This is a followup to Fibro 101. So, now that you know what Fibro is like in general, are you wondering what it’s like for me?
I first realized there was something wrong when my yoga class started to be really painful. And I’m not talking “ooh, good stretch” painful, I’m talking “OMG, I am going to start crying because this hurts so bad, when will the pose change, augh” painful. I have a high pain threshold, but damn.
So I talked to my teacher, who got very concerned and said that it wasn’t the yoga – my form was very good – but that there was clearly something wrong with me and I should see a doctor immediately. In the course of thinking about all this, I realized that I had been in pain every day for so long I couldn’t remember my last normal day. And not just pain from my knees and wrists, which is normal for me, but pain all over. My muscles were sore. My joints all (and I do mean all) ached in varying degrees.
This, I decided, was not normal for a generally healthy and not particularly overweight 27-year-old.
So I went to see the doctor. Well, she wanted to put me on anti-inflammatories. I said no, because I’ve been on them before (for my Chondromalacia Patellae) and my stomach lining is still all wonky from them. Besides, if pills could fix what was wrong, I said, it’d be fixed – I take ibuprofen on a semi-regular basis to deal with my knees and my carpal tunnel syndrome.
So she did a ton of tests which all came back negative, and sent me to a rheumatologist, who did a perfunctory questionairre with me and did the Tender Points Test on me and pronounced that I had fibro. I didn’t quite believe her, though, because she’d been so brusque and because I’ve been bitten by loads of ticks and am therefore a candidate for Lyme.
Eventually we ruled out Lyme. I’m now taking Cymbalta (60 mg/day), which is also used to treat peripheral neuropathy in diabetics. She put me on Tradozone first, but it made me really sick so she had me switch.
One thing I’ve learned about my fibro already is how important sleep is. If I get less than seven hours of sleep per night, the next day I’m achy, sore, and exhausted; it can take two or three days of 8 hours of sleep a night to get me feeling better.
The pain is a little better now that i’m on the Cymbalta – it sort of takes the edge off most of the time. However, a short night will make it flare back up. Apparently other stuff can make it flare up, too – I had a perfectly normal night of sleep yesterday but last night and this morning I feel like crap. Gotta figure out what my other triggers are.
The other issue that gets to me is what most fibro folks call “Fibro Fog” – the mental cloudiness that often comes with the condition. I’m more forgetful than I used to be. I have more trouble concentrating during a flareup. Sometimes I can’t think of the words I want. It’s scary, especially since Alzheimer’s runs in the family. But now that I know it’s probably just my body’s reaction to the fibro, I feel a little better about it and try not to let it get to me.
Mostly I deal with having fibro pretty well. I’m used to chronic pain – my knees went bad when I was twelve, and have hurt to varying degrees ever since. Still, it sucks to be sore all the time. It sucks that most of the time, every motion I make causes pain in either the joint, the muscle, or both. And I do mean every motion. Flexing my fingers to type hurts all the little joints in my hands. Not a lot, but enough for me to notice.
I resent my body for having this problem. I try not to wallow in that anger and indignation – it’s not productive. But I do acknowledge the way I feel. And I’m trying to find ways to make the pain better.
So that’s where I’m at. I welcome questions – email me or use the comment box. I figure it’s good to get info about this out there, right?