photo of a woman sleeping in bed next to a photo of a woman smiling and holding her staff

27 Photos People With Fibromyalgia Want to Post on Facebook, but Don't

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If you have fibromyalgia, it can be difficult to decide whether or not to post photos of your life on social media. Although we should all be able to be honest and real in how we portray our day-to-day, sometimes the potential misconceptions and judgments we may receive from others prevents us from doing so. It can be scary to be vulnerable about a “bad day,” but only posting about “good days” can cause some to think your illness doesn’t affect you much and “isn’t actually that bad.”

Posting on social media is a personal and often challenging decision. While you shouldn’t feel pressured to post anything you don’t want to, it can also be important to give a realistic representation of fibromyalgia to help increase understanding and awareness of this illness. So, we asked our Mighty community to share photos they wanted to post of their lives with fibromyalgia, but didn’t. Let’s shed some light on what it can really look like to have fibromyalgia.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “Had to wear an EEG for a weekend because my doctor thought I was having strokes… Nope, just fibromyalgia.”

woman with bandages on her chest and her hair wrapped in a scarf taking a selfie in the mirror

2. “This is my reality. A basket full of pills (none of which are prescription painkillers), daily items most can just get up and get whenever they need them. I need everything to stay at arm’s reach.”

basket of painkillers and medications

3. “Me in my new onesie my hubby got me for Christmas. I can’t wait to get home every day and get out of my work clothes but my fibro and CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] make me so tired I can hardly get dressed again. Hubby bought this to help. Never posted it because didn’t want to explain why I had child PJs at 43 and because my weight gain from the Hashimoto’s is more than I can take sometimes.”

woman wearing onesie pajamas

4. “In this picture I’m in so much pain. I promised my twins I would take them to Busch Gardens. My daughter said, ‘Smile, Mommy!’ for this picture. I was afraid people would think I’m ‘all better’ because I’m out with that all-too-familiar fake smile.”

woman smiling at busch gardens

5. “I didn’t post this because it really reflected how exhausted and much pain I was in… I was in the middle of a flare caused by going on a short trip with a friend. I didn’t want her to feel bad and I didn’t want other friends to stop inviting me to spend time with them – even if I have to cancel last minute or can’t go, it still feels good to be invited.”

woman lying in bed

6. “My service dog doing deep pressure therapy which helps with the pain in my legs.”

service dog lying on a woman's legs

7. “[This] is a picture comparing my feet on Sunday, Mother’s Day this year and Wednesday, a few days later in the hospital. I wanted to share with my friends the simple struggles we all endure and how they affect our lives every day. Our symptoms may be invisible but our struggles are very real.”

four photos comparing a woman's foot when it's 'normal' and when it's swollen

8. “Me with my son at his college orientation. 17,000 steps in 30 hours, in a heat index of 103. I finally had to sit and let him go get the car, and then I cried. I didn’t post it because I didn’t want my exhaustion and weakness to show. He’s used to it and he’s happy to have me with him. Should have let him push me in a chair.”

woman with her son at his college orientation

9. “Me in the hospital this week due to severe acid reflux from too much pain meds. Painful and exhausting.”

woman taking a selfie in the hospital

10. “Another day, another doctor! No one knows how much time I spend seeing different doctors and specialists.”

woman wearing a hospital gown in a doctor's office

11. “Inflammation flare coming from a deep pain within the left side of my neck and therefore goes into the left side on my face, from last night. It’s freezing cold and I am not near a heater or in bed. It just does this. My other side is completely white.”

woman with a red, inflamed cheek

12. “My daughter and I enjoying a weekend. I don’t like to post these things as people judge and think I’m fine and I don’t have any pain.”

mom playing with her young daughter at a lake

13. “This is me on Christmas last year. My husband and I decided to have it together at home. I was so excited for a relaxing, amazing day. However, just the day before I came down with the flu. I always catch anything going around due to a weak immune system, [and it] also flares up my endometriosis and other issues, so I stayed in my pajamas all day and lay on the sofa, not moving for most of it. I didn’t end up posting as I felt rough, I look drained, have no makeup on, no hair done, [I was] in a PJ top and in all the photos all day I had a bright red nose.”

