Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “fatigue”

I think I may be part Hedgehog

I just figured out something new in the world of; whatever the
frak is wrong with me.

When I get agitated, frustrated, or upset my quills come out. At
least that’s what it feels like,

…only my quills aren’t fine little hairs that stand on end. My
quills are invisible and feel like really long sharp needles attached to nerve
endings that are slowly trying to make their way out from under my skin.

I know sounds horrible; imagine how it feels!

I’ve come to this conclusion based on the day’s activities and the
reaction it caused.

Hubby’s insurance plan is a real sucky one! We have a $2,400 detuctable
that we need to meet at the beginning of each year for our in-network service
plan. We are generally broke for the first 3 months of the year, because all
our money goes to the insurance company for all the meds Leon and I take on a
daily basis.

Well if that isn’t bad enough, our insurance plan demands another
$2,4oo for any Out-of-Network services. So why don’t we stay in network?
Because we can’t find a damn In-network doctor to see us. And by us I mean Leon
and I.

Leon needs a therapist, as well as a social skills group. I have
found two doctors that come very highly recommended, BUT… they are of course
Out-of-Network. Then there is me. Woe is me.

At my doctor visit yesterday with my primary care doctor, I was
advised to seek psychiatric care…. oh and here is a new prescription for even
more meds. In case anyone is keeping score that’s 10 pills a day. As my friend
Kim said “my mom doesn’t even take that many”

It’s frustrating; however, the advice isn’t wrong. I think getting
psychiatric help would be a plus, providing I can find one that I am
comfortable with. I think I definitely do need to speak with a therapist to
help me untangle this life that seems to have gotten completely out of control,
and if that person can also help me reduce the amount of medication I am taking
that would be excellent.

So today I printed out the list of in-network doctors that are in
a 10 mile radius. I was on a roll, and getting things done today. I was pretty
proud of myself for not putting it off. It was time to do some research, I hate
the idea of randomly picking out a doctor that is going to be picking my brain
and telling me who I am, from a list. I much prefer to have a recommendation
from a friend or a referral from a doctor. Unfortunately I am the only crazy
person among my friends so no help there, and as for doctor referrals… well
let’s just say that apparently none of the “good” doctors take my
insurance. So it was between me and the computer to decide who I would choose. Unfortunately
the computer was no help AT ALL! I was hoping to find some reviews on the
doctors on the list to help me choose. Ummmm, Yea, No!

As the time passed and I hit road block after road block I got
more and more frustrated. I called doc after doc after doc, and I was getting
nowhere. Some numbers on the list where wrong, some were fax machines, some had
terribly rude receptionists, one receptionist asked me why I needed to see the
doctor, and when I said, “depression…….and some issues with ADHD, I
guess”; her response was, “Oh, he doesn’t treat that”

What? What the what? Okeeeee…. moving on. One only specialized
in substance abuse, another in geriatrics (I was too young, go figure), one
doctor whom I was actually able to find a review on, now practices two states
over; and then there was the one with whom I spoke to directly, and it wasn’t
until I gave him every last detail about me that he realized I was calling
about his practice in the county that I live in rather than a neighboring one.
Unfortunately he isn’t seeing new patients in my county. I also skipped around
on the list, picking and choosing friendly names. Silly, I know but the names
were all I had to go on and well, I don’t know how to say this without sounding
a bit prejudice, which I am soooo not, so I’ll just say it very plainly as, I
prefer the doctor with whom I am going to spend a lot of time communicating
with, to have english as their first language. No disrespect intended but if I
can’t understand the accent how can they help me? So I skipped quite a few
names until they were all that was left.

Four hours later, I still haven’t found a doctor and I am hurting
and uncomfortable and realizing that these weird pins and needles/prickling
thing was getting worse the more I agonized over finding a damn doctor. And it
isn’t just pins and needles, its worse; it’s like a million needles trying to
escape my body all at once. In my arms, my hands, my cheeks, my lips, and on
the back of my neck.

So yeah I think I may be part hedgehog. Don’t they get all sharp
and prickly when they are agitated??

Advertisements

I Nominate; My Superman

I recently found this on  ellen ;

Nominate the Amazing Person in Your Life…

Do you know an amazing person who could use Ellen’s help? We want to hear about them! Tell us all about the most deserving person you know, and how Ellen can rock their world. Maybe it’s a family member or spouse who always puts your needs before their own, a neighbor who has changed your community for the better, or even a teacher who goes above and beyond with your kids. This season, Ellen’s gonna keep giving back!
Read more: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=433#ixzz1RH3DUlaq

So I decided to nominate My Superman!

Dear Ellen,

I love you and I love your show. You and your show always make my day! You are just so genuine, with a hugely generous nature. You have a way of making people feel comfortable and at ease; like spending time with a really good friend.

Well good friend, I’d like to share something with you about my family, about my husband in particular.

His name is Ron, he is a handsome devil, a smooth talker with an odd sense of humor, a sci-fi geek, who rocks my world, and keeps things balanced in our lives. And he is the most giving and amazing man I know. He always puts the needs of our family before his own.  When I met Ron, he became the man who renewed my faith in hope. In short he is my Superhero.

My family consists of Ron (39), myself (42), and our son, Leon (8)

We have a good life, NOT an easy one, but a good one, because we have each other. Things have always been tough on us financially, and we always seem to muddle through whatever life throws at us, either on our own or with help from our extended family. And for this we have always been truly grateful.

We all do our best to make the most of our lives. But no one works harder than my husband to provide and take care of our little family. I try and do my best too, but I have so many limitations, that I fear he often gets the short end of the stick.

