Every 20th middle-aged woman suffers from sleepless nights and pain because of fibromyalgia. Lea T. became ill when she was 46 years old. The disease stole her ability to work, drove her to depression, and forced her to sell her firm. Now, 16 years later, the pain has stayed away for as long as 3 years.
Pain vanished after 13 years of suffering
In 1985 when Lea T. from Turku started to feel severe pain in her ankles, knee, wrists and shoulders. Back then nobody had heard about fibromyalgia.
“I went to physical therapy and took pain killers but nothing really helped,” Lea recalls. “Nights were difficult. My sleep was fragmented, and I woke up with a gnawing pain, I stood up to walk around, and took more pain killers. The pain is worse than tooth ache, and continues incessantly day in day out. In the mornings I was as dozy as a person who had slept too little and taken too many pills can possibly be”.
“Going to work became difficult, although as a self-employed entrepreneur I have always liked my work. I was no longer very efficient.”
Lea visited many different specialists but her condition was not understood.
“One rheumatologist blurted out that I just imagined all this pain; that the problem was really between my ears!”
Worsening pain, which seemed to have no cure nor understanding, started to wreck Lea´s psyche. A lively and hard-working woman running a successful clothes shop, became depressed.
“In spring 1991 I was completely worn-out, and my family started to become anxious. I was crying all the time, and the children wondered why mother was so exhausted. In the summer, I had to sell the business.
Selling was a difficult decision. Lea had had the shop for 12 years, and the youngest of her three daughters worked there. The future plans of both mother and daughter were shattered with one blow.
“I had to do make the decision to sell. Back then, my 20 year old daughter couldn´t take the responsibility of the shop, and there was also an economic depression round the corner,” Lea continues.
Mother cried, and now her daughter cried, too.
Depressing, relieving diagnosis
The same summer as Lea sold her business, she was finally diagnosed using tender points testing. After six years of suffering, the diagnosis was severe fibromyalgia which had no cure. “On one hand, that information depressed me, but on the other hand, I was relieved to know at last what was wrong with me.”
The next summer Lea went to rehabilitation for three weeks granted by the SII. She exercised, and did everything as instructed but did not find any relief.
“Then I really started to lose my nerves. I couldn´t work, and nothing helped. I tried to cheer myself up by learning gardening but it was not enough. I had to seek help from a psychiatrist.
Finally, the psychiatrist was the first one to realise that Lea couldn´t work, and recommended sick leave.
“He made me believe that depression was a consequence of pain and aching, and not vice versa.”
Lea was granted a pension.
She was seeking relief for pain, and while doing so she consumed boxfuls of ibuprofen.
“None of the highly specific drugs prescribed by the doctors helped, but luckily Burana gave me some relief. I took two to three tablets a day, each 600 mg, sometimes even 800 mg.”
While living on pain killers Lea tried everything imaginable. She had her amalgam fillings removed, ate agents purifying and vitalising her body, bought a bright light lamp, visited a chiropractor and went to iris diagnosis.
Until her daughter showed her a local paper in 1998.
A new life
“There was a two line message in that paper, in which somebody thanked manual therapist Mr. Hannu Timonen for curing her from fibromyalgia.”
Lea has saved the paper because it contributed to her cure – after 13 years of pain.
“I was highly pessimistic when I went to see Mr. Timonen, although I had spoken on the phone with the person who had thanked Timonen in the paper. I just thought that let´s try this one too. But the pain vanished on the treatment table!”
Now, Lea laughs happily, although the treatment itself was painful. After the first treatment session even her husband looked horrified at her bruised body.
“Although the treatment was painful, it felt good. And my condition improved after each treatment session. On the fifth treatment session, I jumped up and down excitedly. Look at me, I am healthy. No more pain!
Lea was not yet confident that the disease was finally conquered. But now that nearly three years have passed since the last treatment session she can sleep at nights without pain.
“It is possible that the same treatment is not effective for everybody, but it opened a new life for me,” Lea laughs.
When looking back at the years with the disease, the worst point was not the pain, but where it led to:
“Giving up my business was extremely painful. I have always been active, and my business was my heart and soul. When that life ended, from no fault of my own, and doctors just said that the problems were in my head… Even today, I dream at night about organising market or sales in my shop. Giving it all up still hurts.
“When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I was consoled that there would be no permanent damage. I was just advised to learn to live with the pain. It is very difficult to learn to live with that kind of pain!”
Now I can really enjoy a painless life.
What else did the disease teach me?
Well, at least gardening! Our yard blossoms in all colours of the rainbow, as does the land at our summer cottage.
And what about the balcony of our holiday apartment during our winter holiday?
We get some flowers, there, of course!
Me Naiset 37/2001