Does fibromyalgia exist?
Yes, I would have to say that it does exist and I am living proof of that. I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia in the spring of 2007 by a rheumatologist, however it was quite a journey to finally come to this conclusion.
Here is my story:
I have had some issues with lower back pain and my sciatic nerve for some time and had been seeing a chiropractor for nearly 10 years. I would have bouts of pretty intense pain that would take several visits to finally go away, but for the most part, not life altering. I took ibuprophen and figured I was just worn down from too much stress in my life and not enough exercise. It wasn't until the year 2006 that everything started going downhill. Both my mother and my father passed away that year and the stress was at an all time high.
My father was in a nursing home due to failing health. He had been on dialysis 3 times a week for 3 years and also had been in and out of the hospital with heart problems. He and my mother no longer lived together and hadn't for nearly 22 years so he was on one side of town and my mother was on the other. They still remained close and my mother continued to make sure he had the proper attention he needed in the nursing home.
My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in the spring of 2006 and just a few months later my two sisters and I began to make trips to Arizona to stay with her and to check in with my dad and the nursing staff to be sure he was being cared for as my mom could no longer do this.
During the last month of my mother's life my sister and I were taking care of her round the clock at her home. My other sister had to get back to Colorado so as not to lose her job. We had moved the "hospital" bed into her living room so that we could keep constant watch over her. It was stressful, it was emotionally draining, and it was physically exhausting.
On top of that my father was getting weaker and weaker and could no longer use the phone or get up and eat with the others. He really wasn't even coherant enough to fully understand that my mom was dying. It was heartbreaking to see him in such a state and not be able to do more for him like we were doing for my mom.
I remember waking up each morning in so much pain from sleeping in the guest bed that I would be in tears. It's terrible to confess, but I would pray my mom would stay asleep long enough for my meds to kick in so that I could help her. I would tiptoe out to grab a cup of coffee and my medications and just sit on the back porch waiting for them to take affect.
I had no idea I had fibro but I knew something was terribly wrong as the tasks I was performing, even though they were tiring, did not warrant the pain I would feel the next day. It felt like a truck had run over me in the mornings. I had even gone to the expense of buying several layers of the memory foam hoping to make the bed more comfortable to sleep in and not be in such pain upon awakening. I was seeing a chiropractor twice a week just to stay upright. The stress to care for both my mom and my dad as well as get the house ready for sale was completely overwhelming not just mentally but physically too.
It got so bad after several weeks that I had to go home. I could no longer function and I was taking so many pain meds that I couldn't stay awake, yet I couldn't sleep. It was a total nightmare.
My decision to leave was one of the most difficult choices I have ever made in my life. I cannot tell you how gut wrenching it was to say my final goodbye to my mom and my dad but I knew that I was just getting worse and worse and my sister was doing more and more. We finally called my older sister to come back and help and the very next day I was on a plane home.
I fully believe the amount of stress that was in my life at that time in addition to the already stressful life I had is what brought about my fibromyalgia.
I know the professionals say there is no known reason and that the degree each person experiences is different, but I know first hand that high stress plays a significant role because the more stress I have, the worse the fibro is.
I will continue my story in part 2 on my blog. I will tell you what brought about the diagnosis as well as some information I received from the rheumatologist and the physical therapist.
I want and encourage you to comment and tell me your story or to add to anything I have written. I am not a professional. I am a just a woman living my life with fibromyalgia.