On this last day of Pain Awareness Month, I wanted to end with some final thoughts. Pain may not be our choice, but how we deal with the pain in our life and how we respond to our pain is our choice. Attitude matters.
I am not my pain. I choose not to let it define me.
You know there is a reason they call it “practicing medicine.” Doctors don’t have all the answers. There’s no Magic 8 Ball sitting in their office solving all of the great medical mysteries. Many women, especially, take years to get diagnosed (read more here). Trust me. I know.
This post isn’t meant to bash the medical community by any means. Having been treated for fibromyalgia and endometriosis, I have seen my share of doctors over the last 30 years. I have had some great medical care over the years…and I have had some not so great medical care. I have had doctors who would prefer to treat a symptom and send me on my way, rather than look for the root cause of my collective symptoms. And I have had some medical mysteries that have perplexed many a health care provider, leading to endless doctor visits, expensive (and quite possibly unnecessary) tests and medical expenses, and no explanations.
As Pain Awareness Month comes to an end, think about the other side of medical care – diagnoses, benefits, and billing. So what do we need to do to take our health into our own hands and advocate for ourselves?
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” ― Voltaire
In addition to nutrition and medicine, you need other strategies for coping with the daily pain and major flares that occur.
You have probably experienced something like this before: You go to bed feeling fine….maybe just OK….no worse than usual… And when you wake up in the morning you have some new pain. You roll out of bed. You’re stiff and moving slow. Every step hurts. You think you are never going to straighten up again. And then it hits you that there is some new ache that wasn’t there when you went to bed last night. For some of us, that may just be the aging process. For others, welcome to life with fibromyalgia.
“To hurt is as human as to breathe.” ~ J. K. Rowling
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia seventeen years ago, in September, 2000. In 2001, September was designated as Pain Awareness Month. Pain covers a lot of different conditions and ailments – everything from arthritis or back problems to Fibromyalgia Syndrome or Multiple Sclerosis to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) or Ulcerative Colitis. Often when you have one of these conditions, you have multiple, so the pain is compounded. I suffered with endometriosis for years, then came fibro, TMJ, and now I also have TOS, chronic neck, back, and hip pain/bursitis. Pain – and coping with pain – is a way of life.