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Today is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

May 12, 2011

It is a day pretty important to me. FMS is a large part of my life though I have tried very hard to not let it be the defining point in my life. I was officially diagnosed about 8 months ago. I think my journey started when I was 14 though. I read an article recently on risk factors for fibromyalgia and discovered I fell into a pretty much guaranteed  group.  I am female, I discovered through research there is a family history of it on my maternal side, I have sleep issues, I have a personality that hates stress and gets depressed easily at times, and I suffered an auto-immune illness in the form of Mono as a teen.  I was a walking bottle of FMS perfection.

So among the beautiful plethora of symptoms/concurrent issues I have the obvious widespread pain. My legs tend to be the worst and I have had that for as long as I can remember. It can be anything from a dull ache to a minor throbbing to an intense burning and can be just my knees or from toe to hip. Over the last few years the pain has spread. In times of stress or when I am on my period the pain can be through my shoulders, from finger tip to elbow, base of by neck, across my forehead, base of my spine, lower pelvis, and jaw. I have been diagnosed with TMJ, which is a lovely jaw issue that can require surgery and means I sleep with a mouth guard to help reduce the pain. I have migraines. Luckily I started meds for those and have been able to go from a couple of days a week to a couple a month if that. I have developed a lovely oversensitivity in the pads of my fingers and toes making certain days very difficult to walk, cook, write, type, touch anything, and I removed my acrylic nails because getting them done became agony. I have the extreme fatigue. Getting one major chore done along with the needed daily chores and taking care of Lexi in a day is a good day! I have discovered that my issues carrying my babies very likely relate to the FMS making the choice to tie my tubes a good one. I can be very forgetful and tend to have lists in my phone for everything as well as all tasks scheduled into my calendar so that I won’t forget. My joints crack regularly and fairly painfully. I suffer from depression. I am obsessive over certain tasks and need order in certain things to reduce my anxiety.

Those are the bad days, lol. Stress increases the chance of a bad day. Over-activity increases it. I tend to isolate myself from situations that could cause stress to reduce the chance of bad days which makes me come off as a hermit. Add that I genuinely love just being with my husband and girls watching movies and i often frustrate others. I promise it is not you. I really just am content in my solitude and much less likely to be miserable so I don’t venture out often. I am on a great medicine called Savella for the FMS and it has helped to make the good days out number the bad days. I absolutely still react to stress and still have days where staying in bed would be lovely if I didn’t have a toddler. I am blessed to have a guy whose response when I apologize for being a broken horrible wife in my worst moments just hugs me and says “You may need a little extra patience and a little extra care, but I would not change a single thing about you!”. He is one of the best things in my life. I am just like everyone else it just takes me longer and some days I am lucky to get to it at all but it will get done eventually. I love as much, I laugh as much, I cherish every moment with my family and I count every single blessing in my life. Fibromyalgia is one tiny part of me, it is not who I am. I am a wife and a mom. I am a writer, a designer, a reader, a cook, a teacher, a lover, a friend. I just happen to have Fibromyalgia.

CNN has great info on FM and you can also learn more at the National Fibromyalgia Association website. Take some time to read about it and learn. It is not in my head. It does not mean I am a hypochondriac. It is a real syndrome that affects millions around the world and each and every one of those sufferers deserves your love, understanding, and support!!!

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