In the five years since I’ve had this blog I’ve talked quite a bit about my health challenges in, what I call, my Health and Weight Loss Journal. Lately, I’ve not talked much about it except for a quick mention via Twitter or Facebook when I’m not feeling well. I was “reminded” about invisible illnesses when a blogging friend of mine, Carolyn Mullin, wrote the post Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (May 12, 2012), her personal story, on her blog Conversations with Carolyn.
Carolyn’s post prompted me to bring invisible illness to light today (well, I’ve been working on this for awhile in between my life, health and whatnot); a little in advance of National Invisible Illness Week, which is next month. Carolyn also posted My Name is Fibromyalgia – read a little bit of it here:
Hi....My Name is Fibromyalgia, and I'm an Invisible Chronic Illness. I am now attached to you for life. Others around you can't see me or hear me, but your body FEELS me. I can attack you anywhere, anyhow, anytime I please. I can cause severe pain or, if I'm in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over (like having flu!).
Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun? I took Energy from you, and gave you Exhaustion. Try to have fun now!
I also took Good Sleep from you and, in its place, gave you Brain Fog. You wake up each morning, feeling as if you've been run over by a truck. I can make you tremble internally, or make you feel cold or hot, when everyone else feels normal.
My favorite thing of all, is that I just love letting you do things (because often, you are capable) Such as, go to the gym, clean the windows, write a long report, pick something heavy up.....then I love to reward you.......with lots of pain and stiffness, AND I like to make sure it is widespread and varied.....bone, muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves. Just for good measure, I like to throw in some tiredness and/or exhaustion, let's not forget the RSI's (repetitive strain injuries) or RLS (restless leg syndrome). I have to live up to my name!!
You didn't ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus you had that you never recovered from such as trauma e.g. that car accident. Maybe it was the years of abuse, or am I just a mystery? Well, anyway, I'm here to stay!I hear you're going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. (I'm rolling on the floor, laughing. Just try!) You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively, but I can guarantee that they won't make me go away. You will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, none of them giving much relief, and most of them giving you lots of unpleasant side effects. (Oh I love it!)
So now you have to suffer with side effects AND Fibromyalgia. AND it doesn't stop there, I can't let you have too much of an easy ride. I give you plenty of associated symptoms as well....problems with your bladder, bowel, in fact most of your internal organs. Plus sensitivity to sound, light, temperature etc., as well as MANY other health problems, that I can think of giving you!
I love the way that post is written. Click through to read the rest at Conversation with Carolyn.
Quite a few people ask me for details regarding my condition because they either a) haven’t heard of it or b) they’ve always wondered what it really is. There has been a mixed message – even among medical professionals – as to what fibromyalgia is or even if it’s a “legitimate” illness or condition. From my perspective, I don’t care what they want to call it, it’s definitely real. Since I’ve done quite a bit of research on this topic, I believe that my “fibro” was brought on by an infected gall bladder. In 1994 I had a severe attack of pain in my stomach and went to the emergency room. Tests showed my gall bladder was extremely enlarged and it turned out to be gangrened. One of the speculations is (like Carolyn says in her post) that the condition is brought on by trauma to the body (I’d say that was traumatic), extreme stress and things of that nature. At the time I was the single mom of a pre-school daughter and I was taking 18 credits per semester to finish my degree while working two part-time jobs.
My life now is just as busy – if not more so – and there is more to my invisible illness story to share. Come back tomorrow evening to read Part II of What you should know about invisible illness.
Do you or anyone you know have experience with chronic pain or illness? Share some of your experiences in the comments section.