My Story of Health & Fibromyalgia
Sharing my story along my weight loss journey was something I did for 2 years. But over the last year, my heath has taken a drastic turn and I’ve not known how to share that journey. As a health coach, I felt like I’d be judged for not having perfect health (that’s the perfectionist in me). But today I wanted to open up about my journey and fibromyalgia diagnosis.
I wish I could pinpoint for you the exact moment that my health began to change, but I can’t. A year ago, my grandfather passed away and I was dealing with grief for several months, so I assumed some of my symptoms were a result of not taking the best care of myself during that time. The reality is that I’ve struggled with certain symptoms off and on for years (headaches, sever back pain, anxiety, and depression just to name a few).
Last fall, I woke up one morning with such sever neck pain that my husband had to help me out of bed. I was so miserable and because it was a weekend, there wasn’t’ much I could do. I started physical therapy, but soon after came the severe migraines. Nothing I did seemed to help. I was waking up with a migraine and going to bed with one every night. When half of my face and left arm went numb, I found myself in the emergency room.
I wasn’t sure how to describe all of my symptoms and I felt like a crazy person. No one is going to believe that I have all of these symptoms all at once and that nothing is helping them go away.
I started to see a functional neurologist and for the first time felt like I was being heard. After a few appointments, he suggested I might have fibromyalgia.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic condition with various symptoms that affect the entire body. These symptoms vary in degree and day-to-day. Common symptoms include chronic pain throughout the body, chronic fatigue, and abdominal pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “the term ‘fibromyalgia’ means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons”.
The condition itself is not life threatening, and does not cause permanent muscle or joint damage.Even though there is no cure for fibromyalgia, the various symptoms can be managed. Some individuals, with the help of an effective pain management regiment, have been in remission for many years.
Lessons I’ve Learned About Fibromyalgia
- People Wouldn’t Believe Me
After talking to my functional doctor, I asked my primary care physician about running tests to test for fibromyalgia. She looked at me like I was crazy and wanted to prescribe another pain med for migraines. I’ll never forget sitting in the room and yelling at her “I want you to listen to me! I want you to take the time to listen to what’s going on. I don’t want another prescription.”
It wasn’t just doctors. I had family and friends express their doubts when I mentioned that I thought I might have fibromyalgia. I felt like they thought it was “all in my head” or I was faking it.
2. Realizing My Life Would Change Forever
This is still hard for me to wrap my head around some days. From the pain to fatigue to depression to fibro fog, I had no clue how this would impact my life. There are good days and bad days, but there is some level of pain every single day.
3. To Take It One Day At A Time
Each day the pain can be different. I’ve had to learn to pace myself on days when the pain and stiffness isn’t sever because if I over do it, I pay for it later. Every day I learn something more about fibromyalgia. I try new things to see what will help, what won’t help and what will work for me.
4. Letting Go Of Guilt
I have to recognize that it’s not my fault and to let go of the guilt. I feel so horrible if I don’t have the energy to play with my boys, take them swimming, or even just walk to the park. I feel like I can’t make promises because I may not be able to keep them. This is hard for me to let go of, but it’s a daily reminder that I need to take care of myself or else I can’t take care of my boys.