As many of you know last month I wrote, “Blood Test for Fibromyalgia: FM/a Test® Is Real, QA” for fibromyalgia awareness. My opinions for that article are based on research review and news articles surrounding the test.
As promised, I will now share with you my personal experience.
My test results are in!
Following are the steps I took.
· I went to https://TheFibromyalgiaTest.com/ scrolled to the “click me” button in the “Ready to Get Started” area at the bottom of the page.
· The next page - The FM/a® Test must be authorized by a licensed physician. My rheumatologist ordered the test for me.
*Note: If you do not have a physician, please call 310-277-4600, M-F, 9am-5pm (PDT) and we'll help you find a fibromyalgia-friendly doctor at no charge.
· I printed the Physician’s Authorization Form, filled out what I could, and left it at my doctor's office for him to sign. My doctor's nurse, who is a peach, then faxed it to the number on the form.
· Next, I answered "Yes" to 11 of the 12 questions. *You must be able to answer yes to at least four questions.
· I filled out the “Customer/Insurance Information Form”.
Within a few days, I received a phone call from the coordinator letting me know my insurance provider authorized coverage (as are many). She answered all my questions and reassured me the test kit would include step-by-step instructions. (Something very important to those of us with fibrofog).
· The kit arrived within a few days, along with a prepaid Fed Ex bag.
· Paperwork included physician contact information, a medication list form, and a patient information sheet. (Because my rheumatologist was ordering the test, I was instructed to put the physicians signed order sheet in with the blood sample or to have my doctor’s office fax it to them, which in my case was already done.)
*Note: The medication form instructs, “Do not take the following drugs for 5 days prior to having your blood drawn, steroids, anti-cancer treatment drugs, or anti-rejection transplant drugs”.
· I prearranged the Fed Ex pick up for the same day my blood was drawn.
· Quite helpful is the specimen submission checklist because it has specific instructions on what to include with the specimen, handling and packaging of the tubes, Fed Ex copy, a contact number if you have questions, and the phone number for Fed Ex.
· The specimen must be received within 24 hours after the blood is drawn.
· DO NOT draw blood on Friday because "Overnight" express will not deliver until Monday, which the coordinator had told me during our phone conversation.
I HADN'T THOUGHT OF THAT!
I hadn’t thought about all of the things that are included in the cost of the test.
· Arranging for a phlebotomist to collect blood samples.
· Pre-authorization with your insurance carrier.
· Phone consultation regarding instructions and concerns.
· Working with physicians, or finding a physician if necessary.
· All supplies.
· Expedited mailing.
· A specialized lab for running the results.
· Dr. Gillis being personally available to patients to answer any questions. (That’s unheard of these days.)
I mailed my specimen on a Wednesday, and the results took about a week.
FM/a®’s test results are based on a 1-100 scoring system; patients with active disease activity score 51 and above. (My personal information was purposefully covered.)
MY SCORE = 96
“FM/a® is a multi-biomarker-based test which concerns immune system white blood chemokine and cytokine patterns. Patients with fibromyalgia have a significantly dysregulated pattern regarding these proteins.”
The FM/a® test gives me concrete objective evidence that I can share with all those on my healthcare team. No more questioning that my symptoms are due to a biological problem. If you have read Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, you know how important it is that I make sure all my doctors include the report in my medical records.
It is equally reassuring to know that I contributed to changing the way fibromyalgia is perceived.
After decades of literature review, maintaining a website and blog, contributing in the past as a fibromyalgia expert at Sharecare, and writing for ProHealth and Health Central, my work and my diagnosis are validated. Will I continue to follow my own advice for living with fibromyalgia and the overlapping conditions I experience? Yes, absolutely. The coping strategies we discuss in our books are paramount to emotional, mental, and spiritual healing for any chronic illness.
THE CONCLUSION IS THE BEGINNING
Pioneers are those who trudge forward among adversity. Because of Dr. Gillis, Dr. Wallace and the many devoted people involved in this endeavor, as Dr Kevin White said in his book, Breaking Thru the Fibrofog: Proof that
FIBROMYALGIA IS REAL!
With the FM/a Test® available to researchers, there leaves no margin for error in identifying study participants. And, like HIV and AIDS, one day the consequences of fibromyalgia will be arrested.
In healing and hope, yours truly, Celeste
In healing and hope, yours truly, Celeste
- Why Do Many Doctors Refuse to Believe Fibromyalgia Is a Real Medical Illness? by Dr. Bruce Gillis, MD, MPH
- A Year of Fibro: Musings, Writings, and Opinions, includes links to all my freelance writing, blogs and information from my website on fibromyalgia.
- How is the FMa test different at looking at cytokines-Pain News Network
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"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."
Celeste Cooper, RN
Celeste’s Website: http://CelesteCooper.com
Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's blog. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others.
All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.