When I found the book, Reversing Fibromyalgia, I felt such relief. Someone was finally saying that I didn’t have to learn to live with Fibromyalgia. They were saying that I didn’t have to let it control me anymore. It was all in my hands now. I was going to have the ability to take my life back! I believed that this was finally the answer I had been waiting for all this time. I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I could finally exhale after all those years of holding my breath, waiting for answers. I knew, as I was reading each page, that it wasn’t going to be an easy, quick fix. I knew that it was going to take time, commitment, determination and perseverance. But, what I endured all those years, prepared me for all of that. I was prepared to do whatever I needed to do. I was ready, willing and able. I wanted it, I believed it and now I was going to achieve it!
I followed all the steps listed in the book, diligently. Each step, it’s own small journey. I discovered new and exciting things about nutrition, exercise, meditation and so much more. I learned to have a happy heart, a thankful heart. It taught me so much of what I had been doing wrong for so many years. I learned what to eat and what not to eat. I even learned HOW to eat. It was amazing! I was a sponge, soaking it all up as I went along. Not even once, did I think about what I was giving up (refined sugar, processed foods, additives, preservatives etc.) I was only thinking about what I was going to gain, Everything!
The regimen wasn’t easy. But, in the same respect, it wasn’t hard either. What I went through for all those years, THAT was hard. The pain, insomnia, anxiety attacks, migraines, fatigue, oh goodness, the list goes on. I look back now and it makes me cringe to think of all the suffering, not only for myself, but even more so, for my daughter and my family. The upside to it all was we were on our path to healing. There was a light at the end of the tunnel now, instead of the dark, dismal bottomless pit I knew, all too well, for far too long.
Going through the “transformation,” as I like to call it, I learned to embrace the Fibromyalgia and accept that it was always going to be a part of my life, but not something that had control of my life anymore. It was something I was always going to have to maintain, but that meant that it was going to be all up to ME this time. I went into my transformation with about 100 severe Fibromyalgia symptoms and came out of it with about 10 tolerable ones. I was revitalized, rejuvenated and invigorated. I had so much energy. I was even sleeping through the night. Most of the symptoms were actually gone! I felt whole. I was finally coming out of the fog...
I wish I could find the humor in this part of my journey, but
Alas, alack, I am not able
for this, dear folks, is not a fable
It is a story so raw and true
I simply cannot humor you
Instead, you get these thoughts from yonder
For you to take away and ponder
Think not of all the journey woes
Think only just of where it goes
It takes us to where we’re suppose to be
It takes us ALL there, you and me
For you and me, we are the same
The only difference is, our name
MY name is Dina and I have Fibromyalgia
In 1999, I figured out on my own (with some help from above, of course) all about this strange new word, Fibromyalgia. I knew that there were very few Drs. who believed in it and even fewer who did believe in it, but just didn’t know what to do about it. I also knew there were only a few ways to diagnose Fibromyalgia. Ugh, more tests. But, at least this time we were searching for something that they thought was “real” and not all in my head. So, rule this out, check. Rule that out, check. Trigger Point Test, um “OW!”, check. We went over the list of the “typical” Fibromyalgia symptoms, check, check, check... I don’t know about you, but when you check off 100 things on the SAME list, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. But I’m playing the game, I’m going with the flow. It’s been 10 long years, so what’s a little while longer.
“Ok,” he says to me “You have Fibromyalgia!” Well, duh!(I didn’t really say that out loud, I wanted to, but I didn’t) Then I asked, “How do we fix it?” “Well, we can’t fix it,” he says. A roar of laughter came blaring out of my mouth, the guttural, primal kind of laughter that makes you blow snot out of your nose. “What do you mean we CAN’T fix it?!” “You’re just going to have to live with it,” he says to me. I really wanted to say, “What on earth do you think I’ve been doing all these years?” “I’m done with it now. I’m moving on. I’m leaving Fibromyalgia behind like a lousy ex boyfriend.” But, instead, I just thanked him very much for recognizing and acknowledging that what I had was NOT all in my head and took the prescriptions he wrote for me. I knew deep down that none of them were going to work, but I owed it to everyone to try. So, I took my happy little butt, my book, my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, a hand full of prescriptions and marched on out of there.
So, I became a human guinea pig and I tried all the prescriptions that were given to me to deal/cope/live with Fibromyalgia. I really didn’t have much hope for them, but I thought it was worth a try. What else could I do? I didn’t have any other answers. This was the closest that I came to any kind of resolution in all these years. Who was I to argue? So, medication after medication, side effect after side effect, reaction after reaction, I trudged on, all in the name of...What? I still had Fibromyalgia. I was still in pain. I still didn’t have any energy. The symptoms were all still there. The only difference was that now I had some weird new symptoms (also-known-as SIDE EFFECTS) from all the drugs I was taking. Talk about complete and utter frustration. What am I doing wrong? I thought this was the answer? I thought I’m doing what I’m suppose to do? WHAT?! Again, no answers. (Little did I know, at the time, that all of this was leading me to my path of healing!)
