Up until the time I was 10 years old, I had a healthy, happy, normal life.
Then the pain started and my life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.
I started having pain in my joints: knees, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, feet, back, neck, just to name a few. It felt like I had an ongoing toothache all over my body.
At first, Mom or Daddy dismissed it, but when they saw that I was really hurting, they took me to my pediatrician, who said I was only having growing pains. Pain at this age was normal, he told them (and me). Yet the pain didn't let up. If anything, the pain only grew worse.
In addition to the pain, I found out that I could no longer do the things I enjoyed: jumping on the trampoline, playing softball or basketball, gymnastics, or dance. Each activity only caused agony and I ended up having to drop out of extracurricular activities that involved physical exercise. I became increasingly depressed and felt tired all the time, as if I hadn't slept in months.
Mom and Daddy grew concerned about me, so they took me back to the doctor. Dr. Kelleher said that maybe I was overreacting or that the pain was imaginary. They didn't let up. They demanded that he try to help me. When Dr. Kelleher refused, Mom and Daddy left the office in a huff and we went to another doctor.
Same thing. Basically, the doctor said that I was crazy or crying out for attention when nothing could be further from the truth. By now they were getting pretty mad and I was getting really upset.
I was hurting. Asking for a little relief couldn't hurt. I only wanted the pain to stop.
Then began a year long odyssey to find the cause of my pain. Most doctors didn't have any answers; and most of the tests revealed nothing. Oftentimes I would end up back at square one and I wanted nothing mor than to kill myself. I was sinking further and further into depression's deep, dark abyss.
It was a very hard, emotional time for me.
Then Dr. Chiraj entered the picture. He worked at a pain clinic and he worked with kids and teens who had pain issues. He was suggested by a friend of my mom's who had fibromyalgia. I didn't know what "fibromyalgia" was, but it sure sounded scary and important. She said my symptoms sounded like the ones she had before she was diagnosed after a five-year-long battle of trying to find the cause of her pain.
When he examined me and took some tests, he found out that I did, indeed, have fibromyalgia. He suggested exercise (low impact), a change in my diet, and pain medications to help keep the pain at bay. It was like all my prayers had been answered in one fell swoop; it was nothing short of a miracle.
Now I am thirteen, going on fourteen, and I still have fibromyalgia, but I try not to let it rule me. I know my limits and if I am hurting badly, I don't go to school. It's that simple. I stay home and sleep or get rest. I also walk with a cane; it helps take the pressure off my muscles and joints and have had to get a special "handicapped sticker" for our car. Sometimes people will see me walking with my cane and they think I am faking it or trying to get sympathy, which is something I am NOT trying to do.
Or they tell me that I don't need the cane or start teasing me, which really hurts my feelings. I didn't do this to myself; fibromyalgia just happened to invade my world and now I have to learn to live with it and its ramifications. I wouldn't wish this on anybody and I wish that there wasn't any such thing as fibromyalgia! Fibromyalgia sucks, and I hate having to live with this pain all the time!!
~To be continued.~