Just call me Jiji

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

Archive for the tag “pain”

Crap! I think I’m broken again

Well, it is that time of year again, I guess…

I’m screwing  up again and I just don’t have time for it. I want this new year to be a year of change for the better!! So I have a plan to implement.

Being that I just spent about 15 minutes in the arms of  Kiera, my almost 4-year-old  niece, crying as she stroked my hair and wiped away my tears. I’d say I’m not getting off to the best of starts.

Then again, if I am going to have a nervous break down, there is no better person to be around than a little angel. And she is an Angel. (it’s a plus when that little angel doesn’t get a scare when seeing her Tante  Jiji fall to pieces.)

I haven’t been sleeping regularly. My nights are getting  later and later (or earlier and earlier, depending on how you look at it). In the last week I’ve gotten to bed at 4:30am, 4am, 2-ish …I think (I was proud of myself  for that one, after all I managed to get to bed early that night.) Then it was 4am again, and 5:30am and last night/this morning I went to bed at 6:30am. It’s not healthy, I know. What I don’t know is why I am like this.

It’s as if my life runs on a different clock than everyone else’s, everything is backwards. My days, find me excessively tired and exhausted, and my body seems to work against me. I hurt physically, which  for the most part I am used to being a problem. My fibro flares are definitely worsening with each new episode as time goes on. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or a female thing or just the normal course fibro takes. Personally I am convinced that I have MS, but no one else is. So I guess I must be wrong.

Mentally I feel so freaking scattered, confused, and somewhat lost. My memory is getting so bad; …scary bad, like I am going nuts, bad. I can’t seem to string my thoughts together, let alone complete a normal sentence or have a clear conversation with someone. Even writing this right now has been difficult, it’s taken me over an hour to get this far. my thoughts and emotions are all over the place, They all want to come out but some how they are all scrambled and tangled and stuck in my brain and driving me mad. My words have been coming out of my mouth all wrong, I want to say one thing but something else completely unrelated comes out. It’s called something, when that happens, but I cant remember what it is right now (HA!, go figure)

 –Google Search– Aphasia! that’s the word, Aphasia. Do I have aphasia? Hell if I know. I am not sure of what it is exactly I haven’t really researched it. And it’s probably best if I don’t…. 😉

During the day I feel as if I am just getting through it, one wobbly step at a time. I occasionally have spurts of ambitious thoughts of productivity, but they  seem to get squashed once I try to do something about it. I get too physically tired, too easily and abandon whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. Nothing ever gets done… , not completely anyway.

One of my changes for a better new year includes changing my sleeping habits for a happier healthier me. So the plan is to get to sleep before midnight and not staying up all night long. It sounds easy right? But it is not!! And like I said I really just don’t know why I am not sleeping?

I don’t know why my brain feels all foggy and dull and dimwitted and sleepy all day. And I don’t know why it starts itself up and runs at full throttle at night. It’s as if the dimmer control on the light bulb in my head gets turned all the way down during the day and then gets turned all the way up late at night. It’s as if, my brain is at its most active and productive stages in the evenings. Seriously I feel like I am at my widest awake at night when everyone else is going to bed. AND sometimes I actually end up getting things done. Whether it be doing some writing, organizing files on the computer and backing them up, archiving my photography, and readying them for display, researching my medical and neurological problems, researching ADHD, etc, etc, etc. I am actually doing these things well into the morning. But that’s not to say that I don’t goof off at other times too. There ARE nights that I will promise myself that when Ron heads to bed I will follow, but then when he heads to bed, I just can’t, I don’t feel tired and I know I won’t be able to sleep. So I inevitably  decide to watch just one more show. If I am not feelin’ what’s on the DVR, I will find something on Instant Netflix that I am interested in watching. I if it’s a movie, I may get to bed as early as 2:30 or 3am; but if I land on a new TV series that I want to begin watching I may get so caught up in the cliff hangers, and poor me without an ounce of will-power, will end up having to watch the next episode ..and the next one …and the next one …and so on, and so on, and so on. That’s kind of how I ended up being up till 6:30am this morning (by the way “United States of Tara” – excellent show!!). I do want to add that my lack of will power wasn’t the only reason I was up so late last night. I just COULD NOT sleep. Even at 6:30am – I got into bed, and I just laid there and laid there. And I felt like I was exploding on the inside. All I wanted to do was GO TO SLEEP. The voice in my head would just scream “Sleep already, SLEEP!!!” But I couldn’t and I was just so frustrated and angry; really angry. It was freakin’ 6:30am and I just could NOT sleep.

