Women are more likely than men to have their symptoms dismissed or downplayed by medical professionals. When they get a diagnosis, they often face stigma and judgment. In light of this, WH created the “Owning It” package—which spotlights various women with complicated and often difficult-to-diagnose conditions who decided to take a stand for their health. Our hope is that their stories help empower women everywhere to advocate for themselves and get the care and attention they deserve.
In my early 20s I was a CPA in New York. I really hated my job, and I was always just going, going, going.
Then, in December 2012, I began feeling a stabbing sensation that went from my lower back all the way down to my left foot. The nerve pain spread all over my body, even in my face, and I began having chronic muscle tension, cystic acne, and bad digestion issues.
I went through a ton of tests, and everything was ruled out: arthritis, diabetes, heavy metal poisoning. It was a couple of years before a doctor even mentioned fibromyalgia. People who have it have often gone down similar paths of being tested for other conditions and then informed they have fibromyalgia when nothing else comes up positive.
I was in so much pain, and I was irritable and overworked. I thought, This is the time to move and try something new. My now-husband and I were engaged at the time, and I asked him to request that his company relocate us. But when they moved us to Amsterdam in 2015, I was on the couch for 8 to 10 hours a day, and I depended solely on my husband, both financially and physically. My hands hurt so badly that I couldn’t do the dishes. I’d leave the door open when I took a bath, in case I needed to call for him to help me climb out of the tub.
I needed to figure out what I could do from the couch. So I started blogging, and that’s how my travel blog, Lust ’Till Dawn, came to life. Now I wake up and look forward to working. When I’m not feeling well but need to take photos for a client, I push myself to get out there and do it. If it weren’t for the blog, I wouldn’t know I was capable of that, but I am.
I’ve also been going through a lot of therapies in the past four years, and this year, I finally found a group of doctors who work well for me. I can see the difference: When I went to Lisbon in 2016, I took a ton of Ubers. Now, I can walk.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Women’s Health.
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