Loving The Ocean, Settling For A Lake?

Dear Fibromyalgia,

Another loss, another dream dashed, this one really hurts. All my life my dream was to live in a small house near the ocean. It was my fantasy, the one thing that I could think about when I felt a little down or when the Winter seemed unending.

Rainbow Waves

Rainbow Waves (Photo credit: The Uprooted Photographer)

Someday…I told myself, I will live in a beach house, and swim in the ocean. To me, the ocean is life, it is majestic, magical. It is the one source of pleasure I can count on, always.

Ever since I was a child my favorite activity would be to collect shells, to feel their shape between my fingers. What were the dominant colors? I used one as a “worry stone” others shaped like hearts I would give to my children. Another one with a little hole on top, I used as a necklace.

Seashell

Seashell (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

When I was hot, I would drift into the ocean between the two green flags and submerge my whole body and head into the oncoming waves. I was not a timid swimmer. I loved to jump wave after wave, it was thrilling for a scaredy-cat like me. It was adventurous and bold for someone scared to take chances.

In the water I was brave, confident, and happy. It was hard to get me out of the water but when I came out, usually under protest, I was out only until my swimsuit was dry, and then I went back in. I never had the patience to lie in the sun just to get a tan. Never. If I was in the sun for more than three minutes, it was far too long.

The beach was MY place. My secret place. I can’t even allow myself to have the fantasy anymore which saddens me. I have no balance and no strength since I got Fibromyalgia, seven years ago. My life was stolen from me, little by little. The last time I went into the ocean was in Florida, three years ago, with my daughter, and I couldn’t get up out of the water. I kept getting thrown under, again and again until I couldn’t breathe.

Fibromyalgia Eye

Fibromyalgia Eye (Photo credit: Vinally2010)

I needed her to help me get up. It took several times.

I lost part of myself that day and every day since. I know now that it IS a progressive disease, I feel it. I know with time I have gotten worse; my dream will never come true.

Beautiful, Tranquil Water

Beautiful, Tranquil Water (Photo credit: BrotherMagneto)

If I ever get to live close to the water it will have to be a lake but that’s not nearly the same as the ocean, not even close. Dreams die, health fades, burdens multiply. We cannot do anything else but accept. Accepting graciously is one option. I’m not there yet.

So, Thanks Fibromyalgia, you not only messed with my body this time, you messed with my dreams and emotions too. Way to go.

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My Fibro Fantasy, Rated X

I admit it, I fantasize, doesn’t everybody? There’s a possibility that tomorrow morning my fantasy could come true but most likely not. I’ve been here before. Several times and it hasn’t worked yet. It probably won’t ever work, it will never change, not in my life time.

FIBROMYALGIA

FIBROMYALGIA (Photo credit: *SHESHELL*)

I have an appointment with a new Rheumatologist that practices close to where I live. The doctor I am using is a wonderful doctor and a compassionate man, I have no complaints except he practices in the big city and it is a pain (literally and figuratively) in the ass to take public transportation to see him.

I can’t do it anymore, alone. I don’t have the stamina and energy  that I used to have. When did that go?  I used to drive my car to the train, walk up the flight of stairs to buy a ticket, down another flight of stairs to get to the train. After the ride I had to climb another flight of stairs and usually walk or take a taxi to the doctor’s office. It was a very long walk but I could do it. I could do that years ago but no longer. What changed?

English: The location of the nine paired tende...

English: The location of the nine paired tender points that comprise the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know where or when my energy dissipated, perhaps it atrophied but I don’t have even 10 percent of it anymore.

Why the fantasy?

Because in the back of my teeny, tiny brain, somewhere in the bottom, left-handed corner, deep in the middle of the 36th quadrant, 76 degrees counter-clockwise there is a dot of hope that THIS doctor will help me. That SHE will jump up from behind her leather chair and wooden desk and exclaim “Oh NO!! You have been misdiagnosed. You do NOT have Fibromyalgia, you have a rare disease called Tortellini Soupadejour, highly treatable, all you need to do is take one small pill every morning, no side effects.You will be cured in 3-5 days, Congratulations!

At that point I would burst into tears, hug her and my husband and feel faint with relief.

That’s the fantasy part.

I want that so badly that I can taste it. I want my old life back. Before Fibromyalgia. Not this crappy piece of shit. Yes, I appreciate it’s not life-threatening, truly, but to hurt every day and night, to have NO energy is no fun either. I’ve also gotten to the point where I don’t care what other people think; I know what’s true and my Fibro Facebook Friends know.That’s all I care about now.

