Testimonial: fibromyalgia diagnosed after “years of hardship”

We are dedicating this Health file to chronic pain and more particularly fibromyalgia. In this section, the testimony of Brigitte Magnien, resident of Wattignies. Affected by fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. The recognition of his pathology has been a long journey.

We have all experienced pain at one time. A headache, a fall, a fracture, a blow, a cut … In front of her, we have a different feeling. “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is difficult to quantify and qualify,” defines the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm). When it is punctual, it is protective: it acts as an alarm signal which indicates to the brain a physical lesion to be treated. But the pain becomes chronic when it continues beyond three months. Sometimes because the alarm signal is out of order. The management is then often complex, as in the case of fibromyalgia .

Major recognition

“What is difficult in the treatment of pain is that it cannot be objectified. This does not mean that it does not exist , underlines Dr Pavlos Petit, head of the transverse pain unit at Saint-Vincent hospital in Lille. Pain is what the patient says. Our first job is to recognize the person’s pain. » A major recognition in the daily life of a patient for whom the diagnosis and treatment often take place at the end of a long journey , marked by suffering and isolation.

“It finally showed that I was not crazy”

Brigitte Magnien lived this medical wandering and “years of hardship” before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia (categorized in chronic pain) and chronic fatigue was made in 2015. Almost a relief . “It finally showed that I was not crazy” , confides this Wattignisienne of 57 years.“My doctor told me I had to rest my arm. But like any mother, we do what there is to do “

As far as she can remember, this mother of three has always felt tired. Not that temporary fatigue that we no longer talk about after a few good nights of sleep, but that against which we must fight in the morning. Fatigue capable of hampering the day’s program, of bringing you back at any time under the duvet and putting you out of step with those around you. The pains came gradually when she was a young mother. Work for the house, daily life with the children, her job as a maintenance worker … Brigitte developed pain and weakness in her right elbow. 

“Sometimes wearing clothes is painful”

It was from this period and from this epicondylitis (the medical name for his lesion in the elbow) that more and more diffuse and recurring pain began. First in the neck, then in the shoulders, then in the hips. “The pains, I have them all the time. All over the body, it is more or less intense, ” explains Brigitte who ended up consulting, in 2015, Dr. Jean-Michel Gillot in the internal medicine department of the Seclin-Carvin hospital center . “He made me do several exams. Proceeding by elimination, he diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, ” she says. It was six years ago, but Brigitte still sometimes struggles to accept this devious pathology, more or less on standby between attacks: “When I’m stressed, I know I have to find a way to calm down within twenty-four hours, otherwise I’ll be completely blocked. » By joint pain and also on the whole of the skin . “Sometimes wearing clothes is painful,” she explains. A state that is sometimes difficult to understand for those around him and for some doctors.”These people often have normal biological tests and radiology examinations”

“Patients complain of diffuse pain that is not related to an obvious cause such as a blow or an accident. These people often have normal biological assessments and radiology examinations ,  underlines Dr. Gillot, who has been seeing patients with fibromyalgia for many years.

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