Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Life with Fibromyalgia - Part Two

This is my story and is in no way intended to diagnose, treat or advise anyone on Fibromyalgia or any other medical disorder, only a qualified health professional can do that. 

Part Two

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to finally have a Dr who heard me, to have really listened and not be rushing me out the door before I’d even sat down. She asked questions, actually examined me and when she couldn’t explain what was happening, sent me for what turned out to be months of tests.

From spinal x-rays and a referral to an Orthopedic Surgeon to rule in/out if my osteoarthritis was a contributing factor, an EMG/Nerve Conduction Study to check for nerve or muscle damage, an overnight sleep study to figure out why the insomnia, blood work and more blood work, Ultrasounds and a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat Dr looking for signs of thyroiditis, nodules, etc, a holter monitor test to test my heart function, to a referral to a Menopause Clinic/Gynecologist (an appointment set for this November) in case any or all of this was ‘just menopause’ (which wasn’t likely in her opinion), she was leaving no stone unturned.

I was not mentally prepared for the frustration that set in as many test results and Specialist reports came in finding either nothing wrong or what they did find could in no way explain the body wide pain and/or symptoms I had. I’m sure others who have been through, or are going through this, can imagine how ready I was to give up as I sat there and heard the results. Luckily my new Dr recognized this and asked me to please bear with her, that there were more tests/Specialists available but we had to go one step at a time to get to the bottom of it.

I was frustrated, felt dejected even after her pep talk, spent a few hours feeling sorry for myself with all the tears that entails. The next morning I woke up in more pain, more exhausted than I had been in months and finally the anger and determination set in. I wasn’t going to live like this. I was taking responsibility for my own health back and the next step for me was to start researching on the internet.

After typing a sequence of words, symptoms, that shouldn’t have made any sense to a search engine, I was very surprised when it many links lead to pages on Fibromyalgia, links I will admit I ignored at first. Not because I didn’t believe there was such a thing but because having a friend with Fibromyalgia I in no way wanted any part of it.

Researching other links that didn’t seem to fit the array of symptoms, I bit the bullet and started reading the pages on Fibromyalgia and a light bulb went off. My cognitive dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbance, hormonal upheaval, increased allergies, sleep disturbance, weight gain and whole body pain were all there in black and white.

Knowing in my heart of hearts that this was what was happening, I booked an appointment with my Dr. I walked in armed with pages of information I printed off, including a tender point exam, which she read through with me, and then did a tender point exam. 

I felt oddly comforted for a short time hearing her say yes, I had Fibromyalgia, all with finding I had eighteen out of eighteen tender points.

Strange really how something that affects so many bodily functions is diagnosed with a tender point exam in mainstream medical practice. For those of you who haven’t been through a tender point exam, let me explain.

There are eighteen points on our body that, if pressed hard enough, will produce pain or tenderness for most everyone with or without Fibromyalgia, but for someone with Fibromyalgia the gentlest pressure on these points can cause excruciating pain.

To be continued...

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