When you are one of the “lucky” ones diagnosed with the neuromuscular illness known as Fibromyalgia Syndrome, you immediately become convinced of many things. One is you wonder just where are you going to get the money to fund this illness and second is where you could possibly live where the symptoms would not be in the “on” position all the time.
When I was diagnosed in 1993, I was told the only hope was to find the right “cocktail” of drugs that would help relieve the symptoms because where I was living, the Midwest, was one of the worst places in the United States for people stricken with Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS.
The pain, fatigue, and sleep disorder of FMS is exacerbated by several factors among which is bad weather. The frequently changing weather fronts; cold, snowy weather; hot, humid weather were all reasons which make many of us sufferers, myself included, live in a constant state of pain and fatigue. We lived on the Kansas side of Kansas City-Tornado Alley. I could not win even with all the drugs.
In addition, the deal is that you get to the point where your body no longer tolerates the drugs. They stop working, and then what are you going to do?
Another issue, sometimes more serious than the illness itself, is the psychological state in which you find yourself because of this illness.
You are essentially stricken with something for which there will probably be no cure this side of heaven. You try to take a bevy of prescription drugs. Soon, you reach a point of not being able to afford them any longer or they just stop working. It doesn’t take long to understand why people want to “end it all”. The pain, the nonstop, never-ending pain and fatigue make you wonder why you should keep on living.
This is the most dangerous part of this “nonlethal” illness. The illness itself isn’t terminal but it makes you want to die. You get to where you can no longer take another day of all the symptoms.
I think my doctor began to realize I was at that point and began making suggestions. When he saw that even Prozac wasn’t helping my depression and the depression was going from bad to worse, he took action.
I “happened” to have a doctor whose brother is a professor of Engineering at one of the Universities in Central Mexico. My doctor had visited Central Mexico on numerous occasions to see his brother. One time, he was marveling at the stability of the Central Mexican climate when he had a “light bulb” go off in his head. He came back to help that “light bulb” come on in my head.
Since I was having such issues with the weather, and what I needed was a stable climate that would help to minimize my weather-activated symptoms, he suggested that I try the expatriating gig to Central Mexico. He reasoned, and correctly, that with far fewer weather fronts in a two-season area of the world, that even the drugs would begin to work again.
Central Mexico, where we live (Guanajuato), has two seasons. We have the dry season and the wet season. The rainy season lasts for about 10 weeks with the rest of the year dry as a bone.
Was this an FMS paradise or what?
The wet season, being so short, is far easier to handle than having bad weather in Kansas year-round. Doctor Randolph was correct that, since in the dry season I have to take fewer drugs, when the rains do come I could increase the FMS medications. They’ve become effective once again in handling the symptoms.
If you are a fellow FMS-sufferer, I know exactly what you are thinking. You are dealing with feelings of such hopelessness that there is nothing you can do so what is the point of even considering the possibility of expatriating to Mexico? I know. I was there too. My wife and I had a life, of sorts, and had not a clue at the time that we could pull something like this off-move to Central Mexico?
However, we both had to sit down, eyeball to eyeball, and ask ourselves this question:
“Just what sort of life were we living in America with an illness in which the drugs, after taking them for 10 years, were no longer working. Besides, we could no longer afford them. I was feeling like my life was essentially over at the age of forty-five.”
Was that sort of life worth living? Why go on?
Therefore, we set out to discover what it would take to move to that place on the planet. No matter what that meant-and at the time we were clueless-we would do it if it meant we could get our lives back. And it was an issue of “we” and not just “me”.
We made that move after some intensive research and a fact-finding trip to Guanajuato. We discovered that my Social Security Disability was more than enough to cover living expenses as well as medical care. The biggest hurdle was not the logistics but getting over the mental hurdle that life was still worth pursuing and there was still a place on earth where life could begin again.
That is what people with FMS need. We need to realize that life is not over because of this illness and that there is a place left on this earth where we can start over again.
There is quality of life waiting in Central Mexico.