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Adrienne Dellwo

The Meaning of "Chronic" in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By May 31, 2013

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Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are considered chronic conditions. Does that mean you'll be as sick as you are right now for the rest of your life? That's what some people believe.

But just because you're diagnosed with a chronic condition doesn't mean you can't get better, at least to a certain point. Find out more about what chronic really means for us:

Have you made significant improvements, or fully recovered from your chronic illness? Have you been unable to get any better? Share your experiences below! (Please understand that comments may not show up immediately.)

Learn more or join the conversation!


May 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm
(1) Nancy A. says:

Sorry to have to leave this comment, but it’s the truth in my case anyway.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1986 at the age of 33. For most of those years, my illness stayed about the same and I was able to work. I would “crash” on the weekend, sleeping as much as possible to help my fatigue until going back to work on Monday. Not much of a life.

And here we are 27 years later. After menopause at age 53, my fibromyalgia pain and fatigue worsened, and I had to quit working after a bout of pneumonia. I’m now on Social Security Disability (I hired a SSD lawyer to win my case).

Now, I just pray that there will be a miracle cure sometime in my lifetime. I’ll be 60 soon, so I’m not too hopeful, but I have to just keep hanging in there.

May 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm
(2) George says:

I have to second Nancy’s comments. I was diagnosed with fibrositis (the original name of fibromyalgia) in 1984 at the age of 20. It’s a very long, convoluted story so I won’t eat up pages here recounting my medical history. Over the years, the disorder has progressively worsened. It has followed the pattern of leveling off, then spreading to another part of my body (always bilateral). From an All-American football player out of high school who lived for being active to a middle-aged man just trying to get through activities of daily living somehow, it is a nonstop struggle to keep going with life. Of course, looking at me no one would suspect I live in such unremitting pain, which is the cruelest irony of this disorder.

May 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm
(3) Divinely Differently Abled says:

My condition is chronic, but I will always hold to the belief that it can get better. I CHOOSE to believe that it can, and it will. Hold on to hope, you never know what tomorrow may bring <3

June 1, 2013 at 12:26 am
(4) Bobbi says:

Diagnosed in 2007, believe I’ve had it since I was at least 8 years-old. I think to a degree fibromyalgia symptoms can be made worse by your mind. I know when I moderated a website for fibro patients, I was much worse. Then I burned out on the site and left it and started concentrating on other things and my symptoms eased even though my medications had not changed. I am able now to hold a full-time job and while I hurt all the time, it’s like I’m used to the pain. But then until 1986 there really wasn’t any part of my body I couldn’t control with my mind. That ability ended when I was severely injured in a car wreck, but now a pain level of 6-8 everyday is just another day in paradise (j/k).

June 1, 2013 at 2:12 am
(5) lLaurie McCrea says:

I think the hardest part of having Fibro and CSF, is going from a type A person to a type Z person…. I used to get up ready to go, with a smile on my face and conquer multiple projects each and every day. Now I struggle to wake from a painful stupor each morning, and if its a good day, have myself put “together” by about noon. (On those bad days, I spend the whole day on the sofa, trying to convince myself tomorrow will be better, if I just hang on.) My family and people that know me well, accept my “in and out” style of life. I try with all my strength to appear well and put together when I leave my house….but those who see me seldom just can not accept my illness. “You look perfectly fine to me”, they say
when I tell them I feel like I have the flu ALL the time! ( I find it interesting, that when I am trully sick with the flu, I can’t tell, except that I have a fever.) I have tried just about everything for relief: All the current Fibro drugs, antidepressants, vitamin therapy, herbal therapy, massage, weekly accupuncture, Fibro Specialist MDs, psychotherapy, and tons of positive thinking. I get out almost everyday and I care for my home, children and Grandchildren….but I feel like HELL most of the time. I am lucky though! I have a family that does understand and I have finally found a doctor that listens to me…..

June 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm
(6) Shakota says:

The first couple of years with fibro were scary. Light and sound caused pain. By 10 am on the job I was lying down on the bench. I knew my life would change drastically. Lifting a fork or reaching for a blood pressure cuff was “exquisite’ (?) torture. I had spasms of my trapezius that scared my physical therapist. I had so much pain at work that one day I couldn’t speak coherently at all.

