Saturday, April 11, 2015

Hey! It's All In Your Head: Fibromyalgia

It really started many years ago, but I was unaware that this was the problem.  My skin hurt when touched.  I tried to tell my MD, but he didn't take it as anything.  I tried to tell my ND but she was focused on other things.  Then one day in her office as I stood up to leave, I slipped my leg between two chairs.  Both chairs brushed softly against my leg and I cried out in pain.  It felt like it was hard enough to leave bruises.  She told me to sit down again and asked me what was going on.

I have since learned this sensitivity to touch is called Allodynia.   Allodynia is a heightened sensitivity to touch, which results in pain from things that normally would not cause discomfort.  I simply have said that "my skin hurts."

Some mornings I would wake up with such muscle pain that I could hardly move.  I wondered what I did in my sleep that caused this severe achy sharp pain.  My new doctor did a rash of tests, ruling out such things as rheumatoid arthritis.  He then spent time pushing on specific pressure points to see if I had pain.  When I screamed out with one spot, he said, "Yep, it's fibromyalgia."

As you can see, diagnosing this condition is difficult.  There are no specific blood tests that go Oh Yeah!  This is it!  It is mostly a process of elimination.  When first diagnosed, I was just so happy to know what this all was I said I didn't need ay medication to help with it.  Extra ibuprofen was good enough.  But in the years since, the pain has increased and other symptoms have become more troublesome.

Besides the pain--a widespread deep or burning pain above and below your waist and on the right and left sides of your body. Pain is more common in the trunk, neck, low back, hips, and shoulders. It usually gets worse gradually and can interfere with even simple daily activities--I experience these symptoms (some I didn't know were associated with fibro until recently).  What I experience is personal; others might experience other things:
  1. Sleep problems, such as trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up feeling tired.
  2. Foggy thinking--called "fibro fog"--clouds my thinking, especially when I am having a flare-up.  Some of the common signs of fibro fog include a difficulty with word finding or substitution, loss of short-term memory, and occasionally even episodic disorientation that lasts for about 30 to 60 seconds.  I have been driving and momentarily forget where I am and why I am there.  For example, I was at a T-intersection with my blinker signaling left.  I had no idea why I wanted to turn left, but I trusted that I knew where I was going so I turned left.  Then TaDa! I remembered why and where.
  3. Exhaustion and depression.  I don't want to move.  First it is often so painful to actually move and secondly because it seems like just too much work.  I have to say the pup loves these days :)  She just sits on my lap, snoozing in lap-slut heaven.
  4.  Excess sweating.  I have been experiencing night sweats again and when I am in any type of heat, I sweat like a pig (except pigs don't a...very sweaty person :) ).  I keep saying "I have become a woman who sweats."  But just recently I have learned that this is an odd symptom of fibromyalgia.
Like most people with fibromyalgia, I have times when my symptoms get worse and other times when are milder or no large symptoms. Flare-ups of fatigue and muscle and joint aches are common,  I have tried some medications that are not made for  helping those with fibro but they didn't help.  They made me sick to my stomach or they put me to sleep.  Just recently I have started taking Cymbaltra.  I also have neuropathy in my feet (no medical reason, just lucky).  I have found that Cymbaltra is helping lower the neuropathy pain in my toes.  And I have just experienced a fibro flare-up.  The pain was lower but the sweating, depression, and exhaustion was still present.  Because it was different, it took me a bit of time to recognize what was happening.

For years it was thought to be all in our heads, especially since women are seven times greater to have fibromyalgia than men.  Women's health issues have long been thought of as "psychological" or imagination.  Today it is being diagnosed much sooner with different drugs and treatments helping people with the pain management and severity.  Yay!


Sunday, April 05, 2015

Someone Has To

Lilacs are in bloom!
Happy Easter to you :)
Happy Spring to you :)

I came home Friday from southern California visiting my mother and needed to gather things for my family's Easter dinner.  I bought chocolate.  I bought a little cute soft cuddly stuffed bunny.  I bought candy corn and jelly beans.  I bought eggs.  Lots of eggs.  I bought egg dye and new egg cups.

And then when I called her, my grandgirl, at 11.5, didn't want to come dye eggs with me.  She told me she is "too old to dye eggs, Mamaw."  Oh sadness.  I didn't know anyone was ever too old to dye eggs.

I tried putting together all their little baskets without coloring the eggs.  It just looked wrong...  So I set it all up and dyed them myself!  Now their little baskets look happy.