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Category: Faith

2nd Sunday Perspective: Fibromyalgia and Service

2ndsundayperspective_iconI worry that fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions tempt us to focus so much on ourselves that we forget to get beyond ourselves and serve others.  Maybe tempt is a strong word… but I think it fits. No matter your condition, there is always room for others. No matter your condition, there is always someone in need.  No matter your condition, it could always be worse.  Don’t tempt fate.

If you think there isn’t room for others in your life, my heart breaks for you.  And, to be blunt, shame on you.  Your attitude is exactly what is wrong with the world. I know the greatest joy to be found in this life is found in the service of others–family member, friend, or stranger.   If you think there’s nothing you can do to improve the life of another, you’re wrong.  You may not be rich.  You may not have much time.  You may not even be happy.  But you do have a heart, hands, and a smile.  And though you can’t fix every problem with those three things, you can mend hearts, build trust, and brighten days; and that’s doing loads more to create lasting global change than any gargantuan US stimulus package.  But, I digress…

Take doubts you have about your ability to serve and set them to the side.  Think of a time when you were the one in need and something simple made your day or brought you relief.  You can read about one such experience I’ve had here.  I bet these memories didn’t involve moving a mountain, running a mile, or spending a large amount of money.  Point is, I bet you can do something similar for someone else.  Look for an opportunity to pay it forward.  Pray to recognize those in need of your friendship.  Commit to have the courage to act.  And then do so.

Don’t fall prey to excuses.  Don’t expect a thank you.  Don’t do it for recognition.  Sometimes it’s best to follow the guidance given in Matthew 6:3-4.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

So, in closing, I challenge you to accelerate your recovery by serving someone else.  I pray doing so will refine the perspective from which you view your health issues.  I am confident your struggles will feel more bearable and your heart more full of hope.

My Fibromyalgia Treatment Plan v2.1

I apologize for the delay since my last post. It will not happen again.

Over the past week I have begun my fibromyalgia treatment plan, version 2.1. It consists of a variety of things but I will post on them as I embrace them. Thus far…

I am working on the following:

  1. Getting over the lingering withdrawal symptoms…
  2. Sleeping well…
  3. Reminding my body what it is like to be nearly pain free

I am doing so because:

  1. withdrawals drive me mad.
  2. I firmly believe nothing fights ailments as effectively as a good night’s rest… every night.
  3. I know “acting as if” can work. You know… fake it ’til you make it.

I am doing so by:

  1. doing nothing related to Cymbalta, or any such side-effect-ridden medicine.
  2. going to bed when the first wave of exhaustion hits me each night.
  3. taking Aleve every 12 hours. With breakfast and dinner. (Please do not bring up the potential dangers of such a practice. I am within the reasonable amount and have talked, at length, with my doctors about potential risks at various doses for various durations. Believe me, after Cymbalta I really do study out what I ingest… before I do so.)

I am doing so with the following results:

  1. The withdrawal-induced emotional turmoil is over and the strange sensations between my brain and my skull (or somewhere quite near there) only bother me a few times a day. I think, perhaps, the withdrawals have decreased my tolerance for crowds, noise, and visual stimulation. (More on this in a later post.)
  2. I was a well-rested K8… until Thursday morning. Since then I have struggled to sleep through the night. Much like I discussed a few weeks ago, this struggle led me to fear Aitriptyline had lost its love for me. However, today I realized my Amitriptyline does still adore me. I now recognize the true culprit: my pride. This week I was determined to check items off my lengthy To Do list and venture beyond the house. Doing so left me sore and stiff. Because of this, each time I roll over during the night, or move a decent amount in my sleep the pain wakes me up. I am sure that by taking the next few days easy, my body will quickly recover from the stiffness and soreness.
  3. A significant reduction in pain. Although the pain is by no means gone, it is reduced significantly. I can tell because after about 10 hours on the Aleve my pain level increases dramatically.

So… onward and upward. I know my symptoms will improve as I keep positive and continue to challenge myself (while listening when my body suggests it needs a break). I am finally finding the balance between pressing the envelope toward my capabilities during normality and acknowledging my limitations during this flare-up. (The tough part is those seem to change daily.)

Fibromyalgia Awareness & Unity

Today energized my faith in the human race and reminded me of the strength we have when we unite with others. I feel strongly that because of my fibromyalgia I have learned valuable lessons that have refined and defined me… and will continue to as I fight the daily battle. Although I am often too quick to complain, I am grateful my Heavenly Father has deemed me fit for the challenge. I am determined to be better for it.

Please remind me of that when I complain.

As I work to learn the lessons I need to learn and become the woman I need to become I want to help others do the same. I want to create a haven for people with fibromyalgia, no matter what age. A place where we can share experiences, learn about research, identify helpful specialists, and more. I pray that we can grow and reach out to those who struggle and are misunderstood. Together we will raise awareness and raise morale among those with FMS.

Raise Awareness.  Raise Morale. bumper sticker

Cymbalta® Side Effects

I have now taken a 30mg dose of Cymbalta® for 12 days and the only discomfort I have seen/felt reduced is that caused by the medication. Almost immediately after taking my first dose I was nauseous and dizzy. A few hours after that I lost my fight with the nausea and lost my stomach. However, I must have absorbed some of the medicine because the nausea continued. By the next morning the nausea had subsided, but within an hour of taking my daily dose my fight with nausea began again.

My third day on Cymbalta® introduced me to more side effects of the medication. My mind began to race and I began to fidget. It seemed impossible to sit still. I was incessantly tapping, talking, shaking, pacing, even singing. Those of you who know me find the mental picture amusing, I am sure. (I am many things, but I am not a singer.) I struggled focusing on work, sleep, household tasks… and found myself pacing around the house accomplishing nothing. All the while aggravating my fibromylagia with the constant movement.

After a day of this constant motion and little rest my mind began to wander. My thoughts seemed uncharacteristic of Kate. It felt like my brain was divided into a stage and an audience and I was merely an audience viewing thoughts created by the players on the stage.

As you can imagine, I was uncomfortable in that position. My speech pattern was more peppy and energetic and I gesticulated to a dangerous extent–one dare not have stood close to me. I came to the conclusion that I could deal with as much nausea as was necessary if I could at least have my sanity and bodily control back. Heavenly Father must have thought that a fair trade… I almost immediately felt myself relax and my mind calm.

Over the past few days the dizziness has all but vanished. I still feel mildly nauseous but I am no longer limited to laying on the couch and eating tiny meals. It seems I am overcoming the side effects just in time to have my dosage doubled. I wonder if the larger dose will bring on additional side effects or bring back the sames ones I have struggled with these two weeks.

My jury is still out on Cymbalta®. Although I am experiencing relief from the side effects, I still feel worse than I did when I started taking Cymbalta®. I am looking forward to relief from my chronic pain as the medication begins to realize its role in my system.