When being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, one of the first thoughts to go through your head is, ‘Is this illness progressive?’
Many Doctors have done research into whether Fibromyalgia is a progressive illness like it’s sister illnesses MS and Lupus. However the jury is still out on this and many doctors will tell you that Fibro is not progressive. So if this is the case how come many of us, seem to go through six very different stages that Angela Wise wrote a post about. She believes there are stages of Fibromyalgia.
You have started to experience more pain and fatigue then you have had before and you’re not sure what is going on. You can hold a job and make it through the day but you know something isn’t right, you start researching and going to the doctor.
You are in pain a lot and taking anti-inflammatory drugs and/or other pain killers however you do not get much relief. You now start to accept the fact that this is something you are going to have for a while. You feel a lot of pain and are exhausted almost every day but you keep going and manage to hold down a job, still spend time with your friends and loved ones and have some good times here and there.
You’re in constant pain and you’re constantly tired. You wonder whether you will be ever able to function normal again. You are considering not working because you no longer have the energy you once had. You come home from work and all you can do is rest. You start to turn down invitations from friends and family just so you can rest to go back to work tomorrow. You start to feel more alone. More people are beginning to think you whine too much. This stage can last a long time, perhaps years.
You are unrelenting pain all the time, good days are now few and far between. You are calling into work more then you can make it in. You’re in bed a good portion of your day. When you do have a good day you take full advantage of it and do as much as you can, knowing you will pay for it tomorrow. By this time your friends start to make plans without you, they already know your excuses and are nearly certain you will not join in. People start to thing you are using Fibromyalgia as a reason not to do things as in stages 1-3 you were able to do a lot more then you can now. You feel alone, isolated, worried, emotional, sad. This stage can last years.
You have already quit your job or been let go due to ill health. You are asking loads of questions about permanent disability and how long it takes to get it. You may have a person who takes care of you and spend a lot of your day in bed although you still take full advantage of that one good day once in a while. You’re very sore, you cry a lot and feel like a prisoner in your own body. By this time you have already explained to your friends that it still feels food to be invited even if you don’t go. You find the only people that can relate are those in the same predicament however you wish your friends and family could understand.
Stage 6 (The Final Stage)
You may or may not still be waiting for your disability pension. You cannot hold down a job. Fibromyalgia is now your lifestyle, most of your friends are those living with fibromyalgia themselves. Everything you do takes all your precious energy including simple daily tasks you took for granted in earlier stages like; going to the bathroom, washing your hair, taking a shower, getting dressed, tying your shoes. You get irritated by your hair or clothes touching your skin, you have no energy or desire to put on “your face” before going out and no energy to keep a neat home. With all the medication you are on now or have tried, you are dealing with loads of side effects and constant pain.
You are a human and still enjoy some things, like watching TV so you try to stay current on any news regarding Fibromyalgia, in hopes they are closer to finding a cure. Most of your old friends are not around anymore, as they have things to do and families. However you need to rest a lot. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in this stage, because things are piling up around you: bills, laundry, dishes. You do a little everyday, you push yourself so you don’t feel like your day was wasted in bed, you feel guilty that you no longer pull your own weight in the house. Your kids, spouse or family do things for you more than ever. They try to do it in a nice manner but you still feel like a burden. You can’t remember anything, cannot recall names or dates and you lose your train of thought mid-sentence. Also you know more about Fibromyalgia in this stage then your own doctor and basically laugh when trying a new medication. You are without hope, same drill as before, same results, nothing helps much.