Both my son and I suffer from disabilities that require regular doctor visits and a lot of very expensive medication between the both of us. My son has severe ADHD/ODD and I suffer from Fibromyalgia. We have a HUGE deductible on our medical insurance and given our individual medical needs it is necessary for us to come up with a LARGE sum of money in a very small amount of time at the beginning of each year. He barely makes enough money that we can usually get by living paycheck to paycheck with just enough left over to cover and enjoy the little things like the movies or Cub Scout fees for our son.  But when the big bills come in, that’s when we really struggle.

This year, so far, has really tested Ron’s limits.  Ron’s car died, and while we managed to get by with only one car for a few months we did eventually have to buy a second used car, which is already in need of repair.

In addition to our financial stress, Ron has had to take on additional parenting duties, above and beyond all the amazing things he already does with and for our son, due to the decline in my health this year.

No matter what comes our way, Ron does everything he can to make things right again. He really is a good man, and he puts his all into everything he does. As a husband he is just amazing, not only does he work hard in the office every day, but he comes home to take care of a majority of the household duties, when I can’t, due to my disability; and he still makes time to be a Den Leader in Leon’s Cub Scout troop and spend quality time with him.

Lately though, it seems as if life has really been testing Ron’s limits. My husband’s normally optimistic outlook on life seems to be dimming. Right now, Ron feels as if we just can’t get a break and that everything is getting thrown at him all at once and he just can’t get ahead. Some days I look at him and he just looks so terribly defeated, like someone had just drained him of all his energy. It kills me to see him this way.

This is a man who truly deserves a break. Not only is he an amazing husband and father but he is also a genuinely GOOD MAN!

Ellen, PLEASE help me make my husband’s life just a little bit easier.

Here we are at his sister’s wedding, which also happens to be our wedding anniversary. (I am the one with the pink hair 🙂 )

Me and my Superman!

EDITTED ON Jan 19th 2012 to add:

Hey Ellen,

Being that this IS your birthday-month; I wanted to share with you that May is my husband’s birthday month. In fact, this year he turns 40 on May 13, 2012.

You know incase the SWAGGIN WAGON is in NY around that time???

That’s a hint…. you know incase you didn’t catch it.

Love ya Ellen!!

And my Superman!!!

It’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want too!!!!

With this year being as difficult as it has been, doing something I truly enjoy hasn’t been much of an option.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is planning something special and hosting parties for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally, we host big Christmas and Easter celebrations for our family of 17 every year with special extras like traditional Weinachts Teller and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunts, birthdays of course are also real big here, and I plan big too complete with banners, balloons, and birthday fairies. Then there are the smaller  holidays and events that I try to make fun and memorable, like New Years Eve where Leon gets to stay up late and bang pots and pans at midnight; Valentine’s Day where we decorate the windows and make heart cakes; St. Patty’s Day where Leon leaves out a decorated treasure box at night for the Leprechauns to fill with gold and greenery; the last day of school where we have a big get-together in our yard complete with wet and wild summer activities to welcome summer vacation; 4th of July BBQ, which Ron has been hosting for 20 + years; Halloween… etc… etc… etc..  .

But due to all my health issues this year, I just haven’t had it in me to make these special events happen, I even had to cancel Easter at the last minute this year because I was too, too sick to make it happen, and that is saying a lot. I was so incredibly disappointed in myself. And for as much as everyone reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. It WAS a big deal to ME! I loooove hosting the holidays, it was a big letdown for me and I lost out on doing something that makes me happy doing it. Even the Leprechauns made a poor appearance this year because I just could not do it.

Leon always looks forward to the backyard party we have on the last day of school and I was not about to disappoint him or myself. I knew full well that I would pay for it in the end, and that it probably would end up being a bit too much for me, but there was no way I was not going to have our year end “Welcome Summer Party” for Leon and his friends (and for me and my friends too).

The invites went out, and the responses came in. As the date came closer I started to have some doubts. Every day has been a painful one for me at some point during the course of it. There was no reason to believe that this day was going to be any different. I wondered if I would make it through my own party without excusing myself to take a nap. I started begging Ron to take the day off so he could help me get through it (that was unfair of me I know).While he could not take the day off, he did go above and beyond in helping me turn this hoarders paradise back into a home.

Leon’s last day of school was a half day on June 25th. I spent the morning rushing around and breaking a sweat as I was working hard to get the yard ready for 20 + kids and 10 + moms; that I had absolutely no time to wallow in the pain.

It was a really great day, despite the threat of rain. The kids arrived with their moms and headed straight for the water slide, while us mom’s headed straight for the Coconut Pineapple Mohitos.

I didn’t get to sit in a chair for any good length of time with all the running around I had to choose to do. I had a bunch of fun summer activities planned.

While we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive, the kids jumped from pool to pool and discovered the big box of prefilled water squirters.

Once all the guests arrived we picked teams for the water balloon fight. The kids had a BLAST!

There where plenty of other activities for the kids as well.

Like jumping on the trampoline;

playing with Lego;

drawing with chalk;

 building a castle;

 huddling together in pop up tents;

and just all around having fun with good friends.

It was tons of work to put it all together and keep things rolling! By the time I finally able to really take a seat and relax; I was exhausted and in pain. The pricklies on my arms were feeling hot and hurtin, and my legs were heavy and aching pretty bad. As the party was winding down I was dreading the worst part of the party, and that is the clean up. All the work to get it together and only a few hours later it needs to all be broken down again. I was NOT up for it any more.

As luck would have it I have some really amazingly terrific friends!! Everyone just chipped in and helped put everything away in no time, despite my arguments to “just leave it”.  In a blink of an eye the pools were drained, the castle was boxed up, as was the Lego, the chairs were stacked by the garage and the dishes were done. I don’t know what I would have done without my good friends to help me.

And now here I am just days later and I am still paying for it. I may have spent the the last 2 days in bed, but it was definitely worth it to see this smiling face;

And hear him say “mom, thanks for inviting all my friends over and having a party; I had so much fun!”

