When life is just a pain
MARTINA LEAHY:After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago, a mother-of-two has learned to live with the pain
You know when you have a bad flu and you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and achy? I feel like that every morning. I get up feeling like I haven’t slept at all even though I have usually had a good night’s sleep.
This time about two years ago, I started to get severe back pain. I couldn’t attribute it to anything like lifting something heavy or a fall, it just came out of nowhere.
My GP sent me to a rheumatologist who gave me epidural injections to ease the back pain but they did not help and the pain started to spread around my body into my arms and hands, my hips and legs.
I was brought into hospital and diagnosed with fibromyalgia in February 2010. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition (which means I will have to live with it for the rest of my life) which affects all the muscles in my body and causes chronic pain and fatigue. The list of symptoms is endless, but they are the worst two for me.
I have widespread pain all over my body and have to take painkillers and medication every day. Even with the medication, I still ache every morning when I wake up. The fatigue is terrible too. Every morning after I drop my five and a half year old to school and my two and a half year old to the childminder, I have to go back to bed for a couple of hours before I do some exercise.
On top of this, I get flare-ups every so often when the pain gets worse which can last two to five days. Sometimes the pain gets so bad that I can’t move with it and have to stay in bed all day.
My youngest child was only four months old when I was diagnosed and I feel terrible guilt that I was not able to hold him in my arms. Even if I was only going into the shop for a newspaper or a pint of milk, I couldn’t carry him in because my muscles were so weak that he would have been hanging out of my arms by the time I got out.
The medication makes me sleep very heavily so I could not hear him crying at night and my husband had to get up with him. Thank God he was a good child.