I´ve been going back and forth on whether or not to write about this particular matter, because it`s such a big part of who I am, but at the same time I really don´t want it to be. Then I thought, what if, what if there is somebody out there going through the exact same thing as me? And what if by writing this, it could somehow help. So here we go.
4 years ago, 20 year old me was sick with the flu. What I didn`t know then, was that the flu was actually mono (infectious mononucleosis), which in turn caused my fibromyalgia. After the “flu” wore off, I never really recuperated. You could generally find me either sleeping in bed, or sleeping on the couch. Some days my body would ache so much that I didn´t know what to do, and some days I felt like I had just run a marathon. My energy was gone. No matter how much I slept and rested, it didn’t help at all. My body simply shut down.
At that time I was studying Elementary Education, but I soon discovered that school was definitely off limit. Just walking to the grocery store and back again, felt like a mountain hike! Being around a lot of people was exhausting; all that talking and laughing, not to mention the partying,I despised it all. Why were all these people so damn happy and cheerful all the time? And how dared they be so healthy and normal?
One day, I was reading the newspaper when I suddenly found myself reading a very, very interesting health article. It was about two chronic illnesses that were becoming more and more usual in Norway, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. When I started reading about the Fibro symptoms, tears started running down my face. It was like reading about my own body. I finally understood what was wrong. I had Fibromyalgia. Pain all over. Fatigue. Brain fog. Sleep disorder. Morning Stifness. Muscle Weakness. Check, Check, Check!
I wish that everything that happened after my discovery had been just as “easy”, but on the contrary. I went to different doctors, neither of them had an ounce of human compassion, and weren`t interested in helping me. One of them said coldly that I could always try to find a rheumatologist, but that would mean being on a waiting list for about 9 months. No help? Waiting 9 months? Was this real? Was this how the Norwegian Health Care system really worked?
I could probably write a book about what happened next, but for now I`ll summarize the next 2 years. Time went by, summer finally came around and I started feeling rather normal again. In the fall, I started University again but 3 months later, my health turned to worse yet again, and for the second time in one year, I had to leave school. I hit rock bottom, and went into a long depression.
My dad came to the rescue and paid a lot of money for me to become a member of a private Medical Health Center, where I immediately got the help I needed. I knew that this chronic condition would take time learning to live with, so I applied for temporary social benefits, which turned out to be rather difficult. The word benefit is quite misleading. The first time I applied, they managed to lose all my confidential papers!
In the end, I did get the help I needed, and got one year of social benefits with me getting back to school as a goal. I did a lot of research and began cooking food from scratch. Industrial food was fibro trigger. BF and I started going to the gym together, and slowly I began feeling more energized and I didn`t feel depressed any longer. I lost 20 pounds. Life was getting brighter every day. The fall of 2011, I started University again, and so far so good. This spring I`ll be graduating from Uni!
- I still live with Fibromyalgia every day. Some days are good, some days I just want to crawl into a dark place and stay there. I know what PAIN is. But I keep on fighting. I know that my will power is stronger than that!
- Fibromyalgia has cost me a lot. I don`t have many friends left. I have more student debt than I´d like and I don`t have much work experience.
- I`ve learned who my true friends are, that my parents will do everything in their power to help me and that my BF is the best guy in the world, and I love him so much.
- I know what I`m capable of. I know I have an inner strenght. I know how to live with a chronic condition, without it getting in the way of my life. I know how to enjoy life!