Hi I’d like to start with a disclaimer on Fibromyalgia…… there is no cure.
There are mainstream and alternative treatments, supplements and therapy but at this date there is NO definitive cause and NO cure.
However, it is now recognised as a REAL condition with REAL symptoms suffered by REAL people! In some countries you are eligible for disability with Fibromyalgia. In Australia this is still a hazy topic, you may get disability if you have Fibromyalgia but only if you have other co existing conditions that qualify. That being said, I’m not here to talk about that.
I’m hoping to shed a bit more light on a couple of conditions that still leave people scratching their heads.
SO WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?
Mmmmm, good question. It’s a pain condition isn’t it? Yes, but it is so much more. Fibromyalgia has over 60 known symptoms that thankfully don’t hit most people all at once. Fibromyalgia is a total body condition. What I mean by that is it can affect virtually every organ of the body. From headaches to throbbing fingers and toes. Swelling of joints to constant nerve pain. Blurred vision, heightened sense of smell, difficulty in chewing due to jaw and teeth pain. A feeling like someone is switching the balance of a sound system from left to right where your hearing will drop out in one ear completely or increased tinnitus and the other constant…..Vertigo.
Digestive issues like GERD or reflux through to constipation, diarrhoea, constant nausea and IBS. Breathing difficulties , worsening of pre existing conditions like asthma, allergies etc. Costochondritis…..this is an inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone, at its worst it’s difficult to determine Costochondritis from a heart attack. At its best its constant and painful.
We all have those moments where we forget where we left the keys or why we entered a room or can’t find that word that’s on the tip of our tongue. We seem to have them more often as we get older. But imagine having them several times a day. Or not being able to understand what you’re reading or someone is saying to you. When simple daily chores become confusing and what you once did without a second thought you have no idea how to begin. This is known a Brain Fog. This one symptom alone is debilitating.
I’m sure by this point you probably think I’m just making all this up…..I wish I was, but sadly this is reality for so many but wait, there’s more……..
Itchy skin, not just something a little scratch here and there can remedy and to be honest a little scratch will more than likely make it worse. It’s a feeling of something crawling under your skin ……..constantly. The more you scratch the itchier it gets and the area you scratch becomes bigger. You scratch when you’re awake, asleep, til you cause bruises and make yourself bleed. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Oh but Fibromyalgia is a pain condition, right?
Pain? If there was a stronger word for agony it possibly still wouldn’t cut it. The only way I could describe it is to say imagine the worst Flu you have ever had, the kind where just moving your hand or lifting your head is agonising……..got it? OK, now walk quickly up the hill or run up 100 stairs or do a few circuits at the gym. Feel that lactic burn in your thighs, it’s burning isn’t it……now imagine that burn in all your limbs and body then add that to the all over pain. How you feeling now?
Sleep is not a chance to rest, insomnia is a constant sidekick. Add to that when you are finally drifting off to sleep the twitching and jumping of restless legs begin.
Now while everything above is happening stay awake for 72 hours straight.
OK now get up and function.
What, you can’t? Why?
You are in excruciating pain, dizzy, exhausted, your body feels like cement, you can’t think straight or see straight. You are hungry but are putting it off because your mouth hurts too much. Your eyes are watering, your head is throbbing, you feel sick. You need to sleep but you can’t when all of your nerve endings are tingling and burning.
This is only a handful of Fibromyalgia symptoms…….but these are ALL symptoms that I have personally had.
On top of this you have people who think you’re making it up, or your lazy or both.
No one would want to make this up and believe me I have not willingly given up living or my income for over 14 months in the past 4 years for the fun of it!
Fibromyalgia is so much more than a pain condition it’s a whole body, life changing condition. It is one of the most misunderstood health issues occurring worldwide today.
It affects both women and men however the rate is much higher for women at this stage. It can be triggered by a physical, mental or emotional trauma. There is research into it being linked to a virus as a cause and more and more it is being referred to as an autoimmune disease.
Why is it surrounded in so much mystery?
Like a lot of modern illnesses there is no single test for Fibromyalgia. There is elimination of other illnesses, diseases and disorders it might be, there are trigger pain points in the body that can possibly point to Fibromyalgia. You need to have had symptoms over a period of time.
As far as being lazy…….impossible. Impossible because you are using so much energy just to get through each day.
As I said earlier this is life changing.
It can be and usually is isolating. Not being well enough to work or socialise, your friends and family have to get on with their lives, they can’t sit watching you do nothing all day. Your Doctors become your friends because that’s quite often the only social activity you have unless you are using social media.
Then there is the fact that you are not physically active because you can’t be. With that comes weight gain. Additional weight gain can come with medications. A double edged sword.
All of the above affects your self esteem, confidence and mood. It should not surprise anyone that Depression is often a best friend of Fibromyalgia. When you have all of that happening you could be excused for thinking you’re going crazy……well who would blame you!
Medications are trial and error, just because a treatment works for some, this is not a one size fits all condition. I have been on Prednisone, Tegretol, the dreaded Lyrica and more recently Palexia. The Palexia for me was the best for my pain, however I know others that can’t tolerate it or that don’t benefit from it. Like everything finding the right fit for you takes time and patience and patience is not something someone struggling with the above issues or more has.
I’m lucky…….yes lucky. I am now using a supplement that has reduced my pain levels to a manageable level. I am off all my pain medications and have been for 8 weeks now. I feel I have turned a corner in my life. You can learn more about that here if you wish.
Do I still have Fibromyalgia?
Yes I do. Remember my disclaimer at the top…….there is NO cure for Fibromyalgia!!!!
I am simply able to manage my pain and other symptoms and enjoy having my life back.
How do you cope with your Chronic Illness?