How Getting Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia Helped Me Find Calm in the Storm
For at least seven years, I’ve been struggling daily with intense physical pain, anxiety, numbness, confusion, trouble ambulating, digestive woes, flushed face, temperature control issues, hormonal complications, dry skin and eyes, light and sound sensitivity, chronic fatigue and malaise. My head throbs, my eyes ache, my joints crack and my muscles twitch.
I’m a hot mess at all times and some days it’s impossible to mask the storm brewing inside of me.
When I finally found a rheumatologist last year who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, I finally found calm. Coming out of the darkness of uncertainty was a weight lifted off my already aching shoulders.
Fear gripped me as I learned my disease is chronic and nearly impossible to manage. I have had some trial and error with medications and home care, such as yoga and dietary restrictions. Everything is temporary and every moment is uncertain, so I’m viewing this diagnosis as an opportunity to become a stronger person. I plan to get up every time I fall.
The reality of my life is I have an “invisible disease” that many people don’t believe in or understand. I am 38 years old and my husband has to help me out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I can’t go up and down the stairs without his strength to support me. I rely on two prescriptions to keep me close(r) to normal, and during particularly bad flares, my lips go numb and I have trouble forming sentences because of brain fog. I will never again feel rested or have a day without pain. It’s been long enough now that I can’t remember what it’s like not to have fibromyalgia.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that there is no shame. I didn’t choose my disease and I can’t control what it does to me. I can only control how I respond to it. Please be patient with me as I learn to be patient with myself.
Today, I chose to fight. Tomorrow, I may be forced to sit (lay) on the sidelines (with comfortable clothes in layers, an ice pack on my head, heating pad on my shoulders and back, two Rx, one to three OTC meds, eye drops, tissues, book, tea, orthopedic pillow and thick socks). I’m learning to accept life for what it is. I’m learning to find joy in the bad moments as well as the good.
So, screw you, fibromyalgia, because my blessings far outweigh my pains. I will rise and do what I can to put fibromyalgia in the background. It has stolen enough from me and it will continue to take more – but I will hold on to all I have with all I’ve got. We all have “something.” I will not let my something define me.
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