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Fibromyalgia and Insomnia

Wow, my body has a bagillion parts, and I am pretty sure half of them hurt. And I am pretty sure they all should be exhausted, and beyond ready for bed… but they are not. So, here I am. Awake in the middle of the night.

Funny thing is, I don’t mind. In fact (although this cannot truly be the science-based case) I feel like I get more done during my insomnia-ish spells. I feel focused, accelerated, and spoiled.

When I can’t sleep I can have time. Time to read, write, plan, scheme, and make things happen. Time to set goals, gain perspective, and pray. Time to myself. (And, as you may, or may not know, I am an only child. I am conditioned. Alone time centers me and makes me feel calm.)

What do you do with our mutual friend, Insomnia?

Life: Fibromyalgia, Birthdays, Work, and You

Yesterday was my half birthday, among other things.  And when I got to work I kept typing the wrong password.  It wasn’t until I accidently hit tab one too many times and typed my “password” into the username box that I realized I was, in fact, typing “birthday” as my password.  What was I thinking?!  Seriously… this never-ending cold has me doing some silly stuff.  I think this post jinxed me.

Last night during one of my many runny-nosed, insomnia-ridden alert-ish hours I stared blankly at the clock wondering why Aveda’s Shampure line leaves my hair smelling so good for so long.  Honestly.  I looked like a wreck.  Sounded like a smoker.  Felt like a helpless toddler.  But goodness knows, I knew my hair smelled good.

This morning, as I ran out the door to work I just had to grab this super-cute tissue box Daniel bought for me.  I felt like such a winner bringing a tissue box to work.  It was like the first day of any given grade school year… when teachers collect all sorts of goods as an entrance fee.  I know, I know, they need the stuff, but those lists are hilarious.

Today was my annual evaluation at work.  It went well and was a powerful reminder of how blessed I am to work for a company that respects and supports folks like me and you.  I was surprisingly proud of myself when I realized this time last year I was at my lowest point… in the middle of my worst fibromyalgia flare, on FMLA leave, struggling with the hell that is Cymbalta.  But this year… here I am.  Working full-time.  Driving.  Walking.  Even traveling.  What a blessing!  And what a difference a year makes.  Thank you for the significant role you played in pulling me out of said flare.  And thank you for your continued support.  I am humbled by your love and honest feedback.  And I pray your pain may be eased for your kindness to myself and those around you.  I know kind deeds and kind words are eventually returned.  And I know prayers are answered.  And I know those answers typically come through another person.

Tonight has been full of reflection for me.  And there are many more things to be said, but I absolutely MUST sleep before tomorrow.  So, I’m off to cope with my nightly pre-bed panic by showering with my beloved Aveda Shampure. Here’s to calming smells, comfy clothes, and a cuddly husband.

Fibromyalgia and Follow-Ups

I haven’t kept track… but I’m pretty sure I’ve been to the doctor a half-dozen times this year.  As in 2009.  Not the last 12 months. And I swear nearly all of those have been follow-ups.  Is that possible? Over the course of my life I’ve been to the doctor more than your average Joe.  At least I think so.  Unless your average Joe is a smoker or an individual who participates in other high-risk activities.  In that case, I’m below average (and okay with that).  I don’t take many risks when it comes to my body.

Back on point.

I’m not sure any of these visits have been directly related to my fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis.  I, frankly, can’t recall.  I can, however, recall what the last two have been for.  A nasty cold, bug, infection, bout with illness, kiss of cough, or whatever you like to call it.  So, I guess, technically, I don’t know what it’s been for, I just know what the symptoms are.  Sounds kinda like fibromyalgia, doesn’t it?

Last Wednesday I wrote a quick post as I was waiting at the doctor’s office.  By the time I left the office I had a perscription to fill if my condition did not improve by Thursday.  My sweet husband picked the meds up for me last Friday and I’ve been taking them since… with no noticeable improvement.  Actually, I’ve continued to get more congested and have greater difficulty breathing for eight days now.  The days are bearable.  I sound like Michelle Rodriquez with a little helium.  But, the nights are rough.

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My work provides a wonderful service for employees to can call a Mayo Clinic nurse to discuss medical issues for free.  Have you heard of this?  I’ve used it a few times and am consistently impressed with their customer service and genuine concern for my issues.  When I can’t decide to go the doctor or not I give them a call.  I am sure they are more thorough than some doctors… they stick to checklists.  And if you’ve read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, you’ve heard just how effective such lists can be when it comes to medical matters.

After nearly 45 minutes of questions, answers, and advice, my kind nurse suggested I visit the doctor within four hours.  I called my doctor’s office and, long story short, they were too busy.  I sure wish they hadn’t been.  Maybe if I’d had meds last night would not have included more breathing and, therefore, more sleeping.  But, oh well.  It totally could have been worse.  Yesterday my husband’s grandfather had his kidney removed due to cancer and I’m here complaining about my annoying… non-virus, silly voice creating, sleep stealing mystery ailment.  I don’t want to sound as though I’m complaining.  I’m telling a story.  And details do not equate to complaints (which is somewhat like the fact that reason is not synonymous with excuse).

