Welcome to my Beautiful Fibro Warrior Blog, Thanks for joining me! My name is Raquel. I not only struggle with fibromyalgia, but bipolar depression & anxiety as well. This blog is mainly about sharing my experiences, strength, and hope with you all….in hopes that you may find some comfort in knowing that you, as well as myself, are “Not Alone” in this fight!
Let me start off, by telling you a little bit about my story….
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in February of 2018, but have been living in chronic pain for many years. For me I believe that it came from my genetics and trauma I’ve endured. My mother and two older sisters, also struggle with Fibromyalgia, Mental Illnesses i.e., Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, along with Degenerative disc disease & arthritis throughout our spines, Gastrointestinal issues and the list goes on! But you guessed it…I inherited them all, and it has been one hell of a ride!
“Though difficulties may lie ahead, whoever perseveres with love will someday find that everything has turned out for the best.”
~Franz Jagerstatter (1907-1943)
I am 42 years old, I have an amazing husband and two beautiful children that are all absolutley amazing! I have always been a strong, independent woman. I have dealt with challenges throughout the years…I’ve gotten beaten down to the point of rock bottom, but I have also gotten back up and have persevered through it all, by the grace of God! The back pain started in my 20’s, leading me to eventually finding out I have degenerative disc disease in my low back. So for many years to manage the pain, every 3-4 months I would go for steroid injections. Over time the degeneration was getting worse.
By time I hit my mid 30’s I started to develop other complications, like IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Endometreosis in my uterus which led to a hysterecomy in 2015. My depression and Bipolar weren’t doing well either at the time and I was hospitalized for that again. It was a struggle to stay healthy mentally and physically became harder for me. Keeping my bipolar in check was my first priority because it wreaks havoc and causes my body a great deal of stress on a daily basis. But my lower back, on the other hand was becoming weaker, causing me severe pain in my left leg. Shortly after I couldn’t take the pain and sought a neurosurgeon who sent me for an MRI which indicated I had a herniated disc and sciatic nerve damage.
In June of 2016 I had my first major back surgery, a fusion & discectomy in my L5-S1. Not even a week later I started experiencing insane migraines…which led to another surgery a week later. They knicked my spine during the 1st surgery and had t do an emergency CSF Leak Repair (cerebral spinal fluid). To make a long story short, I never healed right from the surgery, in fact, I developed more problems in my hips and with my left Sacroiliac joint which in another MRI inicated complete degeneration, which led yet again to another fusion in my left SI Joint in March 2017. I went to 49 physical therapy visits and that last week I started making some actual progress, my insurance stopped covering any more sessions, leaving me frustrated & back to square 1.
As time went on, there was nothing my neurologist could do so he sent me over to pain management in Sept. 2017. That October I took a very bad trip and it literally jarred my whole body from head to toe. The pain was unbearable, like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It hurts to even move some days. The pain was everywhere in my body & I didn’t know how to handle it, so it caused me pretty bad anxiety and panic attacks because I didn’t know what was going on inside of me. The most scary thing that was happening, was my strength and ability to do everyday things was decreasing daily. My independence was slowly dissipating & I wasn’t sure how to tell my husband what was happening because you look fine from the outside. My husband & I went to every possible doctor. We tried everything from massage to chiropractors nothing sufficed. Finally pain management suggested I see a Rhuemetologist…after several visits and tests beyond belief I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in February 2018, (which was a relief they had a name to it…but sadness that this is a lifelong illness & others endure this pain too!) It all broke my heart. He told me that my previous surgeries as well as my bipolar would only make the Fibro worse. My whole life, as I knew it was about to change drastically.
As time passed, I found it harder and harder to do simple tasks like doing my hair, brushing my teeth, cooking a meal. I felt as though my independence I’ve always known as the woman I am was being taken from me. I had to ask for my husband’s help with everything from A-Z. This was inexplicably frustrating & I cried all the time, although it did bring us closer together in our marriage, it was still extremely hard on both of us. Here’s a man whose seen me at my best & now worst. I was trying to understand Fibro. I was hurting, I was confused, and most of all I was terrified of dealing with a illness that’s incurable! How do you actually digest that you have an illness you don’t wish on your worst enemy? Dealing with widespread muscle pain, trigger point pain, cramping muscles, skin rashes, pins and needles, numbing extremities, migraines, random shooting pain in my arms or legs, extreme fatigue, being over sensitve to stress, loud noises, bright lights, brain fog & the list goes on. I began grieving the loss of my old life and things I used to be able to do. I became full of anxiety and very depressed & stressed out, which makes all these symptoms worse! It is and has been extremely overwhelming process…but I will push through!
It is certainly noy easy living with fibro, everyday is a challenge and is completely exhausting, but I refuse to let any of this define me so I started to read and research eveything I could find on anything I could about fibromyagia. Knowledge is always power right?! https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia?ref=global This is a great site for Fibro information! I still read an abundance of aricles on here. There are many sites I will be linking you to for further information and resources in future blogs to come.
I cried at everything I read and was so overwhelmed and so very sad that there were so many others that endure this pain everyday too. I wanted so much to find out what I can do for myself to get better. I think I drove myself nuts with all the information…LOL! I eventually came across an app and website called My Fibro Team on Google Play or @ http://myfibroteam.com which is a site to get connected with others with this invisible illness. I love it and have met great people from my area to people in other countries. It’s a phenomenal way to find a support system, especially if that is something you struggle with. I’m very grateful to have found people who understand and know what I’m going through, it helped me not to feel alone anymore and I hope you can find comfort in these resources as well! WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!!
As I come to a close with my first blog, I’d like to thank you for reading and supporting the cause #fibroawareness #bipolarawareness. My next blog will be up soon about coping strategies I use during my flare ups and just getting through the days in general. I hope ya’ll stick around!
God Bless You All and Thanks for listening to my story!
If you would like to chat or need some support you can leave comments after each blog post, on this page @raquelpalen4181 or Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would absolutley love to hear from you!