Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Chronic Fatigue Are Not Real?

Do you have a chronic illness? 

Did it take years to receive a diagnosis?

Did it take even longer to receive the correct diagnosis? 

If you answered "yes" to the first question, surely the same response applies to the questions proceeding it. 
  

Again, if you said "yes" to any of the above, it is likely you saw a medical professional. You probably underwent various inconclusive tests, results tossed aside in an apathetic manner. If you are lucky, the doctor may care enough to nonchalantly pawn symptoms off with a vague term, such as Fibromyalgia (Fibro),  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) without further studies. These terms conceal copious controversy.  

What is Fibromyalgia? 
"Fibromyalgia is a syndrome and common disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. Although Fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis related condition, it is not arthritis because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, and other tissues. The causes of Fibromyalgia are unknown." [ x ]
In summary, Fibromyalgia causes widespread, chronic pain. The cause is UNKNOWN.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a condition where you have long term, disabling tiredness (fatigue) and other symptoms not caused by any other known medical condition. The cause is not known." [ x ]
To conclude, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome causes debilitating tiredness (Although, the word "tired" does not do the debilitating symptom justice). The cause is UNKNOWN. 

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome? 
"Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder that impacts the large intestine (colon)... [and] causes cramping, pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS, unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — doesn't cause changes in bowel tissue. It's not known exactly what causes IBS." [ x
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), not to be confused with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), causes significant, chronic gastrointestinal upset. The cause is UNKNOWN.

Do you notice a commonality among these diagnoses?

The similarities lie in the mystery concealed in the terms. They are catch all terms describing symptoms of an UNKNOWN origin. They are also deemed not real by a large portion of the general public. And in a sense - they are just that, not real.

Let me elaborate to avoid offense.

I had a diagnosis of all three.

The symptoms of Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are disabling. They are undoubtedly true, not imaginary. However, it is rare for a body to succumb to severe fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints (life-altering for some), and/or chronic pain just because. The above diagnoses are frequently symptoms of a larger, underlying health condition. It is imperative and potentially life saving to identify the cause(s).

My "Fibromyalgia" symptoms are from my genetic condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

My severe "Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)" is actually a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) known as Mastocytic Enterocolitis, stemming from Mast Cell Disease and wreaking havoc on my GI organs.

My "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" transformed into Dysautonomia, the extreme tiredness an effect of my body compensating for my faulty nervous system.

The diagnosis process is arduous, but I encourage all to pursue answers for their UNKNOWN illness(es). Seek doctors that care, crave knowledge, are persistent in their curiosities, and do not flee from the patients who are medical enigmas (like me).