woman and her husband on christmas

14. “I used to be super active, and recently lost [a lot of weight]. But then I developed POTS [postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] and fibromyalgia. I cried the day they told me I’d have to use a cane. I got a staff instead. It makes me feel powerful. Anyway, I still haven’t posted any photos of me with my staff since I started using it in March. All of my friends and family know. I mean, they see me with it in real life. But I still can’t bring myself to post a pic with my staff. I think it’s because it would make it real in a weird, existential sort of way.”

woman in a black dress holding her staff

15. “Complete exhaustion and severe pain for two weeks. I only was able to get up with help to go to the bathroom and change my clothes. Currently, my couch has 13 loads of laundry on it because I am saving my energy for more important things…like my three children. Exhaustion is always lingering over me. Simply doing a small flight of stairs makes me have to lay in bed sometimes up to a half hour.”

woman lying in bed

16. “Trying to be a mom with so many personal ‘issues’ is such a challenge. This picture is when I first got my CPAP. I have fibromyalgia, severe sleep apnea and a back injury. I’m so glad my baby can still come snuggle with me even while I’m attached to a hose! I would never share it with friends because I hate that I look so horrible when I sleep. I’m thankful my husband still thinks it’s ‘cute’ and we can joke about it.”

woman wearing a CPAP machine while lying in bed and cuddling with her young son

17. “I am having a bad pain day and my baby is comforting me. I didn’t post because it’s the middle of the day and I don’t want to be seen as lazy. It seems people think I’m making my illness up sometimes, maybe to get attention. I had a list of things to do that day but I just couldn’t. My pain was overwhelming.”

woman lying in bed with her dog

18. “This was me before getting my port surgery to help manage my pain. I didn’t post it because I didn’t want people knowing I had the port at first.”

woman lying in a hospital bed having a port placed

19. “This is all I have to manage my pain. I’m too afraid of being portrayed as a ‘drug-seeker’ to get something more effective.”

several bottles of over-the-counter painkillers

20. “What many of my days look like. I decided to stop posting these things. I fear people get tired of seeing it or hearing about it. I’d rather post fun, happy days. Days when I am able to do my hair and makeup. Days I get out and am active.”

woman sleeping in bed

21. “I have fibromyalgia. [It’s] been six years. I don’t post a lot of pictures of me due to the weight gain, plus this was at work. I work four days a week [with] three days off. I hurt all the time. I miss the old me.”

selfie of a woman with glasses at work

22. “The things we try to manage pain… Just had Gua Sha (scraping) done with my massage this morning. It was painful and causes bruises that looks like a like hickeys, but my back already feels more loose and comfortable. I’ll try anything!”

woman's back after having gua sha done with her massage

23. “My house is in a constant state of mess until I have enough spoons to deal with it all. My floors are in desperate need of vacuuming, sink overflowing, three loads worth of laundry in the dryer needing to be folded and bags of trash to be taken out. I’ve gotten better about not stressing about it though.”

woman's messy home

24. “Collapsed with exhaustion, fatigue and pain at work (a school). Just had to be horizontal. Found a mat from a storeroom and slept behind my desk for half the day. My immediate colleagues were so understanding but if anyone else walked in – staff, students, parents – can’t imagine the repercussions.”

woman lying down on a mat behind her desk

25. “My daughter is still smiling even though she is in so much pain.”

girl sitting in a wheelchair and smiling

26. “Four years ago, I joined a boxing club. I found health and strength I didn’t know I had. Upon turning 50, I imagined I would move forward [with] my health and fitness. Instead, I have gotten weaker, fatigued and unsure of myself. While I continue to go, this view is getting more common. The staff is great. They encourage me and make sure I don’t overdo it. Still, I wonder and worry what the others think? I must be unfit, lazy, etc. I’m always on the outside looking in.”

a gym

27. “People like to judge based upon appearances. This was my third night in Las Vegas out celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday. When we got back to our room, this is what I looked like sleeping on the pull-out couch because of my pain and insomnia that I didn’t want to affect him. You never know what someone is going through – compassion and empathy go much further than you’ll ever realize.”

side by side photos of a woman dressed up for a night in vegas and the same woman sitting on her bed hours later taking all her pills


27 Photos People With Fibromyalgia Want to Post on Facebook, but Don't
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When Online Articles Claim the 'Fibromyalgia Mystery Is Finally Solved'

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Once again there are articles being posted all over social media titled “Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved!” I’m reading one that was sent to me, dated a few days ago, but the strange thing is I know what the article is going to say before I read the words… That’s right, I’ve read this before. This isn’t something new. The article was only posted four months ago, but I read it this time last year, about six months before that and a couple of years before that. This is an article that has been repeatedly published with the same title.

