Initially, I was diagnosed by my endocrinologist who I saw for thyroid issues. When I told him of my new symptoms and asked if they were related to my thyroid condition he said "No, you have fibromyalgia." He told me to find an exercise I enjoyed and sent me on my way.
When you have been given a diagnosis like this with no extra support or information you are destined to be your own advocate. For ages, I did not accept the diagnosis and fought against it. I guess I really just did not believe that this thing called fibromyalgia could be causing all these painful symptoms. Finally, when I did accept it I began searching online for any help I could find. I learnt so many things about a condition that I had barely ever heard of.
Being diagnosed, with fibromyalgia, can bring up so many emotions. Your feelings, whatever they are, are always valid.
Finding someone to talk to is very helpful, especially if they are someone who understands chronic pain. It was so helpful for me when my rheumatologist referred me to a pain psychologist. It was so wonderful to finally be able to have someone who listened, understood, accepted my symptoms and feelings, and sometimes also gave me tips for coping. These were very practical tips about coping... like when you are driving, stop every hour and stand up and walk for 5 minutes because staying seated for too long can aggravate the pain.
You have to be proactive in getting your symptoms addressed as fibro has a myriad of symptoms besides chronic pain. Having the support of any kind of medical professional is wonderful.
I actually started this blog back when I was first diagnosed to try and help others in the same situation as me. I have spent the last 20 years discovering ways to help me cope with fibromyalgia. My approach is that every small thing I try can help reduce some of the symptoms and that is a win. I have tried so many things and while everybody is different I think it may be helpful to share what helps me:
- improving my quality of sleep
- magnesium in its many forms including baths
- gentle exercise
- vitamin D
- eating less gluten and dairy
- eating more vegetables
- hydrotherapy and hot water
- myofascial massage
- less stress in my life
Finding others who have fibro is also important for your sanity and to give you ideas to try and cope. That's why I started a private group on Facebook called FIBRO CONNECT. It has slowly grown to over 900 men and women all living with fibromyalgia and supporting one another. You can join by answering 2 simple questions here on Facebook.