Friday, March 9, 2007

Discovering Fibromyalgia - definition, discovery and dealing with it.

**Fibromyalgia is....and I found out about it because... **

I was diagnosed with it back in 2002. I believe i had it before then, it just took me over 2 years to actually get a diagnosis. Starting in 1997/1998, i started having problems with my health - it was a shock to me because I always used to be such a healthy person. I never missed work from being sick, I really never had the flu or the cold too often... In the beginning, i just thought i had the flu, feeling so achy all over my body, which made it impossible for me to get up in the mornings. Then i started getting the "flu" a little too often as every other week! I was cancelling social engagements with my friends so often that my friends started making bets if I would make it to a particular event. I started missing work a lot more.

My life was being changed by these weird, frequent "flu"-like symptoms. I didn't know what was going on. Every time I was sick, I went to my doctor and whined about my symptoms. I must have gone through so many tests, including tests for Hyperthyroid (I was losing weight fast in the beginning, my heart was beating fast, or it felt like it was), liver disease, ulcers, migraine, name it, I got tested for it. Fortunately, i had none of those. But my symptoms were so frequent and not knowing what it was frustrated me so much that i had wished I was finally diagnosed with something. But no. Finally, my doctor suggested that i may have something called "Fibromyalgia." I had never heard of it back then.

I found a clinic in the UCLA Medical Center (East-West Medicine) that specializes and only treats fibro patients. I submitted my symptoms and they "qualified" me for my first appointment with them, the doctor diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. I was official then. Finally, something to blame. :-)

Although there may be something to blame on, fibromyalgia has no cure. It's not a disease per se, but it is more like a collection of symptoms, which as a bundle cannot be catagorized as any particular disease. According to various articles, it is more mentally triggered through stress (accumulated over a long period of time) and is even related to depression.

**My usual symptoms**

I read that fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person. My most frequent symptoms are severe achs in the ankle, wrists and tightening up of my shoulders. When i say they "tighten up" I mean the muscles really tighten up, knots just roll up together like rocks and i feel paralyzed. Usually my legs weaken and i feel like i can't use any of my leg muscles. Aside from the physical symptoms, I do tend to feel lethargic, almost to a depressing degree. On a normal day I am a very happy, active person. I'm positive, i'm social, i'm just ridiculously happy. However, when the physical symptoms kick in and i'm laying in bed in pain, it feels like the world is closing in on me and I just feel really really down on myself. It is both a physical and mental battle, as I wait for the pain to subside. It usually takes about a day or two for myself to feel better. On a good day, it just takes half a day. On a tough one, it's a two-day streak of misery.

1 comment:

jojo said...

I've also has the flu like symptoms for over 18 years now, and went to several doctors who did test and chalked it up to a virus. I always knew that there was some type of chronic pain going on but never had a name for it. Just last year my doctor suggested fibromyalgia. I had never hear of it, but at least now I know that I'm not crazy or alone!!