 

Like many people who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I wasn’t content to live the bleak life that my doctors had predicted for me. Although it was disheartening to have every doctor around me immediately give up on trying to help me as they informed me that my life was over, I wasn’t about to give up on myself.

Having a name for the pain that was hurting my body and nothing else to go on, my first instinct was to research. We live in a wonderful age where a wealth of information is at our fingertips, just a few clicks away. So I researched what fibromyalgia was, suspected causes and possible cures.

As you can probably guess if you’ve been reading my blogs or know anything about fibromyalgia, the first things I found out were that fibromyalgia causes chronic pain and fatigue (well, that wasn’t really news) and that there was no cure (as I’d been told by the doctors).

The next thing I discovered was that although they weren’t sure what causes fibromyalgia, they had three suspected triggers: emotional stress/trauma, physical trauma or genetics/virus. The reason I have paired genetics and virus here is that this particular theory involved a gene that was triggered by an unidentified strain of virus. As you can probably imagine, that doesn’t eliminate much and about all I could see from that was that I seem to tick all three boxes.

I decided not to get too hung up on the “triggers” since I already have fibromyalgia – I was looking for a way to live with it. I looked at what they thought it actually was; obviously there is a huge list of symptoms, but was this neurological, in the muscles or bones? I found a selection of theories:

– Neurons misfiring

– Increased blood flow in the brain

– Virus

– Bacteria

– Microbes

– Liver problems

– Hormone imbalance

– Swollen veins

– Black mould poisoning

– Wheat/gluten intolerance – I think you get the picture…

Every single one of these articles had a title like “Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved” or “Fibromyalgia Is No Mystery.” They all spouted theories, sometimes quite in depth, but what was interesting were the statistics. In one I had read, they had scanned 30 people to verify their theory; 10 of them had fibromyalgia, nine of whom tested positive and so did a few of the non-fibro patients. Those seem like pretty weak statistics to be going on, but the article claimed the mystery was solved. Almost a decade later, I’ve heard nothing more of that theory and we’re still no closer to a cure.

Imagine the impact of that article getting my hopes up and then letting me down, times it by 100 articles that did the same, and suddenly we see the reasons why I am now a bit of a skeptic. I don’t get my hopes up when I see these articles because it hurts so much more when nothing comes of them.

Of course I hope that one day I will read an article that says the mystery is solved, will detail a cure and the next day I can get referred for it. I am hoping there will come a day when I don’t wake up in pain, I’ll have slept well and I won’t have to be afraid to find out if I can move or not. I dream of the day I can live in a house without worrying about steps, where I don’t need to fuss about disabled access and where I can go out with my friends, not needing a walking stick or a wheelchair and not having to cut the night early because a sudden onset of increased pain made me collapse.

I want a cure!

I was faced with two options of how to live my life. The option I rejected was one that got my hopes up every time I read an article, then when nothing came of it I was heartbroken. It was a rollercoaster that fed my depression and I didn’t know what to live for. Instead I decided to keep hoping for a cure, but face life as if I won’t get better. I’m not holding off on life, waiting for a cure being found; I plan around my mobility issues and mood swings, I take time for myself when I need it, plan ahead, do my best to juggle doing with resting.

To all those who have been sharing articles about the Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved: thank you for your care and support, for sharing what you think may bring us hope. I especially appreciate articles that detail a possible cure rather than just theories – they are the ones that sometimes do give me hope. I won’t ask you to stop sharing these articles because while so many of them come to nothing, your support means everything. Maybe one day the article you send me will be the one that really has found a cure.

This post originally appeared on N.J. Gatehouse.

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Thinkstock photo via Poike.