I’ve been working from home since Monday to avoid getting my coworkers sick (and spare them my nasty sound effects), but I decided to head into work this afternoon on my way to another follow-up.  I was mildly embarrassed by my silly voice,  but I enjoyed the chance to get out and about.  And the follow-up was productive (moreso than this cough of mine).  I walked out with two prescriptions and the sarcastic promise of an exam room with my name on it by the next time I visit my doctor.  So far, the jury is out on the expensive medications.  I can, however, say that the cough suppressent/decongestent he gave me is stellar.  And that is exciting.

Any advice for kicking a strong bug like this?  I’ve tried gargling salt water.  Sleep.  Hot showers.  A humidifier.  And some other stuff I can’t remember because it’s late.  I’ll take all the advice you’ve got to give.

Thank you for sticking with me through this lengthy and self-indulgent post.  I am under-slept and over-coughed and I am grateful for your support.  I appreciate your involvement and feedback and advice and concern.  I pray this post finds you healthy and at peace, despite all that rages on in this restless and peace-starved world.  When in doubt, get involved and share a smile.


Fibromyalgia and Migraines, Part 3

Since migraines don’t have a brain of their own they try to use mine.  I don’t really blame them… it’s sure served me well.  But it’s mine!  And it’s done being used as an external hard drive for some freeloading, vomit-inducing, day-ending ailment.  So, when it comes time to fight a migraine I’ve got a… you guessed it… routine.  It’s a bit simple and a bit silly but I figured I’d share it anyway.

When I finally realize I’m getting a migraine, those of you who get them know what I mean, I feel a bit panicked and I get overwhelmed.  Then I remind myself to be calm and I keep doing whatever I’m doing.  The second time I feel panicked, it’s kinda like baking and the magic second smell, I tell Daniel I’ve got a killer headache on its way and he usually encourages me to take some meds.  If my vision is already blurry, I heed his advice and take 2 Aleve and 2 Tylenol.  (Or, since I don’t typically drink caffeine, sip a Coke or Pepsi.)

I know, I know.  Trust me, I know.  We monitor my liver closely, so please don’t lecture me.  Please.

If the headache is still in the preliminary stages I skip the meds and go straight for my stretches.  Sounds nerdy, eh? Delilah, my wonderful chiropractor, taught me some stretches to relax the muscles that most-often cause my migraines… and they work.  I’ve decided to spare you a silly-looking picture, so stick with me through my description.

I lay on my back and pike my legs into the air (or against a wall with my butt where the wall meets the floor).  After a few minutes I bring my legs closer to my body and hold that stretch.  I continue increasing the stretch until the refreshing stretching feeling turns to pain that doesn’t subside after a few seconds holding the stretch.  Then, with the help of Danny, I prop my hips up off the floor onto my hands and slowly roll my lower back down onto the ground.  This eases the tension in my lower back and gets my blood flowing again.  It kinda feels like the end of a yoga routine or something.  (If this all sounds a bit ridiculous to you, that’s fine.  You can always try just sitting in a pike and leaning forward.  I just find that doesn’t work as well for me.)

After this simple routine (it really is, even if my description is not) I get up slowly, to avoid getting dizzy, and sit on the couch for a few minutes.  Within five minutes my headache is almost always reduced from an “I can’t see, and I’m hearing double.” to the headache hangover I get the day after a migraine.  You know?  It feels like you’re recovering from a baseball bat beating to your skull and your brain is bruised.

Having said all this… I still swear by sleep.  If I’m not to bed within a half hour of my stretches my migraine will creep back into my brain and I’ll have to start the process over.  And for those times when the pain is so severe I can’t fall asleep (usually my stress-induced migraines), I take a muscle relaxer (also recommended by my chiropractor) that takes the edge off and helps me sleep.

And, speaking of sleep.  This strep stuff left me with two hours last night, so I’m off to get some.

What works for you?  I’d love to hear new ideas.

Fibromyalgia and Strep

Just stopped in to write a quick post while I wait for my test results. Yesterday afternoon my throat began to feel thick when I swallowed. Not much later swallowing started to hurt so badly I opted to spit instead. (I know, that’s gross. But it’s honest, and that’s what I do.)

Long story short, I didn’t sleep much. And throat lossenges only complicated the issue. But this morning I managed to guzzle three 20oz waters before heading to work, so I figured I was good. However, endeavoring to eat breakfast was a disaster. And somehow every part of my back is killing me. And my hips are hurting. And here I am, across the street from work, at my doctor’s office… waiting for my strep test results.

My mom reminded me of something as I drove to the appointment. Strep has a wicked history of infuriating my fibromyalgia. In fact, my fibro symptoms first became apparent after a three month, on-again, off-again fight with strep. Or somewhere around there. Point is, the back pain and such makes sense… my body must be using it’s energy to fight strep, not pain. Hurting reminds me to be grateful for how great my fibromyalgia has been for the past six months.

So, with that reminder I’m off to the rest of my day. And I’m thanking my fibro for teaching me how to be productive despite feeling under the weather.