All I want to do tonight is cry. No, don’t feel bad for me, that just makes it worse. Besides, if I told you how I really felt, I would be holding you up for an hour. You know that, just acknowledge it and move on. I hate pity parties and if I want pity, believe me, I will give myself the pity party I deserve. I don’t want pity from anyone else, but thanks.

I want to scream at the world, I want to lash out at nice people who ask me, with hope, how I am feeling? I’ve decided on just saying “fine.” If I was honest it would take an hour and people would get bored and probably wouldn’t believe me anyway. My true friends can see it on my face or hear it in my voice, over the phone even.

All they need to see is a glimpse of me, a catch in my voice, generally my friends are like me, sensitive, compassionate, at least most of them.

Unicorn

Unicorn (Photo credit: scorpiorules58)

I am NOT expecting any miracle tomorrow, I know everything will be the same. She is just easier to get to, I don’t need my husband to drive me, I can get there on my own. The bloody diagnosis will be the same, I may burst into tears but not because I have a new diagnosis but because I had a speck of hope which was the stupidest thing to have, ever and the worst part? I knew that all along.

 

 

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I Already Said I’m Imbalanced So Shut Up

Gallery

I just bought a cane. A dull pink one straight from the pharmacy. If it really helps my balance issue I will special order a  cane that will have turquoise and a tiny bit of shiny silver and beautifully polished … Continue reading

National Invisible Illness Week: September 9 – 15th

Fibromyalgia Eye

Fibromyalgia Eye (Photo credit: Vinally2010)

Who am I?  Can you see me ? Over here. The woman with the curly brown hair, green eyes, the one sitting down on the bench inside Target or the supermarket. No, I’m not lazy, I’m tired. Did I sleep well? No, but I don’t usually sleep well even though I have medication for that. Do I feel rested when I wake up, eager to take on the world. Well, no but I am older. How old? I’ll be 57 in two weeks. Well, it might not sound old to you, to me it’s ancient.

I have a childhood friend who claims she has Fibromyalglia  but refuses to see a rheumatologist. What? Yes, she sees a general doctor, one who knows about endocrinology for her thyroid.Do YOU see the point? Right, me either.  I have tried so hard to help her feel better but I’ve stopped, she obviously doesn’t want to feel better, she wants to complain.I grew up with her, no other bond, my mother remembers she’s been complaining since she was five, I remember it too.

I had to go to neurologist after I suddenly fell, on my back and test after test came out perfectly normal except for one: I had no balance. He had me walk a straight line in his office as if he was a police officer and I was a drunken driver. I zig -zagged on that line as if I had an overdose of margaritas and tequila sunrises and amaretto sours, mixed together in a huge bathtub big enough to fill a college party.

“Hmm” he said, “you have no balance” I nodded my head, up and down, ‘yes, I said, I know’ but he shrugged his shoulders and sent me away and said “I was fine.” If I was fine, why didn’t I have any balance? “Oh, it’s probably your Fibromyalgia…”he said. I’ve found now that when doctors don’t know what you have and they know you have Fibromyalgia that’s the answer they give. Nobody wants to take the time to figure it out, they don’t care, half of them don’t believe in the diagnosis anyway; since we don’t have many answers let’s all lump the various symptoms together toss them into a bag and label them Fibromyalgia. That’s easy.

What’s not easy is not having a cure and there really no potential in site. I happen to have a wonderful rheumatologist in the city and he is not only incredibly knowledgeable, he also really cares and that is an amazing combination and very hard to find. I don’t have as much pain as others but I have no energy. I can do one or two errands depending on the day and I never know in advance. It’s hard to make plans. Close friends understand, others don’t, want to know who your true friends are? Oh, it’s not hard at all.

I have a handicapped parking sticker for my county, you should see the dirty looks I get sometimes when I try to get out of the car. People judge on no information, they don’t ask, they immediately judge. They don’t notice the pain in my eyes from sitting in my car trying to stand up? No. So they notice the pain in the back of my eyes so I don’t cry out?  I don’t look “sick” is that it? That’s what I thought.Do not judge me or my handicapped sticker, I don’t judge you.

There it is, I don’t look sick therefore I must not be sick? Wrong. If my legs were in casts or my arms and shoulders too perhaps you would understand, but just because my pain is in the inside doesn’t mean I’m not sick. Sometimes, I wish I could show you my pain, physically. because emotionally, you’ve already done your very best to make me feel like worse than I already do. Maybe you could stick my whole body in plaster, maybe then you would understand.

PFAM- The Stress of Having a Chronic Illness- Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Awareness

Fibromyalgia Awareness (Photo credit: Kindreds Page)

When you have Fibromyalgia stress is part of your life, it’s your face staring back at you next to the definition of “stress” in the dictionary. Wait. What? What were we talking about? I don’t remember, it couldn’t have been too important. It doesn’t matter. I had a good morning, the pain in my arms only woke me up twice during the night and it wasn’t bad at all getting out of bed if you don’t include the dizziness that happened when I tried to get up.  I actually was able to go out and do an errand, even two. My energy level was okay for an hour and a half to two hours! Then, the boat that is my life, sank like the Titanic. There were no survivors. That always happens. I should get used to it but I can’t. Maybe it’s Fibro Fog or pure denial but when I crash in the afternoon, every afternoon, I crumple like a rag doll and need to lie down. I can barely make it up the stairs on my own, the stair rail helps me up as I plod along slowly. It happens every single day. Maybe Fibro Fog and forgetting are better than acknowledging my sad, interrupted life.

My stomach aches, It’s probably IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome as we Fibro patients know, we get pain THERE too, it’s a classic symptom. Stress only makes it worse, where did it come from? We are not exactly sure, some say it’s from Fibromyalglia, some say it’s a gastrointerology disease, other say stress. No matter what, we can’t win.We can run to the bathroom with stabbing pain or basically not go at all. Pain all around. You can’t help it, there is nothing you can do but wait it out. Just an added bonus of Fibromyalgia, just one more question mark that will never be answered. It limits where we can go and when, which in itself is stressful. We have to plan or not plan at the last moment. Friends who understand call in the morning and ask “are we still on?” or “let’s see how you feel in the morning.” For every friend like that, there are two friends plus family members thinking or saying, “you should just exercise/eat gluten free/lose weight/gain weight/go holistic/ try acupuncture, get a massage etc. They are so strong in their feelings and I know it is out of love but I have stopped trying to defend myself and just let them talk as much as they want. Since it’s the 100th time, I don’t fight anymore, now I just pretend to listen.

This insidious illness has not only interrupted our lives, the lives we once had, but for me, divided it into two. Before Fibromyalgia and After. We mourn our old selves to a point, some people still hope for a cure, but I don’t. I need to focus on my new reality, the pills, the pain, the realization that I cannot do many things that I was able to do in the past. That sometimes I feel like half a mother, half a wife, that I have the energy of a cockroach, let me correct that, the energy of a nearly dead cockroach because those things can be feisty.

I am not feisty anymore but I once was. Those were the early days when I could describe myself, without hesitation, as HAPPY but also young. I remember saying that, though conjuring up the feeling now is so much harder. Luckily, when I had my children I did not have Fibromyalgia but they don’t remember all the running around, playing, swinging and rough housing on the floor we did because they were so young. That to me, is heart breaking. Ask them now, as young adults and I’m sure they will remember “Mommy is in bed, she doesn’t feel well” or “Mommy is sleeping.” Ask any mother who has Fibromyalgia if that’s not the tipping point for her. It was for me.You want to help your children until you become old. Fibromyalgia makes you old, makes you feel old and useless a good deal of the time. The stress of life continues and it waits for no one especially us. There’s not only physical pain with those of us with Fibro but emotional pain too. We are not who we used to be. Does anyone ever think of that?  We are half of who we were. People with Fibromyalgia don’t get a “do-over” we don’t even get a chance.

Even My Face Hurts

alone

alone (Photo credit: dragonflaiii)

Not having a good thyroid-fibromyalgia-hashimoto’s thyroiditis day. That’s the thing with these stupid chronic, auto-immune, thyroid diseases, you can feel great one day and like crappy crackers the next. I knew it, I jinxed myself with that Pollyanna positive post a few days ago. I am aching all over, and for once, I even made an effort to go outside to do an errand instead of surrendering to my soft pink fleece blanket and baby blue down comforter that were inviting me to stay in bed. I’m back in there now, its night-time and I just pulled on my old mint green night-shirt, from Victoria’s Secret, (so huge and not sexy) that has snowflakes on it and I’m cranky. I posted a comment on a website before where other people were moaning and groaning about how they felt and I just joined in with them because sometimes you need a break. They understood how I was feeling and that is exactly what I wanted.

Did it cure my aches and pains? No. Did it make my sluggishness disappear? Of course not. Will it banish my throbbing headache? No. But, it gave me an outlet just like this, to vent because sometimes that’s all you have left. I am here with a spouse who is watching football downstairs and who does NOT HEAR me, our kids are in college drinking beer and cheap vodka, old friends have deserted us, and we are getting older by the minute.