Yup, it’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want to!

… Cause it’s worth it!

Fibro? MS? Or Something Else?

I made a list of the symptoms that I have been having over the last 6 months to reference, at my doctor visits. Some of these are symptoms I’ve had forever (which I have always attributed to my previously diagnosed Fibromyalgia); some I have had several times before but I didn’t realize there was a connection; and some are entirely new to me.

Basically I just want to find out what the Hell is wrong with me? Is it still Fibro? Could it be MS? Or Something Else?

Something is definitely very very wrong. A whole new wrong. A different wrong

The fact is I’ve been experiencing pain since before Christmas 2010 from what I assume stems from a winter triggered flare. This is what my year has been like

  • Have had major bouts of fatigue, tiredness, and energy loss since winter began
  • Feel poorly 80-90% of the time with very little relief in between
  • Been bed ridden – spent all of Jan and Feb either in bed or on the couch – not a day goes by since that I don’t need to rest between activities
  • Can’t do my normal every day activities – include watching my niece –interfering with my ability to earn a little money and help my sister out
  • Had sinus infection turn bronchial in Feb.-mar –it lasted 7 to 8 week duration
  • Am non functional for better part of day due fatigue, pain, and weakness
  • Weakness to the point of can’t lift simple things like a drink, or stand for even short period of time
  • Difficulties standing up straight in the mornings or after sitting for too long
  • Constantly feeling stiff
  • difficulty  walking- feel all crumpled up, stiff, crunchy
  • popping bones all over
  • difficulty lifting- too much pain in wrists, hands, fingers, and arms
  • same when required to use legs to lift
  • TOO weak, everything feels heavier
  • Difficulty focusing/ staying focused – lose train of thought,  can’t finish sentences, forget why in the room or what was just said
  • Can’t get organized, everything suffers, home family friends, life
  • Very Depressed, hopelessness, misunderstood, frequent and long crying jags
  •  Nausea, dizzy and sickly feeling
  • Headaches
  • Patches of prickles , like needles poking from inside out, on arms, neck, face

EXPERIANCING PAIN IN:

  • Hands & Fingers – feel swollen, can’t bend, or grasp. Skin gets too tight. COLD, blue finger tips (both but more intense in right), shake/unsteady, prickly, tingly
  • Wrists – no strength, feel like it’s going to crack right off, prickly , tingly, hot
  • Arms – aches, muscle burn, dead, feel heavy, prickly , tingly
  • Upper arm / shoulder – achy, heavy, prickly  , tingly
  • Neck – stiff, reduced movement, stabs of pain
  • Back of neck/head – stabbing pain out of nowhere sometimes brief sometimes not
  • Face – tingles/ prickles, pins & needles, numbness
  • Lower back- weak cant straighten up, can’t sit long, can’t stand long
  • Legs /thighs – ache, feel dead inside, feel heavy, muscle burn, soreness, stiff, numbness
  • Knees – stiff, feels sand or gravel packed
  • Calves – cramping, sore, tight
  • Ankles – stiff , especially in the morning
  • Skin – prickly, tingly, painful

FATIGUE, FATIGUE, FATIGUE!!!!

  • Have NO energy
  • Fine one moment and not the next
  • Meer walk from couch to bathroom wipes me out
  • Feels like gravity is pulling me down
  • Sudden urgent needs to sit/rest
  • Simple tasks feel like full on workouts – i.e. Walk to kitchen feels like full on hike; doing dishes feels like weight lifting; writing/drawing feels like just did pull-ups
  • Break a sweat just going from one room to next
  • My brain wants to get things done but body wont/cant co-operate
  • Once rested I feel okay and able until I try to do something
  • Even typing wears me out

OTHER PROBS:

  • Forever forgetful – can’t retain or remember info
  • Incontinence – pee when laugh, cough, sneeze, lift, get up too fast, sound of water, see running water, get close to bathroom
  • TMJ – tightness in jaw, wake up clenched, pain
  • INSOMNIA/SLEEP DISRUPTION – cannot get to sleep, pain wakes me up/ keeps me awake, sudden jerking motion, can’t stop moving, can’t turn off body or brain
  • Depression – thoughts of worthlessness, death, long can’t stop crying jags
  • Temperature control – too too cold! Freezing! causes pain OR too too hot, can’t function, need to sit, rest, sleep; difficult finding happy medium
  •  Headaches – migraines, tension, stress, allergy
  • Get dizzy, feelings of vertigo, nausea. Worry I might faint if I don’t sit
  • Eyes get fuzzy, darkness over one eye (left) like it’s shaded or looking through a screen
  • Spend more time feeling bad in a day than I do feeling good.
  • Feel like I am getting no reprieve.

WTF – What The Fibro is Wrong with Me?

 In my previous post I recounted my past six months of Fibro flare-up hell.

It feels all wrong! Not that there is ever anything right about Fibro; but this has been wronger then usual.

Is my fibro changing? Getting Worse?

Actually that is a really dumb question. Of course it is changing. As we age we change, stands to reason that our disabilities change too. Some things get easier to tolerate, while other things get worse.

But what if I am not getting worse? What if this is something completely different all together? It is all too easy to just blame everything on fibro all the time. But the possibility that I could have something in addition to FMS, is feasible, isn’t it? What if I was completely misdiagnosed all together?

This year of pain and exhaustion has felt so intensely bad that this can’t just be my fibro; it HAS to be something more than that.  …Doesn’t it?

I know, I know, that’s what my doctor is for. But there have been issues with the whole seeking medical attention thing this past year. My last visit with my primary care doctor in 2010 was for my routine 3 month fibro maintenance follow-up in October. It was before this flare-up really reared its ugly head, so I reported that I was feeling pretty good at the time. Then winter came in and decimated me with freezing cold weather and blizzards. My regularly scheduled winter flare-up tore me down, big time.

