Tag Archives: fibromyalgia

Meet the dwarves I know only too well . . . the Seven Dwarves of Fibro!

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And they aren’t nearly as appealing as Thorin, Kili, Fili, Dwalin and the rest.  Here’s the seven dwarves of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS).

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I am currently battling a full-blown grade-A Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) flare-up. There’s the searing pain that seems akin to a red-hot poker being pulled from a roaring fire and pressed firmly against the back of my neck, downward between my shoulder blades to my back and my hips. The throbbing in my jaw, teeth, temples, behind my eyes.

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There’s the so-called “fibro fog“–that frustrating thick haze that sometimes envelopes my brain, impairs my concentration, attacks my memory, makes me feel stupid and useless.

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And the weariness that seeps deep into my bones, sapping me of all energy, mental and physical.  My vision fluctuates; on bad days like today I have to wear reading glasses with my bifocals.

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There are the tears that insist on coming and make me feel like such a bloody coward.

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There’s that  knowledge I will never live another pain-free day in my life, that this invisible illness and I are bound together until the end of my days. Oh, it’s not fatal; I won’t die from it. But I will die with it.

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I don’t want pity, I am not asking for a miracle cure. Honestly, I’d rather first see a cure for cancer.

I  do ask for compassion and understanding and a non-judgmental attitude towards anyone you know–a loved one, friend, neighbor, classmate, co-worker–who is living with an invisible illness and dealing with their own nuisance dwarves.

This isn’t like a cold or the flu you’ll get over. It’s not the normal aches and pains from working out or growing older. They aren’t being lazy or trying to shirk their duties. There’s no one medication or course of treatment that works for every FMS patient.

Some therapies are not covered  by insurance; for those of us without insurance it can be even trickier getting the medical attention we may need. And so we take it one day at a time and some days, we congratulate ourselves for even getting out of bed.

Your life is irrevocably changed by conditions like this one. You try to stay positive, to engage in activities and interests to keep your mind off the symptoms, but it is always there. It waxes and wanes; it never truly leaves you. Foggy, Sweaty, Hurty and the rest are always hiding around the corner, ready to make an attack.

You really will never know what it’s like until you’ve experienced it firsthand; but I wouldn’t wish that on you.  Do your best to educate yourself and be empathetic.  And never assume you know what sort of pain and frustration another human being is dealing with. If I’ve learned anything from my personal lessons in the poetry of pain, it’s to never judge.

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Thanks for reading, and I promise to return to Richarding before too long.

To learn more about FMS, visit these sites:

http://www.afsafund.org/

http://www.fmaware.org/sit

http://www.fmnetnews.com/e/

Feeling as if I am moving on

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The intricate lace-like pattern of bare winter tree branches, silhouetted against the steel grey clouds rapidly filling the sky, catch my eye today. I am out for my daily constitutional, wishing that I’d brought my camera with me to capture those trees. I remember how, as a young art student, one who normally preferred drawing people, I went through a phase of tree mania. I was fascinated with the patterns of bark and the dance of the branches and the serpentine nature of some tree roots.  Every tree has its own special sort of character.

This photo courtesy of browncreative.com doesn't quite capture what I saw today, but it gives you the right idea. Love the abstract look you get with pattern of branches.

This photo courtesy of browncreative.com doesn’t quite capture what I saw today, but it gives you the right idea. Love the abstract look you get with pattern of branches.

I have to say that the barren look of the trees contrasts sharply with the sultriness of the air. I push up the sleeves of my long-sleeved t-shirt and wish I’d opted for a regular one. And put my hair in a ponytail. It may be January, but it feels like spring. It feels like thunderstorms. And indeed, heavy rain and the potential for severe thunderstorms is in the forecast, moving in after midnight and continuing most of tomorrow.

The twinges are beginning; FMS does not like big changes in atmospheric pressure. Tonight & tomorrow will not be easy days for me.

Oh, well, at least I am getting some fresh air and exercise while our dirt and gravel road is not a mud-slick morass. I live in a somewhat hilly county and I can feel the muscles working as I make my way up this incline: the calf muscles, and thighs, and those gluteus maximus muscles.

 It’s good to feel a soreness that is not related to Fibromyalgia Syndrome, that is not a searing, burning sort of pain that makes one imagine they know what it feels like to be tortured with a red-hot iron poker.