Fast-forward to the year 2000. In the miraculous way the word Fibromyalgia came into my life a year before, so I could finally get my answer of what was wrong with me with a proper diagnosis, another BIG life changing moment happened... I was standing in a book store and I just happened to stop in a random aisle and look up and there it was...(No, I’m not making this up) Reversing Fibromyalgia by Dr. Joe Elrod. “Reversing” Fibromyalgia?! It IS possible! I knew it! Well, if I didn’t do a back handspring right in the middle of that aisle (Ok, I am making that up, but I did do one in my head). But seriously, I snatched that book up off that shelf faster than the speed o’ light! Yeah, actually, I did kinda hit the person next to me in the aisle. I startled the frick right out of him and had to apologize profusely, but anyway, moving on. Needless to say, I took that book home and read every single word from cover to cover...
When I first got sick in 1989, I had no idea what was wrong with me and to be honest, I feared the worst. I lived in that fear for 10 years, very sick, very depressed, very confused, very frightened and very lonely. Not alone, mind you, lonely. And, unless you've been in the darkest pits of purgatory (depression) it's very hard to explain the difference. I have always considered myself very blessed to have my daughter, my (now) husband and my family. They are my life, my breath and my world! It was inside my own frightened head and my very sick body that I was truly lonely.
For years, I saw Dr. after Dr. and all they kept telling me was, “There’s nothing wrong with you, this test came back fine, that test came back fine. I’d like to refer you to go see a very good...wait for it...Psychiatrist”. Yes, they were telling me it was all in my head. So, not having a single Dr. acknowledge, or even understand for that matter, what was happening to me, I was left to fend for myself...
Needless to say, I did a whole lot of nothing. What could I do? I couldn't move, sleep, eat, nothing and no one was giving me any answers. What on earth was I possibly going to do?! So, I sat. That's it. Aside from reaching deep into my soul and pulling out every ounce of strength that I had to take care of my daughter (with the loving help of my family) I did nothing else. Just some good old-fashioned, nothin-to-see-here-folks, move along now, NOTHING. I couldn't, I was in excruciating pain, I was in severe depression, each breath I took felt like my last, I had absolutely no energy what-so-ever. I had such severe anxiety attacks and panic attacks, that I wanted to jump out of my own body and take my baby and run as far away as I possibly could. But, I couldn't, I could barely walk across the room. Where on earth was I going to go anyway?
There was no way I could take care of my daughter and myself without my family. I couldn't even work a part-time job. I couldn't work, because I couldn't move, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't eat, I couldn't even take a fricking shower without the pain and fatigue knocking me down for the rest of the day. I just sat. I sat and I waited. What was I waiting for? An answer, I just wanted one single answer to just one single question. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!? Somebody, please just tell me. I'm so frightened, I don't want to die, please just help me. But, nothing...
Nothing, until 10 years later when I opened a book I had bought ("Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by Phyllis and James Balch) and I just happened to look down at a word I had never seen or even heard before, "Fibromyalgia". So, out of curiosity, I started to read it; chronic muscle pain, migraines, hypoglycemia, fatigue, TMJ, heart palpitations, irritable bowel/bladder, insomnia, anxiety/panic attacks... "SLAM"! I closed that book so fricking fast, I think I broke the sound barrier! I mean COME ON! Every...Single...Symptom? I had no idea on this green earth what Fibromyalgia was, so why would I want it? Right? Wrong. I realized it was, by far, better than anything I had feared for 10 long years.
So, I marched my happy little butt back to the Drs., handed them the book and told them, "Here you go, I found it. Now lets fix it"...
I wanted to start this introduction at the beginning, but I wasn't sure which beginning. The beginning of my life-1969, the beginning of my life when Fibromyalgia took over-1989, the beginning of my life after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia-1999 or the beginning of my life after taking my life back from Fibromyalgia-2000.
As I think back, I realize Fibromyalgia has always been a part of my life, right from the very beginning. I exhibited symptoms from a very early age, all dismissed by Drs. as "something else". Muscle pains dismissed as "growing pains", sleep problems dismissed as being an "undisciplined child", fatigue dismissed as being "lazy", cognitive problems being dismissed as "unmotivated" The list goes on....
There is no escaping the fact that I was born with Fibromyalgia, especially considering that it has now run right through my family. Looking back, I realize that even my Grandmother exhibited tell-tale signs of Fibromyalgia, long before it was even spoken of in the medical community. Again, "dismissed" as "something else". What about the 10 years of my life that I lived in fear wondering "what's wrong with me?”, when all of the Drs. "dismissed" all of my symptoms as "something else", yet again.
I guess I could be angry that all of that "dismissing" could have prevented me from being prepared when my own daughter developed Fibromyalgia, but I'm not angry, because I was prepared. I showed all those dismissers, when I figured out "on my own" all about Fibromyalgia. I learned what Fibromyalgia IS and what Fibromyalgia ISN'T. It IS real and it ISN'T all in my head. That really helped when right around the same time I was "diagnosed" my mother developed it as well. We were all prepared. I NOW realize I was meant to have Fibromyalgia all along, to make sure no one else is “dismissed”, it just took a while to figure it out.
Follow me on my journey from the foggy days of despair into the sunlit rays of hopefulness...