“Fibro…. What?”

The first thing that people usually say when I tell them that I have Fibromyalgia is, “Fibro… what?” 

Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2–8% of the population. Women are affected   about twice as often as men. Fibromyalgia was first defined in 1990, with updated criteria in 2011. There is controversy about the classification, diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia.

The fact that there is still very little known about Fibromyalgia makes it very difficult for both the person living with Fibromyalgia and the people who they are closet to and live with.  The nature of the illness fluctuates and is not visible as an illness which leads to prejudice comments and attitudes from others making the person living Fibromyalgia have to live with that as well as the illness.

What is Fibromyalgia

According to Wikipedia:

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure.

What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Tiredness to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory. Some people also report restless legs syndromebowel or bladder problemsnumbness and tingling and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature. Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with depressionanxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder.   Other types of chronic pain are also frequently present.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown; however, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The condition runs in families and many genes are believed to be involved. Environmental factors may include psychological stresstrauma and certain infections.

How do you Diagnose Fibromyalgia?

The pain appears to result from processes in the central nervous system and the condition is referred to as a “central sensitization syndrome”. Fibromyalgia is recognized as a disorder by the US National Institutes of Health and the American College of Rheumatology. There is no specific diagnostic test. Diagnosis involves first ruling out other potential causes and verifying that a set number of symptoms are present.

Can Fibromyalgia be cured?

No, there is no cure for Fibromyalgia.  There are times where it is worse and these are called flare ups.  Treatment and learning how to live with it is the best you can do.

What is the Treatment for Fibromyalgia?

The treatment of fibromyalgia can be difficult.  The medications duloxetinemilnacipran or pregabalin may be used. Use of opioid pain medication is controversial.

Support

There are many charities and support groups both in person and online, where you can meet other people affected by this debilitating illness.

According to the HSE in Ireland (Health Service Executive):

The name fibromyalgia comes from three Latin words:

  ‘fibro’ meaning fibrous tissues, such as tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones) and ligaments (tissue that connects bones to bones)

  ‘my’ meaning muscles

  ‘algia’ meaning pain

My Experience in brief

I had not been well for many years before I got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had googled information over a space of two years and had limited my illness to either, Fibromyalgia or Diverticulitis. I had been in and out of hospital between 2010 and 2017 on numerous occasions.

Finally, in May 2017, after waiting over two years with nothing being done or said we paid and went private. I had a scan done and went to see a Rheumatologist called Eamon Molloy. He works in St. Vincent’s Private Hospital. He diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and admitted me to Harrold’s Cross Rehabilitation in Dublin, Ireland to learn to live with permanent chronic illness. My level of Fibromyalgia is debilitating. Like all things in life, everybody’s bodies work differently.

My life changed overnight, and it took a long time to accept that this just is the way things are.  I had to grieve for a part of me that is never going to be the same.  I can’t do as much as a typical person my age, but that is ok.  Learning to pace yourself is both necessary and hard to do.  On a good day I whizz around like I a Super Woman, but it always catches up.  On a bad day, I lye in bed crying and feeling useless.  The pain can be a mixture of a terrible hang-over and like I was mowed down by a steam train.

I am still here.  I have my Husband, my children and some fantastic friends and they are who keep me going.

Love and healing hugs

Gracie xxxx

Grace O’Reilly © 23rd March 2021

8 comments

  1. Hi, Grace. I have fibromyalgia, too. I’m at peace with it; the pain will always be present, but it will not define me. I do what I can and I stop when I have to. “Fibromyalgia” is just a label. I love breaking labels.

    Like

  2. When I think of you Grace, I think of your energy, the way your smile lights up your face and how you’re so full of fun and life. Not Fibro…what? 🙂 xxx

    Like

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