By: Rosemary Stambaugh

Is it Fibromyalgia? As a child my leg aches became increasingly painful. I did manage to grow 5’7 and 1/4″. It was a hard journey, and I was sensitive to foods, stomachaches and nausea. When spending the night with friends, eating dinner might cause throwing up in the night. I had a sensitive stomach. I remember wondering in 5th grade if it was hard for everybody to hold their body upright. I never asked though. At times from my shoulders up, it was so hard! I was always tired even though I’d walk home from school (4 miles) because I tried to beat our bus. Always arrived same time.

I jumped rope, played hopscotch, rode my bicycle. Later I rode my horse. I was always tired. Dating was difficult because I had a hard time staying awake past 8:00 p.m. I did marry a wonderful man, but there are pictures of me asleep on our friends couches or recliners often. Then when my children were born, first one, ten weeks premature, I recovered in about a year. The second one, two weeks past due date, same situation of recovery having any sustainable energy. I was much more exhausted than friends who had the same lifestyle, job, 2 children, home, marriage. In my 30’s my Dr. did find B12 deficiency and treated a year.

I was a Radiologic Technologist and that created a lot of pain. I had to work parttime off and on, take breaks in employment because of pain and exhaustion. My favorite boss would say, “parttime, full-time, make up your mind.” I worked for his practice 30 years in ten-year increments. I was an excellent employee, and the doctors respected my pain issues. In 2000 I had 2 brain surgeries because of an arteriovenous malformation.

The second surgery was to install a VP Shunt. My B12 deficiency had returned and has been treated since 2000. I also have D3 deficiency and Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. I retired disabled 8 years after brain surgeries and then had gallstones bladder removed. My shunt was somehow affected and 3 years later had grown a pseudo cyst on top of my liver.

I complained to my primary, my rheumatologist about painful body, pain under right ribs and finally threw up in my sleep. My doctor ordered Cat Scan which revealed issue. Surgery to slice and drain pseudo cyst at same hospital my original brain surgery took place. I had been hospitalized a week prior to throwing up for chest pain and total body pain.

The Hospitalist blamed it on fibromyalgia when all heart tests were normal.

No CT Scans were done at this time. I’ve learned to advocate when I am sick, and I will ask for tests to prove something else isn’t causing symptoms. My PC Physician is much more acute in listening to me when things are out of whack. I’ve been treated with Ketamine Infusions and currently take Ketamine 30 mg. three times daily. I see a pain specialist. Also, I take Dextromethorphan 50mg 3 times a day with Ketamine.

This has helped a lot of the time lower pain levels from 7 to 8 to a 3. Also, this keeps my mood elevated. I also began Methylphenidate this past summer for exhaustion and it popped my brain out of lethargy fairly quickly. I still suffer flares, recently 4 weeks of high intensity and my neuropathy in fingers, feet have worsened. My life is much different than anyone I know. I am grateful to have the blessings of help I have come across.

Rosemary has included her treatments that help her battle FM:

At this time, I rely on TENS unit, muscle relaxer quite usually at bedtime, Naltrexone at bedtime, Desvenlafaxine and Ketamine, Dextromethorphan, B12 injections once month, Vitamin D3, Calcium, magnesium and zinc, probiotics, Tagamet 3 x day with Ketamine, Methylphenidate, thyroid medication and Propranolol 80 for head pain surgery site and left side of head. Also, Celecoxib 200 mg. a day. Melatonin 10 mg. at bedtime.