I remember the morning I woke up and felt like a train had hit me. I just wish I could remember the day before that. I wish I could feel what it felt like before the train hit me. Who knew when I went to bed the night before that I would never wake up again without pain?
That first year was the hardest. Doctor after doctor. Day after day. All the symptoms that doctors couldn't explain: unbelievable pain, muscles feeling like they are on fire, exhaustion that made everyday tasks impossible, migraines, anxiety, IBS, difficulty walking, numbness in legs and hands, difficulty with memory (what I call fibro-fog), chest pain, dizziness, ...
I remember sitting in the office of the doctor who finally diagnosed me. Saying he diagnosed me is kind of a joke. He drew some blood and left hubs and I in a room. When he walked back in he handed me a pamphlet that said "Fibromyalgia" on the front and said, "Read this I'll be right back." When he came back he said, "Sounds like you doesn't it?" Hubs and I agreed. He said, "Yep. It is you. Learn to live with it. It isn't life threatening, but it is life debilitating. You'll probably be in a wheelchair by age 35. Forget kids." He had a real bedside manner.
He prescribed me several medications that were popular at the time. I took them for a while, but soon I couldn't tell what were side effects from the medication and what was real problems from the fibromyalgia. I began scouring the internet for any and all information on fibromyalgia. I made the decision to quit taking the medications because they did not seem to be helping me in any positive ways.
Hubs and I started walking at the small park behind our house. Some days I couldn't walk at all and some days I could walk around for my "goal". Regardless, starting exercise helped improve not only my attitude, but it helped my mobility. Hubs also bought me an elliptical trainer which allows me to walk anytime and in any weather which is nice when you live in Mississippi.
It didn't take me long after I was diagnosed to get tired of being "sick". I knew that I was going to have to deal with this on a daily basis, but I didn't want it to be the center of our life. Hubs and I developed a number system so that I could let him know how I was feeling without having to talk about my illness all the time. If I tell him I am on a "10" he knows that I am hurting really bad and I am not going to be able to handle normal things like cooking or carpool. If I am on a "1", he better watch out because I am likely to tear the closets apart and chase him around the bedroom. Ha!
A lot of people have asked me what it is like having fibromyalgia. I am not sure how to explain that.
1. Imagine waking up with the flu. You know that horrible, all over aching feeling that you have when you have the flu? Imagine it never going away.
2. Take five clothespins and put one on the end of each of your fingers on your left hand. Leave it on there for as long as you possibly can. Now imagine never being to take it off.
That is a sad way to try to describe it, but I can't really describe to you what it is like anymore than someone with diabetes, cancer or MS can describe what it is like. All I can say is that I wouldn't wish fibromyalgia on my worst enemy.
Pain has become my new "normal". Some days I can completely ignore it and some days I can't, but my fibromyalgia knows that I intend to control it instead of it controlling me.
Because this is my life!