In May of 1998, after two years of dealing with a horribly stressful situation, I sat back finally ready to rest and get on with my life. I knew that it would probably take some time to regain my strength, but after six months I was still exhausted. I had also developed pain in the soft tissues around my joints, insomnia, depression and migraines (for the first time in my life). I caught every bug that came along and when I was sick the pain got even worse. If I was in any one position for more than a few minutes, I would start to hurt, but when I would try to move to alleviate the pain, I would be so stiff that it was a toss-up as to which was more painful, moving or sitting still! My husband reported that he could often hear me moaning in my sleep as I kept shifting to try to find a comfortable position. I went to my doctor who gave me medication for the depression and insomnia. The medication took care of the depression, but the insomnia was still sometimes a challenge. She also gave me various pain medications, but they either didn’t work at all, or only for a short time. I was taking massive amounts of over the counter pain medication to even take the edge off the pain.

Added to the joint pain was back pain. I had been having trouble with low back pain off and on the last several years, but now it was constant and demanding attention. My upper and middle back area had tightened up too and now I just hurt constantly from my neck to my hips. There were many days when I just spent my time between the bed and the couch. My husband would have to cook dinner when he got home because I just couldn’t.

My doctor got disgusted with the fact that I wasn’t getting better and told me I would just have to learn to live with the pain. My husband finally suggested that I try to find a chiropractor, thinking that if we could at least do something about my back pain, it might help reduce the total pain a little. I spent several weeks talking to people I knew and trying to find a chiropractor that someone recommended and who was also on my insurance. I finally found one in Puyallup that met both criteria, but I didn’t really want to have to go that far. I was trying to decide what to do when I discovered Dr. Gruber. My husband and I both talked to him, asked him about his therapeutic approach and decided he was definitely worth trying. The first visit he discussed my history, did an exam and took a few x-rays. The next visit after explaining my x-rays he made the suggestion that my problem might be fibromyalgia. I had heard the word, but had no idea what it was.

I proceeded to go to the library and check out every book I could get my hands on about fibromyalgia. I was shocked! It was like reading a recent biography of my life. It had not occurred to me that all of the symptoms I was having could be related to the one condition. I kept reading the symptoms in the books and telling my husband, “Honey, listen to this! This is from the fibromyalgia too!” We were both just amazed. Because my husband is an RN and I am a medical technologist (the laboratory equivalent of an RN) we were both familiar with medical terms and basic anatomy and physiology and I was able to read through a volume of information in a short period of time. I know that because I was reading books, they were already somewhat outdated, but they could at least give me the background on fibromyalgia. It was such a relief to finally find out what the problem was. Now I could concentrate on fighting it!

Since then I have been through tons of material on dealing with fibromyalgia, from diet and lifestyle changes to supplements and natural medicines. Although all of that material has been helpful, the single thing that has changed my life the most has been the chiropractic treatments. The first month was somewhat painful because my back was so sensitive that just to touch it it all hurt. However after that initial time of soreness, I have been thrilled with my progress. Within a couple of months I actually had some days when I had no pain! I had not realized it would help so quickly. With the lessening of pain, my ability to sleep improved. I could also go to concerts and church services without wiggling through the whole thing. Over the last few months, my migraines have almost completely disappeared. During the worst times I had them daily. Now I go days without pain or stiffness. In fact if I go too long without an adjustment I can tell, because the stiffness begins to come back. I still haven’t completely recovered my energy, but it has improved a ton. I can now keep up the basic things at home, run errands, do things with friends and not feel like I’m going to die at the end of the day! The insomnia and frequent infections are still sometimes a problem, but are immeasurably better.

My husband and I are so grateful to have found Dr. Gruber. Having worked with many other doctors, I really appreciate his balance of professionalism and compassion. When I have questions, he is always willing to take the time to answer them and is not intimidated by the fact that I read about fibromyalgia and tend to be very involved in the process. In contrast my regular physician became very defensive when I tried to talk to her about fibromyalgia, told me it was just a fad of the nineties and it just really wasn’t something to concern myself about. I have had to find a new physician who will believe my symptoms and be willing to work with me on it. I consider finding Dr. Gruber an answer to prayer and credit the treatment I have received from him with giving me my life back!

Susan R. Tilton