I am not sure how many times I went to see my family doctor. Always for the same thing but sometimes it was a different location. PAIN! I was in pain, I was exhausted, I was having digestive troubles. My shoulder blade up to my neck. My shoulders. My arms. My back, legs, feet. Debilitating headaches. Diarrhea, constipation, nausea. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed. Wherever or whatever it was I was sure it was something serious. How could it not be. No one can be in this kind of pain and not have something serious. A broken bone? A torn ligament? Dislocated joint? Cancer? Even though relief always set in once I found out it wasn’t serious, but the frustration soon follow as I wondered what was wrong.
Was it in my head? Am I making this up?
First actual diagnosis was depression. I was given Paxil.
Next it was tendinitis. I was given motrin and arm braces.
Stress…. stress was the usual culprit.
I quit going to the doctors for years. I finally begin to feel maybe they were right, it was all in my head. The pain was fake and I was just lazy. I just needed to push through. I had a small child to raise. A house to clean. Supper to fix. Work to go to.
So I trudged through. Not really enjoying the moments that I should have. Not being able to enjoy my daughters childhood. But simply just getting by. A fake smile and fake enthusiasm for life.
Some nights I wished I would fall asleep and not wake up. Please God, no more imaginary pain.
I finally made an appointment for a routine check up. More blood work was done. Results came back normal except one. My ANA (antinuclear antibody) test came back positive. This can sometimes indicate an autoimmune disease. I was referred to a rheumatologist for further testing.
First visit to rheumatologist I had notebooks of all the pain and issues I was having. This was it…. I was going to get some answers. So I sat there with my notebook ready to see how impressed he was that I paid so much attention to the location, time and dates of my pain. What I ate before the pain started. How I slept. What activities I did that day.
He entered the room. Asked me what my issues where. I didn’t get through the first paragraph of my of notes before he flatly said…. “fibromyalgia. You have fibromyalgia”. Using his fingers he began to press on certain areas of my body causing intense pain. “Those are the your tender points. There are 18 of them. You have fibromyalgia”.
I had no idea what that was and no explanation was really given. I had no idea what questions to ask or how its treated. He told me to exercise. How could I exercise when I could barely stand some days.
But I finally had a name for what I was feeling. Fibromyalgia. But now what?