Fibromyalgia is a mystery. There are a lot of different aspects to this chronic illness. It is a chronic pain and chronic fatigue illness. There are nearly as many different symptoms as their are cases it seems like. The primary symptoms are widespread overall chronic pain, chronic fatigue without exertion and sleep problems. Other symptoms characteristic of Fibromyalgia include dizziness, migraines, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), tingling, numbness for no apparent reason, skin irritations, Fibro-Fog, stiffness, muscle spasms, painful menstrual cramps, Anxiety, nerve pain, stabbing pain…. The list is just endless at times. A lot of people seem to lump it in the category with arthritis, which really isn’t correct. The way I have explained it is Fibromyalgia is to the muscles what arthritis is to the joints. I call them cousins.
There are just about as many different beliefs on what causes it as there are symptoms. I could list all of them but I’m just going to tell you the explanation that I’ve come to believe is true. There are no tests that tell you you have it. It’s basically a process of elimination. They test you for everything they can think of. When all of those tests come back normal and you still have all the symptoms then they finally tell you that you have Fibromyalgia. What I have learned in my 18 years of battling with it is that it seems to be hereditary. I have a large family on my maternal side. In each case where a girl is the firstborn that girl ends up with it eventually. I believe it sits dormant in your genetic makeup until some traumatic physical event “wakes it up”. And then That’s all she wrote! For a number of people I have come across it has been a car accident, a fall, childbirth (as is my case) or even a traumatic emotional event. It seems to be something that “shocks” the body. It’s like this event occurs and shakes things up physically and the fibro is triggered and becomes active.
Now the medical field has a bunch of different explanations for it but I believe my simple explanation seems to narrow down to a laypersons terminology. It seems to affect women the majority of the time although a small percentage of patients are also men. It’s even known to affect children.
That is all just a brief run down of the tip of the iceberg of Fibromyalgia. There are a whole lot of medical terminology I could tell you – none of which I would explain properly – none of which either of us would really understand. I’m all about the easy descriptions. I’m a visual learner so I like to put things into visual terminology so I can make some kind of sense of it.
May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. You can show your support by spreading awareness and encouraging further research so that we can get better medications to treat it and bring about clearer answers for those of us who battle it daily. Our support color is purple. So if you see me on Facebook or Twitter you may see my plea for you to wear purple on May 12th to shine a light on an illness little is known about. We appreciate your support.
Throughout this week I will be posting each day a little something extra about the illness. Saturday I will culminate the week by hosting a giveaway. The only requirements for entering is to post a comment each day that you visit – One comment per day please – On Saturday I will pool all the names in “the hat” and draw one for a Fight Like A Girl Purple Tee Shirt. Check out their website. It’s awesome and a wonder source of support and information about a lot of different illnesses. So visit and comment. The more times you comment – the more times your name goes “in the pot” for Saturday’s drawing.