After I Tripped; The Diagnosis (Friday Series #9)

Returning to my parent’s home in 2001 in Minnesota was comforting, yet disconcerting, and a bit embarrassing at my age. (I was 33 years old, almost 34!) I was moved into the ‘office’ and slept on a pullout couch. I don’t think I did anything the first week but cry and sleep.

My Mom brought me breakfast in bed every morning for five consecutive days. Then she announced it was time to get up! She wanted me to get back into life and make the best out of my situation. So, I tried…

It was I believe, shocking, to say the least as she watched me try to regain some sense of direction. To witness the constant daily pain I was in. To hear about the struggle, I had tried so hard to hide. 

My mom is a strong, stubborn, full-blooded Norwegian. She is a viper when it comes to her children! She fiercely loves and savagely protects all of her children. God help the person who crosses one of her own. My mom expects the same of us. Be tough, work your ass off, and make something of yourself! (She did not raise lazy kids.) Age has not been kind to her health, she fights her battles too. I love my mom.

As I was struggling to understand what was going on with me, Mom started calling medical facilities. She began with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Next, she called the University of Minnesota, Medical Clinic in Minneapolis. Then she called a doctor friend of a family member, a general practitioner in a small town 40 miles north of us. All were willing to see me, but we started with the closest option. Dr. Olson, the general practitioner.

“You have Fibromyalgia.”

“I have what?”

“It’s called Fibromyalgia Syndrome, do you want me to write it down for you?”

“Yes, please. How do I fix it?”

“You don’t…”

I learned this Fibromyalgia Syndrome ‘thing’ was called “the garbage can diagnosis.” You must be tested for everything it could possibly be [I had been]. If everything comes back negative [it did], you go through a tender spot exam [never had one of those exams until I saw Dr. Olson]. If you have these specific tender areas, you are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I told my mom what the Doctor had said and begged her not to tell anyone I had the garbage can disease! I was NOT going to let this get me… I would find a cure!

I bought every book I could find. I bought every supplement that the books suggested. I did every exercise that was written in the book. I went to a mental health therapist just in case this was nothing more than a mental issue… truthfully, it was a prevalent misdiagnosis in 2001.

One evening I was watching the news with my parents. They were spotlighting a human interest story about a local physical therapist that was treating fibromyalgia patients with something called an “STS” machine. This worked on the sympathetic nervous system. He was having some success alleviating the severe pain people with fibromyalgia suffer. We looked at each other, shocked! I made a call to the physical therapist’s office the very next morning.

Dave Solheim, physical therapist guru, would change my life!

(To be continued.)


41 thoughts on “After I Tripped; The Diagnosis (Friday Series #9)

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  1. Hey Kim how wonderful your mother is!
    Pam is a local woman who may have the f problem too
    she lives in a penthouse
    that a woman whom lives in Ny owns
    that ladies family wants her to evict Pam
    but she said
    no Pam got off meth and coke
    so she deserves a new start
    yeah Kim~
    yeAH pAM~

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Chronic, debilitating disease is something which can suck out the hope and will to live. I know of this as I had a autoimmune form of arthritis and before it was diagnosed, I too suffered a lot. Now I know what I have and how to manage it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Once our fairytales are exposed, no, there is no going back. Now what do we have to look forward to? Because life is long and living it as a disillusioned adult is not my idea of a happy ending. So we lift the curtain, put away our toys and find goodness in reality, beauty in the arts, and freedom in nature. We just have to look, and look again. Seek and we shall find.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. It will never fail to strike me how one moment, one word (or 2) can change your life forever. You are brave to go back and tell this story, Kim, and it is so important. I was also diagnosed at 33 and by 34 had surrendered my drivers license, and I believed at the time, my independence, but we have a way of fighting that maybe we never even knew. Your Mom reminds me of you; strong and fiercely loving. I am grateful to know you! Love you, Lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very wild, both diagnosed at 33. The independence was a very difficult loss… but we both made it through and learned the deeper meaning of dependence (it’s allowed to depend on another adult). We fought to keep, and at times, regain all the independence we could. Thank you for your kindness, Susan. You have taught me so much. Love you too. 💜🦋

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is very nice to hear. So many struggle, much worse than I did and do. But I admit, it’s nice to be acknowledged! The rest is just “white noise.” Thanks for the valuable lesson today as well! I’ll never forget. 😊💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have a wonderful mother, Kim! My mom was the same way when we were trying to figure out what was going on. She called doctors, wrote to Mayo Clinic, went to appointments with me, asked questions and cried along with me when we’d leave another office without answers. Mother’s are a blessing for sure. Thanks for sharing more of your journey. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mom is a brilliant crisis Mom! If my world was blowing up, she was my rock. No question, things were going to be ok. Your mom sounds like a terrific mom too! It helps so much to have that support. Thanks for sharing the journey with me! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t believe it was a small town doctor who finally gave me a diagnosis! Lord, I’d been to every specialist in Seattle! When I was diagnosed in 2001, it was really a garbage can diagnosis, but at least I had a name, fibromyalgia. I could fight a name. I’m sorry you went through a period of time that it was not recognized. That would be so hard Brigid. Well, it was even recognized as a medical diagnosis on its own until October, 2015 when it was finally entered into the Classification of Diseases Manual and given its own number. We are finally legit!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was diagnosed in 1999. I had to have the doctor write it down and then online I went, to read and find others who also had it. Thankfully, mine was a mild case until 2012. Then all hell broke loose…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh. I know… I thought it was bad at first, then… wham! There seems to be a dramatic progression of symptoms after the first few years… 13 in your case, but it backs off a bit then or maybe we just get used to the pain… I don’t know. Between medications, therapy, and pacing, we figure it out as best we can.💜


  5. Embarrassing to be returning home at 33, Kim? I’m 30 and I can’t return because I’ve never left… yikes!
    Luckily it’s like living with housemates here as we do our own thing and get along well. And I love my mum to the ends of the earth.
    Your mum sounds like one tough cookie, but I’m sorry about your health and own battles with illness. Despite all of that, she sounds fierce!
    I don’t think I’ve come across STS machines for fibro. Oh how things have changed since 2001 in terms of awareness around fibro, even though there is a heck of a long way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, at least you have that good relationship and your own room. My parents had moved into a small home after us 6 kids left. (From a five bedroom, 3 story house, to a two bedroom rambler!) The STS machine is a thing of the past! But I still have one and use it. It doesn’t work for everyone but it was a godsend for me! I’ll explain it as best I can, next week. Yep, I was mortified to receive the garbage can diagnosis! Still much more to do! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like mother, like daughter, I think! I’m really enjoying this series, chronicling your journey. I’ve never heard of an STS machine but I’m looking forward to hearing how it helped you:-)

    Liked by 1 person

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