My next 3 month appointment which was scheduled for the end of January, didn’t work out, because I had to reschedule it due to the fact that Ron had commandeered my van for work when his car died and I no longer had transportation. Well, that and it was so bitterly cold that I just couldn’t get out of bed, let alone my house.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel the March appointment too. My sister was in the hospital and sadly, at 23 weeks pregnant, lost her baby. It was a very difficult month both in the weeks prior when the complications in her pregnancy arose, and after – as this was a terrible loss.

We all mourn the loss of the sweet little girl who was taken before we could know her but not before we loved her.

It was the beginning of April that I FINALLY met with my doctor. But it wasn’t a regular maintenance visit; it was a sick visit – for my nasal/bronchial issues. Dr. T is pretty much a stickler about only getting into what the appointment was scheduled for so I was shooed out of the examining room before I had a chance to go into any details about what was going on. But not before he suggested I see a Physiatrist first and then go back and see him. I think he was reprimanding/punishing me for not keeping my appointments…

I had no idea what a physiatrist was, so I looked it up here. And after I checked out the doctor’s website, I felt hopeful that this was going to be my answer. After months of no energy or strength, and constant fatigue and pain I was more than ready for answers. When I spoke with the receptionist to make my appointment, I had to admit that it had been more than 6 years since I had any MRI’s or other testing done. Because up till now I was maintaining my Fibro with meds; and flare-ups, although still painful, came and then WENT.

She told me not to worry; the doctor would order all new tests. When I got off the phone I felt a sense of relief. I just wanted to get answers to what was going on with me. And, here was a doctor that “instead of treating only specific symptoms and illnesses, a D.O. will regard your body as an integrated whole”, according to his website.

I had been going through so much difficulty and pain, all I wanted was to start anew. The seasons were changing and I was tired of hibernating. I had spent so long trapped in my home by the cold weather; my illness; and with still no transportation; and although I still felt like utter crap, I had to force myself to join the land of the living again, if anything, for sanity’s sake. I had been a shut in for so long that even my friendships were suffering. I tend to withdraw from people; friends and family alike; when things get this raw (read painful and depressing). And believe me this was raw!

In my effort to reconnect with my friends (and family) I felt I owed it to them to clarify why I needed to withdraw so much, why I bailed on commitments I had made, why I could not be reached by phone or even return messages. I felt I had to explain that I don’t mean to be a lousy friend, who forgets things, breaks promises, and just disappears.

In the process, of explaining what I was going through, I surprisingly had three separate people who didn’t even know each other suggest that it sounded like I had MS.

MS? Really? multiple sclerosis

I had heard of MS; but in truth I didn’t know anything about it, at all. It would never have occurred to me. When the first person said something to me I did what I always do; I disregarded the possibility that it could be anything but Fibro. After all, I had my diagnosis, and it took forever to get that in the first place, I didn’t want to start questioning it, no way.

But then a second friend suggested it as well. She knew a lot about it and started describing me, to me. All I could do was keep sit there nodding and saying, “Yeah, that’s me!”, “that’s exactly what’s happening to me”, “you are describing me”; her response was, “no, I am describing MS”.

Thoughts that crept around in my head: Oh crap!! Do I have MS? Wait! What the hell is MS?; What are the symptoms?; How do I know if this is what I have?; Do I really wanna know?

So I peeked, just a little, I looked it up on the internet. Just enough to get general info. I am all for getting self-informed and getting educated about something like ADHD, for instance, when your child has been diagnosed with it. But with this, I just didn’t want to read so much in to it, that I’d start self-diagnosing before I even see the doctor. What I read up on was the basics; the symptoms and how one get’s diagnosed.  I also read that it isn’t unheard of for someone suffering from MS to be misdiagnosed with Fibro.

As my appointment with the physiatrist drew nearer I got more and more emotional about how bad this whole year has been so far because of some illness that I have. I just wanted answers and I felt that in order to do that I need to start from scratch. I want to wipe the slate clean and start fresh as if I had never gotten my diagnosis for FMS all those years ago. Like I mentioned earlier, it is all too easy to pigeon-hole everything into Fibro without considering there might be something else going on.

A few hours before my appointment, I sat down and I just started writing and I kept writing until I had 3 pages full of what I needed to remember to discuss with the doctor. I listed symptoms, body parts affected, descriptions of the level of pain I was feeling, the emotional toll it was taking on me, etc.

It was unfortunate that after all the time I took to prepare, I ended up forgetting it all at home. I was beside myself. The poor doctor did not know what to do with me. I just started crying and crying. I could not get my thoughts together, I was forgetting everything I wanted to talk about AND what was worse was this doctor just was not living up to my expectations. I wanted him to have all the answers, to fix me, to order the tests that were going to get me my answers.

The doctor didn’t actually do anything wrong, he was just not right for me. He focused on the pain in my arms and scheduled an EKG/nerve test. Through my tears I managed to tell him I felt that that wasn’t enough. What about the pains in the rest of my body? His response was that he wanted to focus on one thing at a time and he advised me to go back to my primary care physician for a referral to a rheumatologist for my fibro.

I left there in tears. I cried all the way home and by the time I walked back into my house I was sobbing uncontrollably; poor Ron and Leon had no idea what was going on and were very concerned.

I want a doctor that was going to treat the whole of me; not just the parts of me. This is not what I got in this doctor. I realize that I had put way too much stock in this one visit, and my hopes and expectations were waaaay too high. I was overly emotional, and at a loss. Now what?

The fact is I don’t see a rheumatologist although I know I should, but after never being able to get an appointment with the one that I initially had, the one who diagnosed the fibro, I began to rely on the neurologist that she had sent me to. I was maintaining fairly well with the meds that my neuro had prescribed.  Eventually I lost my neuro too, due to the fact that she became ill and left the practice. In the end I never did find a new rheumatologist or neurologist; my primary care doctor was prescribing the medications I needed, so I felt that there was no need to find another one; till now that is.

Last week I met with my primary care physician, to discuss a plan. This time I did not forget my notes. Even so, I was still a blubbering fool, with tears falling uncontrollably from my eyes, as I explained how bad things had gotten and how lost I felt. I explained that I was concerned that what is going on with me was something worse than Fibro and I shared the suspicions of MS that others and now myself had. In the end my doctor told me that he feels that I have extreme Fibromyalgia and that I am suffering from severe depression; he also feels that I am beyond his help at this point and he referred me to a rheumatologist and a psychiatrist. When I questioned the MS again, he told me that he felt it was unlikely that I had MS at all. I would love to just accept that but I am too worried about something being over looked because it is too easy to stick with the original diagnosis. He gave me the name of a neurologist to call, if I felt the need to pursue it.

I do and I did. Feel the need to pursue it I mean. I have an appointment with both a rheumatologist and a neurologist next week. I have not scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist yet as I have yet to find one that takes my insurance.

In the several days it has taken me to write this post (I can only do a little at a time due to the pain in my arms and hands) the tears have seemed to come to a halt. Writing and getting all these thoughts and feelings out of my head seems to help a lot. But I will bring the tissues to my next appointment; just in case. 😉

Too Many Tears in my Ears

I lost it on Sunday. I was just trying to be ‘normal’, just trying to do normal. But it was just too, too much.

Lately that’s nothing new – things being too much, I mean. By lately, I mean the past 6 months, and by things, I mean everything – life, pain, thinking, breathing, functioning, and living all of it.

I feel like I have lost so much of my life in the past 6 months, I was just trying to get a little bit of it back.

Last year was a pretty decent year but I must say this one pretty much sucks big time.  My health started to take a real steep dive just before Christmas 2010. Our winter was brutal. I think we had a total accumulation of about 60′ of snow. We had snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm and then some.

My annual winter fibro flare went in to high gear. The extreme cold had its grip on me. I was snowed in, in more ways than one. I pretty much did not step foot outside the house unless I had to. When I did, I would instantly freeze up from the inside out, the pain and stiffness was just too much to bear. I spent my days either in bed or on the couch for most of Jan and Feb, I felt like a bed ridden shut in.

And the worst part was that it was just never-ending. Never ending pain and never-ending fatigue.  I just could not wait for spring to come, for this flare-up to end!

In January, Ron’s car broke down the same night of a big storm. We knew we would have to get it looked at but aside from it being completely buried under a few feet of snow; we didn’t have the money to have it looked at, let alone repaired. He did manage to dig my van out and he used that for the next several weeks which turned in to a few months. I had no car, in an area where a car is practically a requirement. But, I didn’t mind, I was still in way too much pain to even leave the house for the time being.

On top of this all too long flare-up that I was caught up in, I also got real sick in the end of February. It started out normal enough, with a sore throat, post nasal grossness and a sinus infection but then turned ugly in a really bad bronchial, can’t stop coughing, cold sweats, have no energy, and I think I am going to die sort of way. That lasted into the first week or two of April. Thats 2 months worth of mucus people; not what you need during a mega flare-up

So there I was in a never-ending flare-up with a never-ending cold during a seemingly never-ending winter. MISERABLE!

THINK SPRING! THINK SPRING! THINK SPRING!

Spring was just a big tease! She’d show up for a day or two; and then wham winter claimed the next few days again. And this was NOT a onetime occurrence, I’ll tell you that. It seemed Mother Nature just could not make up her mind. But eventually the sun stayed and flowers started blooming.

This is normally the time when I start feeling stronger. But, I came out of the whole sinus/bronchial/death thing; feeling weaker than ever. I just could not function. All normal daily activities were suspended.

The pain was still there, the fatigue, the stiffness, the I-am-so-caught-up-in-this that-I-can’t-catch-up of it all, was STILL there. And the weakness, and lack of energy, that was there, the I just can NOT function at all, the I can’t think straight, I can’t remember things that just happened moments ago, the holy crap my mind knows I’ve got things to do but my body isn’t letting me, was all constantly in the way.

That’s NOT normal, not for this long anyway even with having fibro.   THIS was something different – SOMETHING WORSE – more intense, with new symptoms and different pain.

I am not used to never-ending flare-ups. Nor was I used to the new more intense symptoms. It’s all been just too all-consuming.

And though I have said it before; it doesn’t just hurt me physically, but it contorts me emotionally and mentally too! And then, there is the fallout that affects those closest to me. Ron and Leon being the primary victims.

I feel like a failure as a mother and wife! Poor Ron has had to do so much more than his fair share. He is exhausted and stressed from work, taking care of Leon and taking care of me. My worst fear has always been losing the people I love, like I lost my father. But I now fear something worse. I fear that Ron will grow to hate me, and resent me and my illness.

Leon suffers the effects just as much, in that his mom isn’t all that present. I feel like a non person right now. I am failing the two most important people in my life, and I am failing myself.

Supermom has left the building and the kryptonite which is my illness is killing that part of me. The me I want to be, part of me.

I haven’t even been physically able to keep up my own home. So crap has been piling up since January. At this point we could be featured on hoarders, because life is cluttered and messy and I do not have the ability to clean up after life. Even with Ron’s tremendous help, it’s been nearly impossible to catch up. And when we get close more comes our way and everything is put on hold.

It’s been 6 months of this and while Ron has done everything humanly possible to juggle everything, it hasn’t worked.

