A diagnosis is not a dilemma

Something New

Last week, right smack dab in the middle of wedding planning, my doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder with no known cause or cure to date.

While I still have blood work to do at the hospital to make sure there isn't anything else going on, I 'passed' the fibromyalgia diagnosis test with flying colours.

First, let me say that while it was a bit distressing to hear, it's certainly not the end of the world. Many people live full lives with fibromyalgia, and it rarely gets in the way of their day-to-day routines.

Second, I wasn't that surprised by the diagnosis. My mom's been telling me for months that she thought I had it, and my massage therapists also suggested that it was a possibility. I did some research on my own and a lot of it made sense; it just came down to waiting (two months) to finally see my family doctor.

Third, I'm happy to finally know what's going on (and hopefully the blood work doesn't complicate matters further).

Both my doctor and I have agreed to move ahead without taking medications. They're not always necessary, and more often than not, the side effects aren't worth it. For example, one of the most common fibro meds often makes people gain a lot of weight, and I'm sorry, but I have a wedding dress to fit into in July. Not happening.

There are also a lot of natural ways to reduce pain like vitamin D, regular exercise and trying to live a stress-free lifestyle. I've been handling my anxiety med-free for years, and I think I can do the same with fibro.

Those first two, vitamins and exercise, are all well and good, but the last one? Ha! Wedding planning and 'stress free' do not go together.

That's what's going to kick me in the butt - trying to decrease my stress levels while there are a lot of stressful things happening in my life at the moment. It's not like I can just turn them off, either.

My one blessing is the fact I've taken care of probably 90 per cent of my wedding planning (as discussed in my last column), so really, there's not too much for me to do until June.

My biggest burdens are the guest list, the money concerns and the weight loss. All three of those are killers at the moment, and even with natural sleep aids, they all haunt me at night, or in the wee hours of morning. I haven't had a decent sleep in over two weeks, and prescription sleeping pills scare me.

So how do I fight these wedding stresses in order to keep my fibro pain down and my hours of sleep up?

One thing I've been trying is hand-sewing some dÉcor in the evenings. Some people have called me crazy considering the amount of work involved and they tell me to use a sewing machine and get it over with, but hand-sewing/crocheting/knitting have always been soothing for me. It's a way to focus on something small while drowning out all the white noise and stress that has been thrown at me for months.

If I can tune all that out for an hour or two a night by getting wedding dÉcor finished, I'm killing two birds with one stone all while feeling a sense of soothing accomplishment.

At least that's one way I've learned to conquer stress while conquering wedding stuff.

If anyone else has any suggestions, please leave it in the comments section. I welcome and advice!

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