By Sabrina Ann Hawkins:
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) in 2015. My journey has been very long and tiring. I will make my story short. It began in November of 2014. I was having all over nerve and muscle pain. I had severe muscle spasms that shook the bed throughout the night, and it was difficult for me to lift my legs and use my hands. I have always worked out and ran a mile every other day for years until that November.
My physician suggested that I see a Rheumatologist, so in December of the same year, I began seeing a Rheumatologist, Dr. P. During my first visit with Dr. P., she noticed that my fingers were blue, so she diagnosed me with Raynaud’s.
She ordered blood test and x-rays on all of my joints to test for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The tests came back negative for Lupus and RA, however, the test showed that my muscles were weakening, so she diagnosed me with an Unspecified Autoimmune Disease.
I kept a journal of all my symptoms and three months later, I had a follow up with Dr. P. I told her about my current symptoms and when I mentioned that I often had flu like symptoms, she decided to do the pressure point test and each area was painful.
Dr. P. then diagnosed me with FM. She explained to me the symptoms of FM and recommended I see a neurologist, due to the all over nerve pain, tingling and numbness that I was experiencing. The Neurologist completed tests and told me that I had Neuropathy, due to an autoimmune disease.
For one year, I was in severe pain with no breakthrough.
Over the counter medications were not helping and I thought that I was going to lose my mind or die. No one understood the pain and could not give me answers. I never know how my day is going to be because the flare ups come out of nowhere. There are days that I have difficulty with walking and with my fine motor skills.
I still have flu like symptoms, skin sensitivity, muscle pains and spasms, joint pain, all over nerve pain, joint stiffness, migraines, anxiety and vertigo. FM is difficult to describe to family and friends and everyone who has FM symptoms differ.
It’s funny how people always tell me that I don’t look sick. I always respond by saying, “Thank God because if I looked the way I felt, people would run.” LOL!! I also get fatigued. I honestly did not understand the meaning of fatigue until FM because I have always been hyperactive. I’ve learned to humble myself and ask for help.
I take medications, do Yoga and light workouts, when I am having a good day. Thank God for my supportive husband and family.
Today, I feel a little more stabled. However, it saddens me that there aren’t tests or specialist who want to treat people with Fibromyalgia. I stay in prayer, keep a positive attitude and remain hopeful that there will be specialists who will specifically treat Fibromyalgia and that tests will be created to accurately diagnose and treat patients with Fibromyalgia.
What advice would you give someone who is newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia?
The advice that I can give is to listen to your body. Learn how to balance yourself and ask for help. Get the best medical treatment and as much support as you can to help on the days that you need assistance. Talk to a cognitive behavioral therapist or someone whom you can confide in and will listen. FM is REAL and our voices need to be heard.