My Invisible Pain: A Fibromyalgia Story

“I am weak but thou wilt make me strong.” 

These simple words are what get me through each day. There are many instances in our lives we wish we could go back and change. For me it was the summer of 1992. I was just finishing up the sixth grade and ecstatic to be starting the 7th grade, but just one day, one instance, one moment changed my life forever. I was a bubbly personable young girl who loved to be social, have fun and didn’t have a care in the world, but that all changed one Saturday morning.
School had just let out the day before. It was the day of the annual optimist club bike races. We had a nice refinished track for the kids to race their bikes on. I woke up simply ecstatic for the chance to race. I was insistent on wearing my new black dressy shoes because I wanted to look pretty for the race. My mom gave up the fight about them being the wrong shoes to race in and gave in. I remember getting to the track and watching all the preparations for the races. The excitement was illuminating that day with the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky.  I even remember the dinky little trailer used to supply snacks and drinks to all those in attendance. I loved helping out in it.

Today was my day and I was ready to win. I had been practicing for the last several months when it got warm again. It was my turn to shine. I remember my dad putting the helmet on and making sure it was tight. I wheeled my bike up to the starting gate. I stood tall and proud ready to show everyone how awesome I was going to be. Several other boys lined up next to me. I was the only girl and I was proud of it.

The countdown was on and before I knew it I was heading down the ramp. It was an exhilarating feeling. I was going fast, faster and then I started to turn the corner. Anxiety kicked in as I got nervous when one of the boys got too close to me and then I lost control. My feet slipped, I couldn’t get them back on. I was scared and next thing I know, I was flying over the handles, I couldn’t stop. Oh why does it have to happen like this? This is so not fair and before I knew it, the race was done but I hadn’t finished the race. When I flew over the handle bars I hit my head not once but twice on a hard mounded pile of dirt. First the middle of the head then back down and hit the right side. Everything was black after that.

I remember waking up in a hospital room but unable to stay awake. I was so sleepy. My mom was so sad and scared. My dad was shaking. What was happening? Why was I here? What happened to me? Only when I finally started waking up more did I find out what happened and why I was there. That’s when the headaches started happening more often and the dizziness. I was told I had suffered a major concussion and whip lash thus causing a semi coma and having a slight paralysis to the left side of my body. I was in the ICU for 2 days and the hospital for 2 more days with many x rays and tests.

When I got home, I remember my mom telling the doctors at each checkup I was not the same child. My personality, behaviors and overall ability to do anything had drastically changed. I was angry and irritable. I became easily offended. My social skills had changed and I was having a hard time keeping my friends. I was weak and struggled staying up with the other children during physical activities.

Later that summer my best friend invited me to a primary activity out at her ward. We played games. One game in particular we were to run from one end of the yard to the other, run around a bat and come back. There were 3 participants so it was to see who could do it the fastest. When it came to my turn, I started to run only to find myself so incredibly dizzy that I veered to the left side and fell into 3 big containers of water. I knocked every single one down. The kids started laughing. I remember crying out of pure embarrassment. I was humiliated. I wanted to tell them, I couldn’t help it. When I got home and told my mom, she started crying and said it was too soon for me to be doing anything physical.

PE in 8th grade was hard because I couldn’t keep up with the other kids. My self-esteem had plummeted. It was at its all-time low. My mom and dad were at a loss and didn’t know what to do. It was suggested I get tested for psychiatric evaluation and receive counseling. I was mortified. I knew I would be made of more and bullied more from it. I remember my PE teacher writing degrading comments about my behavior in her class. I was appalled. I had never felt more worthless and I was only 13 at the time. I cried and cried for days. My parents enlisted our family in counseling and in the end it helped quite a bit. For that I am eternally grateful. At this time I was diagnosed with borderline ADD.

My 9th grade year came and I was ecstatic that I was feeling better. I decided to try out for the drill team but they made me take my glasses off. I was still so uncoordinated and not being able to see made it all that much worse. After try outs that I knew I bombed, I cried when I didn’t get called. My mom cried with me. It was the first and last time I would ever try out for anything that required physical movement ever again.

The fall of my sophomore year, I was working at a local café in town as a busser. It was the night of October 16, 1996. I had gotten off and was heading home. Everything seemed to be going perfect. While I was driving, I happened to glance over at another one of the local cafes to see if one of my teachers was there. Yes... I was one of those girls who had a crush on her teacher. 

When I saw his vehicle wasn’t there, I looked back to the road, only to see a semi pulling out and having no way to stop. I pushed hard on my brakes but even then I wasn’t stopping in time and before I knew it, I was crashing into the side of the truck. It was so loud and I covered my face. Once again everything went pitch black. When I came to, I looked to my left and saw my hood and my wind shield lying on the seat at the edge of the windows. It was like the hood split and rolled into 3 pieces. The end was at the right side all the way on the seat and back window, the middle had rolled to me then rolled down to the side of me. Then that’s when I looked up and lost it. The rest of the hood and wind shield was on top of me.