…….eventually,  I did doze off and slept in until 10am.

So here I am now with only a few hours of sleep, and I am a total mess. The tears just keep rolling and they are not stopping!!! I just want to make them stop! They are giving me a headache that just gets worse and worse with every tear shed. Everything is making me cry. Everything and nothing. To top it off , I’ve got the crazies; my skin is crawling and I just want to rip it off, I am jittery and nauseous and dizzy. I keep pulling at my clothes and my hair, I can’t sit still, I keep jumping up to look for something, but I don’t know what I am looking for, so I sit and I cry while I write, then I get up again and I pace, and then I do it all over again. I am just so tired.

Right now I could sleep, right now in the light of day I could just sleep.  But I REFUSE!! I can’t! I won’t!! I am fighting it. My lids are heavy and they want to close, but if I let myself, how will I ever get back to a normal sleep schedule.

I have been puposely depriving myself  and withholding my naps. That is my strategy for turning  my clock back to the right time zone. And that is a biggie for me. I LOVE my naps. I NEED my naps!! Really I do, especially given my complications with Fibro and the excess tiredness and fatigue I am constantly suffering  from. Naps are a natural and necessary part of my ordinary day, even when I am on a more realistic sleep schedule. But for the last week I’ve held back on the mid day naps so my sleep schedule can match the rest of the world’s. So here I am with a bad case of the crazies; and the tears just keep falling.

Yup, I am broken all right!

Please don’t ask me why or what’s wrong. I don’t know the answer to that and it will only make me cry more. That’s what was so great about having a little angel around. She stroked my hair and wiped my tears and said ” It’s okay Jiji; it will all be okay”, ” I will stay with you and hold your hand and I will be your friend”, “And then Uncle Ron will come home and hold your hand, and he will be your friend too.”  

…Okay, okay, so that did make me blubber all over the place too! But those were good tears. Unfortunately my Angel was picked up early today and I am left here to go cuckoo all on my own. It’s probably for the best though. I am arranging for Leon to be on a playdate right after school too!

ARRRGGH! More tears ….and not so much, the good kind this time.

Where are these tears coming from? Like I said I don’t know exactly, but there are a whole slew of possibilities ..or even the combination of a few or all of them. Probably the later. Lemme see, I am sleep deprived; depressed; in physical pain; menstruating; I am self sabotaging myself; I have temporarily fallen off of my meds (and my rocker too it seems); I still feel over-whelmed by life – which is not part of my new year’s plan; I have too much to get started and I don’t know what comes first; I forget to eat until I remember and then I eat the worst stuff on earth (i.e.. A whole bag of chips for dinner) so I am probably malnourished; I can’t think straight; I have trouble staying awake during the day (even when I am on a good sleep schedule); and there has been such sad news going on all around me lately; and, and, and I am just broken, really, really broken.

An acquaintance’s husband died on Dec 23 with no warning, leaving a wife, a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old twins and barely any money to make ends meet. My close friends, Heather and Eddie are going through hell trying to get answers as to why their sweet little boy keeps ending up in the hospital, most recently being in the ICU throughout the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. My mom’s sister, my Tante Angela, died this past Monday. And just today I found out that a classmate’s, of Leon’s, mom died on New Years Eve. We had met while the boys were in pre-school, she was such a nice person and a great mom. I always have such a hard time hearing about young children losing a parent. So yes, life has been a bummer lately and the news has been really, really sad. And did I mention the whole I am menstruating and therefore I am more hormonal and cry-ee than my usual self thing?

So yeah, I think I am broken. It is definitely not the first time (and probably not my last). Today was just the day I SNAPPED!

…it has taken me all freakin’ day to write this; emotional outbursts in private and all; so I am taking my evening medication and some Tylenol PM and I am getting into bed now and I am going to pray for sleep, and a tear free day tomorrow. Good night.

Today was the day I snapped and tomorrow is the day I will begin again, to fix it.

