Hello. My name is Kelli and I have suffered with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for nearly twenty years. I was officially diagnosed at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, CA (outside of San Diego) in 1996, but had symptoms since 1993. After the birth of my fourth and youngest child, I started noticing my hips were tender. I realize that is a strange symptom. While a bit bothersome, I did not seek medical attention for this. It was not until 1995 that I sought attention for severe neck and upper back pain that my story really begins.
First, I want to make something very clear. Most patients with fibro can pinpoint a big/catastrophic event/illness that usually was the start of their condition. I, in no way, shape or form blame my 6th pregnancy (4th live birth with 2 angel babies lost to miscarriages) on my fibro. I do, however, blame the *chicken pox* I got 18 weeks into the pregnancy followed by the *shingles* I got four weeks later on being my ‘trigger event’ that started my journey with fibromyalgia/CFS. With or without pregnancy, I firmly believe this illness would have triggered the fibromyalgia. I was more worried about the effects these illnesses would have on my unborn daughter than I was about the effects they would have on me. Today, at eighteen years old, after finishing fourth in her High School graduating class and now double-majoring in college; registered nurse and music…. nothing ‘difficult’ 😉 I think it is fair to say the illnesses did not have an affect on her. She was born eight days early, 9 lbs 4 oz and has been amazing since her first breath!
I was told at the time….. this illness they called fibrositis….. hit mostly women and caused a lot of pain. They did not know much about fibro then and a lot of Doctors did not even recognize it as a true condition. Thank God for those of us with this debilitating condition, much has changed. However, we still have a very long road ahead. So much needs to be done as many still sweep this ‘under the rug’.
I was put on a ‘cocktail’ of ibuprofen, a muscle relaxant and a very low dose Rx pain reliever. My pain was managed fairly well for several years with these medications and they did not make me ‘loopy’. It would be numerous years before I had my RNY (Gastric Bypass) and even more years before my exasperation.
In 1996 my first husband was offered a job in Virginia and we decided since the work he was doing in California (Union Welder) was ‘iffy’ at the best of times, a job with a company as a full time, permanent worker might be a good idea. The chance to live some place besides the city we had both grown up in was appealing and exciting. There are days I still regret that decision, however, I feel that there must have been a reason for us to come here. I procured a new Doctor quickly here and ironically, he had fibromyalgia! He did not have an issue with keeping my medications the same, thank goodness. However, in 1999, we had to move to South Carolina but only lived there one year. They closed the shop in VA, sent us to SC then decided it was a bad idea to close the shop in VA and reopened us. It was a tough few years moving back and forth. I also was hit head on in SC when a man went over the double lines. I mention this because I feel like this was one of the events that led to the worsening of my condition over the last few years. Not knowing airbags emitted a smokey, gun-powder like substance upon impact, I panicked and tried to get out of the vehicle. I ended up being drug on the ground for about 50 feet and finally get go. My legs and feet were not in good shape, but God was so good and I was ‘OK’. When getting back to VA a few months later, I found out my Doctor here had retired as his wife had recently passed away. 🙁 So I got another one. It was the same thing; the medications worked; if it ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
So life went on for years. If I pushed myself too hard, I had ‘flares’. If I took my medications and did not do things I really should not and tried to walk four to five times a week for about half an hour, things seemed ‘sorta/kinda okay’. Then all hell broke loose.
With the demise of my first marriage and the stress that came along, things really took a turn for the worse. I re-married and am happily, to this day (about ready to celebrate my 7th wedding anniversary!), however things have been tough, financially, because I finally had to file for disability.
My next post will be more of the “What fibro is, etc.”. However, most agree ‘something’ sets it off. My ‘something’ was the Varicella Zoster Virus at age 29……. and pregnant! There was an actual ‘chain of events’ that I believe led to what I call my ‘exasperation’ aka me becoming disabled from the fibro/CFS. I think within that, I may have possible adrenal issues as my anxiety is off the charts. However, for now, this is an introduction to me, and my fibro/CFS life.
Until next time, K.