When the doctor told me that the source of my unending fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and sleepless nights was fibromyalgia, I could hardly believe it. I had spent the last several months going from one specialist to another—getting tests and scans and trying a variety of treatments, none of which had any effect. When the diagnosis was finally revealed, I was filled with a mix of emotions—resignation that I finally had a medical label for my distress, and hope that I could begin to get some relief.
As the doctor began to explain to me all the potential symptoms of fibromyalgia, I had a sinking feeling. Most of them applied to me—pain all over my body, fatigue, sleeplessness, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and depression. It seemed like I was living with a ticking time bomb that went off randomly and unpredictably.
The doctor prescribed a course of treatment involving physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes. He also recommended cognitive behavioral therapy to help me cope with the pain, fatigue, and depression. After being offered a battery of options, I vowed to try every treatment available to me.
My physical therapist was instrumental in helping me cope with the physical pain and fatigue. She designed a comprehensive program for me to follow, teaching me how to stretch and strengthen my body. She also showed me how to use stretching and breathing to help manage the pain.
My medications included anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and sleeping pills. I was also prescribed antidepressants to help me cope with the depression and anxiety, which were very common in fibromyalgia patients.
Finally, I had to make lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier, getting regular exercise, and making sure I got adequate rest. I also had to learn ways to reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques.
It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but eventually, I started to see some progress. I was able to get more restful sleep, manage my pain better, and begin to feel more energized. With the help of my therapist, I was better able to cope with the depression and anxiety that fibromyalgia had brought on.
Although I am still living with the daily pain and fatigue, I have learned to manage it better. I have also learned to recognize the warning signs that a flare-up may be coming on, so I can take steps to manage it before it reaches a debilitating level. With perseverance and some patience, I am well on my way to making a full recovery.