It’s time to get back to normal. I just want to get back to doing normal things. I And we need to start at home. Ron and I committed the weekend to doing just that. We were trying to clean up and organize 6 months worth of mess in just one weekend. I pushed myself to the limit. And I broke!  I pushed way too hard, by the end of the day on Sunday I could barely stand straight or move without a yelp or painful grunt. I was spent in every way possible, just struggling to walk from one room to another. Ron wasn’t faring any better. With both of us completely spent, and only one last nerve left between the both of us; it did take much for it to be triggered.

I don’t even remember who or what triggered it initially, I just remember being disgusted with my self and my situation, and questioning “why me?”; I lost it. And I lost it BIG!! I just collapsed into bed and started to cry and cry and cry and I just could not stop.

Today is Wednesday and I’ve been crying every day since.

This year has been all too too much!

There have been way too many tears in my ears; it’s time to find out what is wrong with me.

Something is definitely wrong with me!!

HAPPY New Year!?!???

Well, I had to say it, didn’t I? This is after all my first post of 2011.

Thing is I’m not feeling’ so Happy New Yearish at the moment. It’s part of why it’s taken me this long to post something. It’s not that there haven’t been any happy occasions, events, or news to post about; there have actually, and I want to share them, especially because some very good things have been happening with Leon; it’s just that, well, I am just too damn tired (and in pain) to even think clearly. And not the I just have so much to do tired either. It’s more like the, just walking from the couch to the bathroom and back has me feeling like all my energy just drained out of me and I can’t move, type of tired.

There is no doubt about it; this winter is really messing with my fibro BIG TIME. Mother Nature and Jack Frost have teamed up to kick my butt!

Here is today’s forecast from the National Weather Center:

Winter Storm Warning

  • Statement as of 9:52 PM EST on January 26, 2011
    … Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 am EST
    Thursday…A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 am EST Thursday.

* Locations… portions of northeast New Jersey… New York City
and southern Long Island.

* Hazards… heavy snow.

* Accumulations… 8 to 14 inches of snow… with locally higher
amounts possible.

* Winds… north winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph are
expected across New York City and northeast New Jersey.

* Timing… a wintry mix of snow… sleet… and freezing rain…
becoming a moderate to heavy snow this evening… and a heavy
snow overnight. Up to a quarter of an inch of ice this evening.

Special Weather Statement

    • Statement as of 1:13 am EST on January 27, 2011
      … Heavy snow will impact Bergen… Bronx… Essex… Fairfield…
      Hudson… Kings (Brooklyn)… Middlesex… Nassau… New Haven… New York
      (Manhattan)… Passaic… Queens… Richmond (Staten Island)…
      Rockland… Suffolk… Union… Westchester and western New London
      counties…At 1257 am EST… National Weather Service Doppler radar was tracking
      a wide band of heavy snow extending from northern Connecticut
      through Long Island and New York City.

Snowfall rates within this band are between 2 to 3 inches per
hour… but could be as high as 4 inches per hour in the heaviest
portions of the band in Nassau… western Suffolk… New Haven and
Middlesex counties.

In addition… gusty winds between 20 and 30 mph with occasional
gusts up to 35 mph will occur causing blowing and drifting
snow….and reducing visibilities to 1/2 mile or less.

Motorists should exercise extreme caution.

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for the area.

We’ve already had so many storms so far this New Year that I’ve lost count at this point and it’s only January.  These storms have been so frequent and so on top of each other, the effects of which are unbearable. It’s times like this that I am most aware of my Fibro …obviously!

Last week a friend got an up-close peak into my life with Fibro, when she stopped by to invite Leon and me over and found me curled up in a ball on the couch, with my head resting in Ron’s lap as I wept because the pain was that intense. I think it really took her by surprise. This invisible disability suddenly became visible.  Being the wonderful friend that she is, she took Leon so I didn’t have to worry about him seeing me like that.

I actually felt a bit embarrassed that she had seen me like that.

I know I should not be embarrassed by the situation but it is very rare for someone to see me with that bad of a flare-up, and in that much pain, and THAT vulnerable.

Not that I haven’t had flare-ups before in front of people. It’s just that, well, it isn’t always so blatant. The pain is always there alright, and occasionally someone will comment or make a joke about me walking like a crumpled up old women before I can straighten myself up, but usually it will go unnoticed. But Friday’s flare-up, that was something all together different that was what I usually refer to as a “lost in the pain” flare-up. One that gets so bad that I feel completely lost and consumed in the pain.

And with this icy cold, snowy, storm-filled winter I feel like it is freezing me in time and incapacitating me to the point that I cannot even function in my own life right now. I have been out of commission since this year began.  As a result not only am I suffering but so is my family.

The all over joint pain, headaches, fatigue (serious fatigue), insomnia, and muscle weakness keep me from being able to do normal everyday things, including taking care of my family. The burden then falls on Ron; my dear and wonderful husband. So now his life has been turned upside down too.

Not only does Ron leave the house to work all day, but when he is home he has to take care of the things I can’t.

Much to my dismay and intense gratitude he gets up early with Leon every morning without waking me up. He knows that mornings have always been difficult for me, but right now they are even more so. My insomnia has kept me up till anywhere between 3am and 5am on a regular basis. I am thankful because waking up every morning at 7am and functioning on all cylinders is practically unheard of.  I just wish I could do more in the mornings so Ron could get ready for work stress free.

Ron has to get himself and Leon ready at a time when Leon’s ADHD is at its worst. There always tends to be a battle whether it is about taking a shower, eating his, breakfast or getting dressed for school. I usually wake up to one or the other’s yelling or a phone call telling me, my sister is on her way with my niece, whom I care for while my sister is at work. Although, too often this year I’ve had to send her to my mom’s instead.

As it is I am no longer caring for Nico (my friend’s son), but now my fibro is forcing me to give up more days with Kiera too, making money even scarcer.

