In past posts, you may have noticed that I sometimes refer to my “mystery illness”. Today, I thought I would share a little more about that with all of you. It is my hope that by sharing about it and shining a light on it, people will be more understanding about it. Or, maybe you have similar issues yourself, and if that is the case, it is nice to know you are not alone.
My mystery illness journey started about eight or nine years ago. I used to enjoy working out three days a week at our local YMCA. I did that for a few years, and then the economy tanked and I lost my job. So, I said sayonara to my Y membership. It took me a good year and half before I found another job.
Once I finally got another job, I realized I wanted to work out again on a steady basis. So, one Friday after work, I headed off to the gym. Since it had been a while since I worked out, I knew I needed to ease back into it and start of slowly. I spend some time on the treadmill and worked out my arm and leg muscles on a few machines set on low weight. I cooled down by walking on the treadmill again. I spent about 45 minutes total working out. And, during that whole time I drank my big bottle of water. (I knew it was important to stay hydrated.) Before I left, I filled my water bottle back up so I could continue to drink on the way home.
I was feeling ok overall, then I opened the door to walk out. For whatever reason, the heat outside hit me hard. I remember thinking that I just needed to get to the car, sit down and crank up the air and drink more water and I would be fine. I wasn’t.
Once I made it to my car, I wasn’t even sure I could drive myself home. I remember thinking that I should call my husband to come get me. And, we only lived three miles away! Then I remember chastising myself because it was only three miles away. Surely, I could drive that with no problem!
Somehow, I did make it home. I also managed to get inside and collapse on the couch. And, that is where I stayed until Sunday night. My body felt like someone had taken a baseball to it. My head was in a fog. My hubby brought food to me and helped me get into bed at night and back onto the couch in the mornings. I recall wondering how on earth I was going to make it to work on Monday.
Thank the Lord, by Monday morning, I was feeling slightly better and went to work. But, I wasn’t 100 percent. I was maybe, maybe, 60 percent of my normal self. Obviously, something wasn’t right. I wanted to know what was wrong. I needed to know what was wrong. And, thus started my exploration into the black abyss that is my body and health.
I went to see my GP. His first thought was that I was dehydrated and had heat exhaustion. I scaled up my water intake and hoped that would solve my problem. It didn’t.
Over the course of the next several months I went back to my GP often. We went over a litany of possible problems/causes. I came up negative for every test I took. When I found zero answers with my GP, I started going to specialists.
I went to a cardiologist, an internist, a pulmonologist, and an endocrinologist. I had a small glimmer of hope when my endocrinologist told me that there was indeed something wrong with me. But, what that something was, he could never figure out.
Then, I decided to try a different route. I went to three different homeopathic doctors, a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist. I felt like I made a little more progress going in this direction. I started taking herbal supplements and stopped eating gluten and felt a little better. Emphasis on little.
In between all of this, I went to a rheumatologist. He diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “test” I can take that says definitively that I have fibromyalgia. It isn’t like diabetes where they can run tests and say, yes, you for sure have this. Basically, when you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, they get to this conclusion by ruling out every other option.
Most people that I know who have fibromyalgia are in constant pain. (I know of about three ladies like this.) Thank the Lord, I am NOT in constant pain.
Other people have suggested that maybe I have chronic fatigue syndrome. Maybe I do. After all, my main concern is the fact that I am tired all the time. Who knows?
I have a new friend in my neighborhood and we were talking the other day. Come to find out, she has almost the exact same issues and symptoms I have. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Maybe that is what I have. Again, who knows?
Therefore, I question if I really have fibromyalgia or something else. Hence, why I refer to my health problem as a “mystery illness.”
The Mayo Clinic tells us that fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.
I am constantly tired. That has been my biggest problem—just being fatigued and worn out, especially if I do anything that is labor intensive, like working out. Even carrying in groceries and folding laundry can drain me. And, when I do have more physical stuff to do, I can power through it, but I know I will pay for it later. I have trouble sleeping and mood issues sometimes. I also have achy joints. And, my joint achiness has been increasing over the years. So, maybe it is fibromyalgia.
In any case, whatever my “mystery illness” is, it is just something that I have learned to live with. I mean, what other option do I have?
I often find myself thinking about the words from the Lauren Daigle song Trust In You:
When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Through this whole ordeal, I have learned to lean into the Lord and trust in Him. He is my strength and I know that with His help, I will make it through each day.
And, somehow, miraculously I do.
I know it has zero to do with me and everything to do with God.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.