My Story: Can This Much Happen To One Person

My Story: Can This Much Happen To One Person

My Story: Can This Much Happen To One Person

by Monica Radtke

I’m 45 years old and live in Minnesota. I’ve had a lot of surgeries. But I’m writing this today because of Fibromyalgia.

Let me say a couple of things first. I am very fortunate to have a caring boyfriend of 25+ years who has tolerated everything I’ve been through. He has suffered from Epstein Barr Virus/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 2001–so we’ve both through some tough times. I work for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and am fortunate that they have tolerated my medical issues for the four years I’ve worked there.

How did this start?

In May 2004 I was unemployed. I bent over to pick something up off the floor. Then, it was a bolt of lightning ran through my body literally from to toe. I had herniated a disc somewhere in my back, but because I was unemployed and thus, uninsured, I had to live with it. Several months later, now working and insured, I went to see my doctor. I hadn’t herniated one disc–but two.

In addition, my doctor wanted me to see a Physiatrist–and mentioned something about fibromyalgia—not a diagnosis, just a mention.

After the discs were repaired (one of ten surgeries I’ve had since 1999), I went to the Physiatrist–who denied giving me a fibromyalgia diagnosis. I changed doctors and saw a Rheumatologist for Vitamin D deficiency. Finally in 2007, I was diagnosed. (Remember my boy friend was trying to address his Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue issue as well)

I used to be very organized, have a great memory and be in control of everything. Now, that’s all changed. I can’t remember anything if I haven’t written it down and have lost control of my entire. I have read The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. It describes what I go through every day. It feels like my muscles just stop–I can’t push my body. Then my brain shuts down. I’ve fallen asleep at work, and while eating and almost while driving.

Like many who suffer from it, I have read many books on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other similar conditions. I explain Fibromyalgia to people as the continual firing of nerves within my muscles. My muscles just don’t relax. I sleep with an electric blanket in order to calm my joints and muscles. It used to take me hours to fall asleep and I’d still wake up exhausted. I wasn’t getting what doctors call “restorative sleep”.

I can’t give up–I’m not wired that way. I work full time, am my boyfriend’s caregiver and try to be healthy. Every day I hit the floor running (so to speak). I conserve energy so I can make it through the day. Sometimes, I just can’t ration the energy to last for the entire day.

I try to not let it define me. Medications help (although I have to change them every 8 months or so because they stop having the desired effect).

When I go to bed every night, I have a motto–“Here’s hoping for a pain-free tomorrow.”

When people ask me what I’ve learned, here’s what I say.

  1. Everything Happens for a Reason–good or bad
  2. I am a machine–with metal in my neck, low back and foot.
  3. I hold things together because I don’t like showing I’m hurting or sick

It works for me. I wish I didn’t have to go through this. But if I do, I’ll do the best I can.

Authored by: Monica Radtke

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. William at 10:22 pm

    Hi Monica have you ever tried portable far infrared light sauna therapy for you and your partner if heated blankets at night help a little then this may help you. Far infrared light saunas vibrate human water cells deep down creating better circulation detoxification and there have been reports in Japan of it help some suffers of fibro by up to 78%

  2. Monica Radtke at 8:36 am

    I agree with never giving up on researching medical information, but you have to be careful with what you’re reading. I have read miles of information & am pretty sure I know what is true & misleading. I questioned the neuro stimulator myself. I wanted to have it, but just couldn’t get over the electronics in my body. I have enough metal, but electronics are a whole different ball game. I am still able to work full-time, but I don’t know how long that will last. I have other medical issues & the Fibromyalgia is taking every speck of respect for myself to deal with. Then there are people who just don’t believe, of course. I want to be a motivational speaker in order to get information out into the public.

  3. Kristi Martin at 3:48 pm

    Hi Monica,
    Thank you for your story. Nowadays I think of Fibromyalgia as an “umbrella term” for a lot of people that are diagnosed with Fibro. I was diagnosed with Fibro and sero negative rheumatoid arthritis almost 15 years ago. I too am +EBV so I do know I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which is the worst!) But it wasn’t until my son had a brain MRI for his migraines and was diagnosed with Chiari 1 Malformation (basically the brain stem pushes through the bottom brain tonsils and it presses on the spine), that I started to research more and finally led both of us to a Geneticist in which we were diagnosed with a genetic disease called EDS or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobile. But there are many more types of EDS too. There are so, so many people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but the Dr.’s get lazy and don’t want to do any further testing. I bet a lot of people “diagnosed” with Fibro actually have some sort of EDS! Just a thought! Never give up! And lastly, NEVER give up researching your symptoms!

  4. Valerie at 9:37 am

    I feel your pain. After a terrible car accident in 2007 where I suffered several seizures and broke my spine in 3 places that’s when the Fibro came along. I had to learn to walk all over again and a year later I was still in terrible pain. I was on potent meds and had more back surgeries for which I tried a neuro stimulator. It didn’t work. Had to have it removed it caused me more pain. My memory is shot. I don’t sleep. I’m in bed most of the time. I don’t have the energy to do anything anymore. I have a auto immune disease. Where my body lacks red blood cells. And doesn’t absorb B12. Pernicious Anemia. On top of that I suffer w Epstein Barr. So climbing a flight of stairs is like running a marathon. I pray for a cure everyday.