Interesting article for all to read.
Have you ever met a seven-headed dragon? Slaying it is nearly impossible, because as soon as you cut off one head two more grow in its place! I know this first-hand, because I fought with this dragon for 20 years until I found the chink in its armor and pierced its heart, once and for all.
Like many sufferers of fibromyalgia, I was misdiagnosed for 15 years. Maybe it was because the condition has no specific or single cause, or because it has only recently (1990’s) been recognized as a “legitimate” malady. As late as 1982, fibromyalgia was not even an entry in the doctors’ standard clinical reference book, the Merck Manual. Over the years my doctors labeled my symptoms as: Chronic back pain (lower, mid and upper), frozen left shoulder (two and a half years), frozen right shoulder (one and a half years), plantar fasciitis, sleep disorder, restless leg syndrome—you get the picture. Finally, in 1997 I was given the label “fibromyalgia” and told that the only treatment was cortisone injections in every muscle where the pain was intolerable.
“Damn!” I thought, “That’s a lot of needles!” Not willing to become a doctor’s voodoo doll, I never went back to that doctor. Instead I turned to holistic approaches. I tried everything imaginable to “manage” my pain: excruciating deep muscle massage, strict diets, herbal remedies…I even tried a putrid brew concocted by a Chinese medicine doctor.
After suffering for seven years under the futile belief that I could affect my own cure, I gave up. Admitting defeat, I found a new doctor and asked for help. His theory was that fibro is a disease linked to depression. So along with a non-steroid medication for pain, he prescribed an anti-depressant and a sleeping pill. These seemed to take the edge off the pain for a while.
I was “managing” my pain, pretty well until 2005 when I was crushed by trigeminal neuralgia. Excruciating pain exploded across the right side of my face—encompassing the jaw, cheek bone and temple and behind my ear. It was debilitating! I could do nothing but lie as still as possible with ice packs. Aspirin with codeine did not begin to touch the pain. I thought it might be a tooth, but the x-ray did not reveal anything for the dentist to deal with. I was sent to a neurologist who quite rudely told me, “You’d better hope it is a tooth because it’s not worth cracking your head open to fix this.” The trigeminal nerve does not originate in the spine, but at the base of the brain!
Gadz! I was a mess! So, my family doc prescribed an antiseizure drug in the hope it would block the perception of pain. As I was leaving his office, he said (rather off-the-cuff), “It might help with the fibromyalgia too.”
A month later I was undergoing a root canal which eventually cleared up the facial neuralgia, but I stayed on the antiseizure medication because it did take a further “edge” off the fibromyalgia.
At the same time all this was happening, I was running two companies, TeleClass International and the Law of Attraction Training Center. I was happily turning every aspect of my life around and experiencing success and joy in everything I did—except THIS. I figured I just had to accept THIS as “the way it is.”
I was beaten down and felt there was just nothing else I could do about it. Of course, my body was continuing to deteriorate under the unrelenting pain.
My businesses started to suffer also and I decided to hire a business coach. On the intake form, under the heading of Health I wrote: “Ok, I wasn’t going to address this, but if it shows up as dramatically as it has this week, then I won’t ignore it. I was thrown flat on my back with a muscle spasm around my entire chest. The spasm was continuous for four days.” My coach wrote back, “You are pushing very hard on yourself. Nothing wrong with that, except your body is telling you that something is wrong. Therefore, part of your journey is learning how to flow with ease and grace.”
Hmmm, he had a point, but I really did not want to address this seemingly endless, impossible health challenge! Nevertheless, I surrendered to my coach and prayed for a solution.
A few days later I was reading and meditating—well, I was sort of reading and meditating—it was hard to stay focused and my eyes were just glancing at the letters in the book when these two sentences jumped off the page into my heart: “If your affairs are out of order, it is a reflection that your thinking is out of order. If your body is out of order, it is a reflection that your emotions are out of order.” How to Use Your Twelve Gifts from God, by William Warch
I’m a very orderly person—my house is in order, my office is usually clean and orderly, my bills are all paid—I’m very responsible and my affairs are in order. But my body was definitely OUT OF ORDER and I had no clue what emotion was causing this, I had lived with it for 20 years. Whatever the cause, it was deeply buried.
At this point I decided to cooperate with my coach and an extremely painful memory surfaced! I had been so disappointed—more than disappointed—I was really angry at my body for letting me down when I had to surrender Matthew back into the care of Social Services! WOW!
In 1980 my husband and I had adopted a baby who had been abandoned at the time of birth because it “wasn’t perfect.” His natural parents would not bond, love or care for him because he was Down’s syndrome. My husband was an obstetrician and when he learned the child was abandoned, he was quite shaken. Our fourth child, Sarah, has Down’s syndrome and she has been such a joy to us that it was quite disturbing to imagine this little boy without a family. So we asked for and adopted Matthew at birth. What we did not realize at the time was that Matthew was also autistic. The combination of D.S., plus severe retardation and autism was a horrific package, and in seven years I was totally burned out.
That was when I felt such anger at my body. When I give my word or make a commitment I keep it. I’m a person of integrity. For my body to cave in like it did was simply NOT in my realm of possibility. But it had and I had carried this anger inside my body for 20 years!
NO WONDER I WAS IN PAIN! And my doctor was right! If fibromyalgia is caused by depression, and depression is “anger turned inward” as I learned in nurses’ training, then indeed I was depressed!
I LET IT GO! Once I “saw” the root emotion—anger—I could understand why my body was screaming in pain. And I let it go. Just like that. In the moment I made my decision to let it go, it left. I knew it. A few days later I started slowly weaning myself off the medications. I’m not a martyr, so if I were feeling pain, I would be back on the meds, but I’m not. I’m free of pain, gaining strength, reprogramming my thinking and adding activities back into my life. This week I started two exercise classes at the local recreation center—a gentle fitness class and water fitness. THAT is a miracle!
Now, I would not presume to know what is at the root of every case of fibromyalgia. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a long-held or blocked emotion would surface for most sufferers. My hope and prayer in sharing my story is that it will re-activate hope in your heart, and faith to believe in a miracle for yourself or someone you love.
Copyright (c) 2008 Rebecca Hanson