25 Nov My name is Chloe
My name is Chloe and I am a 27-year-old woman living with fibromyalgia. I
was diagnosed about a year ago, and when I was contacted by the FCSA I knew that
I needed to get involved, not only to help others, but also to further help myself.
Living with an “invisible” disease has been one of the hardest things I have ever
gone through or dealt with. It is extremely important that the fibromyalgia
community come together to avoid the feelings of being alone.
Like many others who ultimately get diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the road
leading up to the diagnosis is a long and painful one. There are multiple tests;
doctor visits, pricking and prodding that must be done, which ultimately end up
being inconclusive. My issues began as what was diagnosed as severe migraines. I
would get such bad pains in my neck and head that my vision was blurred; I
sometimes lost sight in my right eye, and was extremely dizzy. I made a few visits to
the emergency room, visited numerous neurologists, got X-Rays, MRI’s, CT Scans,
blood tests, etc.
After a month or two, the pains started stemming down my arms, back, and
legs. It got to the point that I could not turn my head from side to side, and at some
points, made it unbearable to walk. At the time, I was a first grade teacher at an
inner city school. I had to go on a medical leave due to my physical condition. On
top of dealing with the physical pain, the pain I was dealing with started to take a
toll on my mental well-being. I love teaching; people always tell me I am a natural,
so to have to temporarily leave my position was devastating.
After seeing that all of my test results were coming back fine, my neurologist
recommended that I go to a pain management doctor, which then led me to go to a
rheumatologist. It was these two doctors that gave me the official fibromyalgia
diagnosis. I was left sitting in the doctor’s office with an explanation of what the
condition was, but no real advice as to how I should go about dealing with it (just
because I received a diagnosis doesn’t mean that the pain miraculously
I was still experiencing severe pain, sleepless nights, and hopeless thoughts.
At this point, I was willing to try anything. I tried countless types of medicines
(none that worked), acupuncture, reiki, spiritual healing, trigger point injections,
laser therapy, and the list goes on. Different approaches work for different people; I
found that what works best for me is going to physical therapy. The physical
therapist that I see does soft tissue work, which has been a lifesaver. I have recently
started one on one Pilates and yoga training, which has been helping as well.
Another factor that has made a huge difference is that I am no longer on my feet all
day everyday running around with little first graders. My school was kind enough to
find me a position where I assist ELA teachers and students who are struggling with
reading and writing in grades 5, 6, and 7.
Yes, I have made a lot of progress from where I was a year ago, but that does
not mean that I am cured or pain free. One of the most difficult aspects of dealing
with fibromyalgia is that people cannot literally see your pain and what you are
going through. The worst comment a person could make is, “well you don’t look
sick”, or “come on, it’s all in your head.” Fibromyalgia is still such a new illness that
many people don’t even know what it is. That’s why I felt that it was necessary to
get involved with FCSA and help bring awareness around this disease.
I am lucky enough to have a great support system. This diagnosis has not
been easy on anyone in my family; however, they have stuck by me through thick
and thin. They were there for me when I needed someone to literally walk me up
the stairs or to the bathroom because I could not put weight on my legs. They are
the ones that have helped me get to the point where I am today. I know that I am
blessed, I also know there are people who do not have the same support that I do.
This is why FCSA is such a great organization and why we all must do as much as
we can to make people aware of what it is like to live with an invisible disease.