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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.

Dreading the Doctor’s Appointment


Today I have a follow-up regarding the doubled Cymbalta dose.

The last few days have been confusing and overwhelming. Wednesday was a good day. Maybe even a great day. But almost every other day since we doubled my dose has been awful.

Was Wednesday good because the Cymbalta was finally working and was relieving my pain? Was Wednesday good because fibromyalgia can be fickle… making life rough one day, then vanishing the next, only to return the next? Was Wednesday good because I was feeling especially motivated to get things done around the house and my mind overpowered my pain? I have been so lost as to what to tell my doctor at this follow-up.

Most of me wants to end this affair with Cymbalta. I have not felt a reduction in my pain. Even if I gave all the credit for Wednesday to the Cymbalta, I have not seen enough positive results to make the side-effects worth it. Not only have I not seen enough positive results, I have seen entirely too many negative results to feel good about continuing to take Cymbalta.

However, another part of me wonders if I should give this more time. Perhaps four weeks is not enough for the medicine to lessen my pain. Maybe the side effects wear off after more than a month of continuous use? What if I stop taking Cymbalta and my pain dramatically increases? Will I have to start this whole process of acclimatizing to Cymbalta again?

Despite all this internal debate, this morning I feel calm and know I will be able to make the right decision. I feel strongly that trying Cymbalta has been the right thing to do and despite all the annoyances I am glad to be able to say I continue to try those things that may alleviate the pain and improve my mobility. I am grateful for my team who supports and encourages me and helps me identify and learn about possible plans for relief and recovery.

I love my doctor, but am more afraid of the perceived authority, than the person. I think I am afraid of telling him about some of the side effects. Or afraid to tell him that something he chose to help me is not helping. Or, most of all, I am afraid he may tell me I should try Cymbalta for a bit longer and I will not be brave enough to suggest otherwise. Does anyone else get nervous before going to the doctor?

How I Aged 60 Years in One Day


Shortly after Daniel and I got married I found a wonderful chair for him at DI. It was a bit ugly and Daniel wondered why I was bent on purchasing it, but he was easy to convince since it was only $15. Once we got the chair home he was quick to admit it was a great find. He uses the chair daily and I love the look.

Since then I have wanted my own old chair. The sort that is so homely it’s perfect. Today, that desire aged me at least 60 years.

Today I pondered purchasing a recliner.  Actually, today I obsessed over purchasing a recliner.

I shopped online. I read reviews. I looked at pictures. And I found my favorite.  A used, “elegantly shabby retro orange recliner” for sale by BryBear68 on eBay.

ELEGANTLY SHABBY RETRO ORANGE RECLINER

I was heartbroken to realize this gem is available for pickup only, in Wylie, TX.

My sadness motivated me to create my own “recliner.”  Since my biggest motivation to get a recliner is to make keeping my feet elevated convenient and consistent (to relieve some of the pain in my legs) it was not a difficult task. I simply pulled a papasan up to our leather couch and rested my feet in the seat and it is working perfectly.

I Read: The Fibromyalgia Research Blog


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1998… I was 14. After I was diagnosed my parents and I read a variety of books, magazines, and articles as we researched FMS. Like most fibrofolks, we came across a wide variety of ideas for alleviating pain, curing fibromyalgia, and the like. Some seemed a bit ridiculous while we deemed others worth a shot. Over time we found a routine that worked for me and I was able to go into a bit of remission. With that remission I relaxed in my pursuit of learning as I began to take feeling well for granted.

Last year I found The Fibromyalgia Research Blog and have since enjoyed reading ByTheBay’s posts regularly. I recommend the blog to those with fibromyalgia as well as those close to fibrofolks. The blog discusses research and studies relating to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue as well as various options for treatment and/or pain management. It is often the case that a post discusses a treatment option I have found helpful (like aquatic exercise) or explains and supports an observation I have made about fibro (extreme sensitivity to noise).

Since this latest flare-up began in early March I have begun the habit of additional reading and research about fibromyalgia. As I find interesting information I will be sure to bring it up in an “I Read:” post.

Fibromyalgia & Fatigue…


I had forgotten how exhausting life can be during a flare-up. Lately I feel quite alert in the mornings but I crash around 10. After about 45 minutes relaxing or napping I feel energetic again. My energy lasts until around 3. I relax for a while, get up in time for dinner, so it goes until my exhaustion wins and I call it a night.

I am trying to determine if the exhaustion sets in because I try to do too much early in the morning. Or, perhaps, the Cymbalta is counteracting the Amitriptyline and I am not getting enough restful sleep. There is also a chance it’s just fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Whatever it is, I am working out a schedule that allows me to get ample sleep, have energy to get some household tasks done, and spend my most alert time working.
This flare-up has worn out it’s welcome… if it ever had one.

Accelerate Your Recovery


In 1989 my parents won a trip to Paris, France from my father’s employer at the time, Toyota. Before my parents left they made all the arrangements good parents would make for their four-year-old daughter. They planned who I would stay with, who would take me to school, even who would care for me should some dreadful fate befall them while they traveled. Luckily their trip went well (I even managed to teach myself to tie my shoes while they were away) and I did not have to move in with a relative or prematurely inherit my parents’ belongings.

Now, nearly 20 years later, my parents still had need to plan on my behalf before they left.

My parents have been a huge help during this flare-up. Daniel teaches school and is inaccessible during the day, so if I need anything Mom and Dad are my first responders. Well aware of this fact, the night before they left for their 25th anniversary trip, they brought down a list of close family friends who had offered to help me, should I need anything. They taped the list of names and numbers to the fridge so I couldn’t misplace or forget it (something I often do when fighting a flare-up). I never had to call any of the friends because one of them called me almost as soon as my parents headed to the airport. Each day since she has called to check on me, brought me lunch, invited Daniel and I over for a meal, or picked me up to get me out of the house for a while.

I am humbled by the support I receive from those around me. I know it has accelerated my recovery. I pray they may be blessed for their kindness.

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