“Fibromyalgia is a thing, you know.”

During a visit with a cardiologist to review new meds that don’t seem to be working particularly well, I was quite surprised to hear the words, “Fibromyalgia is a thing, you know.” I must have looked at him like he was an alien, because he proceeded to clarify, “It’s real.”

I realize now that I take the approach with doctors that they are automatically going to doubt me. I explain to them that I understand my nociceptors are wacko, that I don’t perceive pain properly, that it’s like brain damage. In short, I think I apologize to the doctor for not being “normal.” I’m actually trying to reassure them that I won’t wig out when they can’t help me. This was maybe the first doctor that tried to explain to me that it is real – that I’m not crazy, that there is something physiologically wrong with me. Other doctors have nodded understandingly and agreed, yes fibro is a thing and it’s rough. This doctor went a step further and tried to correct my attitude toward my condition.

He was adamant that my primary care doctor has to get me some pain relief. Unfortunately, the ways that he listed to give me relief were medicinal. Raise the dosage of my fluoxetine, try different meds, some of which I have tried in the past. Tylenol… All the usual stuff I have resisted for many years. I didn’t care that his solutions weren’t necessarily useful. I cared that he looked me straight in my eye and said, “You need to get relief from your pain” very seriously and earnestly.

It made me think I need to sit down with my primary care doctor and say, “I need to get relief from my pain.” I haven’t gone to the doctor for fibromyalgia pain since I was diagnosed. I’ve gone in for pain that turned out to be “nothing” (just fibro), but never to say, excuse me, I need help with this 24/7 pain. It’s always been: I’m sorry, I know it’s nothing, but I have this pain that isn’t “normal” for fibromyalgia; would you please check to be sure it’s not something “serious”?

I haven’t, by necessity, regarded fibro pain as serious. Of course it is serious, even when mild. But I will stand up and say every time, if you react to the pain all the time, it will only make it worse. You have to learn to live your life with the pain, in spite of the pain, don’t let the pain win, etc. I firmly believe that, and I’ve done a lot with that attitude. But the fact is, I’m losing the battle, and I need to change my thinking. What is another way to manage? I’m a bit lost. I just don’t know where to go from here.

BUT the highlight is young doctors are coming out of med school and saying, “Fibromyalgia is a thing, you know.”

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