In the last article we covered most of the symptoms, today I want to talk about diagnosis. I had sudden onset of symptoms, I was driving down the interstate and my face and hands went numb, tears were coming out of my eyes, when I stopped the car my legs wouldn’t hold me up, it was a very scary time in my life. I posted my symptoms on Facebook and WebMD looking for answers, and several people told me they thought I may have Fibromyalgia. Being a nurse, I did much of my own research, and went to the doctor armed with my list of symptoms and the name of a doctor who specialized in that disease.
When I saw the first neurologist she told me there was no one in the area who treated Fibro, I told her the name of a doctor, she said “Oh he works in this office!” I said I know, so she made me an appointment with him. He asked me some questions, felt my “tender spots” started me on some medications and set me up with a rheumatologist, who did some testing and actually diagnosed the Fibro.
In a way I was very lucky, in that I had a good idea of what I had, and went in ready. I have every symptom except irregular periods, and I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago. Most people I know with the disease have had a much greater struggle to be diagnosed, they have 5 or 6 symptoms and most of the time can carry out a somewhat normal life. Because the disease varies so much from person to person it makes it harder for people who don’t have it to understand. I have a cousin who has it and owns a housecleaning business and works full-time, it is all I can do to keep up with housework and a couple hours of writing each day.
If you think you have Fibromyalgia the internet is your best resource. I am down to 4 medications and a bunch of natural supplements, in addition to my pain pills, but I know several people who only take supplements, I personally am unable to function without my medications. Find a reputable neurologist who knows about Fibro, a good doctor is your best resource. There are several websites and Facebook pages devoted to Fibro, they are great places to ask questions and vent. Write down your symptoms, write down everything, one aspect of Fibro, called Fibro fog, makes it difficult to remember things, even every day words, and puts a huge dent in short term memory.
A little knowledge goes a long way, study the medications that other people take, be aware of the side effects, and what you are willing to try. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with Fibro, it’s very important to treat those as well. Good luck, I hope this helps, the next article will be on supporting loved ones with the disease.