By Lynne Matallana, President & CEO
In 1995, my life had become a practice of patience. I would tell myself, “I can stand this pain for two more months,” and I would imagine that during that time I would find the reason for my pain and a way to make it go away. For the next two months I would practice living life in a very structured and predictable way. I would try to sleep as much and as late as possible (which wasn’t easy!) and then I would begin my day of routine. Each day was the same…I had found a few distractions that I could practice (walking to the mail box once a day, watch an old movie that was upbeat and I didn’t have to put any effort into following the simple story line; try to do stretching exercises on a yoga mat, sit in a hot bath with herbs and mineral salts, and see how many times I could walk from my living room to my dining room–back and forth)…all of which would help the day pass a little more quickly, until it was time to go to bed and then start the whole cycle over again the next day.
As I would sit in the exam room waiting for the doctor, I would practice to myself the explanation I would present when the doctor would finally show up and ask me for the reason I was there.
I would begin telling my story, putting up a brave front, sharing my symptoms and my current treatment strategy…but would usually end up in tears, trying to get the doctor to understand how much pain I was in and how desperate I was for his/her help! Most of the time the doctor’s reaction was like seeing a deer in the headlights. I knew they saw a healthy looking woman, who seemed to not be coping very well, overreacting to something they didn’t understand. This disconnect would make my body hurt even more and my emotional state go from bad to worse.
I would ask myself, “Why did I get my hopes up?” As I walked out of the doctor’s office with a piece of paper that had the name and number of a local psychologist, I would tell myself, “You aren’t crazy! Your pain is real. Someone, someday will have the answer. Try to stay positive and have faith. This is just a temporary situation. Have patience, and remember…you just have to hang in there for two more months. They have to have answers for you by then!”
It took more than two months for me to get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, but when I finally found the doctor who knew what was wrong with me and told me with time I would get better…I told myself, “I’m proud of you! You held onto hope and never stopped believing that anything is possible.”