Monday, July 13, 2009

Fibromyalgia: Who has it, what is it, and how do I find relief?

Do I look sick to you? Of course not. You can not see my pain, you have no clue that it may take up to three days for me to recover from an hours outing.

I was first diagnosed with Fibro (for short), in 2003. What seemed like something out of the blue, I later learned that I had had it midly since childhood. Looking back I can see how it progressed. Early on it was being extremely fatigued, feeling like I was getting the flu. This would happen every 3-6 months. Then when I moved to Denver, where the weather was anything but stable, it began to happen more often, always with the onset of a storm. Once back in Arizona, it continued to happen more frequently, as my body was under stress with my pregnancy (my beauty is pictured above). I was extremely fatigued, hurt all over, sever pain in my joints.... When I could no longer change my daughter's diapers or hold her without pain, I turned to my Dr. for an answer. After tests to rule out all the diseases that Fibro mimics, I was diagnosed with severe Fibro. After years of having no success in finding relief for my pain, Lyrica finally came on the market. There is no generic for Lyrica, and it is very costly without insurance. This combined with other prescribed medication, my good days were better, and my bad, well nothing helps the bad days....

Clouds and rain are heavenly, unless you suffer from Fibro. They bring on headaches, muscle and joint pain, and will make you feel as though you have been ran over by a semi 100 times! Another way to describe the pain to someone who does not have Fibro is: think about the last time you had the flu, remember how achy your body felt, now multiply it by 1000!! Yes, OUCH! Other factors that bring on bad days are physical stress, emotional stress, weather, and noise.

Prior to the surgeries that have left me disabled, I was able to find relief from my Fibro pain by doing water aerobics. I miss it terribly, and pray that I may someday have the strength to do that again. But for now just floating in a pool, relaxes my muscles. I am expecting calls from my friends with pools!! LOL! Seriously, iced coffee on the deck, noodles to float with, and I am good for several hours of chatting without causing extra pain. In fact, along with the physical comfort of the pool, spending time with friends, laughing and smiling also brings comfort.

I would like to warn those who do have Fibro (which is mostly women, but there are some men who have it too), to be aware and be persistent, when you are having abdominal pain or symptoms of IBS. I had to fight for many years to be taken seriously about the pain I had after my hysterectomy and when adhesions were twisting and adhering my bowels to other internal organs. Many doctors do not believe Fibro exists, (so you would think they would take you seriously), they and other uninformed doctors will just right off your pain as a symptom of Fibro. Do not allow your physician to bully you into thinking that it is only Fibro pain, or a bladder disease, or IBS. If you have to, find another doctor, as I had to do. Insist that every possible avenue be explored before writing off new pain, even if it includes surgery. Not one of my tests including MRI's showed what was wrong with me. It was only during surgery that the problems were found. I have been the talk of many recovery rooms! I know my body.

For those who do not have Fibro, please do not judge a person for what med's they need to take to live comfortably. For those who have Fibro, do not be ashamed or embarrassed to ask your physician for med's that will bring you comfort.

As mentioned above, one of my medications is Lyrica. A negative side effect IS weight gain, but if you find relief, what's a few extra pounds!?!? Another that I had almost full relief from is Elavil. Weight gain was also a side effect. Unfortunately, I ended up being highly allergic to it. Elavil was the only medication that helped, I never knew I could feel so good. I pray I can find that type of relief again someday. Do I wish I could manage my Fibro pain without medication? You betcha! But my case is so severe, it is not possible. I also have permanent and severe nerve and muscle damage from two surgeries. I never thought I would wish that Fibro was the only condition I was suffering with. I am not saying that Fibro is a walk in the park, it is actually so painful that when pared up with anything else it is devastating. Life with Fibro is hard enough, I do not wish this pain upon anybody.

Support from family is essential! Without support from my husband and children, I would lose my mind. My husband takes care of all housekeeping duties and cooking, my son spent many of his middle and high school years helping to care for his sister while she was younger. He helped with changing diapers and giving baths. I was diagnosed when my daughter was 1 1/2. She has never known mommy to feel well. Yet because all this has slowed me down, she has my full attention! Because of my caring family, I am able to homeshcool our daughter, she loves curling up in bed to read. I am also able to spend time on Facebook, where I have met others who share my pain. Having people to pray for and with is very important for me. Facebook has helped me meet others who I have other things in common with, whether it be other homeschool moms or political interests, some family and friends that do not live near, FB connects me to the world.

I am so ever thankful that while Fibro is debilitating, it is not terminal. I have learned through the years to embrace my bad days and praise God for being alive. I used to hate the rain, now I can appreciate it and enjoy the gifts that rain brings. I no longer feel guilty, for having to cancel an outing or have to spend the day curled up in bed. It is life..... a painful life.... my life.... is it yours?

I have listed a few websites that explain the symptoms, tests, and treatments. They can help someone understand what Fibro is, explain the pain that a loved one is in, and help those who are in pain to find ways to cope. While no cure or cause has been found, there is help.

What is Fibromyalgia?

List of Medications used to treat Fibromyalgia WebMD

Support and information: National Fibromyalgia Association

May God bless everyone who struggles with pain associated with Fibromalgia, may you find comfort and peace. Life with Fibro is hard, but is possible.

Do you or someone you know suffer from Fibromyalgia? Have any comfort or relief tips to share? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share the link to my blog with others, by posting a link on FB, MySpace, or on your own blog or website.
-Mrs. C

If you were informed or entertained by my blog, please pray about supporting this site by making a donation using PayPal. If led to help, there is a donation button on the left side of my page. No amount is too small and all is greatly appreciated. I am unable to work outside the home, my "job" is sharing my story, and to inform and possibly help others.

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