Sunday, August 28, 2011

Foggy Days and Foggy Nights......With Fibromyalgia

As I journey through life I am constantly learning things about myself and others. If I take time to pay attention, take in what I see and hear and watch people around me, then everything can be a learning experience.  I have realized that sometimes, based on an outward appearance, I have given too much credit to people that I thought were wise and could give me sensible advice. On the other hand I have overlooked people who have made thoughtful gestures and were kindhearted and selfless. These people are often overlooked because they are most often the humble, quiet types. They take the focus off themselves and make certain others are cared for. My point is, what we see is not always what we get.   
A person who has Fibromyalgia LOOKS fine but often feels horrible. I can remember many times going to work, or church or out to dinner with my family when I looked “fine” but felt like I had the flu. My body would be so sore that it hurt to feel my clothes touch my skin. My head would throb until I thought it might explode. But it was pointless to say how I felt because I looked fine. It took several years of doctors visits, blood work and medical tests before I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It was in 2001, I had just explained how I was feeling and the doctor and I were going over my latest tests, which were all negative. As I was standing up to leave he put his hand on my neck/shoulder area and gave a little squeeze. At the same time he said the sincerest comment, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out.” At that time I closed my eyes and made a sound, which he recognized as pain. He asked if that area hurt and how badly? He then realized that I was hurting because he had squeezed a “tender point.”
Tender points are pain points or localized areas of tenderness around joints, but not the joints themselves. These tender points hurt when pressed with a finger. The actual size of the point of most tenderness is usually very small, about the size of a penny. These areas are much more sensitive than other nearby areas. In fact, pressure on one of the tender points with a finger will cause pain that makes the person flinch or pull back. There are 18 tender points important for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Tender points are scattered over the neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, buttocks, and knees.
I truly believe that lots of people get a diagnoses from their doctor because the doctor is tired of dealing with them. That makes it tough on those who are truly suffering. At the same time, a person might suffer for years before getting a diagnoses of Fibromyalgia. The only person who knows and understands their pain is that person. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you are not hurting. I have read so many horror stories about people who lived with chronic pain and ended their own life because no one believed them.
(Fibromyalgia medical facts were found at Fibromyalgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain of the muscles and connective tissue and accompanied by allodynia, which is a heightened and painful response to pressure or light touch. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness, numbness and tingling of skin, and cognitive dysfunction (known as fibro-fog), confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms include prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, muscle twitching and chronic sleep disturbances. Although fibromyalgia is classified based on the presence of chronic widespread pain, pain may also be localized in areas such as the shoulders, neck, low back, hips, or other areas. Many sufferers also experience varying degrees of myofascial pain. Myofascial pain can occur in distinct, isolated areas of the body, and because any muscle or fascia may be affected, this may cause a variety of localized symptoms. More generally speaking, the muscular pain is steady, aching, and deep. Depending on the case and location the intensity can range from mild discomfort to excruciating and "lightning-like" pain. Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin. The pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest. Neither degenerative nor fatal, the chronic pain of fibromyalgia is pervasive and persistent. Most fibromyalgia patients report that their symptoms do not improve over time.

The medications that I take affect chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system. The meds make me sleepy and my mouth very dry. Other possible side effects are blurred vision; dizziness; drowsiness; gas; headache; increased appetite; lightheadedness; stomach pain; trouble concentrating; weight gain.
And for goodness sake, why does practically every drug have a possible side effect of weight gain? WHY?!?!  J Just sayin?
A number of factors can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. They include:
·         Anxiety
·         Changes in weather -- for example, cold or humidity
·         Depression
·         Fatigue
·         Hormonal fluctuations such as PMS or menopause
·         Infections
·         Lack of sleep or restless sleep
·         Periods of emotional stress
·         Physical exhaustion
Because infections are a reason for Fibro “flare-ups”, in my next blog I am going to write about my history of frequent infections caused by, what I was diagnosed with in December of 2010, Immunoglobulin G Deficiency. A blood disorder for which I am now being treated with monthly IV treatments at Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham, AL.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. It reassures me that I have family and friends who care enough about me to gain knowledge and understanding about my health. Your time is precious and each time you read my blog you have given me a gift. And I want to thank you!!
Love and prayers to all,
The fibro-fog is one of the worst symptoms for me personally. The pain is horrible, don't misunderstand. But the inability to think or concentrate and times trouble finding the right word you are looking for drives me crazy. And please, for goodness sake, don’t interrupt me, it might take me a few moments or minutes to remember what I was saying. ....and I know what you're thinking, ..."I do that!" But trust me, fibro-fog is forgetfulness to the extreme and is very frustrating!!

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