Is Remission Possible?

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 blog posts. 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 can 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. 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.

img_0986~Kim

 (Update; published! The 8th Stage of Fibromyalgia )

33 comments

  1. You make a great point here Kim. I agree that management is the eighth stage; we learn what works for us, then we can GENTLY and gradually test our limits to learn if we’re at a point where we can do more. I haven’t completely given up hope on it having the potential to completely go away, but I also don’t want to put life on hold just waiting for that to happen either, so to me, learning to manage our symptoms and enjoy our lives is key.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri! I really struggled with this information. I’m not sure I like the word remission because it is so easily misunderstood. But it does happen, a lessening of symptoms at times. Management. A still, constant battle, but the approach is different because we know the risk factors. I think a big part of management to me is the lack of fear and the ability to ride out the ups and downs. The pain comes back. It always comes back. Terri, we all hope for a cure! I hope for a cure! I want to be able to manage fibro until one comes and live the best life I can in the mean time. You are definitely someone I look at, who is living at a level I hope to reach! Thanks for your thought provoking comment. And your support!💜

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      1. Awww, Kim, you’re far too kind! I love what you said about management being a lack of fear and being able to ride out the ups and downs because you’re right — there are always going to be ups and downs and keeping the right attitude helps us deal with things as they come. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever get discouraged or upset, or even have a good cry every now and then, but it does mean we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and live to fight another day. Sending you a big hug and WARM thoughts. We’re supposed to get some of that arctic blast, but nothing like you guys are getting. I can’t believe how cold it is there!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you Terri. Yes, have to handle the ups a downs, that’s a given. And yes, it is frigid here! 10-15 below zero, much colder in western Minnesota. Wind chills are 55-65 below. I saw a funny meme, a police officer stating, “Minnesota is closed.” LOL! 💜💜💜

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, talking about Remission. I once had a six month stretch of it. It was like Heaven. We thought we had finally found the keys and right combinations to finally have improved my diseases. When the relapse came, I found it extremely difficult, mentally. I think it may have been worse than when I first got sick, because for six months I felt “normal”. Now, we have learned that with remission will always come relapse. So we just celebrate every second of feeling good and try not to worry about it ending; it will always inevitably end.
    ~Stacey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is exactly what needs to be conveyed! We can have times when we feel almost normal! You got 6 months! Congrats! Celebrating that time, enjoying it, is paramount. When the pain returns, like a cruel joke, it has nothing to do with us. Fibromyalgia just IS. Incurable. Chronic. Then it comes down to how we handle the fall! You are correct, it will always inevitably end. We have to learn how to roll with the punches and not let these ups and downs completely devastate us. That is a hard undertaking! You got this, Stacey!😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Mmmm an interesting one. I think redefining ‘remission’ is possible, but for me, personally, I can’t quite get it to fit in my head. I think ‘management’ fits much better. With chronic illness there’s no cure and there aren’t really ‘good days’ for many of us, we don’t get to go back to the way we were before crap took over, we have a new ‘normal’ and ‘baseline’ that are our new ‘good days’. You’re not alone in struggling with stage 7. Acceptance is a b*tch. I feel myself resisting already. I’ve found it easier to break it down and work on accepting smaller things rather than illness as a whole, like accepting the need for naps, accepting the feelings of frustration, accepting that I fall behind on blogging or housework when I’m feeling worse than usual, etc. I also find it a little easier to view it as acceptance with an asterisk. Acceptance* with an open mind that things can change, that maybe there are things that haven’t been diagnosed yet and thus there may be other things I can do in future to make myself feel better, that kind of thing. I’m hoping to do a post on it soon, but, alas, it’s another thing I’ve not got around to yet! Thought-provoking post, Kim, I’m totally behind it and the need for that ‘management’ stage! xx

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    1. I agree. If remission is defined in its entirety, yes, we get less intense pain days. I don’t think I’d take a risk saying I was in remission to anyone! Because I’ve had difficulty getting people to even believe I have a chronic pain illness. When you say remission, you think of cancer, you think of being symptom free! That’s not us, nor will it be ever. I’m with you on our new normal never getting to go back to our old selves. Getting to and maintaining the 7th stage of acceptance is a bitch! I teeter on it, but have managed to stay in it. Management is goal! I don’t know if I’ll ever completely live in stage 8 but I would like to one day. So, Caz, management for stage 8 is a keeper! And without the elusive cure, we all hope for But isn’t here yet, the 8th Stage would be the final stage for now. I’m excited about your ‘things in the future’ post. Take your time. I’ll be here! 💜😊

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have a dear friend who is struggling with several chronic illnesses…I hope to see her this week and can hardly wait to talk with her about your insightful post…she is trying so hard to achieve remission and is heartbroken that there hasn’t been very much progress. Since my father passed away, I’ve noticed a flare-up of my fibromyalgia, your thoughtful words are a reminder for me as well…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! I hope this information is helpful. Remission doesn’t mean success or failure, just a lessening of symptoms. Please share, encourage her to realize remission is not a goal! It is an outcome that we may reach from time to time. We never go back to our pre-fibro selves. But we can be living a good life within our limitations! We have to find purpose in the now. So nice to read your comment! I am posting the 8th stage of fibromyalgia tomorrow. Again, I am so sorry about the loss of your father. Grief increases pain. There is no way around grief. We will feel it and return to it many times. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a parent. 🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this!! I definitely want to get to a “Management” stage, but I find I can’t get through acceptance. I should’ve read this before I posted…I think you’ve changed my thinking about today. Thanks again Kim!!

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    1. I hope you found something useful! I am holding on at the acceptance stage… took a good 15+ years but I got there. One day we will both reach the management stage. For now, just figuring out the stages of fibro and where you arein those stages will help. I think you’ll find that we all follow a pattern but each of our timelines are our own. You don’t get to skip a stage. You are going to be just fine! I promise!

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  6. I know Meniere’s can go into remission, but it can come out just as fast. The early part of last year I was in remission, the last part was hell and is still a bit icky, for more than one reason.
    I hurt a LOT this week. With fatigue and dizzies, vertigo, migraines….yes it’s all flaring.
    but I know remission is possible.
    and I accept that I have these things, but I am not these things. I will not allow it to be who I am.
    (can you tell I had a conversation about that recently? sorry overlap.)
    xoxoxo ~Wen

    Liked by 1 person

        1. When I had the surgeries on my pancreas, I never had a flare. For about 2 years. I had pain! I had seven surgeries! But no flares. I wonder if getting put out, the anesthesia does something? Then again, I was heavily medicated for the surgery recovery. Hmmm. Well, still, it’s wonderful to not flare. I am now back to flaring. But I want you to enjoy flare free months! It’s great!💜

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