Sometimes you look at someone and you think, "they must have it so good." It's so obvious by the way they walk, or the clothes they wear, maybe it's the smile on their face. You don't quite know the reason, but you don't have to, to know that their life is good. But what if you were wrong? What if that person was a silent sufferer? My name is Joanna, and I am one of those people.
I was diagnosed with an arthritic back, fibromyalgia and tremors in the same day. I was told to go get a specialist to diagnose my other ailments as well, which include but are not limited to IBS. I mean, I knew I had problems, but when he said it like that I didn't feel relief I felt frustration. "I want a REAL diagnosis, of a REAL disease or ailment," was my plea. "Fibromyalgia is controversial, but your pain is real, this is real and its time you start learning to deal with it," as he began to talk about support groups to acupuncture.
For these first few days I have focused on my back, that is real, that is tangible. When my husband says I’m, “pushing myself,” I just get more angry and push harder, the complete opposite of what is recommended for fibromyalgia, and of course pay the price as my hands shake and my speech stutters and my body throbs in pain. It’s amazing how anger gives you so much energy, and denial gives you so much pain.
I’ve had back pain for almost 10 years. I remember when it started, it was one year after walking across the street and I was hit by a car. Yeah, literally I walked and a car hit me, that’s a whole other story! But one year later in so much back pain my mother took me to our family physician who said, “it’s just your muscles relaxing.” So over the years as it got worse and worse, I just said, “it must be that my muscles are working harder and harder,” so I mostly kept it to myself after all this is “normal,” until my husband home from one of his trips realized how hard it was for me to lay down and get in bed. Crying I said, “it’s just my muscles,” and annoyed with me he grabbed 3 Advil and that became my nightly ritual, take 3 Advil with dinner.
Just one year ago I thought I had mono, I was so tired, I got blood work, and was told I was fine. About 6 months later, I thought it was my thyroid, got blood work again, was told I was fine, although my cholesterol was high…of course it is I literally eat butter. I got more tired, and more weak, and then began the muscle spasms, and Charlie horses. Again, just thought I wasn’t eating well enough and drinking enough water. So I actually started to eat better and drink loads of water, but finally when the pain became “too much” it was time to go to a doctor. Long story short, and many tests and doctors later here I type. I am a person living with fibromyalgia, and this is my journey learning how to live with it.