I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. We were talking about the Seven Stages of Fibromyalgia. She believed there should be an eighth stage called “remission.” Her reasoning was when we feel ‘normal’ we are in remission. When we relapse, the pain that returns puts us back into the sixth stage of fibromyalgia when we hurt all the time and do not see a way out. This got me thinking! (And researching.)
First, let’s define remission as used in reference to medical patients.
The English dictionary defines remission as;
Remission: noun (OF ILLNESS) a period of time when an illness is less severe or is not affecting someone.
I know I have used the word remission in a few of my early blogs. It does mean when an illness is less severe. It does fit. I don’t think this is necessarily the eighth stage of fibromyalgia. I think remission can happen in any stage for as little as a day, weeks, even months. The pain always returns, this is a chronic disease. We bounce back into different stages depending on the intensity of our pain and how well we are able to manage the severity of our symptoms.
So can we reach remission? Yes! At any stage. This little monster we call fibromyalgia is sneaky. We begin to feel less severe symptoms and what do we do? Go like hell! Take on old projects as well as new! We pretend the debilitating pain will not return, but it does. It always does. We have a chronic illness that has no known cure. ‘No cure’ and ‘chronic’ basically mean forever.
Is there an eighth stage after the seventh stage of acceptance? Yes, I believe there is. I think it is management.
Management. The eighth and final stage of fibromyalgia;
You have let go of what does not serve your overall sense of well-being. You are now doing what works uniquely for you! You maintain a medication/supplement schedule. You are gently exercising. You have hobbies. You are prepared for symptom changes. You have found your purpose. You can roll with the punches (the ups and downs of your chronic disease.)
I will be expanding further on the management stage tomorrow. [Update; published, The 8th Stage of Fibromyalgia] I am not in stage eight yet, this would be my goal! I have grasped stage seven, acceptance. None of the stages have been easy to move through.
If you want to review the seven stages of fibromyalgia click here.
Thanks to Jody for bringing up the topic of remission! It is a common question we face throughout our lives as we try to deal with each return of painful, debilitating flares.