Today is my mom’s birthday. Since she will most likely read this, I will not mention her age for fear of her wrath. Hey – she’s still my mom no matter how old I may be!
My mom is pretty amazing. And not just because of her impressive qualities such as natural entrepreneur, leadership skills, project/event organization abilities, imagination talents, on and on. She is amazing because of how far she has come with her fibromyalgia.
I asked her to write a brief summary of her life with fibromyalgia – from onset to now. Here are her words (edited by me, approved by her):
In 1996 I was in an accident that resulted in me experiencing symptoms such as sensitivity to lights and the sun to the point of needing sunglasses, skin hurting to the touch of certain materials, muscles aches in every part of the body, and, the primary one, the inability to sleep more than a couple of hours each night leading to increased pain during the day.
After repeated examinations by various doctors, I was told the same thing – nothing could be found as the root cause of my symptoms, and nothing seemed to be wrong with me. A majority of those doctors came to the same conclusion: it was emotional and/or physiological. In other words: it was all in my head. I felt helpless, lost, and alone.
Eventually, I was referred to a rheumatologist, and he diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia (FM). This was a time that fibromyalgia was ‘new’ to the physicians’ world, and there was still a lot to be learned about this condition, but he was convinced this was the cause of my symptoms. Relief washed over me, and my emotions were overwhelming.
I could finally breathe as I knew this was not just in my head.
My symptoms were recognized by a physician which meant treatment could begin; though many of them would be trial and error seeing how my rheumatologist was still researching the condition. It would be a learning process for him, my family, and me.
Over the next five years I took different medicines, and recorded how I felt physically and emotionally with each one. During one meeting with a doctor, I was given St. John’s Wart, and was provided with some relief. Getting back to my ‘normal’ life was possible!
When FM was discovered to have caused trigger points, 18 to be exact, I learned I had 16 of them. This was disheartening, but at least my doctor had more reaffirmation that he had diagnosed me correctly, and was administering the correct medications.
In the last few years, my doctor and I have discussed my progress, and my reactions to the most recent medication. Then we would decide if switching to the newest medication that has proven effective in patients with FM. I have changed medications several times, but currently I have found that Lyrica, in addition to a CPAC, is the most effective for me. I experience less pain, and more infrequent mood swings. Though my body is still impacted by a change in the weather such as rainy, cold, or cloudy.
There have been many ups and downs, but the ups are more frequent than the downs nowadays. As more awareness is being made about fibromyalgia, the more understanding my family, particularly my children, are of my condition. Overall, I’m very happy and satisfied with the progress I have made over the last 18 years.
Pretty incredible, isn’t she? I knew she was strong, but didn’t fully appreciate her strength until I experienced the same symptoms, and also went years before being diagnosed.
I am the most like her, and am grateful to God for her. My mom is my role model, inspiration, and light when it is dark. Though we tend to bump heads at times, it is only because we want to help the other, and have the sincerest intentions.
So today we not only celebrate my mom’s birthday, but we celebrate her strength and courage! I pray to stay steady, true, strong, and courageous just as she was no matter how dark her days may have been at times. They do get dark, as I now know, and it takes only the bravest of souls to push through those times. I am blessed to have been given my mom’s strength, and even more blessed to not only recognize her strength, but mine as well.
Happy, happy birthday, mom! May God continue to bless you with many more happy years that are as pain free as possible!
Did you know this past Thursday was my birthday? What an amazing early birthday present I was for her, huh? Read about my birthday surprise here.
This post was happily shared with: