Normally when I have a new symptom or a symptom that has gotten worse I avoid seeing a doctor about it or only mention it at a medication review. This is the result of feeling dismissed by so many GP’s or consultants over the years. I do understand that GP’s are expected to have a vast knowledge about every little thing which isn’t always fair on them. I also understand that Fibro is misunderstood and there are so many symptoms that fall under its brackets.
I always have this fear that something else could be wrong with me in the future and it will be missed because once you have a Fibro diagnosis, a common answer to a new question will be ‘That can be a symptom of Fibromyalgia’. Or the next best thing ‘Have you checked the side effects to the medication you are on?’. It’s very frustrating and I’ve become complacent in letting things go with my own health rather than hearing the same disheartening answer all the time.
Today I met a GP for the first time and I actually feel a little hopeful after he listened and answered all of my questions, even with a smile on his face. Bare with me a little while I start off by telling you why I was at the doctors to start with.
This week I have started trying to eat healthier and be active where I can. Small changes and some stretches aren’t much for most people but I need to build myself up slowly. I’ve tried a few times this year unsuccessfully by doing too much too quickly and I end up crashing. I made this decision because my mobility and flexibility as well as my weight are all terrible and only I have the power to improve it all. A couple of mum friends (who are totally awesome, non judgmental and supportive) are also on a health kick so we are trying to lose weight together.
Day one was great, I managed a little yoga in the morning and kept well below my planned calorie count as well as cutting out sugary foods. The yoga did leave me sore and stiff but if I am honest I expected that, and as my friend has said, it will take a while for my body to cope with the increase in movement.
Day two started so well… I had decided to try yoga in the evenings so I wasn’t left all day feeling so sore. My calorie count was on track and I even managed to go see my tea drinking buddy for a cuppa and a catch up. Mike was home early from work so we decided to pick up the kids and go and do a food shop all together. Now I never go on a big food shop, even though I use the mobility scooter I always get too tired and overwhelmed and crash as soon as I’m home. I felt as though I could manage.
We had only done the fruit and veg section when I turned to mike and said I do t feel so good. The feeling I had is oh so familiar to me. I get hot, I start to shake, my heart beats too fast and my energy levels plummet. Usually I have about 5 mins when this starts to get somewhere quiet to sit. I’ve always believed this to be a drop in sugar levels and once I have a bit of juice or a biscuit and then eat some carbs my energy slowly comes back. I’ve been having these attacks for years but since October they are so much worse, especially when I’m eating less or cutting sugar out of my diet.
Yesterday I didn’t have those five minutes and within moments I was slumped over the steering column of my scooter unable to hold myself up. I remember Lexie constantly trying to help and Mike asking me what I needed but I couldn’t speak. Eventually Mike held me up while Lexie fed me some juice. After a while I was able to sit up on my own and we made our way to the car so I could rest and Mike finished the shopping. Once we got home I went straight up to bed and stayed there for the evening as I was wiped out afterwards. The kids are used to this happening, Hayden is usually desperate to carry on with what we are doing and Lexie fusses over me until she knows I’m ok. It still sucks that they have to see me like that though.
I have mentioned this happening to many doctors before and it’s been blamed on sugar levels, migraines and even my bodies way of dealing with the pain. Never a definitive answer though. So I decided to book an appointment with a GP I had never seen before and ask again.
I immediately took a shine to this GP because when he came out to call my name he was SMILING. I even told him that I don’t think I’d ever seen a GP smile before (I was joking, obviously I have but he seemed so jolly) to which he joked back that he would change his tune and be grumpy. I explained to him what happened yesterday and that this was a frequent occurrence for me and I wanted to get to the bottom of it so I could try and prevent this from happening.
We talked about it being my sugar levels and he helped me understand why it couldn’t be that. He said that without having some form of insulin medication dropping my sugar levels dramatically it was highly unlikely to be the cause and I was happy with his reasoning. He explained that the most likely causes are either an irregular heartbeat or a dip in blood pressure and after going over this in more detail about medications I’m on and my lifestyle, I felt confident in what he was telling me. He’s arranged a referral for me to have a 7 day ECG to monitor my heart rate and given me advice towards my diet and keeping hydrated.
For the first time in a long while I felt elated that a doctor had taken the time to listen to me and reassure me that it’s likely a symptom that is fixable and not just another Fibro matter. There is of course a chance that nothing is found but at least I know I can go back to him and he will listen to me and offer the next course of action.
I hope that those of you reading this are lucky enough to have a GP or consultant that is understanding, warm and compassionate towards you because this makes such a huge difference for anyone with a long term illness. For those of you that don’t, get a second opinion, change surgeries and keep trying because in my experience and I’ve heard from other chronic pain sufferers that having a medical professional on your side is invaluable.
For anyone who has read this and has experienced or knows someone who has experienced similar symptoms please get in contact as this is one part of my journey that I’ve been dealing with alone and I would love to hear about how others manage this symptom.