Fibromyalgia, Part II

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 0 Comments A+ a-

…story picks up where I left off here

A few years passed. The pain continued to come and go, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time. Then there were other times when I’d go months without any pain at all. At times the pain would still cause me to stumble or fall to the ground, but a new pain appeared. This new pain included an intense, dull ache that seemed to seep into my bones and muscles. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the sudden imbalance or the dull ache. Truth be told, I didn’t appreciate either.

Dr. Deborah still had no answers or ideas, often just throwing prescriptions at me and hoping those would cure me. All the pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications never touched it. My frustration mounted to the point that I stopped talking to her about it at all. I made do with the hot baths, hot compresses, or leg massages to ease the pain. It never took the pain away altogether, but at least it made it bearable.

My mom continued to update the family on the status of our pursuit for answers, and I knew my family was rallying behind me with prayers and hope for a solution. It was during this time frame that aunts on each side of my family (one maternal aunt and one paternal aunt) were diagnosed with a very new, unknown disease called Fibromyalgia. I thought nothing to of it, until I started talking to each aunt more in-depth about their new disease.

As I sat down with each aunt, we started sharing stories and symptoms. As I described my symptoms, or as they shared their own, both of us would start smiling wider and wider as we realized that we were describing the very same disease. It was a tangible hope, something to research and wonder if I might get some answers after all.

I went home, did some research on my own, and made a new appointment with Dr. Deborah. Armed with this new information, I broached the idea that perhaps my “phantom” illness might really be Fibromyalgia. She listened as I listed off the reasons why I thought this might be the answer, and slowly she started nodding her head in agreement. When I mentioned the piece de resistance, that I had two aunts with the disease and that it appeared to be a hereditary disease, she fairly jumped off her seat. Within ten minutes, I had a referral to a Rheumatologist and you can bet, I made my appointment within an hour or two later.

I went into the appointment with the Rheumatologist with both anticipation and fear; anticipation that I might soon have answers and fear that I might have a new reality. The Rheumatologist explained how they diagnosed Fibromyalgia, simply because there was no blood test, no scan, no other way to test and receive a concrete answer. He pulled out a diagram that showed 18 tender spots on the human body, a person with Fibromyalgia must have at least 11 of the 18 tender spots and have had widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months. The second was already a given, seeing as how I’d been dealing with pain for almost four years. But as the doctor began to push on those tender spots, I just knew the answer I’d been seeking was finally here. I had extreme pain at all 18 spots.

I hurt for days after that exam, but I finally had the answer I wanted. I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

…to be continued…

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.