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Later, that will come. But I won’t think about that right now.  More pleasant prospects fill my mind.

I will think about the luncheon date planned for Thursday with a friend. We got to know each other while I was working for the newspaper and she was always a big fan of my writing.

SM was an orphan who lived in several foster homes before being adopted into a loving family when she was a little girl. She grew up to be a tireless advocate for foster parents and children. A former city councilwoman, SM founded and orchestrated an annual dinner for our county’s foster families for many years, an event held in memory of her late husband, a prominent businessman who died in a tragic drowning accident.  She’s active in the Kiwanis, which gives foster parents and their children a luncheon each Christmas with a visit from Santa and gifts from wish lists provided by the kids.

SM is a go-getter who has dreamed of creating a children’s book about foster families and adoption. She’s approaching 70 now and says she wants to make sure it happens soon. And she’s asked me to collaborate with her because she believes I “can tell an interesting story and do it justice.” I am excited about this opportunity, I have to say.

There are some other opportunities presenting themselves, although I am not quite ready to discuss them yet. Let’s just say that I feel that this year may be the year when things really do turn around for me.

For that, I am grateful.

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And I guess that’s way they call it the blues

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I try to keep laughing.  I really do. But sometimes it’s hard. I have always had a melancholy streak in my nature, as did my late father.

Lately, it’s been worse. Sadness seems to overwhelm me at times. Is is sadness or anxiety? I am not quite sure. Maybe a bit of both.

I cry so easily lately, it doesn’t take much.  Last night I kept crying in spite of my best efforts to contain it. The tears just kept spilling out, perplexing my poor husband and giving me a throbbing headache and stuffy nose.

I can’t stop fiddling with my hair. I’ve almost stopped biting my nails, so they actually look decent.

But the hair, longer now than it has been in years. is constantly being wound around my fingers. 

 I am always tired. Lack of refreshing sleep is a common symptom of FMS. It’s also a common symptom of depression.  I no longer really know where the FMS sends and possible depression begins. Chronic pain and fatigue can bring on depression. And I’ve been dealing with the pain and all that accompanies it for, what, 17 or 18 years now?

The FMS has altered my brain chemistry, Not enough serotonin. And so the perception of pain intensifies. I take antidepressants to help boost the serotonin levels, but they seem to work better at some times than others. I have a low pain threshold, but high pain tolerance. Sometimes, it still overwhelms me. I am tired of being in pain, tired of being tired.  Just–tired.  My brain is constantly spinning but am I getting anywhere?

I am anxious about my future. No job, no health insurance. A novel I am struggling to complete. Questioning my abilities, my capabilities.

Questioning.

 

(courtesy of the hindu.com)

 

 

 

A cure for Insomnia?

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Sleep-refreshing, restorative sleep–is something I crave. Unfortunately, I get far less of it than I would like.  Insomnia is a common side effect of Fibromyalgia. Of course, it’s a vicious cycle. The less sound sleep I get, the more my connective tissues–muscles, tendons and ligaments–burn and ache.  And the more I hurt, the harder it is for me to sleep. So this is why I am sometimes chatting with people in England and Poland and Australia at 3 a.m. As my husband said earlier tonight, “Well, dear, at least you’ve always got someone to talk to.”

I’ve tried various things outside of sleeping pills (which I have used, but have no desire to become addicted to) to help me sleep: sound machines, sleeping masks, aromatherapy, various types of pillows, and so forth. However, I really think if this chap would visit me every night speaking in warm and soothing tones, smiling and looking into my eyes with those big, luminous baby blues, he could hypnotize me right into a deep, deep sleep . . . and some lovely dreams.  What do you think?

Mixed Bag o’ Character GIFs for Monday

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I thought I had lost a good chunk of one of my novel’s chapters tonight. Thankfully, it was retrieved (albeit with several changes and some additions missing).  I popped in my earbuds and started playing my 50 classics album (a steal from iTunes) downloaded to the Kindle Fire while I sorted things out. Crisis averted.  Cellos make me think of Mr. A.  This is good.

The missing text scenario is the kind of thing that happens when you’re tired and stressed and that condition known as Fibromyalgia Fog overwhelms you.  Concentration becomes very difficult and I can’t remember some of the simplest things. This annoys me to no end as people used to know me as practically a freakin’ walkin’ Encyclopedia Britannica.

Tomorrow is, however, another day. 

Anyway, I made several GIFs last night featuring various characters and here are a few for your viewing pleasure.

Back on the grid . . . fancy some chips?

(I really, really wish we had gotten more of Lucas and Adam. Great onscreen chemistry between the actors and they looked just great together onscreen, too–the dark and fair-haired hunks)

Bloody knackered and still the sexiest thing alive.

Oh, Mr. Mulligan, you are very bad but you do have a certain–something.

 

The Dark Side has never looked better. OH, that smirk . . .

RA, FMS & Comic-Con

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Well, I don’t have to use the hydrocortisone cream as my moisturizer anymore. And I can properly descale myself in the shower!  Yes, I am finally restocked on my toiletry items. Benny was putting the items on the conveyor belt at the Wal-Mart checkout  tonight and teased, “It takes a lot to look pretty.”

To which I replied in a serious tone, “Well, it’s not all about looking pretty but taking care of your skin, being well-groomed–maintaining one’s self as one grows older.” There was, however, a twinkle in my eyes as I spoke–of that, I am certain.

And honestly, I was out of everything–exfoliating body wash, night cream, daytime moisturizer, toner, mascara (after so many months, the stuff dries out and what a pain to try to put on without massive clumping), cleansing cloths, cotton balls. There were items I needed for my upcoming trip to Comic-Con International in San Diego–a travel kit for my contacts, mini-toothpaste, a three-pack of reading glasses in case I lose a pair somewhere.  The good Lord knows my poor old body isn’t in very good shape now, particularly after more than six months of inactivity following the car accident. But I can, at least, can make an effort to look presentable, right?

J!-ENT Pictorial Feature: San Diego Comic-Con ...

J!-ENT Pictorial Feature: San Diego Comic-Con International 2011 (Photo credit: kndynt2099)

I hope to do some walking to help prepare for a very busy time of it at Comic-Con next month–if I can avoid the rattlesnakes. Hmmm, maybe I should take a big stick with me? If we can unload all the stuff on the semi-recumbent exercise bike (why do those things always end up as clothes racks?) I want to try to build up my tricky knee. But I have to be careful. If I do too much, I pay for it. If I do too little, I pay for it.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the world of Fibromyalgia, with the supporting players osteoarthritis and assorted and sundry other syndromes.  I can assure you my luggage will include some of those nifty ThermaCare heatwraps for back and knees and very likely a folding cane. Just in case . . .

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FIBROMYALGIA (Photo credit: *SHESHELL*)

Man, looking at that list above, it’s a wonder I do as well as I do!

I am trying to be as prepared as I can, mentally, physically, emotionally (“I will not burst out in tears if and when I see Richard Armitage, I will not let my mouth gape open like a fish out of water, I will be professional, focused . . .) and of course, financially.

Oh, Sir Guy, I am pretty sure they have some ideas along those lines. Trust me.

Thanks much to everyone again for your support and also all your words of support and encouragement. When I was writing for the newspaper, I would periodically receive thank you notes in the mail for an article or a column I wrote. I always prized those and hoarder that I am, I still have them tucked away.  The fact that someone took the time to write a note and send it meant a lot to me.  So never think sharing such words doesn’t make a difference.

Comic-Con is coming July 12-15 in San Diego! And I have my

press associate bar code! Yippee!

If you’d like to contribute to my Comic-Con Trip Fund, please click on the button in the sidebar to make a donation. Or ask me about purchasing one of asilomar’s beautiful sterling silver winged heart necklaces. A generous portion of the $35 cost goes into my fund. Thanks for your support!

A Masterpiece of a Man

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Yeah, I’ve been Photoshopping again with my favorite subject. Just ate supper and fingers crossed it doesn’t tear up my stomach. I have far too many conditions with acronyms, I have decided: IBS, FMS,MPS, GERD, RLS . . . and my own self-diagnosed condition, TIS (Technologically Impaired Syndrome).  FYI, all those letters stand for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fybromyalgia Syndrome, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Restless Legs Syndrome. No WONDER I need to be distracted ( and inspired and amazed and delighted and starstruck) by Richard Armitage. 😉