Why is there such a stigma attached to fibromyalgia!? Why do some doctors believe fibromyalgia is a real condition, while other doctors do not accept fibromyalgia as a diagnosis!? I was lucky that the doctor I first started to see in regards to fibromyalgia had an in-depth understanding of it and was supportive over the last 2.5 years. My doctor relocated last spring and I have been left seeing walk in clinic doctors at different clinics. I find it absolutely insulting the way some of the doctors reaction to the fact I have fibromyalgia. I often feel like having a fibromyalgia diagnosis on my file, red flags me right away.
I recently had to visit the local hospital due to the fact I had severe lymph node pain in my neck. After a three hour wait in emergency, the doctor spent literally 40-50 seconds with me in the exam room. He began asking me questions such as how long have I had a sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes and fevers. Any of us who live with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue often suffer from all the above daily. I told the doctor I had fibromyalgia and his whole demeanor changed after mentioning this to him. He got frustrated that I could not answer his questions and soon dismissed me from the exam room after I told him a second time I could not verify how many days I ran a fever. Dismissed me without even addressing my sore throat. I got left sitting in a dark waiting room by myself where my anxiety began to rise. I left the hospital untreated and hysterical. I believe the fact I mentioned fibromyalgia made him think I was just at the hospital to pill shop or that my pain in my lymph nodes was not severe and made up. I would say this was the worst health care I have ever received in my life. I rarely go to the hospital, but the pain in my lymph nodes in my neck was so severe all I could do was sit and cry. At that point, the lymph node pain was more severe then my fibromyalgia pain when I am in a flare!
Later that morning I decided to attend a walk in clinic since I had no luck at the hospital. A clinic I had never gone to. A clinic where the physicians do not know my file and severity of fibromyalgia. The doctor did address my lymph node pain, but was more focused on the MRI results I had over a year ago. I had to keep repeating over and over that my MRI results were being overseen by my neurologist and to not worry about it. He soon found on my file that I have fibromyalgia and then told me my lymph node pain was caused by anxiety. There is a belief that anxiety can cause enlarged, swollen lymph nodes, but all the articles I read state its a highly controversial subject. There isn’t a medical connection between lymph nodes and stress. Lymph nodes function to fight off an infection. They do not swell to fight off anxiety. Again I left the clinic without treatment of my swollen painful lymph nodes. Instead the doctor concentrated more on my fibromyalgia and the fact I have high anxiety. His advice- lower your anxiety and the lymph node pain would reside. I actually had no anxiety until the hospital incident earlier that morning.
This morning I decided to go back to the clinic for a second opinion. I finally was heard. I have strep throat, tonsillitis and my right ear was starting to get infected!! That was three days since I saw the other two doctors. I had been sick for awhile, since these infections don’t just appear over night.
In the past I have also had to see different doctors for prescription refills and have to explain and defend why I am on each and every medication. If these doctors would look at my file, they would see these prescriptions have been in use consistently and prescribed by the same doctor before he moved. Some doctors feel like we are pill shopping, when we are not! I have left the clinic without prescription refills because the doctor did not want to refill them. Thankfully my neurologist stepped in and gave me 15 months worth of refills on several medications.
Why is it I have a difficult time getting my medications for fibromyalgia refilled, but someone else who needs the same drug for depression not have an issue!? Because fibromyalgia is stigmatized by many doctors. Sadly in this day and age I thought the stigmas would have been eliminated by now. Why should people with fibromyalgia defend their medication list each and every time they see a different doctor!? The truth is we shouldn’t have to. Nor should we feel like we have been denied care because a physician doesn’t understand fibromyalgia and continues to think it is caused by mental instability. After this experience, I was left feeling crazy, unheard and with high anxiety. I should not be left feeling unheard because fibromyalgia is marked on my file!