Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Me: A Semi-Concise Retrospective, Part 3 of 3.

Year 6. 2010.
I've been blogging about my Fibromyalgia and the rest of my life now for a few years. Oddly there are quite a few people who find me by Googling "how long does it take to withdraw from Fentanyl?" I pray for them, knowing the awful depths withdrawal can drag you. Some of them write me to say “the doctor never told me what this would be like” and I try to encourage them that yes, it’s awful, but you can make it through this.

I know I am still relying too much on ibuprofen and Vicodin--I'm afraid to be in pain. And the Cymbalta I use for the Fibromyalgia seems to no longer help with the pain and all I'm having of it are the side-effects.

I spend the last half of the year clearing my body and brain of any extra medications: the Cymbalta is reduced to the lowest dose (with the blessings of my doctor) and I'm no longer taking my everyday dose of allergy medication since I feel foggy in the brain already. I figure I'll deal with the allergies as they come, and enjoy the clearer head I'll have without the pills. I pretty much quit taking the ibuprofen as it seems to begin eating a hole in my belly after a time. The Vicodin I will use when I really need it. No more preventative pain medications, just "as needed."

Year 7. 2011.

I can read books again!! After collecting books and books since I love to read and simply haven't had the concentration to do so, I'm working my way through the book piles. This is a happy thing.
I also decide that in a year the same amount of days will have passed no matter what I do with them, so what if I step out with a small amount of faith and choose to do something positive for myself with those days?

In mid-February I pull out the business card of a Naturopathic Doctor, given me by a friend a couple of years ago, and make the call. Set up an appointment. And the same week I get an appointment at the gym to talk with a trainer to help me exercise right and not cause flares or injuries that I know would just make me whine and quit. My Get-Well money is in play now.

It's June now. I'm taking steps toward a healthier, less whiney me. Sure, I get frustrated that things aren't moving faster. I still hurt, but it's generally lower, midrange, on the pain scale, the one where 10 means "please hospitalize me or at least shoot me with rhinoceros tranquilizer darts."
I try to deep breathe, I try to still my mind. I wake up better in the morning, but truth is, I'll never be a true morning person.  I still find putting any sort of dinner on the table a pain in the arse since I’m not a big fan of cooking, but not in the same “can’t lift my arms” sort of way.

It may be slow, but it is after all a process, something Merriam-Webster defines this way:
      1 a: progress, advance b: something going on: proceeding
     2 a (1): a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result     (2): a continuing natural or biological activity or function

So the fact that it is indeed something continuous, something that moves forward, is a happy thing, even if it isn’t instant. Fact is, I’m tired of this pain, tired of this fatigue, tired of this body. I can choose to stay the same, or I can choose to move forward.

I mean, why NOT me?

Skimmer's Recap: Fibromyalgia, while not my favorite companion, has taught me things. And baby steps are still steps.


Susy said...

It sounds like you've done lots of research. Any ideas on what causes fibromyalgia, Julie?

julia said...

The current thinking is that there is too high an amount of something called "Substance P" in our central nervous system, and this causes our brain to read pain at a much higher level than it actually is.

Some also feel the parts of our brain dealing with the emotions (for instance, the amygdala) is oversensitive and that over-excited state can be calmed down and made to deal on a more normal level that would then interpret the signals in a less "loud" way.

There seem to be certain substances that people with fibromyalgia lack, like magnesium. My naturopathic doctor has me taking it 4 times a day.

Something i wonder about is the adrenal fatigue that i experience, and how common that might be in fibromyalgia sufferers, since that affects our sleep, and sleep deprivation can cause the symptoms of fibromyalgia even in "normal" people. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by the overactive "fight/flight/freeze" mechanism in our brains, and for me i believe that was what started this whole party-- the emotional event that was the straw on the camel's back --> adrenal fatigue
--> symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The adrenal fatigue certainly explains the general and overwhelming fatigue that goes with fibro, but i'm not sure how the Substance P thing fits in there. i guess there are still a lot of questions!

Whew--was that more of an answer than you expected? :-D