The 8th Stage of Fibromyalgia

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.)

  1. You notice something is wrong. You hurt and are tired. You may begin to research to find out what is wrong with you.
  2. You are in a lot of pain and are taking some sort of medication for it. You are exhausted every day.
  3. You are in constant pain and always fatigued. You go to work, come home and sleep.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

(The 8th Stage of Fibromyalgia first appeared on I Tripped Over a Stone.)

img_0986~Kim

*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?

 

21 comments

  1. Thank you Kim. I am glad you added stage 7 and 8. There is always so much we can do for ourselves to have a good life despite our illness.
    What stage am in? I guess it fluctuates between 7 and 8. There is always so much more to learn about self care…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Acceptance is extremely hard, a bit easier when we realize it doesn’t mean giving up, it does mean getting on with your life fully aware of the limitations fibro has put on you. I can honestly say I have not reached stage 8. I know what I need to do, but mentally, just not there yet. Thanks for commenting and sharing this post Mer! ❤

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  2. Kim – I’m in stage 8. But I have never experienced stage 5 or 6, so I consider myself very fortunate. I have found what works for me to manage my condition. And yes, flares definitely still happen! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are tough stages. Many we just “go through” for years! Getting to the later stages, we struggle to reach them for our optimal health. Its different for everyone, but this is the most generic way of presenting the stages that I can think of. It helps to know what is happening and that others fight damn hard to get through these stages as well! Thanks Caz! 🙂

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  3. I loved this! I was at stage 6 for a long time, and am now happy to read this and realise I am at the wonderful stage of 8! Yes, you are right there is relapse and I go back to earlier stages some days, but on the whole I manage. Sometimes this brings back that horrible being doubted, are you really ill, as the acceptance and management does make life easier and in fact I am able to do so much more, but I wouldn’t be able to work again, as the energy hours in my day are given to my routines that keep me well. If I tried to work I would be back to earlier stages as I wouldn’t have energy and time to keep my body and mind as healthy as I can. Even when coping becomes easier you have to not push past your limitations…. enjoy the good days but be mindful it is there for life and has not gone, you are successfully managing it and that is another phase you have to allow yourself. Work against this and you end up going backwards. Keep doing what is right for you ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, congratulation! Just you realizing to live to the fullest extent of your life, within your limitations, is such a big factor in our overall sense of well-being!!! You are right, it is still there… fibro. It always will be. We slip once in awhile and pay for overexerting ourselves. But. Sometimes we’ve done nothing and we go into a full on flare! Learning to manage the inevitable symptoms of our disease is goal. Management! It is a full time job and we do not get a vacation, ever. I must say I am so pleased to hear of how you look at life with fibro! Again, congratulations! Keep fighting for YOUR normal. Live your best life!😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you all have the tenacity to endure all these things. I pray you don’t lose hope. Just reading your blog and comments make me feel positive about myself. There are lots of people who experienced worse things than I did but you still fight back. I hope to be just like you. Take care always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone has a story they’ve never told. Have you heard that quote? We all fight battles in our lives, we needn’t compare the seriousness of the battle an individual faces, because when it’s happening to you, it is bad. I agree, may we all have the tenacity to continue to fight. I think you are pretty cool, and when you get older, I hope there is even more of you shining out for all to see! ~k.

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