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Tag: Chronic Pain

In the News: Chronic Fatigue Likely Not Linked to Virus


It’s a sick day here in my house, so I’ve been easing into my day rather slowly.  You know how it goes… a few minutes on Facebook, a couple turns on Hanging with Friends, a bit of news, and Twitter, of course.  Nothing unusual, I know, but check out what I found in a tweet by the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City.

Research casts doubt on link between chronic fatigue, virus | Deseret News

I’d say I’ve always been a skeptical about the seemingly-simply virus explanation, but truth-be-told, I’m skeptical about most  explanations I’ve been given.  While I’d love to be able to simply explain my chronic health issues to family members and friends, I have yet to use any one explanation… I usually list three or four theories I’ve heard over the years.  And, frankly, I am likely far too proud to subscribe to one theory only to be told years later I’d been so set on said theory I missed the truth.  Is it just me?

Now, this is likely naive of me, but I can’t get over the fact that 17 studies have knocked down the theory.  Is this as high as it seems to me?  Maybe we can move on to researching a new theory, instead of just debunking old ones?  Based on the incredible experiences I’ve had over the last two years, I imagine the medical world could accomplish a lot in 17 separate studies.

Here’s something you may not know about me… while I was in college I participated in a clinical study relating to fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and pain tolerance.  It felt like something small I could do to help further our cause toward understanding, and hopefully a fix.  (I’d say cure, but the connotation seems so heroic that I feel like maybe it should be reserved for cancer, AIDS, etc.)

Anyway, you should read through this article, as well as those to which it links.  Let me know what you think about the road to uncovering the why behind our health issues.  And, let’s hear your wild ideas about what causes chronic fatigue (or chronic pain).

Chronic Pain and Cortisone, Part 1


I started writing this post, but I quickly got sidetracked by something that completely changed what I have to say.  This will be a two part post.

Last night, after months of babying my back, I decided to head to the gym with the guys.  You see, my husband meets a friend to workout every night at nine.  And I love working out at nine.  In fact the whole tradition was my idea.  Well, the latter half.  I worked out nearly every night at nine during my summers home from college.  It did wonders for me.  It helped me turn my freshmen 15 into the sophomore sans 10.  It strengthened my relationship with my roommate.  And it reminded me that fitness and fibromyalgia could coexist. The whole working out bit was strongly suggested by our doctor, concerned about Dan’s high cholesterol .  Although, I am also a fan of the working out bit, considering I want my husband to live as long as possible.

Anyway, while they guys focused on cardio, I heeded the advice of my family doctor, my chiropractor, and my orthopedic doctor (Is there a one-word name for those folks?) and focused on my upper back and arms.  And like a true exgymnast/athlete, I overdid it…

I Read: Stepcase Lifehack or Fibromyalgia and (Chronic) Pain and Posture


I am a regular reader of Stepcase Lifehack.  I appreciate the variety of ideas they discuss and often enjoy attempting to heed their advice.  Although the content usually has little to do with My Life with Fibro, last Tuesday they featured an article of particular interest to me by fitness coach, Jamie Nischan.

Nischan’s article closely echoes the advice I received during one of my recent trips to my chiropractor, Dr. Delilah.  He highlights body-friendly postures for driving, working, and sleeping and does a good job reminding you that the little things do, indeed, matter.

Before I left on vacation, Dr. Delilah strongly recommended I pay close attention to my posture.  She reminded me of the power seemingly small habits have to create muscle tension and pain.  She also reminded me how simple it can be to develop good habits and counteract and/or erase bad habits.

My sleep posture seems in line with the advice of both my chiropractor, and Jamie.  But my posture behind the wheel and at my desk need serious improvement.  In fact, my chiropractor believes my recent severe back pain can be lessened as I grow more aware of, and improve my driving posture.

Please give Nischan’s article a read, and let me know what you think.  And remember, don’t get overwhelmed.

I’m pretty sure being aware of your posture is the bulk of the battle.

I look forward to your feedback.

Fibromyalgia, Gauging Pain, and Self Doubt (revisited and revised, in part)


Before you read this post, I recommend you go here.

I’ve been thinking back to this post from last July…

As you may have noticed I have yet to post my follow-up to last Wednesday’s question, “What brings you strength?”  That trend will continue, as I have something else on my mind.

Over the past two weeks I have had a pain somewhere between my shoulder blades and my mid-back.  For the most part, the pain has been consistent, but last night something changed.  Everytime I moved in my sleep, my sleep ceased.  I’d wake up to stabbing pains that seemed to prevent breathing and movement.  Somehow, I managed to fall back asleep each time.  Much thanks to Amitriptyline, I’m sure. But I’m still not sure falling back to sleep was more convenient than just staying awake.  At least when you’re awake you can consciously decide not to move in a manner that steals your mobility and your breath.

Anyway, upon waking this morning I made the stupid, stubborn, short-sighted, decision to go to work, like it ain’t no thing to have blurry vision each time you breathe in deep.  Like it ain’t no thing to be unable to stand up straight.  Like it ain’t no thing to have what feels like lightning bolts travel through your body every time you go over a bump or turn a corner.  Seriously, I had NO idea turning the steering wheel used so many muscles in your back.

But I wasn’t totally stupid.  I did leave a desperate voice mail for my chiropractor in which I said something about imminent death and begged for her time.  And, lucky for me, her unbelievably sweet office manager (who is, in fact, the sweetest woman I have ever met, after S Gold, of course) called me within the hour with delightful news.  They had a spot for me!  So I busied myself with work, and minimal movement, and the wait zoomed by.

Then came the car ride.  And I almost died.  Not because of a dangerous driver (though I saw plenty) or wild weather.  Nope.  I almost died of wussiness.  Now, I’m not sure that is a real word, but I honestly thought I might not make it the twenty minutes to her office.  I worried a bump in the road might sever my spinal cord.  I was sure another breathe meant certain death.  But I was wrong, as I often am.  Thank you Mom for talking me through the rough ride.

Now, to shorten the rest of the story.  I went to the chiropractor.  My floating ribs appear to be rather confused.  They used electrical stim and it worked like a charm… for half an hour.  I ate lunch at my parents’ home.  I went back to work.  I worked a full day.  I nearly lost my sanity in pain on the drive home from work.  This time Daniel talked with me, and the distraction was just enough to get me home before I totally wussed out.

Since being home I’ve done a lot of nothing.  But I have realized the pain is not simply skeletal or muscular, it’s a healthy mix of both.  It’s not my normal fibro pain.  Nor is it my arthritis pain.  This feels like (even though it likely isn’t) it’s far too near my spine for my comfort (in all seriousness).  I’ve got a massage scheduled for tomorrow at lunch, although the thought sounds like torture.  And, to be honest, if I feel like this in the morning, I’m going to a “real” doctor.  Whatevertheheck that means.  I cannot live with pain like this.

Which brings me to a post I wrote last july: Fibromyalgia, Gauging Pain, and Self-Doubt.

Amen.

That pretty much sums up what’s been on my mind today.  So, as I sat waiting for my chiropractor today I reread my post.  And I’ve been thinking.  Am I actually a wuss?  What if I really am nuts?  Am I just overly-sensitive?  Why the heck have I been to the doctor SO MANY DANG TIMES this year?!  If it’s not a cold, it’s a busted foot.  If it’s not a busted foot it’s difficulty breathing.  If it’s not difficulty breathing, it’s an ear infection.  If it’s not an ear infection, it’s… ?!  What is this?  If this is simply “back pain” I’ve never had pain in my life.  If this is “normal” I have led the most privileged life… ever.  I kinda feel like I have, but shouldn’t we all?

Now, to tweak the post from last July:

I had a doctor’s appointment over lunch and by the time I got back to work I was spent.  I gutted out another hour before deciding to work the rest of the day from home. As I walked to from my car I did what I always do when I leave return to work early from a doctor’s appointment… I quizzed myself.  I ranked my pain on a 1-10 scale. I ranked my fibro fog on the same scale. And then i second-guessed myself.

Would “normal” people think this pain was as unbearable as I seem to think it is?  Would “normal” people support my decision if I could share my pain with them?  Would normal people even have gone to work today?

I have to ask myself those questions nearly everyday.  I think one of the most challenging aspects of fibromyalgia (and any invisible illness) is self doubt.  And it was introduced to me by doctors, teachers, friends, coaches, and so-called experts.  And it leads me, on tough days, down a mental road of confusion and frustration.  Wondering if I’m just a wuss.  Wondering if I’m positively incapable of being the tough girl I was taught to be during my decade as a gymnast.  Wondering if saying I have fibromyalgia is just a polite way to tell people I am an incapable and inconsistent Gen Y-er with absolutely no tolerance for pain.

Screw you, self doubt.  I am better than you.  I trust myself, and I am learning to trust the part of my brain that tells me, “Enough is enough, K8.  Be wise with your health.”

So, after the round with self doubt I decided to dwell on the positive.  I was am able to contribute significantly to month-end reporting and analysis last this week.  I am learning a new skill, with the help of a coworker, and I was able to use said skill complete a project all by my lonesome Monday today.  I was able to work around the house over the weekend without working myself to immobility.  I know that sounds absurd, considering the nature of this post, but it’s true.  My back was hurting long before last weekend.

I am making progress. I am making progress at a more deliberate pace than I, and most everyone but my doctor, would prefer. I am making progress because I listen to my body and allow it to have ups and downs.  As long as the next down is higher than the last I will continue to be upbeat and optimistic.  If ever the next down is lower than the last I will reassess and revamp my coping methods and treatment plan.

Thanks for sticking with me through this lengthy post.  Pardon any confusing bits.  I fear this evening’s painkillers have done a number on my thought-process… and my typing.

And a special thank you to my Twitter friends who suggested ice as a comfort for extreme back/spine pain.  I am using it, as I type.  I just pray it continues to help me, as I sleep.

Fibromyalgia and Gauging Pain


Back to gauging my progress by gauging my pain…

Sometimes gauging my pain will only tell me that I am alive. And that I work in an extremely air conditioned building. And that I spend the bulk of my day on my butt. And that I fight a chronic pain condition.

And sometimes gauging my pain will only tell me that I am in need of a break. And that I have doctors who are wiser than I would like to admit. And that I should pay more attention to the advice they give.

And sometimes gauging my pain will only tell me to shutup and keep on rolling…

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