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The Many Faces of Fighting Fibromyalgia

Posted by Natasha Graves on

The Many Faces of Fighting Fibromyalgia
By: Beth Dittbrenner

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (after a second confirmed opinion) I cried.  I cried and could answer only with “people are going to think I’m crazy or I’m making it up”.  I hoped that I would be happy because I had an answer. As long as I had an answer I could deal with it.  I could keep going and keep moving forward. I felt like that answer would be enough. It wasn’t. 

Knowledge became my shield of understanding. I cannot change reality, but I can be a prepared soldier fighting for a quality of life. I had to be enough. I took a step forward and never looked back. I definitely cried standing in one place but never looked back. 

According to the Mayo Clinic “...Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.  Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.” 

I suffer daily with a mix of the latter. Through a lot of online researching, support groups, and relenting questions to my doctors, I’ve discovered some other symptoms that I experience that aren’t an “official” listed symptom. Shining a light on these areas really helped me on my road of education and I hope to continue to do so by sharing my experiences and hopefully start a discussion.

I am going to highlight two: migraines and weird rashes. Sexy, am I right? 

I was diagnosed with clustering and silent complex migraine ( symptoms of a stroke - facial dropping, slurred speech, vision loss in one eye, etc). While there is history of this in my family, this is definitely not a usual symptom.   I didn’t have worsened symptoms causing a hospitalization and rounds of painful tests,  until after other areas of my health were in a flare two weeks post-op after a fatty tumor removal from my right brow bone. I’m currently being treated with a mix of prescription medication, herbal supplements, and a stricter diet.  I’ve never been a fan of solely relaying on pharmaceuticals. I was pleasantly surprised when my doctor shared similar views (he’s currently my favorite haha).

The true danger with clustering migraines is I’m also a type 1 diabetic ( insulin dependent). The treatment for a prolonged clustering migraine is steroids.  Steroids make managing your glucose levels near impossible. Sometimes it seems as though you need to make yourself feel worse in order to get better. 

The second symptom is weird rashes. I had blotches over my chest that looked and felt like bruises though no trauma occurred. I now also have a growing amount of bumps on my back, arms, neck, face, and head. I’m just awkwardly becoming polka dotted.  Nothing appears to help. I’ve tried showers, baths, lotions, creams, and a few other things.  This is becoming one of those things that just happens but is not high enough on my priority list to really talk to my doctors about.  Not on the forefront of my mind. 

It is always my hope to discuss and learn together. To help one another to find the light in the dark. 

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