Last week I woke up feeling as if I were frozen in my bed. I could barely turn over to press “snooze” on my alarm, and when I finally did, I realized I was in pain. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but something didn’t feel quite right. When I finally got out of bed, I knew that I needed to see a doctor.
I wasn’t sure what was happening, but then a word came to my brain: Fibromyalgia. I didn’t really know what it was, so I began to search the web for all of the information I could find. I called my mom to talk to her about my troubles, and she shared with me that she has Fibromyalgia. After our discussion, I tried to make an appointment with my physician, but the office couldn’t fit me in for a week. I knew I needed to see someone. Thankfully, the new doctor was able to fit me in the very next day; all I had to do was be patient for one more day.
Looking back, I have been in pain for a long time. When people poke me in certain areas, I can feel the poke for an extended period of time. When I was hit by the ball while playing dodge ball with kids at work, I seemed to feel the pain for longer than others. I can’t lie on certain parts of my body because I have a tingling pain. I’ve always thought I was a wimp, that maybe everyone felt pain in the way I did when touched by someone. Little did I know, I was wrong.
As I met with my new doctor, we went over my medical history. I explained to her that I may be one of “those” people that did some research online to see if I could figure out what was wrong. She was actually glad that I had, because then I would know what tests she would perform to find the right diagnosis.
When doctors look for Fibromyalgia, there are 18 trigger points on the body that they test. They press firmly onto the spots and if the patient indeed has the disorder, they will be unable to tolerate the pain. If 11 of the 18 spots are tender, then there is a likelihood that they have the disorder. During my examination, I had 14 of the 18 spots that were tender, including 2 spots that I couldn’t tolerate her even pressing on. I sat there in tears, because I finally felt like I wasn’t crazy. The pain was real. I had a problem.
My physician was so wonderful and explained how the disorder worked. She said it in such a simple way. Do you remember the old telephone operators? The ones who would sit at a desk and connected the wires to the different phone numbers when you called? In this scenario, the brain is the operator, and the wires are the nerves in the body. For some reason, possibly because of an accident, post traumatic stress, depression or anxiety, the brain is telling the nerves in my body that there is constant pain when there shouldn’t be.
Since my appointment, I have shared my story with a few friends and my co-workers. I’ve been supported and prayed over; one friend at work even made up a “touch-free” secret handshake so he doesn’t cause me pain. I have now been placed on medication to begin treatment. I should see results in 4-6 weeks, but for now I have been given the opportunity to live, to understand and to help educate those of you who may have questions about people with Fibromyalgia.
I want you to know something about me. I have been in physical pain for as long as many people have known me. I need hugs and I need affection because that’s how God has wired me. Please, don’t ever stop hugging me because you think it will hurt me. I would rather be in pain than to never be able to show love to my friends and family again.
Does Fibromyalgia make me different? Yes, it does. I have been tired for a very long time, without knowing why. I have poked myself with a staple and felt like I could cry. I’ve hit my knee on a cabinet at work and thought that I may burst from the pain I felt. The other day I shut my car door on my foot and felt like I had chopped it off!
One thing remains constant in all of this: no matter what gets thrown at me in my life, I’ve got God on my side. He is the only thing that won’t hurt me, He can hold me without pain, I am so thankful that I continue to have that reminder. This small set back is one more piece to add to my testimony.
To my friends reading who may know someone else with this condition: don’t treat them any different that you do now. Try to understand, encourage and pray for them. Some are bedridden and in such unmanageable pain. Just be there to hold their hand when they can touch you, or be their listening ear when they need a friend.
I love the song from the music group Hillsong, titled “Anchor”. A few of the words from the lyrics resonate in my soul:
” I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You
With endless love
All my fear is swept away
I will trust in You”
Trusting God above all else,