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Fibromyalgia can mimic other illnesses

“I had test after test, only to be told I was fine. It made me feel depressed and useless,” Fiarchuk said. “I was only 20, why couldn’t I snap out of it?”  
Kole and Seth Fiarchuk, sons of Miranda Fiarchuk learn to deal with their mom’s illness daily.

Having any kind of flu bug can leave you with body aches, headaches and exhaustion, but after a few good days of fluids and rest, it usually goes away, and life is continued. 

Now, imagine living a life with constant pain. Pains that shoot down your back and into your legs or make your hands and feet tingle. An illness no one sees but it is there daily. An illness that causes too many issues to mention. 

This is Miranda Fiarchuk’s life. She has fibromyalgia and it is not something that is easily diagnosed. 

Fiarchuk’s health issues began when she was 16 years old. She contracted mononucleosis and became extremely ill and needed to be hospitalized for the sickness. After a month she started to feel better, but issues remained. This sickness can take up to six months to go away completely. 

Then, at the age of 20, Fiarchuk experienced a traumatic event in her life and that is when the pain began for her. 

A stressful or traumatic event can trigger fibromyalgia, and this was the case for Fiarchuk. 

Fiarchuk felt extreme exhaustion and complete body pain that jumped around throughout her body. Fiarchuk said, “taking a shower was enough for me to need to take a nap.” 

She became prone to getting sick and a small cut would lead to an infection.  

“I had test after test, only to be told I was fine. It made me feel depressed and useless,” Fiarchuk said. “I was only 20, why couldn’t I snap out of it?”  

For five years she was told there was nothing wrong with her, yet the pain continued. Every other sickness needs to be ruled out before a diagnosis can be made, as fibromyalgia looks and acts like other diseases. 

Finally, she went to a fibromyalgia specialist. She went on to explain that a pressure point test is done. A certain number of positive points out of 25 are needed for the final diagnosis and she had 25 of them. 

Fiarchuk would marry and have children. She had two difficult pregnancies, one carrying twins. While carrying her boys, the fibromyalgia became quite intense. During her twins pregnancy, complications would occur, resulting with her flying to Toronto for testing and an emergency surgery and losing her one son, Hunter. This created a great deal of stress for the young mother, as a short time later her healthy twin son would be born.  

Infections set in after multiple surgeries, and her illness progressed. She is incredibly grateful to have her boys. 

Fiarchuk explained that she is on nine different medications to control her illness. The disease causes bowel issues, swelling, digestive problems, sleep disruption and migraines. The list goes on. So, in order to help these issues multiple medications are needed as not one drug will control all of it. She figures she is in stage 3 or 4 of the disease. 

She tries to remain as active as possible, but at present is unable to work. She said, “There are days I can barely get out of bed, due to the pain, but I keep trying.” 

Weather plays havoc on her body and plays a big part in the flare ups. Fiarchuk said, “I don’t need a weatherman to tell me the forecast, my body does that.” A day before a change in the weather, Fiarchuk’s body will be quite painful. 

“When my body tells me to rest, I have to listen or I’ll pay for it, days later,” she said.  

Sometimes a person’s illness can not be seen and at times it takes the long haul to figure out the problem.  

Fiarchuk admits she has had a difficult life. She is now a single parent but keeps going. Her two young sons help her a great deal at home when she has bad days.  

“I am very blessed to have them,” she said. 

At this time there is no known cure for fibromyalgia.