Updated: Mar 31
I tell people all the time that I can tell the difference between my Fibro pain and Lyme pain. I guess it's probably debatable at best because both illnesses have so many similarities.
My Fibro pain is more muscle spasms/tightening, burning, and aches, it is unrelenting. The Lyme pain seems to show itself in different ways and I don't know if I will be able to accurately relay in words the differences, but I can do my best to describe it.
The Lyme pain seems to be more random. I will notice different joints hurting for no real reason. I will note that the Fibro pain can also be felt in your joints but when you deal with you begin to tell the difference between the two over time. Fibromyalgia joint pain is constant aches and pains, the pain changes at times too. Sometimes it feels like someone is holding fire to your muscles on top of the spasms. Fibromyalgia makes your skin hurt! When I say makes your skin hurt, I mean literally, your skin hurts to touch. I cannot even put the slightest pressure on some of my tender points on my body for example my hips, if someone comes anywhere near my hips the pain sends me through the roof. The pain is hard to describe because it's so intense it's almost like you can feel it in your soul. I have been asked countless times to describe my pain to providers and I always say: " I have bad days and days that are worse!" I don't hold onto to that mindset, but I have found that to be the easiest explanation of what my days are like with the pain. My other go to explanation is: "It feels like somebody beat the shit out of me with a bag of bricks and then set me on fire." My entire body feels beat up and it burns, so that is really the only way I know how to describe it. I know that many people describe the pain as flu-like symptoms/body aches and I can see that, just multiply that by 1000.
I was diagnosed with Fibro in 2009 and I had my doubts. I felt like crap for a long time, but it felt like something was off. I did what most of us do and went to probably ten million doctor's appointments and hoped for a different answer every single appointment. The answers never changed, in fact the moment my perspective changed was when I had a sweet female physician from a highly regarded hospital in Rheumatology look at me and say: "Honey, you DO have fibromyalgia, it is not, and your head and it is real. We don't have answers and we don't know why this happens to people or what causes it, but we do know that it is a real condition." Prior to that appointment, I was skeptical of the disease like many others, doctors included. Fibromyalgia, at the time, sounded like a really good label for doctors to assign to patients when they had no idea what was wrong with them. As time went on and more and more studies were conducted, things started to change in regard to fibromyalgia. People and doctors started to look at things differently and they finally started to believe in the illness. The caveat being that fibromyalgia is multi-system, multi-symptom disease AKA some doctors and people view you as a crazy person despite the validity of the disease. Fibro triggers so many different things in your body so you may experience an array of symptoms that make no sense- welcome to Fibromyalgia....nothing makes sense, and nobody fully understands it.
I think it is hard for medical providers to believe that a patient can be dealing with so many symptoms at one time which I think is ignorant because when you break it down it makes total sense....
My belief is when your body is in a constantly battling itself it never gets the chance to properly rest and reset. In time, the body becomes hypersensitive and triggers other symptoms and before you know it you are stuck in this vicious cycle. The things you are feeling are very real, I know because I feel them too!
Constant stress and tension keep you sick, they keep your alerting your brain to trigger so many other things because your body thinks it is in danger, therefore you are always playing defense.
I know most of us go to the doctor and unload all everything we are going through, and I was one of those people for the longest time. I just did a post on: "HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DOCTOR VISITS." Read it HERE! In fact, I once asked a doctor who became visibly perturbed the following questions:
* Do you think I am faking this?
* You think I am crazy, and all of this is in my head, don't you?
I then proceeded to ask for some grace and explained that while I realize he sees patient after patient all day long that has complaints, I am not them and I did not ask to be sick. I was so pissed I actually told him that nobody comes to the doctor because they feel good so if he was that annoyed by dealing with my health problems maybe he should rethink his career.
None of us want to be sick, we all want to feel better but the truth about chronic illness is it is a roller coaster and a lifelong journey of learning. I always advise people to do what they can, when they can! Small improvements can make big differences.
* Do what you can, when you can
* Let go of the idea that you need to keep up with others, our bodies do not function like theirs.
* Baby steps: I keep reiterating this because rest is the most important part of your journey.
*Move! Find a way to move your body whatever that looks like for you: take a walk, go up and down your stairs, stretch, yoga, whatever you can do to get some kind of movement in is important. I know it's painful... trust me I get it! *HINT: exercise in the water if you can- it is super low impact, and you still get a workout!
* Don't try to keep up with those IG models and reality T.V. stars, they are airbrushed 😂
* Cut off negativity in all forms!
* Surround yourself with loving, helpful, and supportive people!
* Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free when possible. *NOTE: DO NOT go for things that are literally sugar free, they have sugar substitutes which are poison to our bodies! Simply try to eat organic fruit, veggies, and meats.
* Journal: keep track of what you are going through, sometimes it is neat to look back and see how far you have come.
* Remember there will always be good and bad days! Don't look back! Take the good days and rest on the harder days.
* Rest, Rest, Rest! Listen to your body!
*Mindset.... we have to retrain our brains to think healthy thoughts. Positive affirmations, mindfulness, and meditation are great ways to do this- BUT it takes work! Get out of your own way and think positive thoughts.
The information shared on this page is for informational purposes only, it is opinion and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult your medical provider for medical advice and before starting any new treatment.