It started a year ago. I had worked three double shifts in a row, and I contributed the lull in energy to exhaustion.  My blood sugar was not low, and I had eaten fairly well that day, but something was making me feel weak, shaky, and fatigued. Three days later the feeling had not yet gone away, so my husband and I headed for the Emergency Room at two in the morning. By the time we reached Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia I could not walk on my own. I was triaged and taken to a tiny curtained cubicle of a room where tests were run while I slept and Hubby read. Several hours later those tests came back with normal results, and I was discharged still unable to walk on my own. We felt helpless, but we were told I was in no imminent danger and that the ER had done all they could do. They were terribly sorry. From there the symptoms mounted. I experienced severe muscle pain and paralysis, fatigue, insomnia, migraines, brain fog, menstrual irregularity, weight and appetite fluctuation, weakness, extreme insulin resistence, and vertigo. My hair stopped growing and started to break, and my skin became severely thin, causing me to bruise and bleed on contact with even the slightest pressure. My heart rate began to average in the vicinity of 121, and even the shortest activities winded me. My temperament changed. The smallest problem would seem insurmountable. I would cry constantly, and I became irrationally and violently angry without warning. My marriage, my household, and my job were threatened by my worsening condition. A year later we have no more answers than we had when this ordeal began. Each test that comes back negative is added to the litany of diseases and disorders I do not have, which is a blessing and a curse. I have been tested for everything from Cushing’s Syndrome to Lupus, from TB to Addison’s, and still we have no clue why I continue to be sick. I have been in the hospital several times where they have accused me of being delusional, blamed all my symptoms on diabetes, or blatantly called me a liar. My husband has had to come to bat for me over and over as one of the few witnesses of how severely this has affected my life. I am still unable to work a full-time schedule, and our bills continue to climb as a result. People around me act like I just refuse to work, as if I like having to choose between groceries and rent. I was not surprised recently when I received the official “giving up” diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I was put on Gabapentin, which turned me into an instant zombie. Then I was put on Cymbalta, which helped the pain and emotional symptoms only for a short time. I am soon to be pawned off to a new team or specialists. I will see a cardiologist, a rheumatologist, and a neurologist before I am sent to a clinic for people with unidentifiable conditions. This post is NOT a ploy for pity or attention. It is an assurance to those who know me that I have not given up. Part 2 will give you a glimpse into the day I decided to take my diagnosis into my own hands and what I found when I did a little research.

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