Letter to Myself the Day I was Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia

(Posted by David Gay, Written by Nikki Albert)

Dear Self,

You have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I know you have had it years before the diagnosis and you are relieved to finally have this Label. To know What it is that you have, even though you also suspected fibromyalgia. I want you to know first and foremost you will be able to cope with this condition well. However, you will get comorbid conditions of chronic migraines that you will take many, many years to be able to cope with well. And with that level of combo pain comes income instability, loss of income and income compromises… so be prepared for that. And we will learn comrobid conditions have to be managed for the fibromyalgia to be managed. They are just as important. I know you are very much mind vs. body and believe this will only affect your body and not your mind. However fibromyalgia does have cognitive dysfunction with it. As do the migraines. So double brain fog! Woot. But you will develop ways to cope with this in a work environment that work for you. Although, you will have some seriously ‘bad word days’. I say potato and mean pickle. I write word and mean work. That sort of deal. Makes for fun editing. We will learn we are an embodied being. Mind and body. And we have to take care of the Whole picture. Right now in your life you pace and moderate well. Bravo! But in the future you will be in denial again, and will think if you just push through the pain you can hold onto doing the things you want at the cost of your body. Please don’t do this. Pacing and moderation prevents Booms and Busts, and we do so much better when we don’t crash and burn. You will relearn this and pacing and moderation will be your motto! Be the tortoise not the hare! This is the most valuable lesson you will learn. And remember it well. You will do a lot of things to help with your fibromyalgia. You will moderate exercise, do mindful meditation, take a specific FM supplement, use an external pain device and take medication. And you FM will be managed well. As long as you stay within your limits. It took a long time to find what worked for you and what did not. And now we know. Because you will try. You will try a lot of things and that is how you will find out what works for you. And you Will find out what works for you. Trust me on that one. You will have some pain management that assists you with coping with chronic pain in a variety of ways be it the pain itself, thinking about pain or the perception of pain. You will never be able to do a physical job. Or stand on your feet all day. Or shift work apparently. You did try those things. But you will learn what you can do within your limitations. And that is a good thing. You know you can work a desk job. You know you need to get up a walk about every hour or so to stretch. You know tricks to help with brain fog. You know to pace yourself. You know multi-tasking does not work well for fibro brain. You know routine does work well. You know you Can work, as long as you stick within your guidelines of those limitations. One thing I know I can tell you, you can cope and you will cope. You will have a life with this diagnosis. The fact is you cope when you are trying to find treatment and you cope even better when you do. Every step you take in that find improves your health improves your quality of life. And you find you don’t have to give up a social life. Or your work. And your diagnosis isn’t your life. You just have to learn to pace and moderate your life effectively. And do the treatments that work for you. There will be trials and tribulations as you get your footing. Not saying there won’t be. And you will learn that emotional wellbeing is as vital as physical wellbeing. And you will learn your health is a priority. But in the end you will have a life with chronic illness. The most important lesson you will learn is to not ‘no’ yourself out of life. There will be pain. There will always be pain. But not to let that stop you from having a life within reasonable limitations of that pain. To not self-isolate. To have a moderate social life. To nudge yourself into doing things instead of saying ‘no, I am in pain.’

And I am telling you now; you will have this level of acceptance with your chronic pain that you will have a life with it. Yeah, sometimes plans get cancelled. But they certainly get made as well.

Love,

Myself (Nikki)

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