I’m feeling lonely or alone, maybe both and the only things keeping me company now are the tears welling up in my eyes and my dog. I’m tired but I know, feeling this way, I couldn’t fall asleep and it’s too damn early anyway, it’s not even 9:00 PM. I’d be up cruising my little cottage at 2:00AM if I went to bed now. I’m just in a funk, maybe I’m having a pity party, that’s alright too. I don’t know and I don’t care. It will, most probably, only last a few hours so I will soothe myself with music, darn, I wish I liked wine but I hate it, beer too. I don’t want to go on a food binge, that got me into deep trouble the other night, it was not pretty. All I can say is: Baked Lays (sour cream and onion) Jarlsberg cheese and crackers, toast with butter and honey, a Ring Ding, canned pears in heavy syrup and that’s all after dinner. It was not a pretty sight.

No more eating, no more eyes tearing, still have a headache and my face feels like a sledgehammer has taken up residence in my brain. Things don’t stay the same, it will get better or it will get worse. I really don’t know which way it will go. 50/50 at best. Hey, we all have these days and nights, we have no choice. If we didn’t have the bad, I guess we wouldn’t appreciate the good, at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Fibromyalgia 2013 – UPDATE

#Fibro - Awareness Day

#Fibro – Awareness Day (Photo credit: sand625)

I’m being a bad patient. Yes, I’m confessing. I have a doctor’s appointment with a new rheumy (as us Fibro patients like to call them) a new rheumatologist in about a week and I think I am going to postpone it. Again. My old rheumatologist who I do indeed love, takes about three hours to get there and back, usually more, and this one is only twenty minutes away, I’m getting lazy. However, this is the height of flu season and I really do not want to expose myself to the “flu factory” that is my doctor’s office. It is not just one office, it’s two buildings of sick people for every specialty in the world. It’s a factory for any illness you can think of. In addition to having Fibromyalgia, I also have an auto-immune disease of the thyroid called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Just glance at me and I will catch it.

This is a tough choice. Had I been feeling extremely poorly now with Fibro I would surely go for the appointment but the fact is I’m feeling pretty good. (I know, don’t jinx it) It’s the first time in many years that I am NOT complaining about aches, pains, moving or walking. SHUT UP! my friends will say but no, I cannot. Of course, I still have Fibro Fog to the extreme (really scary) and I am on enough medication to kill a horse but this last combination of drugs apparently is doing a little something-something. You guys understand…

Sure, I suffer from the tender points, but I don’t even count them, they are as natural to me as getting up in the middle of the night to pee. I accept it. And yes, I have all the other symptoms of Fibromyalgia: IBS, tingling, headaches, “yada yada yada*” but overall I feel better. I’m not asking for fabulous, I’m just satisfied with better. Better to a Fibromyalgia patient is like a miracle, BUT it is a miracle for however long it lasts. I think a lot of it has to do with my endorphins being raised quite a lot. Wish I could say it was from exercise but let’s not get too crazy here. It’s the result of medication, and no, not-self medication.

Right now, I’m just appreciating feeling a little different, in a positive way. I want my Fibro friends, and the newbie Fibrosmyalgia patients to know that it is, indeed possible. Don’t give up hope, maybe one day you will feel better too with the right combination of medicine. Keep fighting. I know there is no cure but you need to trust your doctor, or team of doctors and they need to believe in YOU.

For now, until it changes, I am happy, fine, content. Do I think it will stay like this? Probably not. Do I hope so, definitely: yes. But, as we all know with Fibro, we have absolutely no control over anything, which really is the hardest part of all.

Let’s wish each other a whole lot of luck.

If you have questions for me, especially those who are new to Fibromyalgia, feel free to ask, I’m happy to help.

*yada, yada, yada from Seinfeld

I Need Help: Fibromyalgia-TMJ

closed TMJ

It’s a pain like no other, hard to describe, impossible to treat, at least for me. Falling under the Fibromyalgia umbrella, TMJ is like lightning striking your ear and jaw straight through your brain and head. It kept me up all night; no pain-killer helped it, no heating pad, ice, soft foods.

The pain shoots, there is no warming and no treatment that helps; I didn’t eat any hard foods yesterday. My jaw usually pops and goes back into its socket; I live with that. I was a bit worried about the Presidential election but not enough to be awakened all through the night in utter agony as if I had been shocked by electrical wires, moaning and groaning all night long. I was restless, weary and I hurt so badly; I toss and turn to see if lying a different way will help. Nothing works.

Even though I have had Fibromyalgia for years, the varied symptoms (maybe because of the cold weather?) are worse now. I wish I could scream out loud and get it all out of my system but I can barely open my mouth. I try not to speak, to hold my lips a certain way; I pretend I am a model who is posing for a sculptor who is doing an impression of me in burnt-red clay. I can’t move my lips or my mouth for him to get the correct shape so I try to relax my mouth, my muscles until I find a single spot that doesn’t make me cry out loud. I try desperately to hold that same place so I don’t scream; I am just asking for tolerable not even for feeling good.

I have dealt with many of the other symptoms of Fibromyalglia in an accepting way as possible but nothing has been as urgently painful as this. I’ve been to ENT’s (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists) convinced I have had flaming ear infections until the diagnosis was always the same. TMJ.  Now, I no longer go to the doctor, I know what it is and I huddle under blankets, drink liquids through a pink striped straw and pray for the pain to subside.

Those of us with this chronic pain disease have so many different symptoms, yet there is usually one or two that affect us the most. This is one of them for me. Pain, out of nowhere, unexpected, usually starting in the middle of the night and continuing as long it takes. I’ve tried the mouth guards (sort of), I’ve tried heating pads, I’ve tried deep breathing and meditating. TMJ lurks in the quiet of my brain and body and jumps out of the darkness to scare me with its razor-sharp accuracy. It attacks with no warning, no signals. Unlike migraines, there are no warning signs. This, I find hard to deal with, hard to surrender to so much pain for however long it decides to stay. For once, i am helpless in this situation, I feel disempowered and small, the pain has caught up to me and it is winning.

Plinky Prompt: Skydiving: Would you do it?

  • Falling in the Sky
  • Seriously?
    Skydive Skåne I am a 55 (soon to be 56) year old woman with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, I have an Auto-Immune disease and if I even look at my wrist or ankle the wrong way, it breaks. The answer is LOL, no I would not do it. I have a hard enough time making it through the day as it is. But, I admit it is a funny thought to imagine.
    When I was young I considered doing it but I never followed through. It wasn’t a very serious thought. I regret many things but this is not one of them. My son went skydiving when he was 18, I just about had a heart attack until he was safe on the ground. I hope my daughter doesn’t copy him but I am afraid she will….maybe she will have more sense?

Not My Child

Alone

Alone (Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

I went back to my Rheumatologist today with the help of my husband, driving me in to the city. This summer I haven’t had the energy to be able to take a train anywhere much less drive to the nearest train station. I’ve been so tired and so filled with pain that I can’t even imagine the days of yore when I used to go to the city by myself FOR FUN, for excitement, to sit, grinning, sipping iced coffee,watching people or seeing a new movie. I cannot manage the steps up to the platform or down them, I can’t even think of the service elevator that grumbles so slowly and so infrequently and is so small, smelly and lifeless.

The quality of my life, in the last six months, has deteriorated, rapidly. I’ve tried to keep it out of my head, to ignore it and not to complain but the evidence is clear now. I’ve fallen, out of the blue, directly unto the ground smashing my face and knees, I’ve been severely imbalanced, I’ve even used a cane that I keep in the car. My pain levels are at an all time high and I complained to my doctor that I thought Fibromyalgia symptoms were supposed to stay the same, not get worse. “They get better, they get worse” he said diplomatically, this being the worst he has seen me in years. Cranky, unsmiling, complaining and saying “ouch” every time he touched a tender point on my arms and legs. I hurt everywhere and then some. I have interrupted sleep, pain wakes me up so I don’t get enough rest to heal during the night and I’m frustrated, angry and sick of it. It’s almost six years now.

The only thing, THE ONLY THING, that shut me up quickly today was the sight of a mother and her daughter sitting in the waiting room today, noticing that the daughter was the patient. I will remember this daughter’s face forever. She looked definitely younger than her years, she said the word “bi-coastal” at least five times, almost to prove out loud that she did live away from her mother. She looked about 15 but was probably in her mid twenties. Her two braids made her look younger, the sound of her high, squeaky voice sounded child-like and the way she moved looked awkward, clumsy, painful; something was definitely wrong, missing. She stepped gingerly into the doctor’s office alone like a wounded fawn.

I shut up completely, quieted my misery when I saw this young woman, this frail young woman.  I would have this frustrating disease called Fibromyalgia five times worse if it meant my daughter or son go through it. I would have it worse for this young stranger I had just met.  I looked at my husband and he looked back at me, we understood each other. I stopped feeling sorry for myself in a quick, NYC, second. Let me have the pain, just spare the children, I can take it, I will take it, just let them be healthy and happy and let this poor young woman find some answers and relief too. I am a mother, I hate to see any child hurt and suffer. I hate to think that this young wisp of a woman feels anything like I do. That would be so wrong, it upsets me deeply.