The Early Years with Fibromyalgia?
As a child, I had chronic tummy aches, headaches, trouble sleeping, and body pains. I didn’t pay much attention. It was over a decade before I paired my issues from the past with something that I will live with for the rest of my life. Fibromyalgia.
Pregnancy or Something Else?
I started having a terrible time back in 2000 when I was pregnant with our first son. I chalked it up to pregnancy. Things only got worse after we delivered kitten #1. The unending and crippling exhaustion, migraines, flu-like body aches, anxiety, depression, and horrible stomach never went away and continued to go downhill.
I went to the doctor more times than I am comfortable with, trying to figure out the cause of my symptoms. Over the years, I had dozens of blood tests, scans, and MRIs. I tried countless medications for depression that didn’t work. It was frustrating to say the least. Every attempt to deal with the symptoms did no good and actually started to make me feel like I was crazy.
Fibromyalgia at Work
Could I be a lazy hypochondriac? I was beginning to convince myself I was. I couldn’t understand why taking a shower was so exhausting and why I would have to fight to stay awake in the car. Why I had gone from an exemplary employee to one that couldn’t concentrate and had to call in sick more times than I would like to admit? My depression and anxiety peaked from the stress.
The physical problems that shouldn’t be happening in my body finally took a toll on my career. It was five days before Christmas and one month from my due date for kitten #2 when I receive devastating news. I was being laid off from my job. What??? Great timing! I had prayed since the delivery of kitten #1 that the Lord show me how to become a stay-at-home mom. This wasn’t the way I though my prayers would be answered. In my heart, I knew it was because my performance had slipped due to the unnamed nightmare in my body.
We managed to make becoming a single income family work. I continued to see doctors with ever-growing frustration and self-doubt while trying to raise my two little ones. After kitten #3 was born and getting bigger by the month, I ended up with a terrible sprained ankle followed by a nasty car accident. During every full moon and weather change I experience pain in my past injuries.
I couldn’t function and my cognitive abilities were escaping me. I couldn’t stay awake during the day and found sleep more difficult at night. My body was in constant pain. The guilt of not being the wife, mom and homemaker that I desired was a major blow to the depression and anxiety that I was already plagued with.
Things changed a few years later when I saw a new doctor. My father had just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which sounded so much like my curse. I asked the doctor if it was possible for me to have the same thing as my dad. After looking through my records and doing one last battery of blood tests, he confirmed my diagnosis. Fibromyalgia. My doctor informed me that there was no cure and we would experiment with treatments to lessen the symptoms.
You may think that I would be devastated with the diagnosis of a chronic and incurable disorder, but after so many years of feeling crazy and having no definite answers, I actually felt relieved. The stages of grief did come later, but I eventually accepted my fate….. mostly.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic and incurable disorder that is different for each patient. You could fill pages with the possible symptoms. The most common are wide-spread body pain that migrates, points throughout the body that are painful under pressure, insomnia, anxiety and depression, cognitive problems or fibro-fog, and EXTREME fatigue. Testing results are normal. A diagnosis is given after a review of your symptoms, health history and elimination of other causes.
Fibromyalgia mutates when you think you are finally figuring it out. New symptoms pop up and old ones get worse. You are constantly waiting for some relief. When you have some it is fleeting and more than likely you do too much trying to catch up so you are bed-ridden for at least a hand full of days.
You shouldn’t assume every new symptom is because of Fibro. That is hard when they come so often. After a half-dozen times that the doctor informed me that the symptoms were Fibro related I started to treat them all as though they were.
Friends and Family
Fibromyalgia is very difficult for both patients and loved ones. How do you explain something that you don’t quite understand yourself? Fibromyalgia is an “invisible disease.” Patients look healthy (we get very good at faking a smile) so it is easy and natural for “normals” to chalk things up to being lazy, inconsiderate, or uncaring. I am chronically late so many people think I am undependable. If they only knew the pain and energy it takes to get dressed, they would not assume the worst. Just because I show up does not mean that I am well. It means that I chose to sacrifice something to be present.
Chat with Kat
I will have more Fibromyalgia posts so subscribe for updates when they are up. Please let me know in the comments below if you have Fibro or know someone who does and what have been your experiences? Do you have some other challenge to overcome? I look forward to hearing from you and giving you more insight into my journey. Hope to chat soon kittens. Kisses!