Tag Archives: Fibromyalgia

Ow

Worst fibromyalgia pain I’ve had yet. Feels like I broke a rib and injured my knee. Neither of which has happened.

Two Gabapentin, 2 methocarbamol, 2 acetaminophen, and half a Percoset later—pain still there, but at least now I’m falling asleep.

Pandemic Diary: 5 Mar 2021

I’ve been writing in a global pandemic journaling project, so I haven’t posted anything here in a couple of weeks. Here are a couple of the other journal entries to keep you updated.

[22 Feb ’21] The system for getting a vaccination makes me intensely angry. It’s completely unjust, and a mess. This is a global pandemic, people! If we don’t get people vaccinated, it’s just going to continue to kill people. More than 500,000 people have been killed by COVID in the US alone. That’s half a million. Over 12.5 times the number of people in Pittsfield. Imagine 12 and a half Pittsfields dead. I can’t imagine it. The numbers are beyond reckoning now. Globally, 2.5 million+ people have died. So many unnecessary.

The US accounts for 20% of all COVID deaths, in the whole world. 20%. Something is horribly wrong here. And I lay that at Trump’s feet. He got the vaccines approved quickly, but he did nothing about getting them distributed. What good are vaccines if people can’t get them?

I’m totally disgusted with this mishandled nightmare.

***********

[1 Mar ’21] Had a really bad fibromyalgia episode Sunday night, out of nowhere. I’d been doing well for a couple of weeks, but we had a windstorm that knocked out our power around midnight, which means my CPAP shut off, which woke me up. So I had to go sleep in the guest room so my snoring wouldn’t wake up James. By then, I was fully awake and noticed some FM pain beginning. In a few minutes, it was a total-body throb, with tingling in my joints. I think it’s the worst pain episode I’ve had yet. Gabapentin didn’t help, so I ended up cancelling my morning classes and taking an Ambien to get to sleep. The whole next day I was trembly and in low-grade pain. I cancelled my evening classes, too.

Today it was hard to get up, and then my back seized up while drying my hair, of all things. I managed to hobble to my study and teach my morning lessons, and after sleeping/resting for a couple of hours, the pain is gone. I’m still exhausted, though! My FM has been consistently worse throughout the pandemic than it was before. Stress triggers flare-ups, so the past year has pretty much been one long flare-up!

Obviously not a great couple of weeks. It’s sunny today, so maybe I’ll bundle up (it’s 22ºF and windy, so the “RealFeel” is 6ºF) and go for a walk. That will help in many many ways.

Pandemic Diary: 28 Oct 2020

That’s about how I feel.

My last week of the month to make up some missed hours due to fibromyalgic exhaustion. My energy is much better, so I was ready to crank it out. Then today… Is it my SI joint? or a myofascial trigger point? The pain is in the same place, so it’s impossible to tell and it doesn’t really matter since the only treatments at this stage for either one are rest and pain relievers, or steroid injections. I’m not interested in injections right now, so what’s left? Rest. When I need to be working. These two things don’t go together.

Chronic illness confessions

Only crazy women have “fibromyalgia”. That was my thinking for years, so I refused the diagnosis that doctors gave me. I’m not a crazy, needy, hypochondriacal woman.

I still have that feeling, even though I’ve finally accepted the diagnosis from a doctor I know well and trust completely who explained the increasing medical evidence for the syndrome.

I’m having a serious fibromyalgia flare-up this week, with sleep problems, overwhelming fatigue, brainlessness, clumsiness (more than usual—my mother called me “Calamity Jane” when I was kid), and depression.

Which leads me to the second confession: I’ve had chronic severe depression from the age of 12. It went undiagnosed for another 12 years, and then I tried everything but medication to deal with it for the next decade. Since then, I’ve wrestled my way towards meds that work pretty well. It took about 15 years to find the right combination of antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and mood stabilizers. And vitamins B & D supplements, plus fish oil.

But during those undiagnosed years, I was at best confusing to live with; at worst, super crazy-making. During the unmedicated decade, it got worse. I remember doing and saying things that fill me with shame now. And knowing that that’s the only way many people knew me is awful. They still think of me as a sick nutcase. That’s a really hard image to live with.

Every time I fill my weekly pill minder, I feel the same shame about having to take so many drugs to be sane. For a long time, I called them my “crazy pills”. Now I remind myself to call them “happy pills” instead, but underneath I still hear the whisper of “crazy”.

Now add to that a diagnosis of the illness that “only crazy women” get. It’s hard to feel “normal with all that Crazy in my head. I can just hear my sisters say, “Oh sure, now she has fibromyalgia” and shake their heads. I have the reputation in my family of being a hypochondriac, something that’s common for people with undiagnosed chronic illnesses. It’s a completely understandable response, so I don’t blame them for it. But not saying out loud that I have fibromyalgia because I’m afraid to see dismissive looks from my sisters and others (they’re not the only ones I fear getting them from), has become an emotional burden that just makes the condition worse. And the emotional isolation it causes exacerbates the depression. I have to let go of it to improve my physical and mental health.

So there you have it—I confess that I have fibromyalgia. My pain receptors are screwy so everything hurts a little or a lot all the time. I put multiple meds in my pill minder to maintain a steadily positive mood and manage the pain. It’s what I have to do. I’m not crazy.

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