 I remember screaming and crying. A passerby heard me and ran to the door, saying, “Oh my god, I can’t believe it, she is alive.” I kept on screaming because I couldn’t get the door to open. He was able to get it open and I ran as fast as I could into the gas station screaming, “My dad is going to kill me.” He just completely remodeled the truck for my 16th birthday and it was gorgeous. Now it was mangled in the gas tank of a semi-truck. As soon as I got in, I saw everyone looking at me in utter shock. 

I was covered in blood from my hand that had now been cut up from shooting glass when I covered my face. I gave them my parent’s number. If it wasn’t for my dad’s ever love of police scanners and listening to it on the way over after receiving every parent’s worst nightmare of a call, they would have thought I was gone from the looks of the wreck. My poor mom was in hysterics when she saw my truck mangled under the semi. After I was checked out by the paramedics, it was advised I go to the ER to get more tests done.
This is where my story of fibromyalgia truly began as I became older. It took over 16 years to get it correctly diagnosed. 

Although I received treatments for my TMJ that resulted from both accidents due to whiplashes, my strength and energy to the rest of my body never did return. 

I became more tired and easily frustrated. 

For the longest time, the doctor told me I just needed to get more sleep and get out more. But no matter how much I did that it wasn’t getting better.
It was time to turn my mission papers in in the spring of 2001, but after my physical the doctor concluded that due to my weaknesses, it was best I serve state side. Once again it was a blow to my hopes of going somewhere exotic, once again I was devastated. Yet I pressed on knowing this is what the Lord needed me to do. So when the mission call came I was expecting to go somewhere in the states. So as I opened up my call ready to read which state the Lord called me to serve in, I discovered I was being called to serve in the Canada Vancouver Mission. Say what?!?! I never expected to be serving in Canada. Yet now looking back on my mission, I can see why I was called there. Not only for the amazing experiences and people, but there I was introduced to holistic medicine and practices. 

I learned about Kinesiology and found it to be exponentially beneficial to my health. A sweet sister in my first area introduced me to it and for this I am eternally indebted to her. Yet I still didn’t have a clue as to what was wrong with me. My weaknesses continued to get worse over time in the mission field to the point that one day while trying to get out of the car in Surrey, I realized my entire body had locked up. 

My muscles had completely locked tight and I couldn’t move. I remember my sweet companion being ever so patient with me and helping me out of the car. She helped me into the apartment and had me call the mission president. I remember being so scared and not knowing what was happening to me. The mission president advised me to see a chiropractor as most of my inability to move was from my spine. So I went to the chiropractor. 

Unfortunately it wasn’t helping and my mother pulled me out of it. So my mission president, his wife, the mission doctor and his wife came to our apartment. The doctor put me back on muscle relaxants. I despised taking them as they only made the symptoms worse. So back on them I went and then it made it even harder to function properly as a missionary. I was more tired and weaker than ever. I continued to feel like a failure as a missionary and as a companion. I was restricted in my missionary work so that I could stay and finish my mission. I felt like a burden to my companions. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was then instructed to attend physical therapy which helped a bit but not enough to relieve me of my weaknesses. I had an even harder time waking up in the mornings and functioning without needing naps or taking it slower. I knew I was dragging my companions down and for that I felt horrible. 

I came home from the mission, still with no answers and once again quit taking the muscle relaxants so I could function half way normal. I remember attending a singles activity with my friend and not being able to get out of the river. I couldn’t even pull myself up onto the dock because of how weak I was. 

Years went by with no answer to my weaknesses then shortly before my mother died I started getting horrendous pains in my lower abdomen. The pains would come and go. It was absolutely miserable. The doctor didn’t know what was wrong once again. 

We thought I might be having appendicitis but that wasn’t the case so it was thought that I might have Endometriosis. 

I was put on birth control. I ended up gaining weight and still experiencing the pains. So the doctor sent me in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound proved that there was no way possible for me to have endometriosis. I remember my mom crying tears of joy when we found out.

Unfortunately there I was again with no concrete answers. Less than a month later after the ultrasound, Heavenly Father called my mother home. My symptoms continued to get worse to the point I was searching frantically for answers. I was tired of dealing with the sharp abdominal pains and not knowing why.

So I started doing my own research and concluded I was suffering from IBS.
The doctor prescribed me a medicine for it which seemed to help substantially but he did so grudgingly. I truly believe it was because I figured out what was wrong with me before he did. The medicine he prescribed was Hyoscyamine. When I start having sharp pains, I put one on my tongue and let it fizzle. It relaxes the sharp pains and I find it very helpful. 

