January was not a good month for me it was pretty much one long flare-up with a couple of slightly better days. However, February started even worse. On Saturday morning about 30 minutes after properly waking up (I tend to briefly wake up in a groggy state a few times before being awake enough to get up), I began to have stabbing chest pains.
When I have any new symptoms it is always a question of do I need to see a doctor and due to the strength of these pains the answer to this is yes. I’ll be honest, because I have been a bit wheezy for a while I expected the verdict to be I had a chest infection and the likelihood was I would need antibiotics (I don’t have and haven’t had a virus). But having said that, chest pains are scary and you can’t help at the back of your mind wondering it it could be something more sinister.
NHS Walk in Centre
The easiest place to get this checked out was an NHS walk in centre and the nearest to our new house is at Dewsbury District Hospital. First of all, I have to say how sensible is it to have a walk in centre at a hospital! You have the best of both worlds available to you straight away. I was fortunate to have a pretty short wait, the benefit of being taken ill before alcohol comes into play.
The Initial Tests
The first thing the health care assistant did was take my blood pressure and give me an ECG, they too wanted to rule out the fear that was at the back of my mind. The next step was to do a blood test. I have written about my experiences of blood tests before, including this article from a couple of years ago. The very last time I had blood taken I used a numbing cream and had a fantastic experience. Of course, this was an unplanned test so I hadn’t used the cream. I have to say though that although I did feel the needle go in I didn’t experience the usual lightheadedness. So this experience wasn’t traumatic at all.
Seeing the Doctor
After they took the blood I returned to the waiting room for a short time before seeing a doctor. When I saw him I was impressed, he took a thorough history and listened to my thoughts. When you live with Fibromyalgia seeing any new medical professional is daunting, there are very few that truly understand the complexity of this syndrome and unfortunately a few that are even ignorant or cynical about it. Fortunately, my condition was treated respectfully by not only the doctor but all the staff. Given my concerns over a possible chest infection the doctor sent me for a chest x ray to play safe.
X-Ray for Chest Pains
When I had the chest x-ray I was fortunate that I didn’t have to remove any clothing, one of the benefits to being limited to basic pull on sports bras. (It is not only underwires I can no longer wear but also the hook and loop fastening at the back of traditional bras). The lady doing the x-ray asked me how my shoulders were (because she read I had “some Fibromyalgia”) at the time of asking they were fine, but then she had to maneuver them to behind my back when they were less fine. But needs must so I grinned and bared it.
Fibromyalgia Related Chest Pains
Once the blood test results were back I saw the doctor for another chat and he let me know that they had come back clear as was the x-ray. So the results were classed as Fibromyalgia related chest pain. Logic suggested that the pain was worse when I breathed deeply because it was in the ribs and the muscles between them, so the bigger the stretch the worse the stabbing pain.
I have nothing but praise for Dewsbury District Hospital. Even though the pain proved to be part of my Fibromyalgia I was constantly reassured that I did the right thing coming in to be checked out as I had chest pains. In terms of timing, considering all the different tests and people I saw I was out of the hospital in about three hours. To put this in context, when we had to take Michael into St. James’s Hospital last year an ambulance arrived somewhere around 7 pm to 8 pm (I’ve slept a lot since then). He had an ECG and blood tests and had to wait five hours for the blood test results and didn’t get out until 3 am.
Short Lived Stabbing Pains
As with all extreme pains, these chest pains subsided later in the day on Saturday and I went back to the recovery phase. I talk about this more in my post about pacing yourself with Fibromyalgia. After the experience I had to say I was more scared than I was letting on before I got checked out. I think this was purely due to the location of where the pain was.
Have You Had Scary New Symptoms?
When we live with Fibro there are many well know symptoms, I wrote this post about Fibromyalgia and Associated Symptoms. I have to admit, in general if I get a symptom that is new for me but well known in the Fibro community I just deal with it and unless medication can help don’t always bother my doctor. This crossed the line though for me. Have you had any new symptoms that have scared you into thinking it could be something sinister and it has turned out to be all part of Fibromyalgia. If so let me know in the comments below.