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Adrienne Dellwo

Is This Part of Fibromyalgia, or Something Else?

By February 19, 2008

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How many signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia (FMS) do you have? Possibly far more than you've ever guessed. Most FMS resources list the main ones: pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, fibrofog. Some might also offer dizziness, muscle weakness and vision problems. But it's far more complex than that.

How many times have you wondered, "Is this 'just' fibromyalgia or something else?" when something new was happening with your health? I know it's always in my mind. In fact, I recently told my husband to remind me to check my symptoms list every time I thought something else was going on - it'd save me all that time in the urgent-care waiting room where they never update the magazines and my kids have long since grown bored with the toys.

To help you figure out what's FMS and what's "something else," I've put together what I call The Monster List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms. You might be surprised that some of those quirks you thought were just part of being you are actually part of this bizarre and complicated condition.

February 22, 2008 at 5:33 pm
(1) Alice Campbell says:

The Monster List is amazing! And, I think, dangerous!!

Both a runny nose and thick nasal secretions are symptoms of FMS? Everyone with a nose must have FMS! What a hodgepodge of ailments are described here!

If one has more than a few of the symptoms listed under Cognitive, I would suggest getting test for TIA’s, not FMS. TIA’s are frequently precursors to stroke, and strokes can be fatal.

If I had bloating and nausea, abdominal cramps and pelvic pain, I’d immediately get checked for ovarian cancer, another disease that is usually fatal.

And many of the symptoms that are not listed as independent or coexstent conditions are indeed separate contitions with no causal relationship amongst them. Many people with night driving difficulty do not have FMS. Only some peope with FMS have night driving difficulty. The only logical conclusion is that the two conditiond can co-exist. It does not show any causal connection between the two conditions. Get out your old logic textbook and go over it. Or ask someone like a mathematician or a logician. This argument can be applied to nearly every symptoms in the Monster List.

I have noticed that people with FMS seem to be very concerned about their health and bodies. I would even say overly concerned. Since there is no cure and not much help, they tend to visit doctor after doctor, try medicine after medicine, collecting many side effects along the way. I think many of the things listed in this Master List are side effects of some of the current efforts to cure or ameliarate the disease, not the disease itself. The doctors used to say everything they did’t understand must be caused by a virus. Now, I thnk, doctors seeing patients with FMS just tend to say any symptom without an obvious cause must be part of the FMS.

This is all very understandable, but puts a major road block in the process of finding a cure and proper treatment for FMS, since even the definition of what FMS is, is constantly changing as people come up with normal ailments which are attributed to FMS.

But primarily this Monster List causes overly concerned FMS patients to see symptoms of real, life threatening illnesses as just part of their FMS and not seak appropriate treatment for possibly life threatening problems.

Alice Campbell

February 22, 2008 at 7:42 pm
(2) Frances McLaughlin says:

I think the Monster List is a good thing and that it can help you and your doctor determine what is the real problem. A good doctor will not automatically assume it is FMS but will eliminate other diseases before making his determination. I have been a FMS patient for 15 years and I see my doctor twice a year to renew prescriptions and once yearly for a regular checkup. I have only gone to another doctor when it is recommended by my primary doctor. This is a painful and misunderstood disease and not always recognized by the medical profession. I have a doctor that knows the condition and keeps up with the latest on FMS. Those of us who have the condition need to stand behind each other and help find a cure.

If I had known about the breasts, I would have information that I could discuss with the doctor and not had a double mastectomy as the doctor suggested. The more information you have, the better you can make decisions concerning your health.

Thank you for the list.

February 22, 2008 at 10:40 pm
(3) Cathy says:

I wish to thank Adrienne for her newsletter, which sheds light on the complex and perplexing problems that fibromyalgics face and try to cope with.

February 23, 2008 at 5:24 am
(4) Terry T says:

The “Monster List” is only a short and compact list of possible symptons. Anyone that has lived in the same house with this “Monster” knows it consumes your lives and that every day IT takes on a new face.
I was surprised by the comments so far–I could swear–that some of the comments are just what–I’ve been fighting all these years not to hear anymore-I guess the only true statement that can be said is this. UNTIL YOU WALK IN MY SHOES–Please don’t say to me “You know what I’m going through or how I feel”.

February 26, 2008 at 4:05 pm
(5) Giddygail says:

Terri T, DITTO !!!!! I have had this MONSTER for 20yrs. So I can have an idea what some may go through and some days, I wonder if I am going to make it. They say you won’t die from this. Well little do they know,some of us have. Good Luck and God Bless.

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