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33 Surprising Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

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Editor’s note: Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness most commonly known for causing widespread pain, fatigue and brain fog. However, the disease is complex – it can cause a multitude of symptoms and is often accompanied by comorbid conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic fatigue syndrome. Since fibromyalgia was formally recognized only a few decades ago, doctors are still learning about the illness and might not be able to prepare fibro patients for all the different symptoms they may experience.

To better understand the various ways in which this illness can affect people, we asked our Mighty community to share some of the physical symptoms of fibromyalgia that surprised them. Have you experienced any unexpected fibro symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “Having a pain flare-up causes me to feel nauseous and so physically ill.”

2. “The relentless itching that pops up randomly, has no rhyme or reason, sometimes comes with hives or red spots. Itching that is insatiable and moves around from place to place.”

3. “The constant feeling of being tired. I sleep between eight and 12 hours a day and I’m still always tired.”

4. “Forgetting common words that I use every day.”

5. “[Having an] overactive bladder.”

6. “All the other medical conditions that come with it… migraine, IBS [irritable bowel syndrome], Raynauds phenomenon, chronic fatigue, insomnia and so many more. It is rarely a diagnosis on its own.”

7. “Skin sensitivity. If someone brushes past me even lightly it feels like I’ve been heavily hit.”

8. “Horrible menstrual cycles that leave [me] in bed with a heat pad on [my] stomach and gasping in the fetal position.”

9. “Feeling ‘loopy.’ I feel like I’m drunk. I even lose my balance while walking.”

10. “The occasional blurry vision even with glasses, like you’re seeing things through water.”

11. “The constant headaches/migraines I deal with on a daily basis.”

12. “Weird skin sensation and lack of temperature control.”

13. “Absolute klutziness. I can trip over my own feet and roll my ankles walking in grass. It is an extreme case of incoordination.”

14. “Blisters after being in the sun. Even with sunscreen use/no sunburn.”

15. “Feeling like I have bugs crawling in me to the point I will itch myself raw.”

 

16. “I was surprised that even my hair can hurt.”

17. “The constant sweating, even when it isn’t hot.”

18. “Breaking out into a rash for no reason.”

19. “The weakness in my hands and arms from the pain. I played the violin for six years and had incredibly strong hands, but when my fibromyalgia symptoms started my hands were the first thing affected and the strength has never returned.”

20. “Smells making me violently ill.”

21. “Surprising symptom? No clue. Most shocking thing is not even knowing what’s a fibromyalgia-related symptom anymore and what’s not. So many symptoms, so many co-existing conditions. I have no clue what’s a fibromyalgia symptom anymore.”

22. “Neurological slowness! Poor instant recall.”

23. “The way that some symptoms can take [me] out for days and then be gone, just to come back the next day.”

24. “Hair falling out! Every time I shampoo I have enough hair that falls out to make a wig. Luckily, I have a lot of hair.”

25. “Vaginal muscle spasms! Yep, it leaves nothing untouched! And no, it’s not pleasant!”

26. “The never being comfortable, ever. You sit down and fidget and squirm and try to get comfortable. You lay down and fidget and squirm and try to get comfortable. You try to stand up and fidget and squirm and try to get comfortable. Nothing is comfortable anymore.”

27. “Sounds. Actually being irritated by different sounds so much that [I] leave the place [I’m] at.”

28. “My skin always feeling like it’s severely sunburnt. I never thought about how much clothing could hurt. I shop now more for the feel of the fabric and its looseness on my body than how it looks.”

29. “I’m either starving no matter how much I eat or the thought of food makes me sick – there is no in between.”

30. “Tingling and weakness at the end of a busy day. It feel like [my] body is desperately trying to heal itself when it’s tired.”

31. “My hands twitch and shake. Never had it before until now. Weirdest thing ever! Doesn’t hurt, but I have lost my grip of things.”

32. “Water hurts. It’s so hard to explain that getting into a pool or lake that is cold is too painful for me. Even showering hurts.”

33. “You know what? Nothing surprises me about fibromyalgia anymore!”


33 Surprising Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
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I Am Not My Fibromyalgia

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There are many memorable days in my life. A few of these unforgettable days are the day I learned I was pregnant for the first time, the birth of my first son, the birth of my youngest son, the day my divorce was final, the day my dad died, the day my mom died, the day I met the love of my life, my grandson’s arrival and the first time I held him… You get the point. There were highs and lows, but each event changed me profoundly. In the undercurrent of the ebb and flow of the tide of my life lurked an invisible illness. A chronic illness I had never heard of.

