That’s not entirely true. I’ve talk about my health a couple of times before on the blog, but certainly not very often. I’ve casually mentioned it a few times but this past Monday was only the second time I wrote a post actually focusing around my condition (the first post was lost in the great blog hacking of 2011). This blog certainly isn’t going to become focused on Fibromyalgia, but I do think it’s worth talking about it more freely more so to inspire those with the condition that think there is no escape.
Fibromyalgia is a tricky beast. There is no concrete way to prove that someone has it, it is diagnosed based on a number of symptoms and having a certain number of tender points on the body. I’m sure I’m going to catch some flack for saying this, but I believe there are way more people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia than there are actual people who suffer from it. Obviously I only know how I feel, but when someone tells me they have fibromyalgia I can tell within a matter of moments if they really do. There are certain things that those who suffer from this condition understand that others don’t. There are weird symptoms or problems that others just wouldn’t know about or understand. And in the most simple test of all, when you really look into their eyes you can just tell.
I’m not saying that there are tonnes of people out there running around intentionally lying and saying they have Fibromyalgia. But I will say there are people out there that believe they have something wrong with them even if they don’t, and since Fibromyalgia is hard to prove or disprove 100%, I think many of those people are diagnosed with this or Chronic Fatigue, even when their problems are something completely different.
This is part of the reason I am very hesitant to tell people I have it. When I was diagnosed over 10 years ago, I was one of the people who honestly thought that the only people they diagnosed with Fibromyalgia were people they thought were nuts, or were making up all their symptoms in their head. If I had to explain how I felt when I was given my diagnosis that word would be pissed. I had been suffering from all these weird and random aches and pains and symptoms for years and years. I was a walking zombie and in horrible pain, I wanted to know what was wrong with me but that wasn’t the diagnosis I wanted. “Great,” I thought, “my doctor thinks I’m crazy.”
Over the years I’ve done a lot of research on this condition. I’ve tried to convince myself time and time again that what was wrong with me wasn’t fibromyalgia. It was something else, something that they just hadn’t figured out yet. I thought by researching I would be able to validate my theory and then wash the word fibromyalgia right out of my mind. Unfortunately the opposite happened. The more I researched the more I became to believe I do have fibromyalgia. It’s hard to explain away all of the weird symptoms I have that magically match up with the ailments that fibromyalgia patients have.
For example, I have the oddest problem with my sternum. It along with a few of my ribs get incredibly sore, I get a tightening in the chest and the only way the tightness can be relieved is by cracking the sternum. It’s really weird. Sometimes it just a small crack that doesn’t hurt, but sometimes it can be really painful. Sometimes the area over my sternum gets really inflamed for no reason at all (this has been happening since before I became a fitness instructor, so It’s not something that can be explained away that way). I couldn’t figure out what was wrong so I did a little Google searching and found costochondritis which completely explains and entails all of the symptoms I have. When I found the article on wikipedia about costochondritis I noticed it listed fibromyalgia in the article and lo and behold fibromyalgia patients often have costochondritis. That’s just one example but I have lots of other ones.
So, a few years ago I resigned myself to having fibromyalgia. It is what it is, but I’ve done what I can to avoid letting it run my life. Having a regular 9-5 job was killing me. I need to have the flexibility in my schedule to get extra sleep when I need it. While my job now is incredibly physical, I have the ability to set my schedule and give myself 2 mornings/week off so I can do just that. Obviously being a fitness instructor with fibromyalgia caused quite a few difficulties (you can almost be guaranteed anytime I make a bunch of mistakes while teaching a class it’s because I’m over tired and can’t concentrate), but for me those drawbacks are worth it. I find my crazy work schedule now works so much better for me than a regular job. Plus it forces me to exercise everyday, which has been the #1 thing that has helped me manage my fibromyalgia.
So in a nut shell, the reason I generally don’t tell people about my condition is because I don’t want to be judged. But let’s face it,I’m being judged anyway so I might as well be honest about my truth.