10. I played soccer—a lot of soccer. It didn’t even seem like a big deal when I’d take off my cleats after a game and find a bloody sock. Pain was temporary before fibromyalgia.
9. I ran around mountains, up mountains, and once down a mountain.
8. I tried new sports, like rollerblading, just for fun. There was no fear of the repercussions of taking a stiff, broken body through a new routine.
7. I took ibuprofen for pain and it actually worked.
6. I sat in a chair and read books for hours without my back hurting.
5. I ate ice cream and brownies and cookies and knew nothing about total-body inflammation.
4. I planned my days around choices rather than obligations—choices like when to go to the gym rather than obligations like having to see the chiropractor just so I can stand to be alive.
3. I travelled, and didn’t have to plan trips around muscle spasms and pain. I carried fun stuff in my luggage rather than needing a carload of pain-relieving props (Back Buddy, camping mattress in case the hotel bed is too soft, cervical pillow, Tiger Balm, etc.).
2. I went to sleep like a normal person. No handfuls of herbal supplements, no piles of pillows to ease back pain, no special cervical pillow. I would just lie down and pull up the covers.
1. I was free without realizing it—free to live as boldly as I wished and without pain—free to explore, to take risks, and to relax.