I was diagnosed with this chronic condition eight years ago. It was not an easy diagnosis, fibromyalgia symptoms resemble many other conditions, including some that are fatal. I did not know whether to be relieved when I got my diagnosis, first because I still felt so miserable and there was no true remedy and secondly because I had NO idea what fibromyalgia was.
Initially I was prescribed seven different medications. It did not take long for me to find that route only a miserable path of possibly covering some symptoms yet causing others. It was bewildering to say the least.
My personal symptoms have varied through the years from vertigo, extreme muscle fatigue, aches and pains that are widespread and could be in any place in my body at any point in time from the tips of my toes, the bottom of my feet, to the aching of my hands to the consistent headaches that become quite debilitating at times. I struggle with much of what you are about to read about in the excerpts I am going to include from an article I read just today.
I have taken many routes on this journey. Some days are much easier than others but there is not one single day that is not fogged over by the awful symptoms to some degree.
Many of you have no idea what I am even talking about...
what is this fibromyalgia you might be asking.
First of all, I am by far no medical expert, I can only speak from my own experience and share that which I know....which is all I ever try to do.
I came across an article here....http://www.faithfamilyfibro.com/
I want to share it here with you because it is the best I have ever read. I love the way these writers have explained it. (I only hope I am not crossing any lines using someone elses writing). That being said....here we go....
"Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that's difficult to understand, especially if you don't have a medical degree. Because it involves the brain and nervous system, fibromyalgia can have an impact on virtually every part of the body. If you're trying to understand this condition in someone you know, it can be incredibly confusing. When a lot of people see a bizarre collection of fluctuating symptoms that don't show up in medical tests, they decide fibromyalgia must be a psychological problem. A host of scientific evidence, however, proves that it's a very real physical condition."
Following is the greatest analogy to help you understand more....(from the same article)
"Imagine you are planning a party and expecting about 20 guests. Three or four friends told you they'd come early to help you out. But they don't show, and instead of 20 guests, you get 100. You re overwhelmed. That's whats happening with pain signals in someone who has fibromyalgia. the cells send too many pain messages (party guests), up to five times as many as in a healthy person. That can turn mild pressure or even an itch into pain. When those pain signals reach the brain, they're processed by something called serotonin. People with fibromyalgia, however, don't have enough serotonin (the friends who didn't show up to help), leaving the brain overwhelmed. This is why people with fibro have pain in tissues that show no sign of damage. Its not imagined pain; it's misinterpreted sensation that the brain turns into actual pain. Other substances in the patients brain amplify a host of other signals - essentially, "turning up the volume" of everything. That can include light, noise, and odor on top of pain. and it can further over load the brain. This can lead to confusion, fear, anxiety and panic attacks. Most people with a chronic illness are always sick. The effects on the body of cancer, a virus, or a degenerative disease are fairly constant. It's understandably confusing to see someone with fibro be unable to do something on Monday, yet perfectly capable of it on Wednesday. Look at it this way: Every ones hormones fluctuate, and even things like weight and blood pressure can rise and fall during the course of a day, week or month. All of the systems and substances in the body work that way, rising and falling in response to different situations. Research shows conclusively that fibro involves abnormal levels of multiple hormones and other substances. Because those things all go up and down, sometimes one or more are in the normal zone and other times they are not. The more things that are out of the zone, the worse they feel."
Understanding Stress & Fibromyalgia
"Some people think fibromyalgia patient are incapable of dealing with stress, because a stressful situation will generally make symptoms worse. The important thing to understand is that we respond to stress both emotionally and physically. A physical response, in everyone, includes a rush of adrenaline and other hormones that help kick your body into overdrive so you can deal with what's happening. People with fibro don't have enough of those hormones, which makes stress very heard on their bodies and can trigger symptoms. Also, when we talk about "stress" we usually mean the emotional kind, which can come from your job, a busy schedule, or personal conflict. A lot of things actually cause physical stress, such as illness, lack of sleep, nutritional deficiencies and injuries. Physical stress can have the same effect as emotional stress.
Understanding the Fatigue of Fibro
Think of a time when you were not just tired, but really exhausted. Maybe you were up all night studying for a test. Maybe you were up multiple times to feed a baby or take care of a sick child. Maybe it was the flu or strep throat. Imagine being exhausted like that all day while you are trying to work, take care of kids, clean the house, cook dinner, etc. For most people, one or two good night's sleep would take that feeling away. With fibro, though, comes sleep disorders that make a good nights sleep a rarity. A person with fibro can have anywhere from one to all the following sleep disorders: Insomnia, Inability to reach or stay in a deep sleep, Sleep apnea, Restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movements.
Fibro in a nutshell.....
A lot of illnesses involve one part of the body, or one system.
Fibromyalgia, however, involves the entire body and throws all kinds of things out of whack.
As bizarre and confusing as the varied symptoms may be, they're tied to very real physical causes. Fibro can take someone who is educated, ambitious, hardworking and tireless, and rob them of their ability to work, clean house, exercise, think clearly and even feel awake or healthy. It's NOT psychological "burn out" or depression. It is NOT laziness. It is NOT whining or malingering. It IS the result of widespread dysfunction in the body and the brain that's hard to understand, difficult to treat ,and, so far, impossible to cure. The hardest thing for patients, however, is having to live with it.
Having the support and understanding of people in their lives can make it a lot easier."
This article helped me understand so much better and I have this condition!! It helps me to realize that a lot of what I feel is "typical and normal" if there is such a thing in this fibro world. This chronic condition has rocked my world and caused me to grieve over the way things once were. The energy, stamina, and ambition that used to be a big part of my life.
I share this with you so you will understand better, not only me, but anyone you know who has this crazy thing called Fibromyalgia.
XO Love and Blessings to you!