While taking care of Kiera can be extremely draining, I at least can nap when I need to, while she does. I just can’t see that being included as a benefit in a real job 😉 , so while money is scarce, I am lucky that my sister needs my help. The major downside then falls to Leon and Ron again.

Generally while caring for Kiera or any child, one would think I could keep up with the house work since I am home anyway. Unfortunately that just isn’t always the case, and right now because of the intensity of my flare -up and especially because of how long it has been lasting, there just isn’t any relief long enough for me to catch up on my housefrau duties. It’s embarrassing!

What is worse, is that rather than let it all pile up, Ron jumps in and picks up the slack. It makes me feel so guilty, because I can see it is taking a toll on him.  The getting up with Leon, and battling him to get ready for school while preparing his breakfast and packing up his lunch, and sticking him on the bus; then he has his job to contend with; only to come home and have to contend with me, who is thoroughly exhausted and mostly immobile from the pain and Leon whose meds have worn off and is talking a mile a minute, bouncing off the furniture, and vary needy at this time of the day.

On my normal days, flare-up or not I would have at least pushed myself  to clean up after the day’s activities, get the dishes done, have Leon’s homework done, fed him and ready for bed by the time Ron got home so that he could at least enjoy himself with their ‘Daddy and Leon bedtime routine’. I’ll be honest, I rarely get all of that done, especially during flare-ups, but I do my very best and depending on the severity of the day I have gotten quite a bit of it done. But right now it’s as if my tush has been glued to either the couch or my bed. Basically I’ve been bedridden (or couch-ridden as it were) since the year began, and if the weather keeps up this way I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon.

I worry about the strain it puts on Ron. Add to that the struggles we face financially at the beginning of each year because of how our medical insurance is structured. Between Leon’s ADHD/ODD meds and my Fibro /ADD meds and our regular doctor visits, we have to come up with a lot of cash in a very short amount of time because we have a $2500.00 deductable to meet. That’s not an easy thing to do when living paycheck to paycheck. This is the time of year when our bills pile up. So on top of the strain my fibro puts on Ron he has this to deal with. Now add to it the fact that Ron’s car has died and can no longer be driven, so he has to use my van until we can afford a new car. At least with me pretty much being bed-ridden I can do without the van for now.

The guilt and the depression that comes with it weigh very heavily on me. I feel responsible for Ron’s stress, and I worry about his health.

So with all that, it hasn’t felt very Happy New Yearish   ….yet

As I said before there have been a few highlights to the year so far, involving Leon, so not all is lost.

But that will have to wait for another day.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Fibro sucks EVERYDAY…

… because it hurts, EVERYDAY!.

Some days are more tolerable than others, and some days are just outright excruciating.

 A GOOD DAY is just a dull and annoying pain that is always with you.

A BAD DAY is rather dying than moving, or talking, or thinking, or even breathing because all of it hurts.

What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

…because it is invisible EVERYDAY, even though I am not.

On most days I look fine, but I just can not function well enough to match the image. I often feel as if I have to explain myself , and the explanation is most often Fibromyalgia. 

 Often there are the days that I just don’t bother, I don’t bother to dress, I don’t bother to do my hair or put make-up on, I don’t bother to make myself presentable, because I might look too healthy for the way I am feeling.

…because EVERYDAY, the productive part of my day just dwindles away.

Fibromyalgia symptoms intensify depending on the time of day — morning, late afternoon, and evening tend to be the worst times, while 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tends to be the best time for most sufferers. For me this is very true, so what it boils down to is I basically have a small 4 hour window of active productability each day. No wonder I can never get things done. And I complain of life getting in the way of life.

…because even the people who are the closest to me EVERYDAY, will never fully understand what it really feels like or means to have Fibromyalgia.

They know I have it, but I always have it. For them it is the same old, same old… you are sick, you are tired, you are hurting, etc, etc.

But for me it is never the same, it is never the same old, same old… What makes one day or one moment different from the next? Only the degree of pain and how well I can handle it and what comes with it. Sometimes I even find myself surprised at how bad I am feeling, because I hadn’t felt this bad in a while or because I never thought it could get as bad as this to begin with. Some times I just get so frustrated with the fact that they just don’t understand the pain and the difficulties that come with Fibro. Yet at the same time I don’t really want them to because the only way to ever truly understand is to have it. And I wish that on no one.

…because my Fibro doesn’t just affect me, it effects everyone around me, EVERYDAY.

My wonderful husband and terrific son get the brunt of it.

Ron all too often has to pick up the pieces, when I can’t function in just ordinary daily living. Mornings are terrible for me because I wake up stiff and in pain. It usually takes me 2 to 3 hours to bring the pain down to a more manageable level and to shake off the fatigue from having a restless night or no sleep at all, until just before it is time to get up and get going. So he has to help with Leon each morning, (schoolbag packed, lunch made, meds given, and ADHD boy whose meds have not yet kicked in, dressed and entertained until the bus comes), so I can stumble out of my bed, trying to get my act together to immediately begin my day taking care of my soon to be 2-year-old niece at 7am. And all this from a man, who, even with my Fibro, is less of a morning person than I am. He then works all day and has to come home to pick up even more pieces.