 

However, I will never forget the day I learned this new term. I had been to see my doctor and had several tests. The pain I was experiencing was increasing, and this was only one of many issues I was having. I needed answers. I was prepared to fight whatever diagnosis I was given. Then, my doctor came in and stated, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is, it’s not cancer or lupus. The bad news is it’s fibromyalgia and there is no cure.” I looked at her with disbelief and asked, “What now?”

I simply could not accept that I had to live with searing pain, burning skin, muscle spasms, brain fog, insomnia and chronic headaches. For crying out loud, it was 2008! She said, “Go home. Get some rest. There’s nothing to do.” I “fired” her and got a new doctor.

I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, but in reality I have had this chronic illness most of my life. As a young child I had begun learning coping skills. It hurt to run and tumble and play like the other children. It hurt to sit on the hard tile floors at school. Yard work and other chores would cause me days of pain. I learned to keep to myself and always smile. It is amazing what a smile will hide!

As the years progress, people around me joke and say it’s because I’m old. No, I’m not that old. Yes, the fibro has progressed along with me. I have been called lazy, stupid, a hypochondriac and a few other things too. Truth is, I’m not lazy. I push myself to muscle failure and then some each day just to appear normal. I’m not stupid. I’m pretty darn smart. I have learned to live with this chronic illness and hold down a full-time job in healthcare. I have raised a family, and I was my mom’s hospice until she died in my arms a year ago. I am certainly no hypochondriac! I am not seeking sympathy. I want to work. I want to be an important part of my family. I want to be able to enjoy life! And I really want to be a useful, contributing and functioning member of my little corner of the world.

I love caring for others. It is one way I hide my chronic illness from myself. My patients need me to be present for them. So I ignore the muscle spasms, the stabbing pain, the aches, etc… but the brain fog is what gets me and brings me to my knees! It is so difficult to hide when I have lost all my words or look at something I have seen a million times and it looks completely foreign to me! I want to run and hide when people talk to me like I am incompetent.

Fibromyalgia isn’t who I am. I’m still in here. I’m still the intelligent, reliable, responsible, tough person I was. My chronic illness may seem invisible, but trust me, it is not.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via bruniewska.

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I Wish People Had the 'X-Ray Vision' It Takes to See My Invisible Illness

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My illness is rarely visible. When I was first heard about fibromyalgia being an “invisible” illness, it was like my world made sense. It filled what I was feeling but couldn’t put to words.

As a teenager, I would sit out of P.E. because walking, running or anything having to do with moving my legs was extremely painful. Some classmates would think I was making it up so that I “didn’t sweat.” All right, I’ll give them that. I hate sweating, but I would take sweating to be a normal teenager. They were normal. They would get sick and then get better. Everyone could see that they were sick. Their noses would be red, they would cough nonstop or sneeze. Mine was different.

 

My close friends would see me taking pills. One even gave me a pill holder key chain. It was thoughtful for a 14-year-old. It was the way they could see my illness. They could see my collection of pharmacy bottles on my nightstand. They could see my tears when I couldn’t get comfortable in my seat and the pain was quickly climbing up. Those were the only times it would be visible.

Those who weren’t close to me had other thoughts. “She’s making that up.” “There’s nothing wrong with her.” I would hear it when I turned away. They couldn’t wait until I was out of earshot. My invisible illness was questioned each day.

Fortunately, my doctors did not question my illness. It was like they had x-ray vision and could see my pain like a colored smoke around my legs. They were my saviors. Their belief in my words and me was, and still is, the best feeling in the world.

I wish others had this x-ray vision my doctors have. My adolescent life would have been better. My life wouldn’t be spent defending my pain.

My invisible illness would be visible.

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Thinkstock photo via video-doctor.

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Chronic Spotlight Series: How Dr. Robert Katz Has Improved My Life With Chronic Pain

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Who is Dr. K.?

Many of you have asked to hear more about him since my first post about my “secret sauce.” Grab your shades, because after over a year of your questions, it’s time to bring this lifesaver into the spotlight.

