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Fibromyalgia a Diagnosis that Changed My Life

Updated on September 13, 2011

It's a life changing illness; Fibromyalgia appears suddenly without any notice. One day you wake up feeling aching all over. You notice things are different but not sure why.

Wondering what you did the day before, maybe stretched a muscle or slept incorrectly, you are in chronic pain.

As the day progresses, the pain does not subside. You take an aspirin or pain killer and head on your way. Trying to perform the normal activities of your day, but finding that is too difficult. A migraine sets in, the muscles in your neck and shoulders feel like you have whiplash and that pain keeps moving now into your back, hips and legs.

You feel like you've been hit by a truck.

A new journey into the unknown
A new journey into the unknown

Learning to deal with Fibro

Fibromyalgia came knocking on my door over 12 years ago. It didn't occur because of something I did or something I ate, it was hiding below the surface. Then one day, it woke up and pronounced itself. "Here I am! I'm awake and ready to begin my course, I'm taking over."

The journey through Fibromyalgia has not been easy. I have had to change my thinking, my diet, my exercise and my life. I became painfully aware that things I once loved to do were going to be a struggle. I had to learn all over again, like a baby learning to walk for the first time. Falling down and getting back up, I redesigned my way of living.

Through trials and errors I learned what worked and what didn't. I learned through pain and through suffering. Some days I had to learn anger management and sometimes I learned to cope with grief.

There is a grief associated with a long term illness. There is a death in the lifestyle once lived. There is a heavy load of anger that comes with this disease as well. Misunderstandings and feelings of disability overpower your thoughts at times.

After numerous doctor visits and a variety of tests, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Ruling out other illnesses such as lupus and MS, Fibromyalgia became my twin sister.

During the early days of my disease, I researched. Learning and studying everything I could find about Fibro.

"What do you call that again, doc? Fibro-my-al-gia." It was a long word which didn't mean anything to me, except pain.

Coping with Fibromyalgia

A disappointing situation occurs when you have to say no to your family. Confused with emotions families can't see the pain. They see a change, they notice the lack of energy but they can't feel the pain. So a person with Fibro pretends everything is OK. They don't want people to feel sorry for them. They put up false faces, ones that grin as the pain pierces the body.

Limitations are bound and pain takes over. Adjustments need to be made at home and at work. Balancing job related tasks takes on a whole new meaning.

With my background in interior design and ergonomics, I knew proper posture and I knew body mechanics. That was easy, I told myself. Making adjustments at my desk allowed me to continue to work. Most employers were accommodating. I didn't tell coworkers. I never wanted special treatment, but there were days I simply wanted to hide in the copy room. Those days when the pain could be seen on the face, when the tension tightened around my eyes and my smile was frowned. At that time, people noticed but people didn't ask. Some assumed I was having just a rough day at work.

It was an eye-opening experience for me when I found out a coworker had Fibromyalgia. During a small conversation, I had a found someone who I could relate to. She had Fibro for 10 years and she gave me tips. Learning from someone else made all the difference. She gave me hope. I wasn't alone.

Taking Fibromyalgia with me

What have I learned in the past 12 years? Recognizing that I'm not alone with this disease has greatly impacted my attitude. I know my limitations. I still struggle daily but I found acceptance. The following suggestions may help others:

  • Create boundaries. Know when to say yes and that no is equally acceptable.
  • Learning how to read your body is crucial. Understanding the flare ups and recognize them at onset to take action and overt an unmanageable full flare up.
  • Stay involved with the awareness. New treatments are on the rise. Fibromyalgia is getting recognized. Doctors are being educated and pharmaceutical companies are researching options.
  • Give yourself time to balance. Life throws unexpected curve balls; learning to adjust is a daily exercise. Allow yourself that time to bounce back.
  • Everyone talks about healthy lifestyles with 1) eating right, 2) getting a good night sleep, 3) maintaining proper exercise, and 4) reducing stress. These things are recommended for mostly everyone, but for people with Fibromyalgia it is a requirement. Be smart.

I have also learned that I will have setbacks. There will be those days when I will suffer in pain even after I followed my golden rules. I know I will not always escape the pain.