By the time 4pm hits I am done. Working from home, taking care of an infant (Nico-8 months) and my extremely rambunctious niece (Kiera-23months) is more than exhausting. Believe it or not changing Kiera’s diapers can be very physically painful for me, what with all the flailing and kicking and chasing that goes on – :?. And keeping up with the house while keeping up with the kids is an excercise in futility. As soon as one child is fed, the next one needs to be fed; as soon as one diaper is changed another one has to be changed; as soon as one set of dishes are done, there are more in the sink; as soon as one toy is cleaned up, a new one magically appears scattered across the floor. Then 4pm rolls around and that’s when all the poop hits the fan at once. I often talk about this being a bad time for Leon, with his ADHD and all the commotion that comes to a head all at the same time, but it is just as bad for me as it is for him (sometimes worse depending on the day). Leon gets off the bus, like a tornado, backpack, lunchbox, books, papers, shoes, various pieces of clothing and a whole slew of questions all flying around at once, at the same time the babies get picked up one after another, and I am trying to hold down some semblance of an organized and structured enviroment for Leon to get on with his homework while dodging “can I PLEEEZ  have a playdate today” questions. It gets quite overwhelming. And depending on how bad I am flaring this is where poor Leon gets the brunt of it. The pain of having to say “No, not today baby, Mommy doesn’t feel good” or “Sorry Leon, mommy is hurting too much to play with you right now” or “go get your DS and sit in bed with me while mommy lies down for a bit”, hurts sooo much more than the actual physical pain of fibromyalgia! I hate letting him down all the time! I hate letting them both down. By the time Ron gets home, I still haven’t been able to completely clean up the house, do the dishes, or make dinner. It’s not for the lack of trying, I do try but I never seem to be able to complete the jobs. So guess who steps in and picks up the pieces? Ron of course. 

…because it makes me look and feel: like a burden, lazy, messy, unorganized, disconnected, ditzy, unreliable, inconsistent, forgetful, whiney, selfish, moody,   (..I could go on and  on) EVERYDAY

  I worry all too often that I am a burden to my family, specifically Ron, who has to make up for what I am lacking as a housewife and mom. And to Leon whose mom can’t just be like other moms.

I am always disgusted and embarrassed by how disorganized and messy my house is. It is all too common to see things piled up all over the place, from papers, to dishes, to piles of clothing or toys. I often lack the strength, the time,  or the energy to keep up with the house, let alone my own appearance.

I dress comfortably (sweats and t-shirt comfortable) and rarely style my hair or do my make-up. Especially when I am really hurting – fibro is invisible enough to look too good to be sick.

I often feel that people perceive me as being very lazy because I just can’t get myself started on a new task and because once I do start one, I never seem to be able to complete it; or because Ron steps in so much to pick up my slack. 

I worry that people see me as being ditzy or dumb, because my “fibro fog” prevents me from being able concentrate or even to finish a sentence properly. I have been known to lose a word mid-sentence, I know what I mean to say but it just wont come out. It also causes me to consistently forget things. (appointments, phone numbers, where the car is, dates, commitments I have made.

I must seem incredibly inconsistent and unreliable to anyone around me, between forgetting things so easily or having to bail out and cancel plans or appointments last-minute due to an unexpected flare-up or my forgetfulness even. 

While I often have the urge to explain why I am the way I am, I worry about talking about my pain and other symptoms for fear that someone might brand me a complainer or a hypochondriac, or say I am using my fibro as an excuse

I tend to get very moody because of the pain, I become very crotchety, and selfish even, because I am so consumed and lost in my pain that I forget to think about how others may be feeling and what they may be going through.

…because the pain changes, EVERYDAY.

The pain changes as quickly and as often as the variables do. 

Fatigue; tension; inactivity; changes in the weather (rain, snow, heat, humidity); extreme temperature; cold or drafty conditions; overexertion; hormonal fluctuations; sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights, medications, and certain foods; stress; depression; or other emotional factors.

All these things will affect my fibro and to what degree I will feel it and be able to function.

…because Fibro is a vicious cycle, EVERYDAY.

These are the cycles that I tend to fall into:

Vicious Cycle of Non-restorative Sleep

Both FMS and CFS disrupt sleep quality.  Poor sleep, in turn, worsens physical and mental stamina.  Poor sleep also increases sensitivity to pain.  These, of course, further disrupt sleep.  

Vicious Cycle of Inactivity Leading to Progressive Loss of Physical Fitness (De-conditioning)

People with FMS and CFS feel too ill to exercise, and if they push they get worse.  However, not exercising at all is also a mistake.  With inactivity, fitness fades.  This increases vulnerability (i.e. it takes less and less exertion before you push over your limits).  This leads to less activity, which, in turn, leads to lower blood pressure and blood volume. Blood sugar becomes unstable.  Disruptive stress hormones increase, (e.g. adrenalin and cortisone).  People feel worse, so they can do even less.  And the cycle repeats.

Vicious Cycle of Mind/Body Tension

Feeling bad for so long makes people “tighten up”, both literally in their muscles and figuratively in their mind.  Muscle tension increases pain and stiffness.  Mental tension creates feelings of anxiety, and a sense of not being in control.  This causes more physical and mental tension, reinforcing the illness. This is one reason that people with Fibromyalgia are more likely to suffer from migraine or tension headaches. When headache pain is bad, this also tends to make Fibromyalgia worse.

Vicious Cycle of Losing Perspective, Losing Hope

People who are chronically ill tend to lose optimism and also their sense of perspective and proportion. Small set backs feel like catastrophes.  Dips feel like forever.  Anger suppresses immune function.  They may lose hope and stop trying.  This heavy burden adds to the illness.

 …because I have to push myself EVERYDAY.

Obviously when I am feeling bad I have to push through the pain just to get through the day.

But sometimes even harder than that, are the days that I am feeling good and I have to push myself to accomplish as much as I can while I’ve got it in me to do it. Time is of the essence for me because I have so little of it. I tend to be a such a perfectionist and an over-archiver, because I may only have one chance to get it right, I never know how long I have till I fall apart again. I set my standards for myself pretty high because I feel the need to make up for lost time, and for my short-comings. I’ve been told that I tend to go above and beyond for certain things, when it isn’t really necessary. But it is for me, I push myself when I can because I need to feel that sense of completion and accomplishment. And probably because I also need to feel the praise that comes with those things that I do go above and beyond for because fibro can bring me way, way down, I need to be proud of something.

SO THERE!!!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: