Making a Friend of Pain

This can be a very enjoyable day even if there isn’t very much going on. The simplest tasks can bring you great pleasure today, so don’t go out of your way trying to make something special happen. Just settle in for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Don’t worry; your life will get busy again soon enough.

Am I going to start EVERY blog post with my Twitterscope? Maybe.

Am I reaching for things that will make me feel there is more shape to my days than it seems right now? Probably.

But I like this horoscope, and it fits well with what I need right now. We were going to take Max skiing today, and take our little cat in to have her stitches removed.

However, the high today is supposed be between -5 and 0, so skiing is out. And the vet center is closed today for the holiday so no cat trip. That’s FINE with me! I’m currently in bed.

I think after the Fibromyalgia diagnosis (which I still feel odd about… can’t quite explain) I was hoping that the pain would magically diminish.

That didn’t happen. I’ve been wheat free (-ish) for about a week, taking my vitamin D, sleeping as much as I can but also doing yoga with the Wii at least once a day.

The pain remains. In some ways it’s worse, the pain across my back and up either side of my neck is so bad that I can’t turn my head very well. My knees and shoulders are burning with pain.

I’m seeing my chiro and the massage therapist in his office on Wednesday, and my accupuncturist the following Wednesday. I am EXTREMELY fortunate to have health insurance that covers this (they won’t cover accupuncture for asthma, but they WILL for pain!)

I’ve also been reading about a lot of stuff the Mayo is doing on Fibromyalgia. The next time I see the rhematologist (to hear the test results from my blood work on Christmas eve) I’m going to try to get a referral to the Mayo.

I’m on the hunt for ways to make my pain less of an adversary and more of an un-welcomed friend. A friend who, despite the annoyance, sometimes brings some good stuff (wisdom? patience? perspective?)

Well, THAT’S the mental exercise for this week. We’ll see how that goes!

I’m very lucky that my work can be done while sitting in bed. Whether I’m knitting, working on class materials or writing, I can do it in a semi-reclined position (why is this night different from all others?)

So I’m plugging along, sleeping a lot during the day but trying to focus. Focus is hard – my mind wanders, I forget stuff. I’ve been this way for a LONG time, but I had chalked that up to my hysterectomy.

It’s worse now. Stupid things like Gerry telling me he’d fed the pets at 8:30, and me asking Max to feed them at 9:30. My ability on the phone is worse than ever, and I’m beginning to think that my inability to remember things said on the phone, my strong desire to NOT use the phone, may have been a symptom of this FM which has been increasing in severity.

I had an episode while living in NJ where I could hardly move out of my chair (my working chair) for over a month. I had pain, but my breathing was also very bad, so I figured it was all tied up with the asthma. Now I wonder.

I watched a show where folks were building a cat play room for an animal shelter, and I thought, “I wonder if I’ll ever have the energy to engage in something like that again…” I know I sound self pitying, I apologize for that, but I think I’m at the low point where the diagnosis is just reaching me and the pain is still hard.

That period when you seriously wonder if your body will ever feel better.

I know it will. I just have to keep believing that.

Soon I’ll be able to bike again, and in the mean time I have the Wii to keep me moving at least a few minutes a day!

I really miss seeing people, though. Leaving the house is SO exhausting, SO full of pain. Oh, wah wah wah.

I started my online classes this week, it’s SO exciting! I had intended to make a “Welcome to class!” video but I’m just so exhausted, and look so bad (dark circles, shadows on my face, I just look “in pain”) that I thought it would be more frightening than welcoming!

But even without that extra special Welcome Video, it seems that folks are taking care of themselves; logging on, checking out the materials, doing their swatches and having a good time.

If you’re interested, here’s the syllabus for the class, and here’s a link to read more about it. They’ll give you an idea of what the Combination Class entails.

I’m really excited for the text chat tomorrow, to see what folks want to talk about!

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13 thoughts on “Making a Friend of Pain

  1. Leslie

    You’re doing well, coming to terms with this and looking for ways to learn acceptance so you can continue your life. After all, Annie, you’ve overcome hardships before and you can deal with this. It’s hard, it’s nasty and it’s entirely un-fair, but you can do it 🙂

    I’m so hoping for January to fly by because I’m enrolled for February!

  2. Mary

    I have followed your blog for several weeks and really enjoy it. I am an RN who has worked for ten years with an internal medical doctor at an Integrative Clinic. He has and continues to treat many patients with Fibro. I think you would profit from reading his articles on the subject. His name is David Edelberg,MD

    Click on “Knowledge base” and scroll down under the letter “F”. There are three articles there.
    You will learn to manage with this condition if you get the correct pain control and refreshing sleep. My thoughts and positive energy are with you.

  3. kangath

    Annie! I don’t usually read blogs . . . I read yours occasionally, as I love your designs . . . so glad I happened upon this one today! I just wanted to say you sound admirably strong. I had a stroke last year at the age of 37–a fluke thing–no other real health problems. I’m not in any pain, but I’m still recovering and trying to work at the same time. I believe you will handle your Fibromyalgia with your own brand of transcendent heroism. Gambatte!

    P.S. I’m looking forward to the book!

  4. Cinnamon

    I know several people who have gotten to the point with their fibro that they operate normally most of the time and then respect their body’s need for downtime. You can get there and being patient and finding what does and doesn’t work for you will take time. Jenni Prokopy started an organization called that helps people enjoy their life despite their chronic illness. You may find the support and tips helpful. She also has fibro and is a spokesperson for various things related to the disease. Best of luck and be patient. We have faith in you.

