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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.

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.

Giving Cymbalta® a try…

chemical structure of DuloxetineImage from Wikipedia

My doctor’s appointment went well. He agreed with what our family friend suggested and seemed surprised I had not yet been advised to do so. I think he suggested a similar treatment plan when I was in high school, but I was afraid of taking (or, perhaps too immature and proud to take) a medication commonly used to treat depression. Anyway, my doctor put me on Cymbalta® and asked me to come back in two weeks to evaluate my progress before stepping me up to a higher dosage.

I am excited to try this new regimen and am optimistic it will work. To be honest, it can’t be worse. This is a win-win situation. The worst case scenario still allows me to check one more possible treatment off of my To Do list and brings me closer to the one that will help. All the while I intend to continue doing all I can to pull myself out of this flare-up. I’ve got a great team and a lot of faith. Bring it on.

In the mean time…

Family friends came into town to spend Easter with Daniel and I and my parents. The husband, a med school student, mentioned a doctor he knows who specializes in women’s health and fibromyalgia. He explained her treatment plan to me and suggested I ask my doctor about it. I was thrilled.

Earlier today my dad called our family doctor to get an appointment for himself and, when they said they could squeeze him in, he called me, offering to give me his appointment. I called the office, first explaining I hadn’t been to work in weeks because of a fibromyalgia flare up, then asking if there was any way I could be squeezed in. The lady in appointments said “No, those appointments are for sick people.” Appalled by the statement I muttered something about being sick even though I’m not contagious and asked if I could take my father’s appointment time.

Long story short: No.

I asked to be put on the list of people to call if there was a cancellation and hung up feeling the mark of a person with an invisible illness.

As generally happens, things worked out and a few hours later the lady from appointments called me back to tell me someone canceled their appointment for tomorrow morning and she’d scheduled me for their spot. It’s just like Buddy Vernetti says, “When you play by the rules, good things happen.”

Fibromyalgia and Timothy Ferriss

After years without a severe flare, I had forgotten how bad things could get. Now, I remember and I am ready for a change…

The first few years after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia were rough. But after settling into a routine and helping teachers and friends understand how to help me succeed with FMS I eventually began to step out of the constant fibro flare. By the time I went to college I had my FMS under control. Occasionally a late night or miserable weather would throw me off but, after some solid rest and wise decision making, I would feel better.

At the beginning of the month I had an assignment due and I did what it took to get it done. Since then my body has done all in it’s power to remind me I cannot afford to put work, or much else, before my health. I haven’t been to work for a normal day in over two weeks. I work from home as much as I can but my brain can’t seem to think in numbers. The fibro fog tries to make its way into my life but I’m fighting.

I tried to make an appointment with my specialist but his secretary told me I’d have to get his approval and give up my already scheduled annual December appointment in order to meet with him on such short notice (we’re talking two weeks out). I think this low-information diet Timothy Ferriss suggested has backfired**… I must have missed a memo. Did the United States already switch to a universal health care system? Are healthcare appointments now rationed?

In an effort to get help asap I have decided to turn to my family doctor for help. I called for an appointment but he was completely booked so I made an appointment 10 days out and started scheming up ways to survive until then.

**In all reality I recommend Timothy Ferriss’ low-information diet. Try it for a week. It has helped with my fibro fog and decreased my stress. I am more productive and less overwhelmed. The diet I created for myself is not as strict as the one he discusses in The 4-hour Workweek but I’ve enjoyed it.