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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.

Thank You FibroFolks! Chronic Pain and Taking Time to Be

I am preparing to leave on vacation, but I would be remiss if I did not take time out of my evening to stop and give thanks for the outpouring of support I have received over the past few days.  Within minutes of my last post, my inbox, comment queue,  and Twitter mentions list were filling up with words of advice, personal experiences, and encouraging bits of scripture and verse.  Although I have had previous opportunities to see members of the fibrofolks community reach out to lift and encourage, I have never been as moved as I was this week.

Since my first message regarding my last post, from one who has experienced first hand the support of fibrofolks, I’ve been bragging to my sweetie, my parents, and my friends about the sincere, and wise allies I have in the chronic illness community.  My heart is humbled by your experience, your optimism, and your insight.  Although my back is still hurting, I have been made able to better endure the pain.  It feels more muscular, and less skeletal. And I feel less aware of the pain, and more aware of all I am still able to do (and how blessed I truly am).


While I am away on vacation, remember these words of advice from my friend Benia Zouras, of The Table.

Enjoy what you can, whether it’s quiet time outside or getting lost in music or mindless television. Try to have a day where you don’t have to worry about appointments or chores and just BE for a while.

Last night I followed Benia’s advice and took time to just be.  I curled up in a comfy chair family friends recently gave Daniel (it’s rapidly becoming my favorite), made a half-dozen Genius playlists, and sang my big heart out.

While we’re on the subject of being, head over to ChronicBabe to catch up on the Be Here Now Experiment.  And, while we’re on the subject of being here now, head over to (insert preferred music purveyor here) and give Ray LaMontagne’s “Be Here Now” a listen (you will melt).

And while we’re on the subject of Ray LaMontagne, I’m off to give him a listen and get packing.

Thank you again for your prayers, your encouragement, and most importantly… your strength.  I know prayers are answered.  I know encouragement is power.  And I know strength is contagious.

Please Help! Fibromyalgia and My Breaking Point

Fibrofolks, I need your help. Desperately.  But first I ask, that like any good friend, you allow me to vent… a necessary step in identifying just what sort of help I need.

I hate feeling like a fool each time I go to the doctor.  I hate invisible pain from an invisible cause.  I hate being unable to drive without nearly vomiting from pain.  I hate hurting so badly I can’t maintain my composure.  I hate when pain demands attention.  I hate that I can’t go more than an hour without mentioning my pain.  I hate that I’m a wuss with new pain, yet am nearly unfazed by fibromyalgia and arthritis pain.  I hate that walking, standing, sitting, reclining, and sleeping all hurt.  I hate pain that radiates and disturbs my equilibrium.

I hate that I hate things.  But I love that the things I most despise teach me the most-needed lessons.

Apparently I am a slow learner.

Anyway… after struggling with mild to immobilizing spine pain for nearly a month, I am reaching a point we all know too well.  When your body and your mind battle to determine just how much you can endure.  When your mind fears for your sanity while your body punishes your nerves.  When you turn inside and wonder how much longer you can live like this.  When you just need relief.

I leave for vacation on Friday, but the thought of a plane ride has me full of dread.  No doctor has been able to help me, and I just keep living life like normal (mostly).  My chiropractor provided two likely causes after examining my x-rays… but I am still in extreme pain.  Please help me!

Have you suffered from extreme spinal pain?

Mine is centered in the middle of my back (top to bottom) on my spine (and a bit to the right).  It is constant but is made worse with movement.  If I lean forward and rest my elbows on my knees while sitting I feel a bit of relief.  Standing just right feels bearable, as well.  Sitting is a nightmare, but it seems the best way to deal with the extreme dizziness I feel as the pain radiates throughout my body.

I apologize for the mediocre writing and the negative tone.  And I look forward to any advice you may have. I just cannot go on feeling this dreadful.

My action plan for the rest of the week consists of:

  1. Family Doctor follow-up.  Leave with prior chest and spine x-rays.
  2. Appointment with some sort of orthopedic doctor.
  3. A massage.  (It hurts beyond belief to lay on my stomach, but somehow I end up relaxed.)
  4. Continue to be grateful for a job that allows me to get lost in details and forget myself.
  5. Offer my appreciation to the many examples of discipline and strength that motivate and humble me.
  6. ?

What do you recommend I add to this action plan?  I am open to all suggestions.

Thank you!

To those of you who have already shared your advice and experiences, I thank you for your time and support.  I will follow-up with you when I get feeling a bit better.

Fibromyalgia and Endless Appointments and Judgmental Folks

Sometimes I feel insecure about the quantity of medical appointments I have had this year.  But today I realized something.

If I don’t jump all over minor issues, as they arise, I’ll be mugged by a flare up… eventually.  So, to those of you who don’t understand the nature of chronic pain conditions, and think I’m a wuss who spends too much time with a doctor… keep it to yourself.  Please.

Your judgments don’t enrich the world.  In fact, I don’t think they do anything but reassure you that your over-scheduled, passive-aggressive life will in fact make you better than me (although the fact that you spend your time judging me shows quite candidly that you don’t actually believe that).

And, as for me, I will work on caring less what the judgmental crowd thinks.  I know I’m a “grown-up” now, and should be over caring… but I’m not.

So there it is, short and not-so-sweet… another life lesson from the shameless schoolmaster that is chronic pain.