Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was (finally) diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. She was casually put on a drug called Elavil and within five months she was beyond exhausted and had gained thirty pounds. She began having lots of muscle aches and pains and was unable to exercise as easily as she once could. The woman went to the bookstore and read about people who had Interstitial Cystitis (IC) and who subsequently developed muscle pain and fatigue. She learned that these symptoms were common in Fibromyalgia (FMS)-- a syndrome in which a person experiences long term, wide spread body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. As she read this book under the fluorescent light of the bookstore, the words became very blurry through the woman's tears, and she quietly put this book back on the shelf and drove home.
When the woman went to her next appointment with the urologist, she shared her fears that she was developing FMS, which is unfortunately, a common companion to IC.
"Oh, no!", said the Dr. "You don't want to have that one."
The woman didn't realize she had a choice of which one she wanted. Or that she had wanted any disease at all.
The Dr. continued, "Don't do this to yourself. You should see these crazy women who come in here complaining about this FMS. It is not real. It does not exist. You are way too young and pretty for this kind of craziness. Please, stop reading about it and go live your life."
The woman didn't realize that young and pretty women didn't get FMS or that you could catch it from reading. What an odd syndrome.
So the years passed and the woman wasn't so young and pretty anymore. The Interstitial Cystitis worsened as did the muscle pain and fatigue. Eventually she had to leave her job. And, as she definitely did not want to do this to herself, she stopped reading about Fibromyalgia. In fact, she rarely even mentioned it to others. She didn't want them to think she was one of the crazy ones. She just wanted to be pretty. And happy. And healthy.
But, after seventeen years she still had all this chronic muscle pain and fatigue.
Seventeen years of muscle pain? Maybe the woman wasn't crazy.
Maybe the Dr. was just wrong.
The woman started to think that maybe Fibromyalgia was real. That it did exist.
She started to think that even though she was told, "You don't want to have that one"---
that's the one she had.