Ok so problem one was solved, my stomach was feeling immensely better and I was learning through more research what I could and couldn’t eat. Yet I still didn’t have problem 2 resolved. That was, why I was so weak all the time and in so much pain. At this point I had given up the desire to find out and decided I would live with the pain since I was tired of being given the wrong diagnosis’s and the doctor never being able to figure it out. 

Well the time came for me to get my prescription for my IBS to be renewed and the doctor wanted to see me again. I thought now would be a great time to get some medical history on my mom. She too had major stomach problems. I wanted to see if the doctor might think my mom also had IBS. So I went into my appointment with plans to get more information. I sat down and asked him, if he thought my mom might have also had IBS. I was in total shock with what happened next. The doctor looked straight at me and said nothing. He simply stood up handing me the prescription and walked out. I was dumbfounded. Are you kidding me? What just happened here? Needless to say, I called my dad and said, “I’m done! The doctor can’t figure out what is wrong with me and now he won’t even help me with my mother’s medical history; it’s time to change.” So we did. I found a new doctor and continued pressing on. The need to solve problem #2 was still not at the top of my list.

Well, my TMJ seemed to be getting worse since my mother’s death so my dentist suggested I start treatments to help make it better. $10,000 later, it’s better but not as good as I would like it to be. At least, I know now how to control it. It came time to finish up my treatments and once again for the 3rd time in my life, it was recommended I start muscle relaxants. So onto the doctor I went to get a prescription. Writing this next part is what brings me to tears the most. This doctor’s appointment with the new doctor was the biggest life changing experience I could have ever imagined. My mother was there in that appointment with me that day. 

The doctor came in the room and sat down. He asked me what I was there for. I told him what the TMJ specialists recommended I start. At this point I was used to being given the prescription and being sent on my way, but it wasn’t the case at this appointment. He stopped and said, “Let me ask you some questions before I give you the prescription.” He asked questions about my overall health. I then described for him my everyday living with pain all over my body, my feelings of being so weak and always being so indescribably tired.


He inquired if I had ever used muscle relaxants in the past. I said, “Yes” and then proceeded to tell him how it made me even more tired. He instantly recognized that my symptoms were worse on the relaxants. He said, "I am not putting you on these as I can see they do you more of an injustice than justice."

He then asked me, “Have you ever been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?”

 Um, no I hadn’t and he said, “Your symptoms coincide with fibromyalgia." He prescribed Tramadol for me to use along with an over the counter pain reliever. He then said here is some reading for you. I went home feeling my mother’s spirit alongside me and her saying here is your answer that we have been seeking all these years. 

I got on the internet and start researching. Everything on the screen was what I had been dealing with for years; even my IBS was related to Fibromyalgia. I couldn’t believe it. At that point all I could do was sob and I mean sob uncontrollably. It was like my mother got to the other side and said, it’s time we know what’s wrong. This has gone on long enough.

Now after 10 years of searching for answers, I sat staring at the computer knowing what was wrong. The next steps was finding out what ways to treat it and doing more researching.

Since then, I turned back to holistic treatments as I found that they worked the very best. I get massages and use essential oils. 


The blend of oils I have found that work the best are Lemon Grass, Vetiver, Peppermint, Lavender and Wintergreen with a carrier oil. I use this mixture and rub it on the places that hurt after a hot bath or shower. I also put it in the Jacuzzi and soak in it. I have found it to be very relaxing. 

I use pain meds on days when the pain is beyond what oils can control. I have found that Tylenol for Arthritis Sufferers works the best. Sometimes I have to take 2 depending on the pain and follow the recommendations on the bottle where I am taking 1300 mg each time. Then I take Tylenol PM at night which is another 1000 mgs.  

Knowing what is wrong helps the pain as where not knowing before only made the pain worse.

I am married to a wonderful patient man and have been blessed with two amazing children. 

As a fibromyalgia sufferer, getting pregnant was the easiest of the process. It was the next 9 months that followed were the hardest along with both labor and deliveries. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I was always tired and was constantly falling asleep. I hurt all the time and felt the pains of the baby growing and moving. It made all the more stressful because I was working full time as a child behavioral specialist. After the scares we had with both labor and deliveries, I felt that my body was done with the whole process. If the good Lord wants us to have another child, then once again I will be reminded his ways are not always my ways. We have been blessed with a boy and a girl. For this I am eternally grateful. 
I am grateful to my father in heaven and my mother in heaven for having the answers after all these years.

I am also grateful for the opportunities I have to share my experiences with Fibromyalgia and my journey. I hope I can help someone out with their pain and frustrations because I know what it’s like to go for so long with no answers. 

Stay tuned, there will be an additional post about essential oils Misty has found helpful! 

Today's guest poster is Misty Peterson. She has so much knowledge to share about her journey with Fibromyalgia and can offer help to others. If you would like to connect with her you can contact her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/M2G.4EVA

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