Wednesday, May 14, 2008

#1 Fibromyalgia - In my Youth

I am sharing with everyone my battle with Fibromyalgia. I’m asked all the time “How do you do it with such a large family” then many found out that I am sick to boot and they wonder even more.

As I looked back on life, of course hindsight is 20/20. I also want to explain that this will in no way be a full explanation of events in my life, but an overview to bring some understanding and awareness.
I had some very significant events that happened to me at a young age.

Christi Leonard - 2nd Grade - 1972

When I was 7 and in second grade 
we lived in Capitola, California, near Santa Cruz while my Father had a job there. We lived on the second floor of an apartment building, they were building another apartment complex right across the street. On the property was an old abandoned house; it was a huge house that they would be tearing down to make room for the project. I remember we will able to go through it and collect any items we wanted. It was getting dark, we were walking through it with candles, it was so scary, and to me it was like I was in a horror film. After collecting fur coats, old vintage clothing and other old items. We returned to our apartment, packing the items into boxes to take them back to Clovis where our house was.

In the middle of the night I was woken up by my mother’s voice yelling at my Dad, I could hear her over and over again calling his name. In a few minutes I felt my mother’s hand pulling on me, as I tried to get up I quickly fell to my knees. I could not breath our apartment was on fire! As I crawled with mother into by brother’s room we got him up and crawled to my parents room. 

There lying on the bed was my Father, I wasn’t sure if he was alive or not. My mother shut the door behind us, and opened the window and starting yelling for help. I was in just a small set of baby doll pajamas, my mother wrap me in one of her robes. I started yelling where in Nicodemus? That was my kitten, I could hear him but I could not find him. Someone found him and gave him to me; I put him into one of the pockets of the robe I was wearing. My mother had my brother and I jump out the window; on the ground was a black gentleman who caught us. 

We ran to our family car that was park there at the curb. They  There came so many fire engines, and police cars. We were crying so hard, we still did not see any sign of our Dad, we could see my mother at the window with smoke coming out of the window around her, she too jumped out of the second story window.. They were able to put the fire out, then shortly I saw my father, he was okay, he had been overcome by the smoke. 

So there we are in the middle of the night with nowhere to go. We went to a place like a Denny’s (Shoney's) that was open all night. We ordered some food and there we sat, covered in soot, with nothing but the clothes on our back and in shock.What was the cause of the fire? It was one of the boxes of items that we collected. It caught on fire from a wall heater that was next to the box in the living room. 

This is a picture of my mother the following day, in our kitchen. August 1972

If that wasn’t traumatic enough in the same time period our house in Clovis had been robbed. So after cleaning and recovering what we could from the fire we traveled back to our home in Clovis.

When we got there, we opened the door of the house it was a mess, things were dump all over place. The police had dusted the house for fingerprints, so there we dark marks of fingerprints all over the house, on everything. All though most, if not all of them belong to us, it was still so scary. We had been violated.

One of the other issues that continue to bother me was that we had experienced a few earthquakes. I just knew we were going to die in a huge earthquake.

So as child I suffered from night terrors, I remember I would tell people these stories of what (I thought) had happened to me, I know that what I said probably sounded so crazy to others, but to me it seemed so real. I also talked and walked in my sleep, more so when I was in pain. Like after a hard work out or having my braces tightened, cramps etc. (I have some really funny stories about this – real ones)

I was an active young person. I Danced, Sang in the two school choirs, did Gymnastics and was on the Swim and Dive Teams in High School. I also performed at a Dinner Theater, but would find I was so worn out and in pain most of the time. Having issues with my cycle each month, suffering with cramps and headaches.

But for the most part I was happy growing up, I enjoyed swimming and the sun (maybe too much), roller staking at Roller Towne, family activities and trips, camping, and homemade ice cream. I have wonderful memories of Christmas, Holidays, Birthdays, and of Family Home Evenings etc.

On Christmas Eve of my senior year Donny asked me to marry him (crazy, I know). So a month after I graduated from High School, at the age of 18, I was sealed/ married to Donny in the Oakland Temple for time and all eternity, and like most young couples, having No Clue of what was in store for us.

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