I initially joined "Patients Like Me" several years ago because I had severe Fibromyalgia. My boyfriend of over a decade dropped me like a hot potato. This is the same man who had told me "our relationship is just like we are married". I never felt the same. There was no commitment and he was selfish as he admitted himself and he broke every promise he'd ever made to me. There were so many "red flags" I ignored. Hindsight is 20/20. He'd told me we would be married, but that was clearly a way to have his cake and eat it too as well as keep me hanging on. I am very ashamed of that. I found out who my true friends are and who were acquaintances using me I'm very tenderhearted so I am my own worst enemy, always seeing only the best in people and very gullible. The initial "introduce yourself" was from after my initial diagnosis and experience with Fibromyalgia. Before my diagnosis I didn't know what was wrong with me. I had chronic, extreme pain, beginning with my entire spine and radiating out. I also had other places on my body that felt like I had been beaten with a bat, very tender to the touch, but no bruises. The pain was so bad I could barely turn myself over in bed in the beginning. I went to many specialist receiving the same diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, but hoping with each new specialist to get a diagnosis that came with a cure. I had to stop work (I loved my job and my salary was fabulous) and start a whole new life. I was depressed due to pain, fatigue, discovering which friends were not friends at all, and the loss of income. My social life took a big hit. No one understood. There are no visible signs and, at the time I first joined this group, most had never heard of Fibromyalgia. I was told many times that it was a "made up" illness and it was all in my head. Now there are commercials on TV for Lyrica among other prescription medications. I read that it is not a progressive illness, but I discovered that is very much NOT TRUE. Despite all the changes I implemented, i.e. exercise, drinking more water, having a regular bedtime schedule, etc., to improve my health, my condition did get worse. I began a new life that I found very rewarding. I began breeding parrots (my father had been doing this for a long time) and hand feeding the baby parrots, beginning when they reached the age of three weeks, even when it meant waking up throughout the night for feedings, became my favorite thing to do. It brought me so much joy. As they grew, cuddling after feedings was another source of joy. Sadly, through a series of very traumatic events, that came to an end. My father now has the breeder parrots and worse still I no longer have any communication with my father and not by choice. I've lost my mother, brother, sister, aunt, and cousin. Not because of my illness. I've done everything possible my entire life, beginning with my first memories at about three years old, to get my father to be proud of me and love me. I realize that isn't something anyone should have to do. A mother and father should love their children unconditionally. It took me until recently, to realize that no one should have to work at getting their parents to love them. I have a son and I loved him from the moment I found out I was pregnant. He doesn't have to do anything for me to love him. I love him with all my heart because he is my son and not because of anything he does for me. He is terrific and has always been there for me. Raising him is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced in my life. He was about 10 years old when I was diagnosed. As for my physical condition, I still struggle with sleep. I was hospitalized for 5 weeks with a severe case of shingles. It took years to recover from that. My overall physical condition affected my relationship with the man I loved and lived with for 13 years. He began drinking heavily every day and that escalated to him becoming physically abusive. That only happened one time and I left. I left my own home rather than stay and take any chances. He still lives in the house and I moved back to my home state of Georgia. The stress level before I left was extreme and having been assaulted and nearly killed by my ex-husband 15 years prior proved it was necessary to take this new threat very seriously. When I finally got in to see a pain management specialist here I was told if I stayed on the medications I was on I would be dead in less than ten years. He cut me off cold turkey and going through withdrawal was horrific. I was determined and my stubborn streak served me well. I accomplished my goal of getting off all the pain medication I had been on. It took two months. I have moderate to severe pain every day and I do take Hydrocodone as needed. I also take diazapam twice a day, as needed, and I only take them when it is truly necessary. I still have difficulty sleeping.
I began having these, what I call attacks, where in a matter of seconds my flat abdomen extends to look like I am six months pregnant. There is no warning and it really does happen in a matter of seconds. The pain in my abdomen cuts through to my back and is unbearable. It feels like someone has held a chainsaw over a fire until it is glowing red and I am being sawed into continuously. I can't suffer this pain without crying out in pain. That is followed by going from constipation to diarrhea and even both at the same time while throwing up in a bucket in front of the toilet. This can last for hours until I am dry heaving and there is nothing left to come out the other end. I can't help but notice, when this happens in the evening, that everything I have eaten that day has remained in my stomach, undigested. The pain does not go away and there is no way to get comfortable. I take my pain medication, but it winds up wasted as I throw it up. If, I even sip a drop of water, it immediately causes more pain and more dry heaving. I do not yet have a diagnosis, but I have read that Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be associated with Fibromyalgia. Last Summer I began having severe pain in my lower right back that made sitting up, walking, specifically putting weight on my right leg very painful. There was no position that helped and no pain medication helped so I did not take any . After an MRI it was discovered I had herniated two disk and ruptured a third in my lower back. One was pressing on my sciatic nerve. I was given steroid injections in these three disks and it was 100% effective. After a year I still have not had any more problems with those disks. For now, my life is at a complete standstill other than the absolute necessities. . I have been having a problem feeling like I am going to faint almost all the time. The large amounts of water I am drinking have not helped this problem as I had hoped. I want a life. Right now, I am only surviving. I hope this is not the end of my story, but the beginning of a story with a happy ending.