After I got disability and my income dropped precipitously and finally got on public housing, my outlook brightened. Even though I have “adapted” to the pain, I still have big flare-ups. After a group travel trip (never again) after increasing a walk by 10 minutes (Stupid). The main problem is that I can do something and not feel the pain/fatigue until 1-2 days later.

The worst problem is social isolation and the feeling of being unproductive. But I’m working on accepting that. My day begins at 9 and ends at 3 so I’m pretty lucky.

June 3, 2013 at 5:03 am
(7) Judith says:

I’ve never been strong, always tired. Low self esteem (why can’t I do what other people can, why am I so lazy…). Two years ago CFS was diagnosed. Partly a relief, because there was a reason for my ‘laziness’. A team of experts helped me look at how I could change my life. I learned to say ‘no’ more often, I learned to plan my days, so that I don’t overdo it. They taught me that overdoing it, hurts my body more then keeping a calm life rythm. And they gave me loads of vit B12, wigh my body responds to.
Before the treatment I worked 4 half days a week, now I work a 5 whole days a week. In the weekends I’m usually able to go out with my oldtimer cars or visit my family. I’m still tired a lot, but I have 90% of a normal life :-)

June 3, 2013 at 8:38 am
(8) Charlayne says:

I started having trouble when I was 20, just after having my oldest daughter. My energy levels would crash and sometimes I would hurt so bad. But I pushed through it.

When I turned 36, I had a huge upset in my life (divorce/nervous breakdown) and it got worse. I’ve been better, about 14 years ago I was doing great again, but then, after getting laid off, the upset started this again, along with a couple of surgeries. The Fibro is now full-blown, every day. My doc is actually questioning the remission idea in all cases, mine hasn’t remitted since 2004, it’s actually gotten steadily worst to the point that I’m in pain most all the time and my ability to walk is so limited that I have resorted to an electric wheelchair when not in my home.

I’m SO tired of being sick and tired.

June 8, 2013 at 10:25 am
(9) Sherry LK says:

Fibro began in 1989 (that I can say for sure) and more symptoms continued showing up once or twice a year for years. As a nurse I knew something was wrong with me, but I also knew my symptoms didn’t make sense. Even when I was actually diagnosed in 1997, I still hadn’t heard of fibromyalgia. I became so bad in 1998 that the dear friend I shared a home with had to at times bathed/dressed/fed me. Actually I haven’t even heard of anyone else that has gotten that bad. But I have fibro and CFS. After I was diagnosed I didn’t even know I could get better. After, I got so much worse and then started to get better in little spurts. Only by the grace of God had I gotten better. I never even knew it was possible. Got disability for fibro. I worked full time for a few months (not in nursing – no way), though it was very, very hard. Had to quit. Then returned to nursing part-time for a few months and quit. Have done some simple private duty 1-2 days a week most of the time since. I’m definitely better since my worse days but I have no real thoughts of getting any better than I am. I’m 61 and feel this is as good as it’s going to get – though I still pray for just a little improvement on an occasion. Help take care of my mother, dog/house sit, and do shopping/run errands. But life is hard, very hard. It’s because I’m driven to try to do what I can. I still share a home with my dear friend that helps take care of me. And on occasion she offers to feed me if I need her to. I do but I won’t let her. Life is lonely and so hard with so much pain, fatigue, and every single symptom I’ve ever read about is mine as well. I don’t expect to get any worse with fibro, but I’ve started having age-related issues and fibro complicates everything. So I’m sure that will continue and life will get worse as time goes on. As always I’m just trying to hang in there!

June 16, 2013 at 10:16 am
(10) is it ever too late to chase your dreams says:

Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this post
i thought i could also create comment due to this good post.

July 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm
(11) James Reese says:

My Name is Jim, I really thought my wife ( Wendy ) would not be alive today and yet she is.
We had a journey that was like no ones I have every heard of. It spanned many years.
The education and lessons were immense and it took us all over the world in search of a
cure for her. I wrote it out finally after the journey came to an end so it was available for other to
read. If you have had a similar journey I would really like to hear about it. We have not met anybody so far. Here is where you can read about it. It is on my website http://www.thereesewellnesssystem.com.
I would really like to hear from other who have been here.
James Reese

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