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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??

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!!

The truth about housework, sex, and fibromyalgia

I like sex. Most people like sex. Some people like it more than others and some don’t like it at all.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure that the majority of people tend to experience a more frequent and active sex life in their younger years.

As life goes on, it seems as if, frequency, activity levels, and even desire seem to fade.  Some even feel that, it is marriage that does it. I personally don’t think it is marriage that does it, it’s just plain ol’ life that get’s in the way. Too much work, too much stress, not enough time, not enough privacy (kids around), too tired, and for some folks like me, something like illness or disability can get in the way too.

Fibro flares have a number of different triggers. Physical activity and exerting one’s self is one of those triggers. And let’s face it if you are not physically exerting yourself in the bedroom then maybe you aren’t doing it right.

So suffice it to say that my fibromyalgia has the potential to ruin my love life.  In fact for a time it really did. With flare-ups and the exhaustion and pain that come with it, something always has to give. That is just a fact of fibromyalgia.

With fibro too many things get put to the back burner. Projects and activities I want to plan and do rarely get further than being just an idea in my addled brain. The energy to do the everyday things in life, like housecleaning or even personal maintenance has to be sparingly doled out. Too many things get pushed to the side, with the intention of getting to it eventually.

The time, attention, and affection we give to the people we love, should not be one of those things that get pushed aside, or put on the back burner. But because the people we love, know us so well, and are more understanding of our limitations they often bear the brunt of it.

At the beginning of this year Ron and I had a moment to sit back and talk about how much we missed each other. Which would not be so strange if it were not for the fact that we were the first and last person that each of us saw and spoke to each day.  What we missed was the physical attention we gave to one another.

Yes, we were talking about sex, but not just about sex. We also missed the little touches in between. The touch on the shoulder, the arm around the waist, the holding hands, the kisses and the occasional butt squeeze, and yes, the sex that many of those things could eventually lead too. Where did all those things go?

We had plenty of excuses; too stressed, no time, too tired, too busy, no energy, too many body aches, too much to do right now, too much to do tomorrow.

Granted these excuses fit anyone and everyone, fibro or no fibro. But unless you have a trapeze in your bedroom, how many people have to worry that a night of sexual activity might put them out of commission for the following day or two?

And that is without the trapeze in our bed room 😉

Our talk led to the promise we made to each other. Which was to make more of an effort to be more physically attentive with one another on a daily basis. To snuggle on the couch instead of sit at opposite ends of it, to kiss more often, and hold hands when our hands are free. To rest a hand on each other or give a little squeeze when then opportunity presented itself. And yes, to make time for sex, even if it has to be scheduled in.

So we’ve kept our promise. We have made more time for just the two of us. We have a monthly date night scheduled. And we  are a lot more physically attentive to one another, both in and out of the bedroom.

I’ve got to say, life is a lot sweeter and happier in the arms of the person I live and breathe for.

The only downside is that, the energy that goes into the physical activities in the bedroom tends to trigger a fibro flare in me.

And with fibro flares, something always has to give. Fibromyalgia could be riuining my sex/love life. but we REFUSE to let it!

So please excuse my filthy house; but if you had to make a choice between making love or housework, what would you choose? 🙂

…and so what, if I can’t function at 100% the next day or two, at least I have a smile on face,as I am trying to figure out how I am going to catch up with life that is still proceeding on with out me.

TMI????

An Open Letter To Those Without Invisible Disability Or Chronic Illness

While surfing the web I caught sight of this really wonderful letter that expresses much of what I feel  and go through. So I wanted to pass this on.

My comments are in purple, clarifying how I feel personally about what is being said in this letter and how it pertains to me.

An Open Letter To Those Without Invisible Disability Or Chronic Illness

 … by Ricky Buchanan

Having an invisible disability (ID) and/or invisible chronic illness (ICI) means that many things change. Just because you can’t see the changes doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

Most people don’t understand much about these disabilities/diseases and their effects, and of those that think they know, many are actually mis-informed. In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand …

… These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me…

Please understand that being disabled/sick doesn’t mean I’m not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day being very careful what I do, and if you visit I might not seem like much fun to be with, but I’m still me stuck inside this body. I still worry about school and work and my family and friends, and most of the time I’d still like to hear you talk about yours too.

