I used to work with someone who cried a lot and was always in pain and was finally diagnosed with something the rest of us dubbed as complete and total bullshit, but our co-worker who had it, called it “Fibromyalgia”. This was in the early 2000’s. Fibromyalgia was a new thing. There were a few advertisements for Fibromyalgia medications that would pop up occasionally on the television. These were some of those first medications that would have the long lists of horrible side effects that were possible but not probable, and a narrator would read them aloud. By the end of the damn list, any sane person would most likely opt just not to take the shit. We felt badly for our friend. She seemed to be in a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally. The problem was, that this friend had previously struggled with emotional battles, and she happened to be someone who always had some problem going on–perhaps I should rephrase that. As I have grown up, I have learned that most of us always have some problem going on! This person just always wanted to talk about hers. Looking back, I have certainly had times when I did just exactly the same thing, and I am quite certain that many people wished I would shut the hell up. She cried constantly. Since we were teachers, this was not exactly conducive to our work environment. It scared the children. She missed a lot of work. When she was at work, she was crying and talking about how bad she felt. The rest of us turned into a normal bunch of catty bitches. We would doubt that Fibromyalgia was even real. It seemed like a catch-all for what doctor’s couldn’t find a diagnosis for. After a while, we were not good friends to our co-worker, and I regret that, but not for the reason that you will think as you continue to read this. I regret it because I was not the supportive friend that I should have been, and that is all. It’s not like we were best friends or anything before–I just could have and should have been nicer. Whether I think Fibromyalgia is real or not, is neither here nor there. I should have been a better friend. That being said, I do believe in Karma. And Karma, my friends, Karma….. she is a real bitch.
Fast forward to 2013, I was having such terrible problems with my lower back, as well as nerve pain in my right leg, that my doctor gave me the option of having a T-LIF, which is spinal fusion surgery. I opted IN. On October 18, 2013, I had L4 and L5 fused together. When Dr. Jeffords got in there, he found that my sciatic nerve in my right leg was being squeezed because it was surrounded by bone that had grown tightly around it. Of course, there was no way to know how long the bone had been squeezing the nerve like that, but that was why I had sciatica so badly. He removed the bone from around the nerve, freeing the nerve, and instead of putting plastic between my two vertebrae, he put my own bone there when he removed the damaged disc. He told me that it was possible for the nerve to get better, but we might not know for quite some time. Anyway….in the year prior to the surgery, I had started waking up in the morning all stiff. I was having problems walking down the stairs in our house. Not major problems, but I was not running up and down them like the young 43 year old that I was at the time. I still worked out every day or at least every other day, and that helped me to loosen up, but I had experienced a few spells that had lasted several days of not being able to get out of the bed, crying uncontrollably, and hurting all over. I had chalked it up to my crazy and called it a day. The spells had occurred in the winter time, when it was cold. We live in Atlanta, GA, so it’s not like it is ever 20 below here. I’m talking it rarely goes into the twenties at all here, but the cold seems to trigger it. The summer had been relatively uneventful. I live in my pool, on my big round float, basking in the vitamin D, and soaking up all of the skin cancer I can get, every year. This year had been no different. Now, post-op, moving into November, the temps were cooling down. I moved into the worst spell I have ever had. The uncontrollable crying was horrendous. The pain was horrendous. I had pain all over. My whole body hurt from my head to my toes. It hurt to lift a finger. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry, so that is what I did. It was so depressing. I would look out the window, at my horrendous back yard that I often times want to set on fire, and cry harder–wondering what the point of living actually was…..Then, I would think about my children, and how I had brought them into a cruel and callous world, and why, oh why, had I chosen to do that to them? Then, I would think about how we are all going to die one day, and what was really after this? Is there anything really? OH. MY. GOD. Stop the fucking insanity! Please! It was terrible. I did NOT want to kill myself, but I was finding it very difficult to see the point in living. So, I got a recommendation for a rheumatologist from my endocrinologist, and made an appointment. When we got there, I refused to look at the scale because I had gained over 10 pounds since the back surgery. I was crying. I could hardly move. I could not get my shoes on and off by myself. My endocrinologist had given me a blood test for immune diseases. The test was positive, but all of the markers for specifics were negative. This meant that nothing could be identified, but there was something. The nurse practitioner started poking all over me. I screamed a few times. I screamed “SHIT!” They gave me two steroid shots-one in each hip-for bursitis that I did not know I had until they poked me and I shot up off the table. That was one of the times I screamed “SHIT!” Not only was I crying uncontrollably, unable to get out of bed, in immense pain, and depressed, but my hair was falling out and my fingernails were ridged and brittle and had splinter hemorrhages badly. I knew they were going to tell me that I was dying. The thyroid cancer did not get me, so now, something else was going to. I did not really give a rat’s ass at this point. I had on my Bruce hat (figuratively speaking) from Bruce Almightly. I was basically yelling in my head, “SMITE ME, OH MIGHTY SMITER!” Take. ME. Down. Mother. Fucker. I. Am. Done. That is when the doctor told me that he had looked at my bloodwork and after looking me over, he was very comfortable with the diagnosis of “Fibromyalgia”. Well, well, well. Karma, you bitch! I did not want to tell anyone I had Fibromyalgia. Even the word sounded like bullshit. I got a bunch of new medications and detailed instructions on how and when to take them. After going home and looking them all up online, I vetoed several because they had a 95% result in weight gain. The doctor’s office hates my guts because I will email the patient portal and leave emails that say shit like “I am not going take such and such because I just read online that most people gain an average of 15 lbs in the first month. You can just forget that. Please prescribe something else and send it to the Rite Aid on Chamblee Tucker Road. Thank you very much.” They will respond back with “Mrs. Boyanton (which immediately pisses me off because it makes me feel old) you have not even tried such and such medication. You have no idea how it will affect you. It affects everyone differently. You need to stay off the internet.” To which I will respond, “I have now found that I would like to try such and such. Please send a prescription to Rite Aid on Chamblee Tucker Road. I already told you I am not willing to take such and such. Thank you very much.” Thank God we have now found a combination of medications that seems to be working well. This year, I am just now having my first “Fibro Spell” of the winter, and while it does completely suck, it is mild, compared to the past 2 years. It is difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning. I go to bed earlier than everyone else–not dreadfully earlier, but a little earlier. I do dread night time and going to bed because I dread morning and getting up. It is very hard to drag myself out of the bed, and if we are running late–just fucking forget it. I can’t do it. My legs just will not move. This morning was particularly bad and there is no rhyme or reason for it. My rings do not fit on my right hand right now. My wrists are slightly swollen. I worked out yesterday, but doubt I will today. I try very hard not to complain. I am not crying all the time this time–which is a definite plus, but I can and do cry. I attribute that to my medication combo being close to spot on. Just like the thyroid cancer, I try very hard not to define myself by this bullshit Fibromyalgia stuff, but sometimes I can’t help but be taken over by it for a bit, but seriously–I remind myself daily of Karma. She is a real bitch….and I mean it.