How I Rebuilt My Life After My Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

By Jason Bell

man building addition to house

Looking back, it seemed so innocuous. I put a lot of wear and tear on my feet through my outdoor adventures and aggravated a prior plantar fasciitis injury. Two years later, I was stunned as I absorbed the reality that I also had a condition that would affect me and impede me for the rest of my life.

A diagnosis of a chronic condition can be traumatic. In my case, it’s fibromyalgia. Brain function and chemical changes led to an essentially permanent fight-or-flight response that often results in ongoing pain, digestive issues, cognitive impairments, weaker immunity, poor sleep, low energy and the list goes on.

But whether it’s fibromyalgia or other chronic illnesses, there is one stark reality that accompanies the acceptance of that diagnosis: The need to deconstruct your life in order to reassemble it in a way that addresses your new limitations.

Conditions such as these aren’t cured with a pill, a pat on the head and going on your merry way. Instead, they inflict both obvious and subtle problems long after you’ve left the doctor’s office. The obvious struggles include experimenting to discover the medicines and treatment regimens that provide clinical relief to get you through the worst moments and to stabilize you. That requires time, side effects, setbacks, failed attempts, crushed hopes and a diminished quality of life. And sometimes, that seems to me to be the easy part.

The harder part is accepting that you can’t live in the way you’re accustomed. For me, I’d already spent years working to be the healthiest and best me that I could be. I’d established a lifestyle and life that I loved. I was happy and bouncing between living in the moment and dreaming of my next immersive adventure.

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