Four and a half years ago, the joint and muscle pain began (August 2008).
Around this same time, I had just moved to Michigan to go to Bible school in an old, moldy school building, and also got stung by a bee that let the doctors know I was deathly allergic. The sting, or something around that same time, left a red spot in the shape of a perfect circle on my left shin which is still there to this day. My digestion was getting worse by the minute and I finally thought to go off gluten, finding that to be the culprit: have been gluten free for five years now.
I went to see a rheumatologist over Christmas break (in 2008) and was checked for rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, lupus, lyme's disease, osteoporosis, and everything else I'm forgetting at the moment: they were all negative so I was then diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain slowly but surely got worse once I went back to school, was home over the summer, and went back to MI for my third semester, being forced to make the toughest decision to drop out of school and move back home three months later. About seven months after that I was diagnosed with clinical depression, went on 150 mg of Zoloft for the very first time along with 20 mg of Elavil. I felt and saw a fairly immediate response to being on the anti-depressants which I was very thankful for, and it was helping to ease my pain a tiny bit as well.
Time passed and I got to begin attending college again, but this time while living at home, and was walking a lot every single day for exercise and it began to show in my weight, but didn't help too too much with my pain - especially with the cold weather western Pennsylvania likes to boast of. I was still on Zoloft and Elavil, and was getting a massage about every other week or so which helped with my pain, and drank a glass of wine every night before bed which helped me sleep better.
The symptoms that were showing their ugly heads around this time were:
awful joint and muscle pain
extremely low energy
forgetfulness, but not very extreme
bad digestion issues
off and on nausea
very very low immune system (everything made me sick)
sensitivity to chemical odors
restless leg syndrome
like, 14 UTI's
and a few more that I can't quite remember at this time.
I then had my first panic attack of my life in the spring of 2011, two and a half years after being diagnosed, and 3 months before I packed up and moved from western PA to southern CA. This threw me into a deep depression covered in tons of anxiety, but things lightened up once I took my trip to Cali and met the man I would later marry. A few other things I tried before making this big change in my life were: physical therapy, water therapy, laser therapy, supplements by themselves, and chiropractic care along with stretches and exercises.
A few months after I moved to Cali, I got a job at the local newspaper and was hit with deep sciatica pain for the first time ever - which has still not gone away to this day - had bad allergies to some stuff in the building, was let go due to health, and got another job for a much better organization! I also saw an immunologist around this time who turned out to be a scam artist. He got my hopes up only to drop out of treatment after taking $1000 of our money, so that sucked and sort of jaded both Dan and I when it comes to doctors that insurance won't cover. // Now I'm in the process of finding an acupuncturist in the OC area who specializes in fibromyalgia relief, along with a massage therapist and hopefully a better primary care physician who actually believes in my disease. Next time I come back and share some of my fibro history, I'll be sure to go into detail about all of the anti-depressants I've tried so I can keep track of and hopefully help other fibro fighters know which ones might be great and which might be the devil. See you then!