The power of a word: my new diagnosis and other stories

inspiration Nov 23, 2022

ou may have seen on my Facebook Page that last week I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It was definitely a surprise. I’ve already had a few autoimmune diseases for several years and lately it’s been a struggle. 


Let me get really, real here because I know you like the full truth. 

It’s not been just ‘a struggle’. It has really, really sucked. 


I’ve had headaches for 2-3 weeks at a time that pain killers don’t touch. 


I’ve been so tired that I can sleep 10 hours a night and have a two-hour nap most days.   


I got tachycardia (small bursts of fast or out of rhythm heart beats) and was referred to a cardiologist. 


I developed tremors in my hands, and I found it difficult to hold a cup of water without it looking like a scene from Jurassic Park.  If the tremors and my joint pain was bad, I had trouble cutting my own food. 


I have pain in my left lung if I breathe in deeply. I get joint pain in my elbows, wrists, knees, shoulder, and neck. 


I’d pretty much stopped exercising because it’s been too painful. 


I also had to admit my challenges to those around me and ask for a lot more help. Which is something I find HARD. 


But that is NOT what this email is about. It’s about the power of a word. Because I was surprised by how much one word could carry so much loaded meaning to me, and to others. 


I struggled with getting another new ‘word’ to add to my list of diagnoses. 


I left my doctor’s office with a script, a scribbled word on a piece of paper and a link to a website to read up on the condition.

Then when I shared the diagnosis with a few people in my inner circle, the response took me by surprise. Both people I told looked puzzled and said something along the lines of: “but you do know fibromyalgia isn’t real?” 


I really had no idea how to respond. I felt confused and oddly embarrassed. 


At the end of the day, for me the word doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I have a new medication and it’s helping. I am feeling more and me every single day. 


But the lesson here is that words can have such power. A single word can be laden with so many different layers of emotion and mean different things to different people. 


I thought this was a timely reminder to me, and you, to think about the words we use and the impact they have – both positive and negative. 


You want people to react emotionally to your words. But you don’t want a throw away comment to have unintended emotional fallout. Your words have power – use them wisely

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