My Story: Julie Mock

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was serving in the US NAVY Reserves when they sent me for training on the West Coast. I had a layover in Chicago for about 4 hours and noticed I started feeling sick with sinus pressure and a runny nose. Once I landed in San Diego, my ears were about 80% blocked. I checked in with the medical person and they gave me antibiotics. They also gave me a few required vaccinations. After 4 days, my ears were worse so they sent me to the deep dive tank that the Seals use to try to get the pressure to pop in my ears. After that weekend, I was still feeling awful and given even more antibiotics. After the training, I returned home and gained 10 pounds a month for three consecutive months. I could not fit into any of my clothes. I felt achy all over. I was medically discharged because the Navy doctors didn't know what the problem was. I was sleepy all the time, even after 17 hours of sleep. I went through a bout of Vertigo and physical therapy all through my family doctor. It took me another year to see a rheumatologist and then a sleep specialist who found out that I had zero REM sleep. I was given the usual gabapentin and told to see a psychiatrist. I went to my family doctor and begged for the Lyrica and Cymbalta combo. I went from a healthy, physically fit 35 year old to an "old lady" who couldn't remember things. My cholesterol ran high as did my blood pressure because of the weight. I was given more meds for that. Now, my seasonal allergies that lasted all year long, even after 8 years of shots, caused me to add 3 more pills, a rescue inhaler, a nasal steroid and an ADVAIR for my shortness of breath. I finally convinced my insurance to pay for a Lap Band. Just my luck, it didn't work. I had an intolerance and they could never put any saline in the device to close the ring around my stomach pouch. It is still in there 5 years later because I can't afford to have it removed. I have chronic diarrhea and the feeling that I will throw up. I have a very low quality of life and yet I still maintain a very difficult job for 40 hours a week. I just have to sleep all weekend to have enough energy to do that job that my family relies on me to do. I have tried hypnosis, acupuncture and IV therapy with no success. My feet feel like they are being smashed by very heavy weights and it is painful to walk.

Who has been there for you? How?

At first, my own mother thought I was nuts. Then I took her to a Fibro clinic with me that was in Philadelphia, about 100 miles one way from where I live. She saw all the people there saying the same things as I was saying and finally came around to support me (while still telling me to lose weight and be happy and that will change things). My husband almost left me twice because of the disease. I needed him to stay for the sake of my daughter. She has recently been diagnosed with Fibro and alternates between being sympathetic and mad at me. She also doesn't have the same issues that I have and isn't very sympathetic.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have had to give up almost everything that I love: physical activities, social activities, including drinking because of all the meds, and any hope of going back to the old way of life. I used to do 7 mile hikes and dance all night and now I wear a Fit Bit Flex to try for 10,000 steps a day. I am constantly looking for a bathroom and I don't enjoy food at all. I’m praying for medical marijuana as a last ditch effort at pain relief.

I went from a healthy, physically fit 35 year old to an "old lady" who couldn't remember things.

Never give up and stay positive and find what works for you.

Never give up and stay positive and find what works for you.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I am amazed that I can still get up every day that I do and continue to work. I could easily get disability and stay at home like so many of the people that I know.

What's your advice to someone else living with Fibromyalgia?

Never give up and stay positive and find what works for you.

Is there anything else we should know?

Fibro is very common in any branch of the US Military
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