I had intended Friday blog posts to be fibro related so I thought I’d tell you about yesterday as an example of the effects this bloody illness has on my life.

I am exceptionally lucky to have a desktop computer. It sits upstairs on its own desk with a good keyboard and a snazzy bright blue wireless mouse. But when you are so tired and sore that putting one foot in front of the other takes a supreme effort, it might as well be in a different country. Fortunately, I didn’t throw out my old laptop when it failed so yesterday Gregor from GY Computing (who I highly recommend if you’re in Ayrshire) came and replaced the broken hard drive with a shiny new solid state drive. All well and good, I hear you say, but what does this have to do with fibro? Hold your horses, I’m getting there.

When the laptop started to misbehave I was quick to take backups of all my files. I transferred all my photos to an external drive and put all my documents in the cloud. ALL my documents. Every flash fiction, short story and novel I had. I was proud of myself for being on the ball for once. In fact, I may have been smug.

Then came the fall.

I installed OneDrive on the repaired laptop, signed in and there was…nothing. Not a single document there. Odd, I thought. I must just have moved them all to the desktop hard drive. So up the stairs I climbed and switched on the computer, whistling a cheery tune as I waited for it to boot up. File Explorer – click; Documents – click; and there was nothing there. I tried signing into both my Microsoft accounts, just in case, but both were empty. I searched the entire computer for files I knew should have been there. No file found. I looked at the external drive which was full to the brim with all my photographs, thank goodness, but apart from those I had nothing to show for the past 20 years of writing. I felt physically sick.

I can only assume that in some fibro fogged stupor I had screwed up OneDrive syncing. I have no recollection. I’m not a stupid woman. I worked in IT for years. I was a member of Mensa, but fibromyalgia has robbed me of so much cognitive function I hardly recognise myself now. And even if fibro fog wasn’t a thing, it’s difficult to think straight when you are in so much pain and permanently exhausted.

A couple of days ago my back went into a spasm when attending to my toilet – a pretty euphemism for wiping my arse. I have tennis elbow pain in both arms. I can’t pick up a cup of tea or hold the phone to my ear because it just hurts too much. My hands seem afflicted by similar tendonitis pains. Having a shower is difficult because of the hands and arms and because standing makes my back feel broken. My right shoulder has gone. No idea if it’s a tendon problem but touch it and you’ll hear me scream in Aran. And then I lost my stories. I wept, hard and long.

The good news is that my husband found an old microSD card on which I found a lot of what I’d written. It’s not it all, far from it, but it’s something and I’ll make do with that. I’m choosing to look at this as an opportunity to start afresh, to find the stories that need to be told now rather than those already half baked or lurking in the shadows. Perhaps they didn’t want to be told. Perhaps it wasn’t their time. Perhaps they were never mine to tell.

Would I have lost my work had I not been chronically ill? I guess I’ll never know for sure, but I don’t think so. Fibromyalgia has stolen so much from me. I’ll be damned if I let it steal my stories.

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