May 12th is national Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Wear purple!!
As some of you already know, I have this condition and I have lived with this condition most of my life. Didn’t know I had it? That’s because I do not openly complain about it or let it define me; I manage it. I hurt daily – somewhere, somehow – but I made the decision a few years ago to stop letting the pain dominate my life. It’s a daily battle, but this article isn’t to get your sympathy or to whine. I want to share my journey with you and hopefully spread more awareness about fibromyalgia.
As a young child I was told I had “growing pains.” As teen playing sports, I was told I wanted out of running laps, I was lazy, I wanted attention, or that I was simply making it up. When I became an adult, I was done growing, I certainly didn’t have any laps to run, I had plenty of healthy attention, and despite my overly active imagination, I knew I wasn’t making it up. The medical community was still new to the idea of fibromyalgia and many doctors did not support the notion…and sadly some still do not. So, I did what my Type-A mind does and I researched. A lot. I combed through medical articles, read forums, and kept digging. I wanted answers.
I went to my doctor and gave numerous vials of blood for testing. I didn’t even get a sticker or a lollipop, which was highly disappointing; this was a Red Cross level amount of blood and they at least give you cookies and call you a hero. After all the testing, which also included x-rays and many physical, I tested negative for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), whose symptoms are similar to fibromyalgia. I am still tested annually for Lupus and RA. The only thing my blood lab discovered was a low thyroid, but having hypothyroidism didn’t explain the wide-spread pain. Now, we all know I didn’t go to med school – I majored in marketing – but my diagnosis of my condition was spot on and my doctor (God bless her for putting up with me) agreed…fibromyalgia.
There are options for managing the pain of fibromyalgia and those options do include a few medications. I currently do not take any medications for my condition. And I am not sharing that in hopes of getting a pat-on-the-back or an “atta girl” from you. It is simply my choice. If you have fibromyalgia and you find a medication that helps you cope and manage your pain, please take it. I wasn’t lucky enough to find one, but I found other alternatives that help me manage. Each battle is different. Just know that I support you and your pain management choices, without judgement. My mantra that I keep close to my heart is HOPE. It is more than a word. It’s a mindset…Hold On. Pain Ends (h.o.p.e.)
If you have questions about fibromyalgia, ask me. I’m happy to share! If you don’t want to ask me or someone who has it, then research. There are ample amounts of knowledge out there and I am providing a few links. All I am asking is that you 1) believe those who say they are suffering; it’s real. A sufferer needs is your support, not your preconceived notions/assumptions. 2) Learn, learn, learn! and 3) WEAR PURPLE ON MAY 12th to support your favorite glitter head (which better be me!) and all those who suffer.
Thanks for reading kids, I know this one wasn’t fun or full of my oh so clever wit that makes you giggle. It might be a rainy day here in OKC, but get out there and make today sparkle!