Yesterday I had an appointment with a specialist who actually diagnosed me--finally. As I suspected, I have Fibromyalgia. The doctor listened to and questioned me for over an hour, and then poked and prodded me all over, testing reflexes, muscle strength, and pressure points. I've been wanting someone to do that for a while now, so I'm glad to finally have found a doctor who did.
As many of you know, the pressure points are 18 places on your body where, if pressure is applied, most people feel just that--pressure. Fibromyalgia people, however, feel intense pain. You have to be sensitive in at least 11 points in order to get diagnosed with Fibro. I yelped, gasped, or cried on about 16 or 17 of the spots. The poor doctor kept saying, "So sorry to put you through this. Your body didn't like that one. Oh, even I felt that! (when a muscle spasmed in response to his thumb)" The pain goes mostly away when the pressure is released, but today I feel rather as though I got beat up.
When he was done he declared that I undoubtedly have Fibromyalgia. He did some blood tests to make sure I don't have any other rheumatic diseases, but all of them came back fine (though my RH factor was the highest normal number).
I have mixed feelings about the diagnosis. Even though I didn't think I had something more serious (like MS or Lupus), it's nice to know for sure. Knowing exactly what's wrong also makes treatment easier. But the diagnosis also means a lifetime of pain and fatigue that may get less at times, but will never go away.
I feel sad, but mostly I'm just ready to move on with learning how to live as full a life as possible. I kind of already went through a mourning stage a few months ago. I've had some health problems all my life, but more serious ones the last eight years or so. During that time, I saw several naturopaths who found various problems and began working to help them. I would get better for a while, and then something else would come up that we'd begin working on. I had a couple of years when I seemed to be getting and staying better.
Then last year, even though I was under less stress and was only taking a few college classes, I started getting markedly worse. The general tiredness became almost debilitating fatigue at times, my sleep was getting worse, my brain function was declining (my friends started calling me Blondie) and a few months ago the pain that has always come and gone moved in with all it's bags and furniture.
At that point, I began realizing that while I will have better times, this isn't going to go away. It's going to be there, interfering with my writing, my social life, my interpreting...even a future life with husband and kids. So yes, there was a time of mourning. A time of asking God why. But then, with His strength, I began moving on...changing my thinking from "How can I fix this?" to "How can I live the best with this?" It means the difference between sitting around waiting until I'm better, or embracing life how I am, where I am.
So this diagnoses is another step along that road--a big step, because knowing what's wrong goes a long ways in helping me and my doctors learn ways to minimize the impact.