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New member
Jul 15, 2013
Hello Friends,

I am a 65 year old female retired public school teacher. I had to retire in 1997 when I was diagnosised with FM. I had taught second grade 5 years and first grade 23 years. I enjoyed teaching and grieved very much when I had to retire at the age of 50. I was in an inner city small public school where there were only two first grades. Since I was more strict and my class was better disciplined I was"rewarded" by having the most difficult discipline problem children placed in my class every year. It caused me a great deal of stress, as I wanted every child in my class to learn all they could and dealing with discipline problems was taking up too much of my time. Fortunately, I had a teacher's aide from 8AM until lunch time and she was good at helping with discipline. I guess that's the only reason I lasted as long as I did.
I have learned that stress can cause FM and bad flare-ups. The weather seems to be my biggest trigger. I am in bed most of the winter trying to stay warm, even though we have mild winters here in upper SC. I feel sorry for anyone living in the North with FM.

I was hurting more and more over the years from 1992 to the spring of 1997. I kept going from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist. They couldn't or wouldn't give me a diagnosis. One day I was seeing my chirapractor for constant neck pain that she could not seem to improve and she said,"Maybe you have Fibromyalgia". I had never heard of that, so I went home and got online to find out about it. I immediately went into denial. I thought to myself," There is no way I have that awful illness". All my pain was in my neck, shoulders and upper back. I went to my PCP and ask her about FM. It was summer and my regular PCP was on vacation. A doctor from the Carribbean Islands was taking her place and he told me he thought I might have FM. When my regular PCP came back she sent me to a Rheumatologist whom poked at me for ten minutes and then said,"Yes, you do have FM." He gave me some meds for sleep, muscle relaxers and narcotic pain medicine. I went home in tears. But the drugs did help. That was in April 1997.

I began to suffer over more and more of my body. The new Specialist had to give me trigger point shots just for me to continue to work. I finished out the school year of 1997 but that summer I got much worse. That was when I learned about flare-ups. I was hurting more and more but I tried to push myself to return to teaching in the fall of 1997. After two weeks I was in such pain I had to go on extended medical leave. I was told that I had to go back to work after 120 school days or lose my job. The closer that date came the worse I got. I finally told my husband I simply could not do it anymore and I was sorry to let him and my kids , one still in HS and one in college, down.

I was just crying all the time, very depressed and anxious about everything. I even thought of sucide, but I am a Christian so I really did not believe in that option. I switched doctors to a Neurologist that treated FM, because the other doctor had very bad manners and I did not like him. I applied for my teacher's pension and it came through in December of 1997. In March 1998 I applied for SSD and ,with the help of a good SSD lawyer ,I was approved in two years. I know it is very hard for anyone to get SSD now, with our country in the debt we are in . I was lucky to get my pension and SSD because I was the major earner in our family. My husband was employed in the commercial refrigeration business. His company makes the large freezers you see in WalMart and similar stores. He had to retire in 2005 and is also disabled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I know a lot of you have the same kind of story. I found this forum while looking up an old friend that I went to HS with that is now a Rheumatologist in Charlotte, NC about 50 miles from me. I am hoping she will take me on as a patient because I am having to drive 170 miles, one way, to Atlanta, GA to get proper treatment now. That enough for now. God Bless.
Julia Shaw
Julia Shaw,
Welcome to the forum. Your story sounds a lot like mine, the fact of going from one specialist to another looking and hoping to find a answer for what was causing all my weird symptoms. I stated having trouble in 1991, and was diagnosised in 2004. Then other doctors who did not believe fibro existed, told me I did not have it. Then in 2005, I was rediagnosised.

Fibro causes depression in the begining because we are sick and don't know why. And then we find out what it is, but also find out nothing can be done to stop it. That alone is very depressing. Then we often have family members that do not believe and think it is all in our heads or we are just lazy. With fibro depression is unavoidable, but you can do something about it. Find a mental health counsler that you like and go see the therapist. A therapist can help you deal with the symptoms that cause brain fog and sadness. If you can not afford one go to the local mental health building in your town. Most of them operate on a sliding scale fee that is very cheap. It helps until you can afford better.

Anyways, i hope you continue to come here and learn some new coping skills. Read the back posts and join in on answering questions. Good Luck! :)
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