I have been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia for 3 years. I say officially, because that’s when I went to the right type of doctor and he actually validated that what I had was a named neurological condition.
However, I’ve had a lot of pain all over my body along with the fogginess and other symptoms for about 6 years. The primary doctor I was going to a when I first figured out that maybe I should see someone did all the normal tests. Blood tests – came back normal. X-rays of may things, many times – nothing notable except the already known cracked C7 and disc degeneration at L4 & L5 causing nerve pinching and back pain. MRI’s of all kinds of parts – nothing notable. Referral to a Rheumatologist to find out if I had RA. Turns out – nope.
So finally after all this poking and prodding and making things worse in the pain department. And trying this med and that med that did absolutely nothing for the pain. And me feeling more and more discouraged and angry. The doctor comes back, “I can’t see that there’s anything wrong with you. Perhaps a referral to a psychologist will help you” shoving a paper with a psychologists name and number in my face. My whole demeanor dropped and I was entirely pissed off. I knew this wasn’t in my head, I knew that the intensity of a hot knife slicing into me radiating from my joints and making my whole body part hurt but moving body parts at the same time was not something I conjured up. I glared at him. Then he said, “It seems like you are angry that there is nothing wrong with you. I think you are here seeking drugs. I must tell you that I do not give into drug addictions of any kind.” I snatched the paper from his hand with hot tears running down my face. I put my coat on and made my way out of the office.
Now, let me tell you I have been on depression meds for 15 years. Apparently some chemical that is needed to not be really depressed is not present in my brains make up – so I have been diagnosed chronically depressed and If I want to feel somewhat normal, I have to take a low dose depression medication for the rest of my life. Anyway, I went to the prescribed psychologist. After about 4 sessions she said, “Y’know, I think you should stay on the depression meds but it seems like you’re handling the depression well. And I don’t believe the pain is in any way made-up or in your head. Have you been to a physiatrist?” I sat there smugly with a kind of “I told you so” grin on my face. Finally! I have been validated. See I told you DR. Reed (the primary care doctor) I am not making it up! I must’ve been quiet for a little too long. She repeated, “Have you been to a physiatrist?” I looked quizzically at her. “I thought that’s what you were?” She smiled, “They do sound the same. No, a fizz.EYE.atrist (how she said it) is a doctor that specializes in pain. Shit! There’s a type of doctor that specializes in pain? Why didn’t I know about this before and start with them? She gave me the name and number of the physiatrist. If I weren’t in so much pain, I would have done cartwheels around the room! My pain was real and validated and there was a doctor who specialized in it!
The first visit to the physiatrist literally made me cry. He touched my collar bones and I screamed. He touched the tops of my hips and I winced. He pushed on my shoulder blades and I jumped through the ceiling. All this pain did get me a diagnosis, however. Fibromyalgia. The doctor only briefly explained it as a neurological condition that affects the pain receptors of the nerve endings that has only newly been discovered and explored in the medical field. He gave me some “trial prescriptions” for pain killers, anti-anxiety, sleeping, and then the other pills to counter act the side affects of the first pills. He wanted me to try them and make note of what each one did and what the side affects were. I left the office moving as slowly as a turtle and whimpering a little but I was happy. Happy that my pain finally had a name, happy that I found someone who knew what to do, and happy that I could finally get a handle on it and get my life back.