Life... Health... Reviews...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Facing fibromyalgia

Since I'm talking about a health issue I guess I should make this one of My Health and Weight Loss Journals, huh? Because the last couple of days I've been having it really bad with the fibromyalgia I decided to talk about it here. Hey, it's consuming my mind and affecting what I can and can't do so I might as well put the experience to good use.

For those who don't already know, fibromyalgia is "one of the most common chronic widespread types of pain in the U.S.," according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. The causes of it are unknown but it's said to affect more than six million people.

Fibro patients often experience:

  • chronic widespread pain in the neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs

  • muscle tenderness, soreness and flu-like aching

  • poor sleep, stiffness and fatigue

  • dull pain in muscles, tendon and ligaments
I have all of those symptoms, with some days being worse than others, including a burning-like pain that I always describe as the tingles or that all of my limbs have fallen asleep. The pain may occur as a result of a number of things like viral infections, trauma, injury or even exposure to chronic stress. If stress is the cause of mine I wouldn't be surprised because I have experienced more stress in the past four or five years than I ever have in my life.

When I was diagnosed at the end of last year, the doctor prescribed three medications (Ibuprofen, Nortriptyline and Hydroxychloroquine) that really don't work that well, but they do make a huge difference. I normally only take the Ibuprofen and Hydroxychloroquine, but I ran out of the hydro- one and because of my lack of health insurance I can't make it back to the doctor for a follow-up appointment and get more meds.

Luckily, I found out that I am able to go back to the Veteran's Hospital for care and my appointment is on the 24th. I have never been so excited in my life to go to a doctor's appointment.

Thanks to you wonderful blogging buddies I have three other medicines to ask the doctor about to see if they're right for me: Lyrica, which I've seen a thousand commercials for; Cymbalta, which I heard of but didn't know it's used for fibromyalgia and Neuronton (I'm not sure I spelled that correctly).

I am anxious to get some type of ongoing management of this condition because it prevents me from doing things I really love like blog hopping and going through my email (not to mention the daily responsibilities and activities I must do). So, if you don't see me around sometimes -- mine normally gets worse about once a month -- then you know I'm trying to rest (one of the recommendations for dealing with this) so I can get back into the swing of things.

If you know someone with fibro (or any other chronic pain condition) call them up and see if there's something you can help them with: carrying laundry baskets, running errands, washing dishes, cooking dinner or caring for the kids for an afternoon. These are just some of the things I know can be extremely difficult to get through with a chronic pain condition.
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