The Pain Isn’t All In My Head

In late October, I had my first visit with Dr. R, a rheumatologist.  I’ve been having problems with my left hand (gripping things, opening things, pain, shaking) and with my knee (feels like it was grinding bone against bone).  I found out a lot during the visit and from the subsequent blood work.

#1) I have fibromyalgia.  My mom had diagnosed me with it (she diagnosis everything, lol), and I had staunchly argued that it wasn’t possible.  I was backed up my primary care doctor, who told me the chronic, deep-down-pain-in-my-bones was “just the depression.”  If my attitude improved, so would the pain.  She dismissed it, so I did too — it’s thanks to my Mom I finally saw a doctor who listened and believed.  When Dr. R. started touching the fibro trigger points, even though I tried not to react, I made involuntary noises of pain and Dr. R. said immediately: “You have fibromyalgia and it’s crazy active.  How have you been getting through in so much pain?”  When she said that I teared up, because it was someone saying it isn’t my fault and the pain is real.  She reacted with kindness, not condescension.

It’s also thanks to my Mom we finally got updated x-rays of my knees and found out I have moderately advanced tricompartmental degenerative osteoarthritis in one knee and osteoarthritis in the other.  My primary care doctor had to swallow her words on that one as well.  I would say, “HAHA!” except I have to live with these diagnoses.  On second thought … HAHA and an extra HA!  I wish I had been stronger with my doctor and sought relief sooner, but after being told so many times in my life that this pain was psychosomatic, I had started to believe it was in my head.  That I’m weak and crazy.  I’ve learned now that I shouldn’t let doctors dismiss my pain because of my mental health issues.  The pain isn’t all in my head.

2) My vitamin D is low.  Really low.  Normal range is generally accepted to be 20 – 50 ng/mL and anything under 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency.  Mine is 7.  That, my friends, is a clear cut indication of what a shitty diet I have.  I’m eating a lot, but my body is still starving for nutrients.  This has given me something to think about and maybe it’s another a call to action for me to change, or at least take some baby steps towards a healthier diet.

3) This one is good news: It’s taken a year to happen, but my kidney function has improved quite a bit.  My GFR has gone from 17 to 44.7, and my creatinine has lowered from 2.83 to 1.3.  That means that I am considered “stable” and my outlook is a lot better than it was last October.  At that point I was almost hospitalized because of my kidney impairment.  My Mom was scared, but I was having moments of happiness because I thought that meant that I might die and not have to feel guilty about it.  All I would have to do is the opposite of what I was told (i.e. keep taking Advil/NSAIDs).  Sick thoughts, I know, but that’s where I was at with it then.  Now … I think I’m glad I persevered.

Maybe I’m having an “up” day, or maybe this is a real shift in my thinking, but either way I’m feeling like I want to start down a healthier path.  I could start by keeping a journal of everything I eat, no matter how little or how much.  I think that would be a good start, don’t you?


5 thoughts on “The Pain Isn’t All In My Head

  1. I have a good friend with chronic depression and Crohn’s Disease. She had been sick for many years with the latter before it was finally diagnosed, but many people thought the illness was in her head until it was diagnosed. It was very frustrating for her (understandably) to feel like know one believed her, and it made my very sad for her. I am glad you were able to find a doctor who listened to you and I hope you are able to get the treatments you need. Stopping by from the NaBloPoMo linkup.


  2. Excellent news on your kidney functioning. About the fibro… Now it has a name. Now you know what it is. You don’t have to ache so badly anymore. I’m happy for you. Knowing is half battle, as they say. You might say to yourself, ugh it’s one thing on top of another. You can handle it. You’ve come this far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This past spring, the spousal unit had a nasty bout with polymyalgia rheumatica so I sympathize greatly. It was so debilitating and just plain scary. luckily we found a good Doc who got the treatment right and whilst we still are working our way out from under the disease there is light at the end of tunnel. Best to you.


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