The past ten years of my life has been a lot like the average 20-something. I graduated high school and went away to college. I graduated and got my first job. I had my heard broken and broke some hearts. I moved. I traveled. I made new friends. But there is one thing that makes me a little bit offbeat, makes my experiences unique, and makes the way I see my next ten years of life slightly different.
I have Fibromyalgia. And while it definitely feels good to let the world know, that’s not why I am saying it.
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog you probably already know what Fibromyalgia is. For those who don’t, Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal syndrome that causes chronic and widespread pain and sufferers are pained by fatigue, sleep disorder, irritability, stress, and depression. While there is no known cause, Fibromyalgia is almost always directly related to anxiety, depression, and food intolerances leading to IBS or similar. The stats? One in 50 Americans suffer from Fibromyalgia, and 80-90% of those diagnosed are women. Astoundingly, roughly 5% of those diagnosed are children and young adults under the age of 18, most notably girls between the ages 13-15. That is the category I fell into.
Just a few months shy of my 16th birthday, I came down with a terrible case of Mononucleosis. I was bedridden for over a month, lost an incredible amount of weight and immune system strength, and nearly failed all of my classes. Although after about 6 weeks my Mono was “gone” I was just never quite the same. My head was always foggy, I was constantly fatigued, and no matter how long I slept I always woke up feeling tired. After taking my daily dance classes or walking around the mall with my friends, my body would ache with unbearable pain and would only subside after hours of rest and applied heat to my joints. At first, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I saw doctor after doctor, had blood test after blood test, went for MRI’s, Cat scans, ENG’s, and heart exams. I was tested for Cancer, MS, Lupus, Celiacs Disease, Chron’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and diseases I cant even remember, but every single test came back negative and I was starting to lose hope. Finally, a highly praised Pediatric Rheumatologist gave me a physical examination (known as a trigger/tender point exam) and told me I was suffering from a syndrome called Fibromyalgia, something that could not be identified through lab tests and was also commonly dismissed by the medical world aas a bogus diagnosis.
I was relieved and I was terrified.
At the time, little was known about Fibromyalgia, but a lot has changed in the past ten years. Medications have been approved, diets have been discovered, and more and more MD’s have come to accept Fibromyalgia as a proper medical condition. But after 10 years of living with this ailment, and experimenting with endless medications, I think it is time for me to truly change my lifestyle and better myself in every kind of way, not just using a drug to subdue my pains. For the past two years I have been taking Lyrica twice a day and am relatively pain-free, however the complications of this controlled substance is something that can hinder my health later in life. After plenty of reading and research, I have decided to adapt to a new diet and health regimen, not just for the body but for the mind, and hopefully sharing this journey will inspire others who suffer to join me.
I will fill this blog with the stories of my journey, recipes, information and articles, and food for thought. I encourage whoever reads this to contribute their own personal journeys and breakthroughs, and I hope you all leave this feeling excited, inspired, and healthy. I am ready to come clean in more ways than one.
Let the journey begin…