The first six stages of fibromyalgia were explained by a woman named A. Wise. The seventh stage of fibromyalgia was introduced by me, Kim Johnson. I am following this up with what I believe to be the eighth and final stage of fibromyalgia.
(The first six stages, *A. Wise.)
- You notice something is wrong. You hurt and are tired. You may begin to research to find out what is wrong with you.
- You are in a lot of pain and are taking some sort of medication for it. You are exhausted every day.
- You are in constant pain and always fatigued. You go to work, come home and sleep.
- Unrelenting pain and fatigue. You call into work more than you are physically there. You spend most of your days in bed. At this time people beginning to doubt your illness because you could do things in stages 1 – 3 that you can no longer do.
- You have just quit or have been let go from your job, you are struggling to make ends meet. You are applying for long-term disability.
- You can no longer hold down any kind of job. Simple tasks you took for granted now drain all of your precious energy. Now you are not only dealing with pain, fatigue, and medications but the side effects as well. You probably now know more about fibromyalgia than your doctor. You find you are without hope.
This is a pretty abbreviated version of the six steps, but I’ve summarized the points that Ms. Wise laid out in her article. Stage six pretty much ends with you being in constant pain, fatigue, and without hope. (There had to be a seventh stage!) I was not being left in stage six with no hope.
(Stages seven and eight, *K.Johnson.)
Stage seven for fibromyalgia sufferers would be acceptance. You live your life within the limitations placed on you by fibromyalgia. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up. It means facing your illness with a new perspective. You find peace with that acceptance. Anger, fear, hopelessness all but disappear. You stop feeling like you are a worthless human being and you start finding some purpose in your life.
Stage eight is management. The final stage. 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 found your purpose.
Just because you are in stage eight does not mean you can control your fibromyalgia. You will still have bad days. This illness is chronic. You will know how to handle your flares as they happen and may be able to reduce the intensity. You will be well aware of how to manage all the secondary, coexisting conditions you experience with your fibromyalgia. There will always be medication changes, flares, and frequent physical and mental disruptions you will have to deal with. These types of ‘upsets’ will no longer be so overwhelming. (You have learned to roll with the punches!) You will continually seek out additional information about your disease. You advocate for fibromyalgia awareness.
I am still in stage seven; acceptance. I hope to get firmly to stage eight; management, in the next year or so. I believe we can and do re-visit some stages, especially when faced with new health challenges. We often have maintenance to do when additional health conditions arise.
What stage are you in?
*When sharing this information, please credit A.Wise with the first 6 stages, and K. Johnson with stages seven and eight. Thank you!
For more information, refer to the original post; The 7th Stage of Fibromyalgia.
Additional discussion can be found at; Is Remission Possible?