The first diagnosis

I thought it might be helpful to talk about how I came about being diagnosed in a half-assed manner by my GP. I’d actually mentioned a year and a half ago that I was concerned about my achey, sore, weak wrists and knuckles, but he shrugged it off, I lost my insurance, and it went undiscussed for a year. A few months ago, I walked into his office again and said there’s something wrong. I’m exhausted, I’m achey, I’m different than I used to be. He ran a CBC (complete blood count) and told me to take ibuprofen.

I can’t take NSAIDs because of my GERD. It’s exceptionally painful and causes severe reflux. Not to mention these drugs don’t even touch my aches and pains. (I’ve tried. It’s useless.) The doctor said to take them anyway.

My CBC was normal. He ran several of them over a few months, everytime I went in there and asked for a rheumatologist, and even once ran a rheumatoid factor (normal, no rheumatoid arthritis). My SED rates were always sky high, but he never ran ANA. Everything else was mostly normal, although I have high platelets.

I told my doctor during one visit that I needed this documented because I didn’t want to discover it was “all in my head” as some professionals believe fibromyalgia is a psychiatric disorder. He told me “it’s not all in your head, but there’s nothing I can do for you.” I told him I wanted a diagnosis. If I have fibromyalgia, I want to have a name for what’s changing my life.” He told me, “Fine. You have fibromyalgia.”

Well that was anticlimactic.

So he prescribed tramadol for the pain, and amitriptyline to help me sleep better and hopefully give me more energy during the day. The amitriptyline made me a daytime zombie and robbed me of what little energy and productivity I had, so I stopped it after 2 weeks. I was on a low dose, and couldn’t go any lower. The tramadol helps take the edge off, but it’s far from perfect.

Of course, it should be noted that during all of this, he was always telling me that if I lost weight, that my symptoms would diminish.

The final request for a referral was my third formal “please give me a rheumatology referral” request and I brought my husband in for backup. My husband noticed that, when I was asked why I felt I needed one, the doctor looked visibly insulted when I said, “I’ve tried your way, and I still feel badly. I think it’s time we escalate this to someone with a little more experience in dealing with these disorders.” Visibly insulted! Nothing like a doctor taking his work personally. But I got my referral.

I guess the lesson is that persistence pays off. And insults doctors.


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2 Responses to “The first diagnosis”

  1. thegirlfromtheghetto Says:

    Have you seen the AP story on Fibromyalgia? I am disgusted. Here it is …

    and feel free to read my post on it.

    • fibrofatty Says:

      i JUST saw this article! i responded on your blog about it– thanks for your comment and for pointing me to your post.

      it’s frustrating to be fighting this fight, trying to get my life back, and potentially not having people believe that my pain is real. or for them to believe i’m making it up.

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