I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It is a big scary word that to me, is a life sentence. And it is odd how to journey to being diagnosed came about. If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, lets start with a definition.
If you go to google and type in the word, you get thousands of posts, and right up top a definition provided by the lovely mayo clinic. “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and nonpainful signals”
Basically, if you are lazy (like I am) and don’t want to read the definition above, it means you are in pain, all of the time. There are spots on my body that if my husband pokes gently, it hurts.
And the worst part about this diagnosis, to me, isn’t even that I have fibromyalgia or that I am going to have to learn new limitations on how to deal with it. It’s the fact that we a human beings don’t really talk about pain enough, or what we are feeling enough, to let each other know what is and is not normal.
I will be honest, for years, my lower back hurt. In addition, if I did too much I would feel this sharp shooting pain down my legs. And what did I do about it you might ask? NOTHING. Why? Because I thought it was normal.
And that to me is the worst part. I thought the pain I was feeling, the pain I was going through, was absolutely normal. Everyone felt it, everyone dealt with it, and I was just terrible at dealing with it. I would go to the gym, and work out and have to stop midway through because my body hurt so badly I couldn’t continue. And I would then force myself to continue because “Everyone else can function with the pain, I can too.”
I feel stupid for thinking that way. I really truly do, but I also cannot be the only one. After talking to my doctor, I have been asking those close to me some truly bizarre questions, because now I am trying to figure out “what is normal?”. Does your body hurt when you sit for a few hours? Does your lower back hurt so much it sends shooting pain down to your legs? Does your body hurt so badly you wake up in the middle of the night because of the pain?
The answers have all been the same. No that isn’t normal.
And quite honestly, if the draining fatigue I was feeling hadn’t gotten so bad I was taking two naps a day, I never would have gone to the doctor. And when I did go to the doctor about the fatigue, that is all I went for. The draining fatigue. It took me about month or two (and three blood tests) to finally go “wait a minute, maybe I should bring up all this other stuff. Maybe this isn’t as normal as I thought.”
The minute I did bring it up, the doctor at the time immediately mentioned I should see a specialist, and went “this is what I think it is but you need to confirm.”
Can we as people come together, and start talking about pain? Not in a “my body hurts worse than your body” type of way. But instead a “I have had a headache every day for a month.” So someone can go “that is not normal.”
Also, if you are in constant pain, constant body aches, constant headaches, constant anything, I have some news for you. That is NOT NORMAL.