Quack Diagnosis

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I would have laughed at them. What I knew about Fibromyalgia, I could put in a thimble, but I knew it didn’t have anything to do with me, that’s for sure. Fibromyalgia was, or so I thought, a disease that was not real. Fibromyalgia was something quacks diagnosed people with, but not just any people. Those that were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia were losers. They were individuals who were searching for any excuse to not have to work. These people were lazy and found quack doctors that would give them a quack diagnosis that allowed them to rip off our disability system. That is what I thought.

In 2009, I began having unexplained pain all over my body. I had digestive problems, constant upset stomach, headaches, feeling sick and run down for no reason all the time. I figured it was stress, working, going to school, having a family and doing contract work on the side, I thought I was just doing too much and not taking care of myself as usual. In 2010, when the symptoms continued, I saw my doctor. This began several rounds of tests, several sets of doctors, several treatments and medications, and several failures to make me feel better. As I continued to experience pain every day, I would sometimes be curled in a ball on my bed, hurting so bad I was crying and unable to move. This was highly uncommon for someone like me. Normally having a very high threshold for pain, this was new and very scary.

In 2011, finally a test came back positive. I had tested very highly positive for ANA. Antibodies in my system were there when they shouldn’t be, they were too high, meaning something was wrong with my immune system. My doctors thought I had Lupus. I went to a specialist at a medical science hospital facility an hour away from where I live. The specialist examined me and my test results. He did not think I had Lupus. He performed another test. This one involved no blood or other bodily fluids. He put slight pressure on 18 spots on my body. Some areas hurt worse than others. Spots on my elbows and hips brought tears to my eyes with the slightest pressure from the doctor. He looked at his colleague and a knowing glance was exchanged. I thought the worst. Surely, something that hurt so badly was serious. But the words that came from his mouth were not what I expected to hear. Not in a million lifetimes. He told me I had Fibromyalgia, that the points he had touched were the pressure points for Fibromyalgia and I had tested positive for all 18 of them. He gave me some papers to read and said I should follow up with my doctor for treatment. Needless to say, I was stunned. Who would have thought a specialist at a highly respected medical facility would be a quack.

I went home, depressed and deflated. I had gone for answers and what I got was a crap answer. They didn’t know what was wrong with me, so they gave me the Fibromyalgia label. So much for getting help from a specialist. I went to my regular doctor and talked to him about the diagnosis. I expressed my disappointment. To my dismay, my doctor agreed with the diagnosis. I argued with him, I called the specialist and argued with him. No one would back down. They stood firm. I had Fibromyalgia.

Not to take the word of cowards and idiots, I made an appointment with a Rheumatologist. She would surely find out what was truly wrong and I would finally be on the road to recovery. I waited months for my appointment. Finally, the day came and I went to see her. I was afraid of what she would say, hopeful that there would finally be an end to my pain. After 15 minutes with the doctor, I had my diagnosis. I had Fibromyalgia. So there it was, three doctors, three diagnosis. It started to sink in, I had Fibromyalgia.

It took me a few months to stop feeling sorry for myself, to start trying to learn all I could about the condition I had. I read information from the Mayo clinic, Fibro websites, anything I could find. There is no cure, Fibro attacks your nerves and pain centers, it attacks your digestive tract and your mental stability. Most days I am in pain. I get out of bed and go to work in pain. I work all day, have lunch with my friend and go home in pain. I spend time with my family, play with my kids, kiss my husband and go to bed in pain. Some days it is hard to get out of bed. Some days my depression and fatigue is almost more than I can bare. Other days, I look at my children and I’m just so damned glad to be alive that I forget the pain for a few hours. But no matter what joy I find in life, the pain is always there. Physical pain. Real pain. Constant pain.

Every day is a struggle for me. Very few people understand what Fibromyalgia is or worse, think about Fibromyalgia what I used to think about it. That its a disease for losers, it’s not a real problem, that it’s something doctors make up to tell hypochondriacs. I don’t talk about it much because few understand and I’m just too damned tired to explain it. I don’t care. I don’t want to see that look on their face when I say the word ‘Fibromyalgia’. I don’t want to see their doubt and pity. So I just don’t say it. But, I’m saying it now. I have Fibromyalgia.

I’m not happy about it. I don’t think I’ve truly accepted it yet. It’s still not something I really want to talk about. But if someone like me can have this, then there are others like me. And if we don’t educate others, who will? To learn more about Fibromyalgia, visit the Mayo Clinic website for Fibromyalgia at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079 or visit the National Fibromyalgia Association at http://www.fmaware.org.

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