Life with Fibromyalgia: Misdiagnosed for Years

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I always had headaches and aches and pains when I was younger. At 8, our GP referred me to a psychiatrist as she could not find anything wrong with me.

Later that year I was diagnosed with tickbite fever. I went my whole life thinking I had recurring tickbite fever 3 to 4 times a year. The symptoms became known as severe headaches, muscle spasms and joint aches. I would just ride it out as I knew it would take around 5 to 7 days to clear. It became a norm.

Between the ages of 16 and 19 – I had 5 surgeries on my knees and hip. Constant joint pain caused the doctors to do exploratory surgeries.

When I was 19, I woke up one day and my hands were pulled together and I couldn’t open my hands. GP did blood tests and called me later that day to say I have tested positive for Gout. I was placed on chronic gout medicine. I would have flare ups once or twice during the year. I was also told by another doctor that I had polyarthritic juvenile gout – because multiple joints would burn like hell – except my toes?

At 26 I left all the medicine as I wanted to get pregnant. All throughout having what I always thought to be recurring tickbite fever and gout flare ups. I would just muster on.

At 34 I had another bad flare up – this time another doctor did a whole line of blood tests on me determined to find out why I’m always in pain.

The tests came back inconclusive – it was a semi positive for lyme disease and a semi positive for gout but it was not confirmative.

I was then referred to a Rheumatologist. He gave me one look after testing all my joints and said – you never had any of those diseases you mentioned to me. You have Fibromyalgia. He prescribed a very strong painkiller, anti-depressant and sleeping tablets. I was quite confused and read up on Fibromyalgia, as I have never heard of it before.

It was quite a shocker to think that for 26 years no one could get the right diagnosis. That I was basically not ill at all in my body – but rather in my mind? I felt terrible, like a fake hypochondriac.

But then I thought “the pain was always real. It was so real that some days I couldn’t walk.” I’ve learnt to accept my diagnosis and to understand what is actually happening in my body.

It’s been tough as hell. But I’m stronger. I’m more determined now to live a happier life than I was before. Before, I would be depressed for weeks on end, I would always suffer pain in quiet and withdraw myself from people. Now I have a beautiful, understanding husband, two beautiful boys and I’m pregnant with my third. I still have my off days, but its better knowing it will pass.