My Story: Linda Thomas

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I hurt my lower back (bulging disc) and my myofascial muscles in a work-related incident. I kept working on pain pills, muscle relaxers, and anti-depressants. I was a single mother raising three daughters, and this was in 1994.

Eventually, the pain spread throughout my body and was so bad, my last day of work (my oldest daughter's 16th birthday) that I was carried to my car where my fiancé was waiting.

It took three years to get diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia. All of my trigger points were incredibly tender. It took another three years to get on social security disability (the judge did not believe in this condition even though my file was 3" thick).

I was eventually diagnosed with scoliosis, deg disc, migraines, chronic fatigue, bursitis in my hips, arthritis in my knees along with severe fibromyalgia. I was 34 years old and had always been healthy and active.

Who has been there for you? How?

All of my so-called friends disappeared. My daughters wouldn't visit. My husband and I were married in 1997. I almost didn't marry him because I hated being a burden and felt utterly useless.

My twin brother has always stuck with me through thick and thin too.

No one understands what I am going through and how much extreme pain I am always in. Even with medications, epidurals, and trigger point injections monthly it feels like nothing is working.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I played softball, went swimming with my three daughters and we went camping a lot. I was also an avid reader and rarely watched TV, and then I could do none of these things.

My daughters chose to go live with their dad, and I was heartbroken.

I was taking a lot of trial medications and was scammed by a mortgage broker and the construction company he referred me too. My home is still a mess, and in need of a lot of repairs, we cannot afford. I can't sell or refinance because we owe more than it is worth.

My now-husband inherited all of these problems when he married me. I can no longer do laundry, shopping or cooking. He does all of those things and much more.

No one understands what I am going through and how much extreme pain I am always in. Even with medications, epidurals, and trigger point injections monthly it feels like nothing is working.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I'm proud of myself for raising my daughters. I try to do yard work, but that causes a lot of pain. The only time I feel better is in the summer.

I'm proud of myself for raising my daughters. I try to do yard work, but that causes a lot of pain. The only time I feel better is in the summer.

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

Go to a rheumatologist and find a good pain management center.

I was in bed for ten years before a new doctor sent me to pain management for trigger point injections. Now, at least, I am out of bed. Don't beat yourself up because this is not something you can control.

Don't listen to 'advice' from those who don't understand. Yoga is helpful as is stretching. Melatonin is great for helping you to get a deep, relaxing sleep.

Don't listen to 'advice' from those who don't understand.

Is there anything else we should know?

I was on oxycontin (60mg 4/day) but it eventually stopped working, and the pain was making me so nauseous that I was throwing up three times a week.

Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor. Don't just live with the pain. There are doctors now that know more about this condition and are willing to help.

Again, don't beat yourself up. Find friends. I only have three friends that accept me as I am and the fact that, sometimes I just have to bow out of plans we've made. Sometimes you 'can' do something but the pain afterward is never worth it.

About Linda Thomas

My Story: Linda Thomas

I'm 58 years old. I've been disabled since I was 34. I grew up in the south. My dad was a farmer (row crops & animals). I love animals, especially dogs and have always had one.

I was married at barely 19 to an abusive man for eight years, but he gave me three beautiful daughters. I was divorced for ten years before I met my current husband. We've been together 23 years without a single fight.

All of my daughters are married, and our ninth grandchild is due on December 9th of 2017. That will give us five granddaughters and four grandsons.

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