Chronic Pain, Depression, Fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia warrior, Spoonie

My Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) & Fibromyalgia Story by Guest Blogger Antoinette Mitchell

2020 has arrived and the first post I have for you is a story by guest blogger, Antoinette Mitchell. https://nettiesmomlife.wordpress.com/ Antoinette suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and would like to share both stories with you. I am so grateful to Antoinette for sharing her story with us as each story told raises awareness and helps fellow sufferers.

Faces of Fibromyalgia My Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Story by Antoinette Mitchell
My Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Story, by Antoinette Mitchell

I’m a mother first; everything I do is for them babies (3 boys and a baby girl). I’m married to my Libra King. We are both learning and growing, we balance and work each other out. I wear many hats, supermom, wife, blogger, entrepreneur but the toughest thing I do thus far is getting control of my fitness and figuring out my mental space to get things done.

Living with RA

I haven’t written anything in some time and that is simply because I haven’t had the energy to. Living with RA has it ups and downs. More downs than ups anyways. However, today I simply have more energy to spare so I figured I may as well take advantage of it.

It has been a little over a year since my diagnosis and it has been the most trying year for me to say the least. Throughout this year, I have had dizzy spells, episodes where I have passed out from fatigue, moments where my legs could no longer hold up the weight of my own body and times where my body did not match how my mind felt at all. Everyday is something different for me when it comes to the experiences of RA, but I think I may have some new form of symptoms taking its toll on me now.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where your immune system basically attacks itself and its surrounding tissues. As a result, it causes inflammation in the joints where you can experience redness, tenderness, swelling, warmth and pain. This is called a “flare up”. RA affects both sides of your body and eventually makes its way towards your other body parts and systems, such as your eyes, heart, lungs, skin. blood vessels and more. RA affects everyone, at any age, differently. And if left untreated, it can permanently damage your joints and bones leaving some individuals with disfigurements.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects about 1% of the population in the United States. Women are more susceptible to get the disease than men are. However, men would be the ones to have the most severe symptoms. Some people may have RA for a short time and then go into remission; which basically means that they aren’t showing any symptoms at the moment. Others may not have the same experience and will go through flare ups more consistently. There is no real tell into why it occurs the way it does. Doctors still don’t know what is the main cause for RA but factor in genetics; a blood test can verify whether or not you are a carrier of the disease.

My experience with RA has been one in which I would not wish on any other person. I am in constant pain, experiencing constant fatigue and I am always having a migraine. My body aches all day everyday and nothing, no pill or magic bath, eases the pain. I have had flare-ups in my face, arms, legs, hips, chest, back, hands, feet and knees throughout this whole process of being diagnosed with this disease. I have experienced brain fog and I have also been losing my eye sight little by little everyday. I noticed that I have been needing to wear my eyeglasses more frequently as the year progressed in order for me to see. I used to be able to see without my glasses on to read, now I can’t. And if I’m being honest, I still haven’t come to terms with any of these symptoms yet.

Back to my previous statement about having new symptoms; I think I may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that can be described as widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. Women are more susceptible to get fibromyalgia than men.

What is up with that?! Anyways…

I have had these symptoms of fibromyalgia for at least 6 months now and when I told my doctor he presented me with another medication. Not wanting to “label” me with anything as of yet. (smh) So with that being said, I am taking new said medication in hopes that it would alleviate some of the aches and pains I have been feeling. On my bad days, I can take up to 16 pills and one shot for my RA! According to my doctors, I’m on the strongest medication regimen possible. One day a week I have to take 8 pills and one shot; so if they happen to fall together, it’s all hell for me. This is still all new for me but to be honest, I still hate having to take all this medicine. Like why? There has to be another way, right?

RA isnt the end of it all but it can at times feel that way. When battling RA you’re also battling mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. That’s why it is important to have a strong support system, hobbies and to surround yourself with different purposes so you can feel as much like yourself as possible. Since being diagnosed, I have grown a green thumb and are now a plant mom to more than 15 plant babies! I also plan on exploring painting and singing.

RA isn’t the end of my life, although at times it can feel like that, it really isn’t. It’s just tough as hell most days. And on those days, I push through.

My new Fibro Life

After experiencing symptoms of Fibromyalgia for at least 7 months, my doctors have finally confirmed that I now have this illness. I have been given medication that is to ensure that I get some sleep and to be honest I am quite tired of taking pills. However, the medication is imperative to take since having this illness can cause insomnia. Without sleep, Fibromyalgia and its pains, can make you irritable, frustrated and short tempered. So with that being said, CHEERS!

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. I believe this to be true as sometimes a single touch can be a bit painful.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. According to studies, women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. So it is imperative to keep a strong support system around you. It is good to pick up new hobbies and to surround yourself with different purposes so you can feel as much like yourself as possible. You dont want to lose yourself to the illness so you have to fight in every which way you can. Since being diagnosed, I have grown a green thumb and are now a plant mom to more than 20 plant babies! I also plan on exploring painting and singing.

My experience with Fibromyalgia consists of a resonating and at times, debilitating pain that shoots from my neck to my lower back. I also have muscle spasms and nerve issues that usually cause a tingling sensation in sporadic places throughout my body but mainly in my arms and legs. Long story short, I am in constant pain, experiencing constant fatigue and have a never ending migraine. My body aches all day everyday and nothing, no pill or magic bath, eases the pain. I have also experienced cognitive difficulties which to me by far is the worst and can be debilitating at times since you cant remember what you wanted to do or were doing.

I still haven’t come to terms with any of these symptoms yet. Neither have I come to terms with me having Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both of these diagnoses are not even 2 years old but they have been present in my system for years. RA hit me hard when I was in my fourth pregnancy; I was in the most debilitating state I have ever experienced with having both RA and Fibromyalgia. At the moment, my RA symptoms are at a 4 as my inflammation is at bay. However, my fibro symptoms remain a number 7 on a scale of 1-10. The neck and back pain however, are at a 9 consistently.

Everyday is a new struggle and accomplishment all in one. And on days when you can’t bare to lift a finger, never feel less than the strong, accomplished, person you are. After all, you opened your eyes this morning and that to me, is an accomplishment. Some days are going to be tougher than others, but on the toughest days, still push through.

Thank you for sharing Antoinette! You can follow her blog & Instagram. Links below:

https://nettiesmomlife.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/raandfibrowarrior_/

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