Like most of you with fibromyalgia, I was misdiagnosed as being depressed. Funny thing though, my mood was fine. I was so desperate for some relief from the pain and crushing fatigue so I took the prescribed antidepressants because that was all that was offered. After years of taking antidepressants that made me feel like a zombie I stopped taking them. I tried supplements and different diets. Nothing helped. So, I got proactive and read everything I could find on fibromyalgia. There isn’t much but enough to convince me that I needed to find the right doctor, someone who listens and believes me when I say I am not depressed. I found a rheumatologist who agrees that fibro is not caused by depression. She acknowledges there are many theories as to the cause of fibro but understands the pain and fatigue are real and need to be managed until someone actually figures it out.
At the time I found my new doctor I was working full time as a paralegal. I spent every lunch hour taking a nap so I could make it through the day. Upon arriving home, I would fall into bed and sleep until I had to get up and do it again. I literally slept from Friday after work until Monday morning waking only when my hubby woke me to eat. And the pain had progressed to the point that I couldn’t stand to be touched. I couldn’t take care of my house or prepare meals. I declined all social invitations. I had no quality of life.
Upon hearing my story, my doctor prescribed a treatment program consisting of Lyrica 150 mg twice daily, Ibuprofen 800mg three times daily, and lidocaine patches. The meds have helped and I am getting better quality of sleep. She also suggested I quit working. She said I needed to pace myself and use my “good” hours each day to improve my quality of life. She hoped that by being active only during the “good” hours and then stopping to rest that the “good” hours would increase. She said life must have balance and only working and sleeping was not good enough. It made sense to me. And she was right. I started at zero good hours and have now increased to about four each day.
Quitting my job was a rough decision. I am blessed with a supportive and loving spouse who wanted me to feel better and was willing to do whatever it took. We paid off our debts and I retired. It wasn’t quite that simple, but that is another story entirely. Now, my days are much better. I am able to do light housework and prepare a meal each day. I am able to spend time with my family. I even have the occasional lunch with my sister. I try to take a walk each day. These things I do during my good hours. If I extend a visit or shop too long, the next day I will have fewer good hours, but I consider that an acceptable trade off. During resting hours, I sometimes do get bored, but I remind myself that it’s like I am on vacation so it is okay to take a nap or sit in the sun and read a book. Life is all about choices. I try to make the choices that add to my quality of life: I chose to be proactive and find a physician who understands fibro; I chose to quit my job; I choose my family time; and I choose to have a positive attitude and deal with my reality as a person with fibromyalgia. Consequently, my quality of life is much improved and while it is not that of a healthy person, it is mine and I choose to embrace it.