Fibromyalgia: Kenyan Woman with Chronic Pain Condition Insists It’s Not Imaginary

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain all over the body and normally affects muscles, joints and connective tissues The condition presents in over 200 symptoms that occur all over the body and a Kenyan woman, Maureen Muturi, has experienced serious ones in the 10 years she has had it Among the symptoms are chronic migraines, jaw disorder, inability to speak for some time, endometriosis among others The pain condition has seen Muturi travel to countries like India and Britain to look for solutions and is now better for wear although it does not have a cure

In 2007, young Maureen Muturi was climbing the family’s double-decker bed when her knee dislocated and threw her into the most excruciating pain she had ever felt.

Long and heart-wrenching journey Unknown to the family, that was the beginning of a long and heart-wrenching journey with a condition called fibromyalgia. In an interview with, Muturi said fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain all over the body and normally affects muscles, joints and connective tissues. PAY ATTENTION: Don’t miss trending Kenyan news. Follow on Twitter! One of the scariest aspects of the condition is that it presents in over 200 symptoms affecting all parts of the body. The worst thing about the symptoms of the condition is that they just pile on each other as years go by. A fibromyalgia patient can be battling so many symptoms at the same time yet she started with only one or two of them. Can’t be diagnosed on CT scans or MRI “It’s widespread, it cannot be seen on CT scans, MRI or any blood test. Doctors can only diagnose it as fibromyalgia if you have had widespread pain for over three months and there is no cause for it,” said Muturi.

Apparently, the human body has 18 tender points and if the doctor presses them and 11 are painful, you will be diagnosed with the condition as well. Muturi revealed that some of the symptoms of the condition include lack of sleep, mood swings, cognitive issues, foggy mind and extreme fatigue. For Muturi the trigger for her pain came from a dislocated knee as a child. The knee kept on dislocating and the beautiful author reveals that it dislocated several times despite undergoing surgery and the doctor promising it will never happen again after the procedure. Said its a different issue When it dislocated in 2012, the doctor said its a different issue; torn meniscus which only required a simple procedure. It turns out that it was not. “It took four hours instead of 30 mins and I woke up in the middle of the procedure because anaesthesia had worn off. I heard the nurse asking the doctor if I was behaving normally and he instructed her to knock me out with medication again,” said Muturi.

Muturi started getting an electric sort of pain in the big toe of her right foot and it would jolt her every time. “It evolved to my ankle, then to my hip, back and after a month it shifted to my left leg, then hand and finally to the head,” said Muturi. Never been the same “From there, I have never been the same again; it feels like my head has electricity and it doesn’t end,” she added. Muturi resorted to dipping her leg in cold water and having someone massage her head for some relief. The period between January and July 2012 saw Muturi visit a plethora of specialists but sadly most of them dismissed the pain as imaginary. “Instead of going an extra mile to get to the root of the problem, they just throw you under the bus and say you are imagining it. Doctors said I was faking the pains and didn’t want to go to school, ” said Muturi.

Muturi’s parents believed her pain was real and they took her to India for a second opinion. Diagnosis in two days “I had a diagnosis in two days; a neurologist sat me down and told me the pain is real and I would have to undergo physiotherapy, exercise, counselling and use medication to deal with the condition as it does not have a cure,” said the writer. She stayed on for two weeks and so far, some of the symptoms have improved while others have become worse over time. In 2018 Muturi experienced chronic migraines for six months and by 2019 they had become so bad that she had to go to London for migraine treatment that entailed the use of botox as its the only treatment she hadn’t tried. Went to London The fibromyalgia warrior went to London three more times for the same treatment which gave her much-needed relief from the migraines.

Muturi has also suffered from endometriosis whose pain she described as cramps on cocaine. She had an emergency procedure done and the offending tissue on the uterus was removed. Last year, Muturi found herself unable to speak for four months and yet her mouth was not swollen and neither did she have any inflation. She had pain in her jaws and face; the pain comes in waves and pulses like stomach cramps during monthly periods. The book author also suffered from the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder which affected the jaw joints, surrounding muscles and ligaments. This means the young woman cannot eat hard fruits like apples or even chew snacks like crisps. Learnt of my triggers “When I learnt of my triggers, I started avoiding them. For example, in cold seasons, the muscles become stiff and very sore so it’s hard to walk. When it’s too hot I get fatigued,” she said.

Muturi has also found refuge in journaling and writing books which were also therapy for her as she was able to talk about her experiences. So far, the author boasts two books; Refining, Defining Power and The Remoulding Furnace of Affliction. Additionally, she engages in meditation and mindfulness. “Having a strong support system also worked for me: I am very blessed because I have many people who upheld me and believed in me when doctors said I was pretending,” said Muturi. Despite the above problems, the indefatigable Muturi graduated from the Makini School with an A- buts sadly had to drop out from the Catholic university because of her condition. Certified life coach Apart from being a published author, she is now a certified life coach. Together with two friends, they started the Fibro Warriors Kenya Facebook group which gives people suffering from the condition a safe space to talk about the condition. May is the fibromyalgia awareness month and we will be seeking to create awareness, among doctors and other caregivers because they are the people who have really mistreated us,” said Muturi. They will also be engaging the National Council of People with Disability and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) about issues like medication and treatment because they remain inaccessible forth people with the condition. Struggle with endometriosis previously reported that the internet was sent into a frenzy after former The Trend presenter Ciru Muriuki shared her struggle with endometriosis. She posted a post-operation photo of herself that saddened her fans. Her loyal viewers flooded her timeline as they realized that she had been suffering silently with the condition.


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