What I want is to give back, to support others with this message. Do the research. Talk to your doctor. Get in a good support group if that is what you need. Talk about it with friends and family. Fibromyalgia not only affects the sufferer but affects the loved ones as well. It changes the lives of everyone involved.

Recognizing Fibromyalgia

Let us bring awareness to this painful condition. Take our Poll

Do you know someone with Fibromyalgia?

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    • profile image

      Canadian 6 years ago

      My husband has FM along with a couple other conditions from liver disease. His FM is likely associated with high level of toxins due to the liver disease for the past 30 years or so, he is in his late 40s. We have separated twice, including now. He has many anger issues, little patience and now doesn't get along with our newly "teen" daughter. She has no patience for him. So I wonder how many families and marriages get destroyed by this disease. I've fought depression most of my life so I can't handle his disease and mine. FM isn't to blame but it certainly complicates things a lot!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      He is 31 and has had Fibromyalgia four years now. Thank you and you are welcome.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Sorry to hear that James. May I ask, how old is he? Just curious..

      It took me years to accept this illness. I wrestled with it for a long time and I still do. It can be disheartening and discouraging all at the same time.

      Your support will go a long way towards your son.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      My son has Fibromyalgia. It has been quite detrimental to his mental state. He is a young man. I will forward your excellent article to him. Thank you for it.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you all for your wonderful comments and encouraging words.

      Fibromyalgia awareness is all about understanding and many sufferers will not share every detail about how they feel. I only wanted to open up the conversations and I believe I did that.

      Thank you for sharing your stories here. And for my fellow Fibro sufferers, here's to you, for enduring another day.

    • profile image

      UrsulaRose 7 years ago

      Awesome, Awesome hub article that you have written FaithDream.

      Thank you for raising awareness of Fibromyalgia by sharing your personal story ... we Fibromyalgics/Fibromites surely appreciate it.

      Hope you are having a relatively pain-free day today. :-)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This was very enlightening. I've been curious about what Fibromyalgia was and you've shared your story which has really helped me understand. Thank you and I hope today is a good one for you.

    • profile image

      Ms. Unique 55 7 years ago

      I too have Fibromyalgia. It's been more than 20 years now, and like you say, the impact on the family has been insurmountable. But, through it all, we have survived. I appreciate your words of encouragement in dealing with this crippling disease.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      My sister-in-law suffers from this, and it is an ongong battle for her. I wish you the very best, and thank you for sharing this wonderful hub.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is eye opening information and causes me to empathize with sufferers. I have read that bringing the body into an alkaline state helps a lot. It certainly is worth trying.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Thank you for bringing us into your secret world of Fibro. I don't know anyone personally, but it's in the media quite a bit these days and it's hard to understand. You have brought some understanding for others with the disease so when the day comes to meet someone who may have it, I'll have more compassion!

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Duffsmom, thanks for sharing. I'm sure you can relate to this article as Fibromyalgia does change your life.

      Thanks for bringing up the point about depression, totally missed that one here. I'll have to save that for another article.:-) Even after all these years, I'm still trying to manage.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Great Hub. I've had it for many years but this past two years has been really challenging to put it nicely. It is frustrating to wake up every day and wonder "what form will it take today? For me the frustrating part is, as you mentioned, trying to pretend everything is okay when I just want to crawl in a hole and have everyone leave me alone--oh wait, that may be the depression that goes hand-in-hand with hurting 24/7. Thanks, keep writing, I know I will keep reading!

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Tamarajo thanks for sharing your story. It is not uncommon to go through series of tests and then rule out everything else.. only to leave you hanging.

      I'm glad your symptoms have subsided. It is a difficult road to be on, whether Lupus or Fibromyalgia, it is so unpredicatable. All you can do is try to remain strong.

      Thanks for your feedback.. Much appreciated.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 7 years ago

      I struggled with Lupus symptoms for a couple of years. I never did get a definitive diagnosis other than a skin biopsy that hinted in that direction. I no longer experience the severity of symptoms I once did But it really did help me understand those who deal with chronic conditions. You are right you can't see pain or debilitating fatigue which makes it more difficult for people to understand. In respect to that you give excellent advice to pay attention to your body's signals and adjust life accordingly.


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