What is fibromyalgia? It is s combination of pain and fatigue to put it quite simply. The pain however is widespread and the fatigue can be debilitating. Those with it do not get restorative sleep and feel a brain fog because of it.
It is for all intents and purposes a condition that is invisible. Many people who have this condition look just fine. They may come across as not quite as sharp as they used to be, and slower moving along with a sometimes tired look about them.
Fibromyalgia is difficult. So difficult in fact that I'm finding it hard to write about it. My sister Mary has it and I can tell you all about it from her point of view. What I'm having difficulty with is telling you about it from mine.
I was diagnosed with it about six years ago. I went to my doctors mid winter for a regular check in and I was sore and jumbled is the only way I can describe it. I talked to him about how difficult I was finding it to do the simplest tasks lately. I had been relatively stable with my spinal injury pain to that point. The sarcoidosis had settled, so what was this feeling. He said those of us with serious chronic conditions are predisposed to fibromyalgia.
He told me he wasn't surprised and had suspected it in me in the past, then did a pressure point test to confirm I actually had fibromyalgia.
According to the studies the theories state that these are the risk factors to developing fibromyalgia.
* Possible risk factors for fibromyalgia include:
* gender (usually female)
* genetic disposition (may be inherited)
* menopause (loss of estrogen)
* poor physical conditioning
* trauma to the brain or spinal cord (after an injury, accident, illness, or emotional stress)
When I looked at these I knew my doctor was correct. I'm female, I was going though menopause. I had had surgery therefore I was in poor physical shape, and I had a spinal cord injury. I didn't know until this year that my sister would also develop fibromyalgia, so I fact I had not one or two of the predispositions, but all of them.
So why then would I be so dismissive of the diagnoses from I doctor I truly trusted. I will admit it here. I was not willing to label myself with another invisible illness/injury. I had been given the unexpected diagnoses of a serious lung disease, called sarcoidosis and had a spinal cord injury from an incomplete injury to the cord.
I looked like every else, but I was already struggling to keep up with society's expectations of what a "healthy looking" forty something woman should be. I told my husband and that was all. I didn't research it, I didn't talk about it, I put it aside.
My sister became ill rather suddenly it seemed to me, but looking back she had had two infections in a row that really made her sick and then wasn't the same afterward. It took many trips to the doctor and many tests to rule out all other things before it was finally decided she had fibromyalgia. It was through her that I became somewhat educated about it. She studied it fully, goes to a support group and we talk frequently. I have been able to impart some of my knowledge about dealing with chronic pain and she in turn has educated my about fibromyalgia. She has enlightened me to some of the symptoms I had put down to other things. I do have symptoms I had just become good at explaining them away.