I researched it, and it made sense. The way it was described sounded broad, but awfully familiar. I got myself a referral to a Rheumatologist, I gathered my scans and my sad pain history and away I went. Whatever happens it won't change me, I won't let it define me, I told myself.
As I sat in the Rheumatologists office that day, detailing the journey that had led me to this exact point, I felt a sense of release, and relief. How far I'd come, and maybe now, had found someone to understand, to shine a torch upon the mystery. She poked and pushed at the pain and truth. A small part of me wonders if I wanted to feel the pain, to be vindicated, to have a word for the collection of shit that I had carried for almost two years.
She finished her examination, and she sat, her lean legs delicately crossed, her perfect chestnut hair brushing her shoulders, and her mouth moved and contorted as if smothering a smirk, or chewing on some sharp words like a boiled lolly uncomfortable to place in ones mouth. And then she said: "all of these things, you have been describing and experiencing could be explain by a condition called Fibromyalgia."
"It is a diagnosis of exclusion...." It sounded like a big fat 'maybe' to me.
Still, I accept that it's a difficult condition to diagnose, understand and treat. As soon as I applied that label to myself, I felt the weight push down on me, as in my head I tried explaining this invisible curse to friends, family, myself... as I imagined conversations with coworkers, doctors and various doubters. This hidden hurt would never justify being unable to lift a heavy box, or explain why I had so many sick days.
Since returning to 'normal' existence, with this new information - I have scoured and devoured countless websites, books, forums - for answers and understanding. I screwed my head so much with all the information I was trying to take in - trying to be my own solution - I was wearing the hats of the scientist and the sufferer and it all became too much.
I sunk into a pit of doubt and fear, frustration and desperation and I sobbed my heart out, I cried so hard it took my breath away - hit by grief, all I could see were roadblocks and all I could feel was judgement. My parents were around to calm me down, to plug the out pour. I think at that moment, I was saying goodbye to my 'before Fibromyalgia'.
I still don't know where I'll go from here, or how I'll feel from one day to the next. To some extent I've lost control of my brain and my body, for now at least - but I am not prepared to give in. Piece by piece I hope to unravel my experience, and learn and cope as best I can - because it is mine alone, and another cruel part of life that I must accept.
...shoot me down, but I won't fall...