Flu or not the flu, that is the question…

My fibromyalgia has been kicking my butt lately.  Lots of achiness, pain and overwhelming fatigue.

Photo Credit: Holly Hoffmeister Toulouse via The Mighty

The other evening, I was lying on the sofa feeling lousy when I got a text.  It was my neighbor asking me to come outside to see her new car.  I went to stand up and was hit by a wave of “OUCH”.  I told her I was in too much pain and would check it out the following day.  About an hour later, I struggled walking up the stairs to use the bathroom.  I had to crawl up the last few steps.  It was time for my medication, so I took it and hoped for relief.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take it with food and got really nauseous.  I literally poured myself into bed.  The nausea woke me up around midnight. I stumbled into the bathroom and noticed my face was seriously flushed.  I grabbed the thermometer and to my utter shock, I had a 102° fever!  I was sick!  I had no idea!  The body aches, fever and chills lasted for days.   I’m still not sure if it was a stomach virus or the actual flu.  I had symptoms of both.  It delayed biologic injection by a week (2nd time that has happened due to being sick this winter).  I was out of work for days and don’t think I have slept that much in years.  It really knocked me off my feet…..but for the first 5 or 6 hours, I just assumed one of my diseases was flaring.  I was dumbstruck that I didn’t realize I was pretty ill.  It made me wonder if people who don’t live with chronic illness ever “not realize” they have the flu?  Or has brain fog taken away my perspective when it comes to my body?

One of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.  The flu causes similar discomfort.  Having both at the same time is akin to having a tractor trailer run you over, then it backs up to finish the job.  It was hideous, but I’m lucky mine passed relatively quickly.  Now I am back to just feeling regular fibromyalgia pain, along with the joint pain from autoimmune arthritis…. lucky, lucky me.

Photo Credit: Dear Fibromyalgia


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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

3 thoughts on “Flu or not the flu, that is the question…

  1. Kelly,

    We in the diabetes community call it real person sick when we get the flu. Thankfully I have not had a go with it for several years now. The fibromyalgia pain? Oh yeah, I know exactly what that feels like yuck.


    1. It’s so hard to get sick when you are already sick… It just seems so completely unfair because I am already sick. Sometimes it can distract me from my regular sick, but usually just adds to it. It also ends up making me feel really scared that something worse is happening. Hope you are feeling better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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