Q: So what is Fibromyalgia anyway?
I get asked this question several times a week and frankly, the answer is that I'm not entirely sure. Doctors aren't entirely sure either, but what we do know, is that over 12 million people have the symptoms of this syndrome. The more questions I ask from my Fibro Friends, the more I realize how different we all are.
And women are 10 times more likely to get it than men!
A: Simply put, Fibromyalgia is a syndrome causing widespread chronic pain throughout the body.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: These are the most common, in no particular order:
Full body muscle soreness
Chronic sinus infections
Hypersensitivity to cold/heat
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
Dryness in mouth, nose and eyes
Memory problems/difficulty concentrating
Anxiety and Depression
Is it any wonder so many of us have anxiety and depression?
Q: What causes it?
A: No one knows. In fact, scientists don't have a specific lab test for it, so your doctor will do a comprehensive physical and run tests to rule out diseases for which they do have tests. A good doctor will give you a "trigger point" test. This is one of those things like labor...you'll know it when it happens.
I was certain I didn't have any "tender spots," but when my doctor did the trigger point test on me I failed immediately. I almost kicked that guy in the face which would've been unfortunate because his face is VERY good looking.
It's such a mysterious disease that some physicians don't even believe it's real. Some people refer to it as "Garbage Can Disease" because it's diagnosed whenever they can't figure out what's wrong with you. Some doctors will say "you're just anxious" or recommend psychiatric counseling, which leads me to the point of this post.
You're not crazy! You may feel that way sometimes, but it's not in your head.
Find a doctor who will listen to you and provide compassionate care.
I've seen a minimum of 25 doctors over the past eight years. This summer, I prayed so hard to find a doctor who would believe me, that when I first sat down at an initial consultation and told him about my symptoms, I burst into tears.
I couldn't help it.
Do you know the first words out of his mouth were..."Has anyone ever told you that you may have Fibromyalgia? A lot of doctors don't believe it exists and I was skeptical at first, but it's real and I'm going to try to help you." He put me on two medicines that improved my symptoms drastically after three weeks.
So don't give up!
One verse in the Bible says, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5
Our God delights in providing comfort!
I'm not a doctor, but if you have any Fibromyalgia questions, I'd be happy to point you to some helpful resources!