I to try to be carefull in what I do. Somedays I am doing just fine, while others I have to struggle to get through my day. My mood can reflect that. I don’t mean to let it get in the way of things, but I am only human.

Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. I may be tired. I may be in pain. I may be sicker that ever. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!”. I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome

Amen to that. I sometimes find it difficult to answer the “how are you doing?” question. The typical answer for most people would be “I am fine”. Me, there is no typical. I could be dealing with major pain all throughout my entire body or it could be minor discomfort from a dulled pain in my joints. The pain is almost always present, but I have dealt with it for so long that I’ve learned to endure the minor aches and pains and push through the major ones. So, if you ask me how I am doing, fine doesn’t really cover it. Fact is, I could very well be having a grad old-time and enjoying myself, and all the while the pain, fatigue, and discomfort are still right there beneath the surface. So on the one hand the part of me that if enjoying whatever it is I am doing, but on the other hand, if I stop and focus just on the pain, I am not doing well at all.   

Please understand that being able to stand up for five minutes, doesn’t necessarily mean that I can stand up for ten minutes, or an hour. It’s quite likely that doing that five minutes has exhausted my resources and I’ll need to recover – imagine an athlete after a race. They couldn’t repeat that feat right away either.

While I have had days like this, where I have to sit or lie down even every 15 to 20 minutes or so because whatever it was I was trying to accomplish has left me exhausted and fatigued, it isn’t a daily occurence. Days like that tend to happen when I have a lot going on and I push myself. It generally occurs around the holidays or in planning something big like a party or a trip. When I do have these days it is usually in private. I don’t like people to see that part of my illness. I guess I worry about being judged as lazy or weak, or incapable.

Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, “sitting up”, “walking”, “thinking”, “being sociable” and so on … it applies to everything that I do.

All of these are true for me as well, especially the thinking and being social part. Fibro fog and focusing issues dull my senses and thinking straight isn’t always an option. If I am not answering the phone or accepting invitations to go out, it’s because I just can’t; it’s not personal

Please understand that the effects of chronic illnesses and many disabilities are variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the bathroom and back, while the next day I’ll have trouble sitting up. Please don’t attack me when I’m worse by saying, “But you did it before!”. If you want me to do something, ask if I can and I’ll tell you.

Similarly, my illness/disability may vary suddenly, meaning I may need to cancel an invitation at the last-minute, if this happens please do not take it personally.

I have had my share of days like this as well where just getting to the bathroom is a feat in itself. Mostly I can manage to function just fine with minimal pain (but pain none the less) through out the day, but when evening hits that’s when you will see the difficulties the day brought with it. That’s when you will see me struggling just to get off the couch and shuffling across the room stooped over in pain to get the bathroom. 

I used to ignore the need to cancel plans and I would go anyway, and usually end up paying for it for the next day or two. But lately I have found that the need to cancel happens more often now that I am getting older – I tend to  listen to my body more now and choose to take care of myself better, so if I’ve canceled and been a no-show on you; now you know why. 

Please understand that “getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me worse. Chronic illnesses/disabilities may cause a secondary/reactive depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were stuck in bed 23 hours a day for years on end?) but they are not caused by depression. Telling me that I need some fresh air and exercise is not correct and probably not appreciated – if I could possibly do it that, I would.

My disability does not keep me bedridden, but I do have good days and bad days, and quite often my bad days can lay me out for 2 to 4 days in any given week. Certain times of the year are worse than others depending on the stressors. Stressors include weather, seasons changing, being over-zealous on one of my ‘good’ days, emotional or mental stress, hormone spike, among other things. So if I say I am not up to it… trust me I am not up to it.

Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now – it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m doing something else more exciting. Illnesses and disabilities do not forgive their victims easily.

This is something I know all too well! I am famous for ‘forgetting’ to take my medications and for pushing the envelope on those ‘good days’. Quite often it is because I am involved in something far more enjoyable. I am very guilty when it comes to pretending I am a well person. this goes back to not confusing happy with healthy.  I often have to remind myself that just because I feel well does not mean I am not sick.  

