Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fibromyalgia: What A Pain!

Hello, world. Know what? Fibromyalgia sucks. I was "officially" diagnosed with fibromyalgia over the summer, and a trip to a rheumatologist confirmed it. Anyone who knows me personally knows of the medical struggles I've had, the tests I have gone through, the medications I have tried, some more than once to make sure I gave them a fair chance. In the absence of other findings through various tests (scans, blood tests), my doctors came to the conclusion that part, if not all, of my issues are caused by fibromyalgia. Prior to this diagnosis, I would scoff at the people on the commercials for drugs used to treat fibro, thinking, along with many, many others, that fibro pain was all in the head of the alleged sufferer, that it wasn't a real condition. I'm now eating crow, and perhaps this is karma kicking me in the...well, the hip, shoulders, back, neck, and chest. Those are the places on my body that hurt, some days more than others, some places more often than others.

I've had chronic back and hip pain since early 2006, around the time of my first pregnancy. Test after test after test found nothing. No musculoskeletal reason for the pain. Full body bone scan revealed no bone abnormalities. The more I became educated about fibro, the more I felt like I was reading a list of my symptoms. Unexplained chronic pain in various "trigger points" - check. Headaches - check. Dizziness - check. Feeling bodily sensations that other people don't typically feel (feeling the pulse of your heartbeat in every fiber of your being, feeling gastrointestinal processes, electric shock feelings throughout your body, etc., etc.) - check. Extreme fatigue - check. Concurrent thyroid issues and vitamin deficiencies - check. I could go on. And on. If this is "all" that winds up being wrong with my body, then I am truly thankful. It could be a lot worse.

But waking up (that is, if I've slept) in pain every day is so incredibly draining, both physically and emotionally. There are days when I cringe as my eyes open for the first time that day, just knowing that the slightest movement will set off the hip and back pain that I feel all day, every day. I have a momentary thought, every morning, that I hate the fact that I will need to get out of bed. Not because I'm depressed; I'm sad for myself that I feel like this and that the way I feel, at times, makes me angry/bitter/pitiful, but I'm not depressed, not by any clinician's standards. Besides, the various antidepressants often prescribed for fibromyalgia pain had no effect on my mood or my pain.

I'm not even close to being as active as I used to be or as I would like to be. I need to change that. The Wii Fit Plus is slowly getting my body acclimated to moving and stretching. My Wii trainer, named "Alice Spitbomb" by my kids, helps me through yoga poses that help my body loosen up. Stretch too far or too much, though, and my hip starts to scream. The movement helps a bit, though, and I look forward to being able to do more with myself as I become more stretched and lose a few pounds. For now it's the only thing that helps. I have muscle relaxers for the really bad days. They don't do much for the pain but they relax me enough so that I can fall asleep. I take so much Extra Strength Tylenol that I'm sure my liver will go on strike one of these days. Pain meds don't work. Chiropractic treatment only made things worse. I've considered going to an acupuncturist, but the thought of needles in my body gives me the creeps.

If anyone out there with fibromyalgia is reading this, have you found any relief for your pain and fatigue? What has worked for you?


williamsmarkseo said...
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tygalilee said...

I have had the exact same problems since my last pregnancy in 2007. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I tried cymbalta, didn't like it and have been drug free since. I always wonder if it is a bandaid diagnosis. I have had many other issues and many other tests...but always wonder if it is something else that is being overlooked. Cutting soda out of my diet completely helped the most. When I eat healthier, get 8-10 hours of uninterupted sleep and meditate, I feel much better. I do believe that there is a possiblity that yeast overgrowth which is commen in overweight people could be a link but if drs treat this, they have nothing else to treat so they tend to ignore it. I have done reiki which helps alot, no needles involved. I do want to try acupuncture though....it gets that intense sometimes that if acupuncture can help, the needles are no big deal. I already went for nerve tests with needles and it wasn't that bad. Good luck....it really is about lifestyle changes.