Fibromyalgia affects approximately 1 in 20 people. And 9 out of 10 of those are cis women.
So being trans in this space isn’t exactly ideal, given the ways both are misunderstood in medical environments.
The majority of people with fibromyalgia are cis women over 40. If you do not fit that demographic, doctors don’t always know what to do with you. Especially where the advice is usually that your life is over so try taking up knitting.
On the whole, the condition remains a mystery. We don’t what causes it but theories suggest its stress related. We don’t know how to treat it because for a long time it was considered psychosomatic, or ‘all in your head’, and many medical professionals still take this approach – hoping antidepressants magically make it go away and pushing for patients to be locked in psych wards (yes, this really happened to me).
Recent studies (aka the few without falsified data), show a link between fibro and oestrogen.
Being trans, the hormonal factor was hugely interesting and my psychologist showed me evidence that testosterone gel has been used as effective treatment for fibro, even in cis women.
I am not currently on gel, but will be switching. The intramuscular injections are painful and cause flare ups that leave me bedridden with pain, fatigue and migraines. But finding I had been pursuing treatment before I even had a diagnosis was funny if nothing else!
But this isn’t all that positive. Having fibromyalgia may mean complications for top surgery – after all, I am on much stronger painkillers already than what they give you in recovery. Given my tolerance and base pain levels, I may require morphine and a much higher amount of anaesthetic too. That’s already dangerous. Add in that my body is a drama queen that can’t heal for shit and sir, we’ve got a problem.
I’m not sure how exactly this will resolve; whether testosterone will eventually cure me or make me worse, but as no one looks at transgender patients in regards to disability and chronic illness, we are going to have to find out the hard way!
On topic: I can’t currently afford a wheelchair but need the independence to make long trips to the gender clinic alone so if you are able to donate anything towards that it would be a huge help!