Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun with Fibro!

So.  A bit about my history with my health. 

About a year and 4ish months ago, I was on a work trip that required note taking. So, I brought my laptop, and used it the first day to take notes, but had so much pain, I thought, "Geez, I better not do that, I feel like I'm getting carpal tunnel (like I even know what that feels like, but I LOVE to diagnose my own problems....)". Fast forward to June-ish.  I am doing this challenge with a group of ladies at the gym, and my knees are aching a lot, and my feet go numb sometimes on the treadmill-which is odd, because I have never had knee problems.
By mid-summer, I tried to make an appointment-which is a whole new blog post in itself-and finally got in to see my doctor in October of '10.  At this point, I was making notes on my smartphone, all the things that bug me throughout the days, and if I notice a possible cause or correlation.  Blood work, follow up, positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis, sent to Rheumatologist, who has an opening in Jan (of THIS YEAR.  Grrr.)

 Here is a laundry list of the problems I was having:
  • Joint pain in hands, feet, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck
  • A strange whitening of my fingertips, especially when they get extremely cold.
  • A knot in my neck that has been my bestie for several months. Yes, MONTHS.
  • The inability to take any changes in plans in stride.  (I am a control freak, but still together enough to roll with the punches when things went screwy-but now, I lose it completely when one teeny thing changes-which probably thrilled my easy-going husband to no end)
  • Weird pain that would seem to be between bones and muscles. Sometimes in the bones themselves.  At this point, I figure some of it is in my head, and some guy in a white coat will tell me so, and I will feel better.   Seriously, I ACTUALLY thought that would happen.  Talk about your denial...)
  • A couple times in the year when I didn't want to be around people, at work, with my family, or even awake.  Which is odd because I am very social, bubbly, positive, etc.
  • Burning pain in some fingers
So, I finally get in to see the Rhematologist (Dr. Wise-fitting, dontcha think?)-------bask in his understanding wonderfulness-no sarcasm here, he really listened, spent 45 minutes with my husband and me, and actually acted like what I was describing totally sucked!
He orders bloodwork, sends me on my way with a diagnosis.  Fibromylagia, which I expected, knew a lot about, and knew pretty sure in my heart was my problem. Also, Reynaud's Phenomenon, which is the whitening of the fingertips (and toes)-nothing serious, but I now have to watch for extended bouts, and keep extremities warm. But.  He also said I was suffering from depression, and needed to see a therapist and get some serious drugs ASAP.  I was completely dumbfounded.  Because, you know, medications are evil-we can solve all our problems through better nutrition and maybe some supplements, right?  Right????  :::crickets chirping:::
Oh, and people with depression actually seem depressed instead of happy, busy and accomplished like me, and are really just negative people, that are weak.  Once again, I know all the answers, and am right.  In fact, it has been said that what I lack in actual fact, I make up for with certainty.

He sent me on my merry way (or not so merry, cuz this shit was a-hurtin', AND he has just thrown me off my carefully-controlled course of being completely prepared for everything, with some crazy diagnosis about being loca en la cabeza)
Anyways.So, I come home, and do what I always do.  I research, I read, I digest, I talk it to DEATH.  You know, the normal things people do. Or, at least people with severe control issues do. 
Then, I head on over to my primary care Dr. and tell her I am sick and tired of hurting, and feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like I would like to sleep for several days until the feeling passes. I skip on out with a get-out-of-crazytown scrip for Cymbalta.  I know that I will only take it for a while, to get over the "hump", because I can manage just fine on my own, in a little while. 

Then, I go on the website for my health insurance, and I find out (cue Jesus-loving gospel sounds straight from the clouds) that I entitled to up to 20 visits to an Acupuncturist!!!!!!! Woohooo! I had done acupuncture when I was pregnant with my daughter, for severe sciatic pain (which I was still living with after 12 years). I was geared up to do it again, because, A. I don't fear needles and, 2. I will try anything to not be in pain and lastly, I feel that a natural method of controlling my problems are better for my long-term health.  Kay? Kay.

Fast forward to now.
I will spare some of the details, but I have gotten over my problems with depression and anxiety, I got over the hump of getting used to Cymbalta (it took 3 weeks to actually be okay with the medication but now it works WONDERS, helping my brain and heart, and well as working on that pesky joint pain I could SOOOO do without), I am seeing a therapist weekly (who is helping me to deal with my "new normal" and adjusting to a life of not taking too much on), and I see my acupuncturist about every week and a half. 
My pain is significantly reduced, my mood is more steady, I am more relaxed than I have been in YEARS, and I have learned to delegate, and say no.  NOnononononononononononononono.  See? very skilled in the "no" department. 

So.  What has Fibromyalgia given me? What is the rosy Aesop's Fables moral to this story?

Just when you think ya got your shit together, life likes to throw things in your path.  You can either stumble, fall, roll around and get covered in foul muck that will seep into your very existence and tarnish all that is good in life, or you can stumble, take a graceful bow, and continue on your path, more cognizant of the perils each path may bring. And, you may learn some new things about yourself, and what you are capable of. 

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