  5. Roz

    It could be that the combination of the diagnosis, the end of a rough year, and the start of a new one in the middle of a wicked nationwide cold snap have conspired to set your mood a-kilter.

    Feh! You’re not going through this alone — your fans and readers are here to give you what you need! Just don’t forget to give yourself a break — it’s the one thing we all forget to do, to our everlasting detriment.

    My word: matinget — it’s “MORNING,” so “GET” cracking!

  6. BJ

    Almost 20 yrs. ago I was dx’ed with fibromyalgia and was in terrible pain all the time. That went on for several years, then I had to switch docs because of ins. and the new doc dx’ed me with hypothyroidism. After a few weeks on Synthroid, I felt like a new person!

    The test you need is for TSH–the number should be no higher than 2. Sometimes even rheumies don’t know this.

  7. Hester

    Hi Annie – I wrote a week or so ago about your fibro diagnosis and recommended Vit D. One thing I forgot to mention is sleep apnea. (Duh – yes, memory is affected by Fibro and oh yes, stress!)

    Before I had my CPAP machine, I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. I had to keep going, and somehow I did it, with lots of pain meds – some narcotic and some not, Motrin and lots of tears. Especially on the hot days, I had to walk to a public transportation station and sometimes I would cry the whole way, and sit for 10 minutes and walk for 2 minutes.

    Anyway, now today, with the help of the CPAP machine and Vitamin D, I am 99.9% pain free. About once a month I have a small amount of pain and I take 2 Motrin – not the 4 I used to take at one time. I will rest for a few minutes, and then the pain is gone.

    So hang in there baby, and if you drs. don’t suggest sleep apnea – please bring it up to them. Everyone is different of course, but it might be a huge help to you. CPAP is compressed pressured air . .. basically you were a mask that is hooked up to a small machine. This sytem keeps your windpipe open so you can sleep. I was waking myself up every 90 seconds to breath – even though I wasn’t consciously aware of it. I could go on and on – there is all sorts of stuff on the internet about sleep apnea.

    Having a sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment has cured my fibro. Hopefully it will do the same for you. I would say hugs- but that will be too painful.

    Also, I needed orthopedic shoes with custom insoles and special lifts. Helps keep me alignment correct, etc.

    Good luck – Best – Hester from Atlanta

  8. merrilymarylee

    Annie, what a tough diagnosis! How do you sleep? I have friends with Fibromyalgia and sleeping seems to be tough.

    I hope you’ll be able to keep up with your class. it sounds splendid.

    I hope you’ll have an upswing soon. It DOES happen!

  9. EllenBob

    Annie, ask for a prescription for Lyrica. It’s done wonders for my sister’s fibromyalgia. Best of luck and God bless!

  10. Flemisa

    I used to work at a Rehabilitation Company that helped people return to a “normal” life after a moderate to severe car accident. Many of them would go to Doctors with the suggestion of or possible diagnosis of fibromyalgia. All too often they were dismissed curtly and ignored.
    Now, at least, the diagnosis is recognized and there are treatments.
    Not much comfort just now, but hopefully a bit.
    Day by day, you will find what works best for you. Day by day, you will learn more about fibro and how it affects you. Day by day you will (hopefully very quickly) find the Doctors and treatments that can best help you. And day by day may you find the strength and courage to face the day cheerfully. You have shown that in the past with your husband’s trial so I hope you continue to have that strength.
    May I suggest a blog that you might find of help — — especially the entry of December 31, 2009. I’d like to end with the last line of that entry — “May your hard times turn into joy.”

  11. Susan L-S

    I’ve had fibro for many years and second heartily the person who mentioned sleep apnea. There are about six sleep disorders possible with fibro (I have most of them) and a sleep study will help your doctor get you on the right treatments.

    Yes, it may mean a CPAP and/or drugs, but non-restful sleep is a big part of the problem with fibro pain. Also, I heartily recommend Cymbalta if you need an antidepressant as it also works with the pain of fibro. New research shows that fibro is a neurological condition so it makes sense that psychotropic drugs would help.

    You can manage it, and you’re doing the right things. Most of us find that cold and/or wet weather make things worse. I live for summer! But if you learn to pace yourself, and make sure you build in rest time, you can have a relatively pain-free and active life.


  12. anna McCarthy

    You do still have Lyme and/ or other tick borne diseases even if your rheumatologist doesn’t really know anything about these diseases. You can read Lyme MD on Why your doctor doesn’t believe in Lyme on his Nov. 2009 blog. If you are really better than I think you are you can read Cure Unknown by Pamela eintraub ( $15 delivered from Amazon) about the Lyme Wars. It’s a problem of politics, financial interests ( remember the public option ?) turf wars and the complexity of the disease. The sprirochetes want to get into tissue so you have to have biopsies to find them reliably although you may have had a positive Western blot, just not to Dr. Steere’s liking. But you will have terrible trouble finding a Lyme literate doctor in your area and you will have to pay for it out of pocket. “Fibromyalgia does not cause sore throats and fevers in the afternoon. I am so sorry I believed my fibromyalgia diagnosis which is really a description not a diagnosis. You need multiple antibiotics fast. Sleeping better will help but not enough.

  13. Bluebird49

    I don’t know what you have — whether it is Fibro or not. That’s what I’ve been treated for for 12 years now. I’ve been on various pain meds, treatments, trigger point injections, steroids, antidepressants, sleeping aids. Nothing really seems to help the burning , nagging pain. I do think that sleeping in my recliner has helped some—although it has changed our lives. I am 60. I don’t sleep well. I rarely go out, except to see Mother at the nursing home. I just wonder if I could possibly have any hope more than I do now.

    I hope, hope, hope for you, that you will feel much better!

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