Who Am I?

Hi Everyone. Thank you for being here. I’m Suzy and I am engaged to this handsome and encouraging man standing beside me. His name is Martin and he has been my rock through this life changing journey. I don’t know where I’d be without his support.

I worked in social work sector for 20 years, before this new adventure began. I explored almost all avenues of this business and I found my favourite was supporting those with developmental disabilities. I love taking care of people; especially those who appreciate it!

I also really enjoy going for walks, yoga, reading, writing, crafts, and spending time with my fiance. We have two wonderful dogs. A great dane (Sam) and a golden retriever (Cody). Originally from Ontario, we now live in Northern Alberta. People often ask me if the change of moving to a northern community brought on my fibromyalgia symptoms. I don’t believe it did. We moved to Alberta in the summer of 2018. I believe my symptoms, in hindsight, began prior to this.

I suspect my life with fibromyalgia started in 2018, yet I didn’t know it at the time. I believe it all began in January 2018 when I developed a rash across my face that lasted 7 months. I went to the doctor to try prescription creams and an herbalist for natural treatments. I tried every natural face wash, essential oils, and stress reduction techniques. Absolutely nothing worked. The rash even crept up around my eyes. Some doctors said it was dermatitis, others diagnosed eczema, and a some admitted they had no idea what it was and suggested I see a dermatologist. Unfortunately seeing a specialist was not an option because they were only accepting skin cancer patients. As I was doing my own research, I finally found one face wash and moisturizer that helped – Cerave. I also started using only hypo-allergenic eye make-up by Marcelle. My rashes improved enormously. I assumed the hormonal changes I was experiencing from peri-menopause were responsible for my skin condition and I had developed extremely sensitive skin. Even now, I develop random rashes all over my body that can not be explained.

Around May of 2018, I started experiencing pain in my right hip that prevented me from sleeping through the night. I started taking ibuprofen and tylenol to manage the pain hoping it would eventually pass. The pain was manageable using OTC medication until November 2018. I then began have tingling and electric shock type sensations down my right leg, so I booked an appointment with my family doctor to have it checked. I was also experiencing back and neck pain. He gave me a requisition to have x-rays done of my neck, back, and hips. Shortly afterwards, I learned I had osteoarthritis not just in my right hip, but my left one as well. Arthritis was also found in my neck and in 3 places in my back.

I was relieved to have an answer to explain all the pain symptoms. I assumed I would take some medication and everything would improve. I was very wrong!

Almost every day it felt as though a new symptom was developing and I was becoming more exhausted all the time. An MRI was completed to see if damage from osteoarthritis was pinching on a nerve ending. The results came back clear. What could possibly be going on? I was becoming very discouraged and frustrated. I began keeping a symptoms journal and would bring it to my doctor’s appointments. The list was growing longer…..tingling and numbness in my head, all over body and facial spasms, burning sensations through my body, debilitating muscle pain, electric shock sensations, chronic fatigue, and the list goes on.

In January of 2019 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I am very fortunate to have a supportive and knowledgeable family physician who understands the illness and appreciates its severity.

I was able to stay working until July 2019. I have to admit, I pushed myself farther than I should have; realistically I was feeling like I didn’t have the ability to perform at work (I was a Youth Worker) around April of that year. I did very little beyond working and sleeping. I was also suffering with chronic infections. I would finish an antibiotic and in a very short time period I would be starting another. One morning at the beginning of July I collapsed. I got up to use the washroom in the middle of the night and I could not walk. The room was spinning and I felt extremely nauseous. I crawled to the door and upstairs to the washroom. I could not see anything. I felt as though I was trying to make my way through a spinning tunnel. It was the strangest sensation I have ever felt. At that moment, I had to accept that my life drastically needed to change. I met with my doctor that afternoon and broke down. I was put off of work and I have not been able to work out of the home since.

The more I learn about fibromyalgia, the more I am able to make connections about the past and and how they are related to this condition. For example, the rash I explained at the beginning of this post. I believe there are other factors also, such as childhood trauma and narcissistic abuse.

There is so much more to this journey I could discuss, but these topics will be spoken about in my blog.

If any of my story resonates with you I would love to hear about your journey. I also hope the journey you are currently on is one that allows you to take the very best care of yourself.

“Put your energy in caring for yourself the same way you would do for someone you love.”

Suzy Gee

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