Answers are so hard to come by. We search and we search for the reasons why we suffer the way we do. There are theories, guesses, research, etc., but no clear answer. Maybe one day there will be an answer for why we suffer the way we do from our fibromyalgia, but not today. I’ve spent so many years searching for what’s wrong with me. It took me years to get the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia. The thing that unites so many of my wacky, painful symptoms under one label. Even with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I still read and research, still look for answers. Why me? Why do I have this awful, invisible disease? I don’t know if I’ll ever know the answer to that one.
After a year of very hard work to make myself feel better and stronger, a year filled with tough work with my therapist examining every nook and cranny of my brain and dealing with past traumas and unhealthy habits, I started to finally feel better. November was great. I hadn’t felt that good, that healthy, in years. My pain was at the lowest level it had been since college. I didn’t have to fight my own body quite so hard every day. Life wasn’t quite the constant struggle against my own body that it has been for years. I started to be hopeful again, a feeling I thought I’d lost forever.
Then, the first Saturday of December, I got ill. I thought it was a virus or the stomach flu or something like that. After two weeks of constant nausea, I called my doctor. Thus began another long series of tests and doctors visits to figure out what was wrong with me. Test after test came back normal and said I was just fine, perfectly healthy. It was deja vu for me. Before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, test after test and doctor after doctor told me I was just fine. One told me I’d just have to live with the pain, that there was nothing that could be done. I reached that point where even you start to believe that it’s all in your head since every test and every doctor says you’re fine.
I’ve been a pin cushion for weeks now. Blood tests, IVs, x-rays, scans, and much more. I think I met my insurance deductible for 2013 in the first week of January, a new record for me. My rheumatologist told me this nausea wasn’t some new symptom of fibromyalgia. This nausea has always felt medically based to me. Fibromyalgia feels so much more convoluted So many things trigger pain for us, but that’s not the case with my nausea. When I eat, I get nauseous. Stress and emotions don’t effect it. Just food. It doesn’t matter what I eat or how much. Any food makes me feel sick. I have to make myself eat because I feel the best when I don’t eat. I’ve already lost 20 pounds and don’t want to lose more. I don’t get hungry. My stomach just gets so empty it hurts and then I have to eat and start the cycle all over again.
My osteopath, who is amazing, noticed very slight swelling in my abdomen above my gallbladder. That, combined with my other symptoms, led her to believe it was my gallbladder causing this. She told me she’d had her own removed for similar symptoms. She’s the one who told me to push my doctor to run a HIDA scan on me. It tests the function of the gallbladder by introducing a digestive hormone via IV that makes the gallbladder contract. I got the scan on Monday. Predictably, I learned on Thursday that my scan was negative and my gallbladder worked fine. As soon as I got that hormone though, I had intense, stabbing pain in the area of my gallbladder. This convinced my GI doctor that I needed to have my gallbladder removed. I was scared about having surgery until last night.
I had a gallbladder attack last night. Sudden, severe, stabbing pain from the area of my gallbladder radiating to my back and right shoulder. The pain launched me into a bad fibromyalgia flare up. I had to take extra muscle relaxers to sleep last night. Today, I’ve been exhausted and drained. I feel like I was hit by a truck last night. I feel like a walking bruise. I read online that over eating can trigger such an attack so I’ve been scared to eat today. Needless to say, I’m no longer scared of having surgery. The surgeon can take my gallbladder out as soon as he likes. I don’t want to have another attack like last night. No thanks. Last night was bad even by standard of pain, which is quite high now thanks to the fibromyalgia.
So I’ve spent 6 weeks searching for the answer to what is making me so nauseous. It seems I have my answer now: my gallbladder. And yet, I’m left with the same old questions. Why me? Why is my gallbladder suddenly not functioning right? Is it the fibromyalgia? My genes? A lifetime of using who knows how many medications?
Why me? Why any of us? What is the point of so much pain? I know I will never have an answer to that last question.