Please understand that I can’t spend all of my energy trying to get well from my incurable chronic illness/disability. With a short-term illness like the flu, you can afford to put life on hold for a week or two while you get well. But an important part of having a chronic illness or disability is coming to the realization that you have to spend energy on having a life while you’re sick/disabled. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to get better. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. It’s just how life is when you’re dealing with a chronic illness/disability.

I get this. So often people ask, so what are you doing for your fibro? Well, I am living with it. There is no cure, there is only managing it. I take my meds, I’ve started walking regularly, and I keep my chin up.

If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don’t. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought; and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because I have had almost every single one of my friends suggest one at one point or another. At first I tried them all, but then I realized that I was using up so much energy trying things that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured, or even helped, all people with a certain illness or disability then we’d know about it. This is not a drug-company conspiracy, there is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with similar and different chronic illnesses and disabilities, if something worked we would know about it.

With everything that I have gone through, first with constantly being told that there was nothing wrong with me or that it was all in my head (this is going back 17 years when Fibromyalgia was considered – not a real condition – by many doctors); and then going through all the trial and error of finding the right prescription cocktail that would not make me feel worse; I am reluctant to try something new. I did however switch to Lyrica about 6 months or so ago and it is work to help manage it a bit better.

If after reading that, you still want to suggest a cure, then do it if you must. Preferably in writing and accompanied by the scientific papers that prove it works. But don’t expect me to rush out and try it. I might not even reply. If I haven’t had it or something like it suggested before, and it sounds reasonable, I’ll probably take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.

I don’t mind the suggestions at all as long as there is no expectation that I will run right out and try it. Chasing after this disorder is time-consuming and exhausting and in my eyes a bit of a waste of time. If there was a cure, something that would make it go away entirely and permanently then hell yeah, I’d be right on top of that. But all there is, is management and that is what I am doing. As long as I have found something that works that I can tolerate i am going to stick with it until it does not work anymore. i rather be living than chasing down my illness. 

Please understand that getting better from an illness can be very slow. And getting better from an invisible disability might not happen at all. People with chronic illnesses have so many systems in their bodies out of equilibrium, and functioning wrongly, that it may take a long time to sort everything out, if it ever happens.

I depend on you – people who are able-bodied – for many things.

But most importantly, I need you to understand me.

Please just GO AWAY!

Dear Headache,

Please just GO AWAY!

You just can’t seem to take a hint, I throw things at you like medication and OTC pills; I try ignoring you by sleeping, with the hope that you would just go away; I’ve fed you, thinking that maybe it was just hunger keeping you around; and given you gallons of water in case it was just dehydration. 

 And still you are there.

Please just GO AWAY!

Seriously we’ve just got to stop meeting like this.

You’ve become way too predictable. You are there when I go to bed. You are there when I wake up

Please just GO AWAY!

Don’t think of this as a break up, after all it’s not like I ever liked you in the first place!

Please just GO AWAY!

I know you think that you’ve got all the power and that I could never get over you!

But I am done! Really, really done!

NOW PLEASE JUST GO AWAY!  (or else!)

It’s Grumpy Wednesday!!

I used to complain on Mondays, but now I complain on Wednesdays. 

What has changed? GAME NIGHT! 

 Ron, my hubby “GAMES” on Wednesdays now instead of Mondays.  Once a week he and “the guys” get together and game.  I feel bad for complaining and being grumpy about it, it’s a good outlet for him. He pretty much has been gaming for over 20 years now and he pretty much still games with the much of same friends for most of his life. How can I dismiss such strong friendships and camaraderie? (wait, is that spelled right?). I guess because I feel that he gets to play a lot more than I do. Not only does he get to have a game night once a week with the guys, but he spends a LOT of time playinggames on his computer. It’s one of the first things he does when he wakes up and one of the last things he does before bed (even on his game nights), and then there is a whole lot of “checking something” on the game in between. Meanwhile I get up and begin working immediately (my sister drops my infant niece with me for childcare at 7:30am). Between caring for Kiera and occasionally another child, I try to get things done around the house. I don’t usually get as much done as I’d like, because I have to take frequent breaks due to my Fibro. But even during my frequent and often short breaks I usually manage to try to get something done.  I feel like I am always working (or in pain, or recovering from pain) and there is always more work to do. When do I get to play? When do I ever get to leave the house for my own personal agenda without a kid attached to my hip, for that matter? When do I get to enjoy time with my husband. When do I get to play, and why does he always seem to find time to play even when much more important things need to get done?

