Posts Tagged ‘hurting all over’

Nothing else but time for fibromyalgia

nothing but time for fibromyalgia wellness requires strict lifestyleI’d been debilitated by a muscle spasm for five days before going to my doctor yesterday.  I would have gone to see him sooner but I didn’t have anyone to drive me and I simply couldn’t drive that far.  I’d taken my medication for breakthrough pain and was worried about not having it later in the month. I told him I’d been in so much pain that I couldn’t think without medication to relieve it.

“I don’t know if the spasm is breakthrough pain or a part of fibromyalgia or if it’s unrelated,” I told my doctor.

“Was it a real spasm?” he asked.  Sometimes he asks geeky questions.

“Yes,” I answered confidently.

“It isn’t ideal that you took your breakthrough medicine for a muscle spasm, but at that point, you really didn’t have a choice.”  He wrote something on his notepad.

Now I wished I’d called his office when the spasm started.   He wrote me a prescription for magnesium mixed with a chemical in aspirin.  He said people find relief for migraines with the medication and that it may help muscles spasms.  He said more about magnesium, but I can’t remember!  He also told me to apply wet heat, which I could have done and didn’t.  Again, I should have called his office five days earlier.  He didn’t mention replacing my breakthrough medication.  I don’t like having to ask for extra pain medicine so I didn’t mention it either.

I didn’t have much in me so to speak.  It took strength for me to talk loud enough to be heard, much less communicate any concerns or other issues I was having.  I didn’t tell him my bladder was still hurting but I was tired.  I’d been hurting for days and it wore me out mentally and physically.  Sometimes I feel like giving up.  I feel like there is no hope.  That no matter what, pain will be part of my daily life.

“You know what I told you about the central sensitivity…” he said.  I nodded yes. I can’t remember his exact words.  He spoke to the pain from the view that fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder, Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS), which I think suggest that the level of pain I’ve experienced from the muscle spasm is part of fibromyalgia, but not necessarily a symptom.

I had a college mentor who told me many times, “If you can’t explain something then you don’t understand it.”  I guess I don’t fully understand CSS.  I understand the general concept, which is enough to know that people with fibromyalgia experience more pain from stimuli, such as a muscle spasm, than do people who do not have fibromyalgia.

I remember my good doctor saying something to the effect of the spasm having caused a blast of pain from my brain that I felt all over my body.  He said that would explain why I was feeling so crappy.  I’d definitely had a blast of pain!

“Do you have any patients who have severe fibromyalgia, who you are absolutely sure they have it, without a doubt, who gets well?” I asked him.

His answer, which was basically yes, was somewhat surprising to me.   I may have also felt a glimmer of hope, but it would have taken a lot to get me out of the despondent state of mind I’ve been in for the past week or more.   Too bad because he’s a good doctor with a sense of humor.   If I’m quiet then so is he.  If I’m in a lighter mood then he’ll tell me a joke, usually a geeky one, but sometimes that’s what makes it funny.

“Yes,” and he turned around in his chair to face me.  “There are some people who do get better.  They are people who follow a strict routine of exercise.  They practice stretches throughout the day every day.   They follow a strict diet.  They have very strict schedules and that is all they do.  These are people who have nothing else going on and devote all their time to practicing these things.  The people who are more likely to get well from fibromyalgia are people who have nothing else,” and he waved his hands in the air for an added effect, “nothing else going on — at all — that gets in their way.  They are people with nothing else but time.”

Could I be that person I wondered the rest of the day.  I’ve got the time.  I’ve also got a lot going on. 

This morning I visited a blog with the most beautiful photos of places where people were fly fishing.  I’d like to do that, even if I didn’t catch a fish.  I wish I could go to paradise, where I would have nothing else but time.

Image of clock by Leslie, at IconDoIt, the blog.  Copyrights apply.



Fibromyalgia, Severe Pain and Injuries

It hit my legs first.  I felt it deep in my bones when I lied down.  The pain felt like the beginning of a tooth ache.  I changed positions and fell asleep.  Several hours later I woke up with my eyes wide open.  The pain was intense.  I thought I was having a nightmare, but I wasn’t.  It was real.

"Yikes" Fun image by Leslie Sigal Javorek at IconDoIt, the blog!

YIKES!!!

IMAGE CREDIT: Leslie Sigal Javorek, IconDoit, the Blog!

The severity of pain lessened dramatically when I got up and moved around.  I was in that state of mind where I wasn’t fully awake, yet like a dream, or nightmare, I had more of a feeling than a detailed memory afterward.

fibromyalgia severe pain invading every cell

The memory of the deep pain I woke up with evoked an image in my mind.  I imagined thousands of little creatures; their legs strong and claws sharp; grasping and gnawing at the fibers in my legs; having invaded every cell.

By mid-day my upper body started hurting again.  By the end of the day, I found myself crying.  I realized there was more going on than the regular level of pain I live with.

I put Lidoderm patches on the places that hurt the most and took breakthrough medication; extra pain medication that I don’t normally have to take.

I didn’t know what to think.  Was it my lungs or the connective tissue around my lungs, I wondered?  The pain in my upper back, like the pain in my legs earlier that morning,  was  so deep and inclusive that I couldn’t tell if it was bronchitis or muscle pain.  My muscles felt bruised.  Breathing hurt.  I hurt all over, inside and out.

The patches and extra medication helped and the next day I was able to take the dogs for a walk.  My young, but strong dog, pulled my arm.  A surge of pain moved through the center of my back, which is when I remembered a dog walk two days before this new pain hit my body.

The dogs had spotted our neighbor.  They adore her and hurled forward when they saw her.  I held the leashes, running behind them for ten or twenty feet.  It had hurt, but the worst of the pain was yet to come.

One event like this can cause a flare up of fibromyalgia pain that might last a couple of days or a few weeks.  Injuries can cause severe flares and pain levels to permanently increase.  

Due to post-exertional pain and fatigue, the smallest of chores or tasks can cause days of illness.  I’m not good at pacing because the ideal rate of speed is so slow, but I’ve learned the consequences of over doing things.

Moving into my apartment caused me so much pain that I had to go on a different and stronger medication after it was all over.  Planting five plants in my yard two summers ago put me in bed for the best part of a month.  Falling from my bicycle on Halloween caused me to go, “on a tendon and ligament adventure,” as my doctor remarked.  Not long after the bike accident, while cleaning a ceramic cabinet knob, I endured severe and deep cuts to two fingers. 

Yikes!

Injuries that other people get over fairly quickly can cause flare ups and become chronic pain conditions for a fibromyalgia patient.

Pain is pain.  Living with it is hard and sometimes, depressing.  Pain can be physically, mentally and emotionally completely consuming.

I cannot imagine not having medication that relieves the intensity.  I simply can’t.  I seriously think that my body would probably go into shock or I would have a heart attack from pain.

Before Medication…

I took my dogs along with me on a camping trip to one of my favorite places in the mountains.   A friend had come to help me set up camp.  It wasn’t easy and it rained, but I knew the weather would clear soon.  The morning would bring beautiful bird songs, close views of the white-tailed deer who legally own the place, and because of the few number of campers, the sounds of nature would wake me upon the first shadow of light.

I woke up around 2am in more pain than I had ever felt before.  I sat there for several hours, literally crying in pain.  Before meeting the beautiful morning I had anticipated, I had concluded that I could not continue to live with the pain I was experiencing. 

My thoughts had gone downhill for sure.  I felt that anyone who expected a person to live with that kind of pain seemed inhumane.  I wanted the same compassion as my dog had been given when we learned she had bone cancer.  My tail wasn’t wagging anymore.  I wasn’t laughing anymore.  Food didn’t matter anymore.

That weekend changed my life.  I had been ready to die.  Fortunately, I had a good doctor who told me to try taking a pain pill.  I did and it worked.

I realized better what a toll the constant pain had taken on me and my life, after finding relief in medication. 

Taking pain medication doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of pain.  I think many people simply want to reach a tolerable level of pain they can live with.  Most people I know who live with pain want very much to function as much as possible.

I have pain-free days, but most of the time I have some level of pain.  My muscles are usually tender.  My body usually feels bruised. 

I have flares, but I’m truly grateful that I don’t have to live every moment of my life in severe unrelenting pain.  I’m also grateful to have a doctor who understands very well that fibromyalgia hurts.

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Post edited and updated on the eleventh of April, 2013