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The Road to a Diagnostic

How I got diagnosed.

September 2015

I had just started an administrative assistant class when an odd sharp pain started in my forearm. It slowly went away and it didn't came back for a while so I thought nothing about it and went on with my life. Maybe a month later, the sharp and stabbing pain came back stronger. So strong that I had to leave class and went directly to the see the doctor. He told me it looked like carpal tunnel and that he would send me for an electromyogram which is when they send you small electrical shocks to measure the electrical activity produced by muscles. And here I was on the waiting list. He also prescribed Vimovo which didn't do anything. Meanwhile, I had more and more pain in various areas of my body and they then stopped. Just like that. What was going on? I got some blood work done and everything came back normal.

December 2015

My fiancé and I passed the Christmas holidays in Spain. We went to Madrid and Salamanca. Strangely, the pain came back. Not as bad as before though. I thought it would probably pass.

February 2016

I went for my very first MRI. If you suffer from claustrophobia, some medication can be helpful to you. Also, the nice technician told me to close my eyes before I get in amd to not open them until he said so. Anyways, it seemed like it took forever. When I came out I was a bit dizzy. Later that year I had 2 more MRI's and all 3 came back normal. How could it be? Something wasn't right.

June 2016

Still in lots of pain and almost fell down the stairs in school from vertigo. So my doctor prescribed betahistine. It helped the first few days but then, nothing at all.

August 2016

Started getting those crazy muscle spasms. I had never seen anything quite like it before. So here I was yet with another prescription: baclofen. It seemed to work at first but I then get an allergic reaction and had to stop it.

November 2016

Insomnia is back. I am then prescribed trazodone. It was a very strong medication for me. So again, I stopped it. With terrible withdrawals.

Winter 2016

Winter was horrible. I was in pain more often than not. Not just any pain, they were sharp, stabbing , shooting pain that makes you wonder how long will this will last? Will I ever be normal again? Do I have a disease? Is it going to stop anytime soon? 

Spring 2016

The sun came out and I started feeling better longer. Shortly after I started getting these weird new symptoms. Vertigo had multiplied, my left side of my face was numb, my skin was itchy and I had a lot of migraines.  I went back to my family doctor who insisted that I had to be depressed because I was a single mom that was going to school. In my heart I knew there was something else going on. Not depression. I remember one day for Easter we had visitors and I was in so much pain I could not even move and was in bed all that time we had company. I tried all the home remedies, from Voltaren (which sometimes helped) to essential oils. Nothing was doing anything. 

I kept going from doctor to doctor looking for one who would actually listen. Then came December 2016. I called my optometrist because my eyes were so painful that I could barely open them. He made room for an urgent appointment and 3 days later I saw him. I had lost part of my vision in my left eye which could of explained the vertigo I was experiencing. My optometrist knows all my family. We all go to him. He asked me general questions on my health and because he couldn't explain all my pain, he sent me to a neuro-oftalmologist in March 2017. I didn't even know it was a thing. So the neuro put me some drops to dilate my pupils to then ask some questions. I remained without answers. I was very disappointed, once again.

April 2016

Vertigo, headaches, nausea, and pain were all present. I remember how at one point I was in class, pale as a ghost and a friend next to me asked me if I was alright. I had my head down trying to find a way to stop the dizziness. Right after lunch I had an exam. The teacher told me that if I left I'd have to retake the exam. I left and went to vomit in the bathroom. I went home. Everything was spinning out of control.

May 2016 

I dropped out of school. I was in too much pain and bad shape to continue. I kept going from doctor to doctor looking for someone who would actually believe me. Time passed by and I had decided this was it. I wasn't going to look for answers anymore. I would just keep getting more and more disappointed. 

August 2017

Saw the neurologist so that she could tell me nothing was wrong with me, that it was all in my head and that if I wanted, she could send me for more tests because "it can help her pay her mortgage."

Then October 2017 came.

It was Friday the 13th. I woke up with what felt like heart palpitations and I got scared. So I took the bus and went to the ER. The "lovely" nurse told me that either I waited 20 hours at the hospital or I could go to a clinic where she could send me with an appointment. So here I was off to meet this other doctor. I was so nervous that he would think I was crazy and depressive like the other 25 + doctors (yes, that many in 2 years). He asked me questions no other doctor have asked me before and asked about the 2 years of tests and specialists I had seen. He was shocked that nobody gave me proper care or diagnostic. He then told me those words I have been waiting to hear for a long time." I know what is wrong with you, and it's not depression." He said, "you have fibromyalgia". 

There is no cure (yet) for fibromyalgia and it is hard to find the right treatment when we don't even know where it comes from. But then I ask myself, how come it took so long to get diagnosed? Why do women get tagged with depression automatically? How come not a lot of doctors recognized fibromyalgia? 

If you are going through this as well, please don't give up. I know it's hard. I know it hurts physically, emotionally, and psychologically. But we need to be heard. We need to let them know that it's not all in our head.

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