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I'm Kate.

I have Fibromyalgia, POTS, Osteoarthritis, IBS, CFS, and SVT.

I am humbled by, and grateful for the lessons I learn through, my invisible illnesses.

My Fibromyalgia Treatment Plan, v2.1 Update

The plan continues to work well. Fortunately, yesterday and today I have been able to catch up on sleep. Like BlaxTiger, I too appreciate a morning nap. Lately, around 10 a.m. I am completely unable to stay awake. I stagger my way to bed and crash until a phone call awakes me… and I feel remarkably refreshed.

This morning I was feeling pretty sure I was improving. Tonight I feel just as awful as I did the first day I left work. From my mid-back down I feel quite like someone is attempting to remove my legs, from the inside out. Hopefully sleep will help, as it did earlier today.

Until then, I believe this powerful piece by JournalGirlKira absolutely depicts how I feel.

i want a new leg by Journal Girl Kira

I love her work and hope to have a special feature on her before too long. Until then be sure to check her out over on flickr.

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.)


My mind is blank… A provoked Kathleen Kelly

I feel like a provoked Kathleen Kelly.

Yesterday was a good day.

Before my brain could start with “a touch of the dizzies” I headed to Lowe’s to pick up a few thinks for our house. I got a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff and the decisions so I called my mom. She had a friend drop her off so she could help me wrap up the trip… and over $300 we called it quits. By then I was too dizzy so my mom drove us home with our perfect finds.

The trip wore me out, but not in the overdone sort of way. By bedtime I felt exhausted and in pain, but not miserable. On days when I overdo it my brain feels like a tripped circuit… not functioning at all. Last night I still had my brain (and some great stuff for the house).

But this morning I think it is on holiday. Perhaps I slept a bit too long. Or perhaps my dreams were so vivid I somehow did not get as restful a night of sleep as I am accustomed to. Last night (and the night before) felt like an all-night screening of Kate’s Brain on Drugs. I had vivid dreams of house guests constructing a fence around the yard, of Daniel tethering the Coachella flying pig to the deck, and of my hair being dyed blond as I created a plan to return the pig for the $10,000 reward. Bizarre.

A bit of a break…

It’s been too many days since I last posted. Since Tuesday I have had all sorts of ideas in my head regarding My Life with Fibro, but I haven’t had the energy or presence of mind to translate my thoughts into action. Finally, that has changed.

Wednesday and Thursday were exceptionally rough for me. It seems like withdrawals chose to show their face in the form of extreme emotional instability (like I mentioned Tuesday) and the most bizarre series of sensations in the southeast corner of my skull. The emotional instability had me feeling giddy, then devastated, then nervous, then itchy, lonely, negative, confused, overwhelmed, motivated, pessimistic, energetic, dizzy, tired, irritable, and so on in 5 minute(ish) rotations. Thank goodness that is over.

As to the bizarre sensations, the best description I can provide sounds absurd. It feels as though someone is attempting to suction my brain out of the southeast corner of my skull. I know, I know… you wonder how I know what that feels like. I don’t. But I am fairly convinced it feels rather akin to the sensation I have been experiencing for almost a week. When I am tired the sensation seems to quadruple in intensity.  What causes this?

And, finally, when will I learn to recognize the precise time at which I ought to stop an activity, so as to avoid overdoing it and feeling worse for the following few days?

Fixing My Fickle Fibromyalgia

Ramona and Her MotherImage via Wikipedia

The doctor’s appointment went well. Mom drove me and went with me. After years of doctor’s appointments I have realized it is almost always best to take someone with me, as I struggle remembering much of what doctor’s tell me. (With this flare-up Daniel, my dad, and my mom have all gone to one appointment with me.)

My family doctor, we’ll call him AJ, has always been extremely supportive. He diagnosed me in 1998 and has followed my progress fairly closely since then. He remembers the little things and pays close attention to what I say. Each time we visit I am reminded how lucky I am to have finally found doctors who are friendly, experienced, and seriously interested in my comfort and well-being.

AJ quickly quieted my fears of admitting to him my desire to stop taking Cymbalta. He was alarmed by the side effects I have experienced. And I mean alarmed. His eyes got big, at least as big as Ramona’s as I described the sort of disturbing thoughts I have had. And they were not the eyes our beloved pest Quimby, but of Ramona Singer, the “real” housewife of NYC.

He seemed to feel terrible that I’ve had such a rough time and advised me to stop taking the medication immediately (This is somewhat convenient, because I’ve never had to actually pay for the stuff. AJ was generous and gave me samples that lasted the last four weeks but the supply ran out yesterday.) Instead of gradually stepping off of the medication I am to stop cold turkey so as to avoid the side effects.

Although AJ didn’t say much about what stopping the meds may be like, I am already getting an idea of what is in store. Today is the first day I haven’t taken Cymbalta in a month, and I’m feeling incredibly dizzy and irritable. I feel calm, then I feel exhausted, then I feel frustrated, then I want to cry, then I feel hyper, and so on. Part of my brain seems to think I’m going through a real crisis and that having an emotional collapse is definitely the best idea. Another part of my brain thinks nothing is wrong and I am just as capable as ever and I ought to try to accomplish everything I have been putting off over the last month.

So, here I am… Ecstatic to be off of Cymbalta. More than a bit uncomfortable. But feeling relieved and free.