If I’ve confirmed one thing about fibromyalgia these last few months, it’s that it does not conform to a set pattern either between patients or within one patient’s experience. This makes studying it a scattered mess because so many disorders are reminiscent of fibromyalgia that there are stampedes to compare fibro to other disorders not just to see what’s similar but what makes fibro different from those disorders because fibromyalgia requires ruling out the “bad stuff” that can’t go untreated.
What if (once more speaking as a non-healthcare worker of any sort) fibro is more connected to other disorders than it is unconnected? Once more my ignorance is going to make it very difficult to explain…
Problem X has 4 clinical markers that physicians recognize to diagnose and treat patients. Those 4 clinical markers cross into the fibromyalgia camp. A patient presents with only three of those markers, the 4th marker comes and goes, or the patient has all 4 markers but they are not consistent. Does the patient have Problem X or fibromyalgia?
Usually the clinical marker that is either inconsistent or not present is in blood tests, so it seems very clear cut – no, this blood test has come in negative, the patient does not have Problem X. Putting aside the possibility of the need of a different “normal” range for chronic pain patients, what if the equation is: symptoms minus positive blood tests equals Problem X lite? or Pre-Problem X?
Of course I could be grasping at straws. Almost every day I’m struck by how MUCH the medical community can do for so MANY different patients – the miraculous happens every day. It would be nice to be on the miraculous side…. If I was diagnosed with the “bad stuff” maybe there would be a treatment.