For those of you who are new to this series, let me give you a little background. I have seen 10 – yes, 10 – rheumatologists since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome and now, rheumatoid arthritis. Nine of those doctors told me to take x, y and z meds, quit my job and accept my new life.

Then there was number 10, Dr. Robert Katz, rheumatologist at Rush Hospital.

 

I’ll never forget our first visit. By this time, my ever-present optimism had become worn and frail from doctor after doctor guaranteeing an imminent downward spiral. I had been strongly discouraged from having expectations of living a “normal life,” and I was starting to lose hope. I was close to defeat, exhausted and on the verge of an ugly cry, when after my exam and confirming my initial diagnosis of fibromyalgia, Dr. Katz looked at me and said, “I can help you get your life back.”

I choked back an ugly cry, but this was for a totally different reason: I believed him.

Before I go on, I bet you’d appreciate a few fun facts about the man with the plan. Here are a handful – if your name is Inigo Montoya.

Robert S. Katz, MD

– Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine

– Leading expert in the field of rheumatology, with experience in both research and patient care

– Named in the U.S. News and World Report’s Top Doctor rankings, considered to be among the top one percent of doctors in his specialty nationwide

– Included among the top five percent of United States physicians according to his website

– Selected as a Top Doctor in Chicago by the International Association of Healthcare Professionals

Dr. K. has since delivered on his promise. Because of his approach, I’ve been able to hold on to who I was… who I am… I’ve been able to keep my full-time job, travel (for work and play), stay on the board of Bright Pink and share my story on stage, in this blog and in my upcoming book. One more thing, and most precious to me, is my marriage. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are very dark days because of my conditions, but because of my treatment with Dr. K., we’ve kept the strain and stress that chronic illness has on my marriage at a manageable level.

Not only is he an exceptional doctor and human being, he’s also proof that not all practices are created equal. I want to share what a visit to Dr. K.’s office looks like with you. If you’re not happy with your current medical team, I hope this inspires you to keep looking for better help and never, ever settle.

From the moment you enter his office, a soothing feeling washes over you. Something about the space assures you that you’re going to receive amazing care here. Maybe it’s the warm colors and the beautiful Buddha carving that’s so calming to the nerves. It may be the stacks of books and cushy couches, or it could just as easily be Blanca, who greets you as a friend and who’s helpful and knowledgeable as you fill out the patient papers she’s passed to you. She gently encourages you to “over-share” so the team can see you from every angle.

Once in the exam room, Jessica, Dr. K.’s nurse, pays you a visit. With compassion and care, Jessica goes through your paperwork, listens intently and takes a lot of notes. She’s easy to talk to and open to conversation about any symptoms and offers her expertise right from the beginning. Never once have I felt rushed or worse, not believed.

Soon following, you meet the Grand Poobah herself, Alice, a.k.a. my guardian angel. Alice runs the entire office, assists with Dr. K.’s work and is basically a magical being. She knows how much I dislike going to the doc (I don’t like the reminder of my many conditions) and makes any uncomfortable situation comfortable. She takes sincere interest in both my husband and I, and she knows how to brighten my visit — every time. And her knowledge about chronic pain, fibro, Sjogren’s and RA is unparalleled.

Now for the finale of the visit — the man, the myth, the legend — Dr. Katz! He walks in the exam room with a huge smile on his face. You would never know by his demeanor that every exam room is filled and there are quite few patients in the waiting room. He’s cool as a martini.

He walks you through your pain chart which looks like this,

and begins to talk about new treatment options. This happens every single visit. Why? Because Dr. Katz is one of the three doctors who invented the 18 point trigger test. He’s tuned in like no other doc I’ve met; even the slightest shift in pain means something to Dr. K.

This man has been treating and researching fibro, chronic pain, lupus and RA for over three decades. It’s his passion and his legacy. What’s so refreshing is that he’s never done learning, never done trying new treatments and has never doubted my painful reality.

I shudder when I imagine my life, had I settled on any of those first nine rheumatologists. It was an exhausting journey to find Dr. Katz, but if I gave up before finding him, I would’ve been giving up on myself, my family and friends and my future.

I really hope this inspires you to ask yourself the tough questions. Are you getting the care you deserve? Are you making progress? Are you being believed? Because if you’re not, keep looking. And don’t ever, ever settle.

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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