WAIT! I want to stress something here. Ron is not the bad guy. He does do a HUGE amount of stuff around the house. He is a huge help! I often feel guilty about how much he has to do to make up for the slack that I just can’t do. BUT, sometimes I feel like he just a big kid who does not know when to prioritize his responsibilities. He will put off certain crucial things to play. His playing on the computer gets me grumpy, but I try and mostly succeed at holding my tongue, unless it is something crucial (which has been happening alot lately, I’ll admit). But it is his game night that really gets me grumpy. Mostly because it occurs in the evening right after work. which is just about the time that I just completely fizzle out. At 5pm, I am completely done. Pain racks my body, exhaustion sets in, I can’t think or concentrate anymore, my patience has worn thin, and I am holding on by a thread waiting out that last hour for the girls to get picked up by their moms, with a demanding, hyperactive, impulsive, 6 year old who is just coming off of his ADHD medication for the day till Ron comes home to rescue me.

In all honesty it isn’t always like this I do occasionally have my good days. However certain times of the year (like wintertime) the good days get fewer and fewer. So game nights really suck right now because on game nights, Ron leaves for work in the morning and doesn’t come home till after midnight.

 Just as a clarification, game night with the boys is not a night out playing poker, it’s roll-playing games (RPG), you know, like Dungeons & Dragons. That’s how I clarify it to my non-geek friends anyway. Not that there is anything wrong with being a geek. Ron is a big ol’ geek, and I love him for that. I happen to like geeks,  a lot.  

I like this definition from Wikipedia: A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. 

Now, games like D & D make many people (non-geeks) think of a bunch of 13 year adolescent boys sitting around throwing dice and casting spells and battling imaginary wizards and gnomes or something like that, at least that used to be my take on it, before Ron. Although there is still a part of me that still sometimes thinks it is a game for adolescent boys (and girls), I have learned to respect it more. While I haven’t actually participated in a game myself, nor do I ever think I want to, I have sat in on a few games or at least sat near a few games. It is very interesting to listen to all the imaginative storytelling that comes out of it, it is very strategic, and quite intelligent. That is partly why I could never play – I would never be able to wrap my mind around all of it. It takes a certain kind of intelligence to play these games. I think they bring out great imagination and passion in the people that play them. I actually kinda admire that.  Now, with all that said, I still get grumpy about his “game night”.

Game night on Mondays made me grumpy because Mondays for me, in general are just bad. It’s the start of my week and either I just over did it on the weekend because that is the only time I can really get things done and I am having a bad Fibro flare-up as a result or I was able to take it easy over the weekend but now I have to get not just me but everyone else back to a normal weekday schedule.  Mondays also made me grumpy because at least once a month I would ask Ron to skip the game so we could attend the CHADD parent support group and lecture which takes place every 3rd Monday of the month. He would get annoyed at me anytime I asked him to skip his one night out with the guys. Which in turn not just made me grumpy because I knew what his response was going to be but it also pissed me off. This is our child we are talking about, we go to this meeting for him and for us as a family, besides it’s just once a month. I usually get some grumbling about how he is expected and people rely on him to be there blah, blah, blah… So!? I am relying on you too. To do the right thing for our family. We NEED this, for us, for our ADHD son, for our family. Priorities, remember?!?!?   Then there are the holidays and other random events that may make him miss a game or two. Oh, I don’t know like going to Disney and family birthdays and get together over the holidays, etc.

So for 2009 after missing over a month of game nights in a row due to all the fore mentioned, he asked the guys to change game night to Wednesdays. This way, no arguments about choosing to play a game over doing something important for our family. And in general Wednesdays are a better day/night for me than the dreaded Monday.

Great compromise right? Well it should be. And hopefully it will be, but not today. Today is GRUMPY WEDNESDAY!   

…awww  c’mon it is below freezing here in New York, do you know how much I am hurting right now? My bones feel like they are about to shatter, and I am soo exhausted right now. It is going to be a very loooong night tonight. And I am grumpy about it.

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