Day to Day with Fibromyalgia
The Foe is Fibro
This is the story of the monster that lives inside of me. Fibromyalgia has finally taken me down. I am no longer as optimistic as I once was. Simple things have become impossible. My life is a wreck and so is my home. I cannot keep up with the cleaning any longer. Going to the grocery store is exhausting. How did this happen, and why me? Looking back, I can see the progression clearly, from minor annoyance to constant companion. According to medical experts, every trauma to your body causes an exacerbation of the symptoms of the illness. After 3 surgeries and 2 car accidents, I now live in fear that there will be another in the future. Learning to live with and manage my symptoms is my daily goal. My choices at this point are to give up, or fight to regain my life. I am declaring war.
A caring and knowledgeable medical team is crucial to my treatment. A rheumatologist works specifically with illnesses involving inflammation. Fibromyalgia is essentially a constant inflammation of the nerves of the body. This causes pain located in different locations called tender points. My worst areas are my neck, shoulders, back and hips.
Medical assistance is important, but a strong support system is vital. There are days when the pain is overwhelming. On those days I usually need someone to tell me I'm not crazy. Sometimes I need more; a gallon of milk or a box of tissues. I cry a lot when the pain is too much. Someone to talk to on a bad day can make a difference. I have found an excellent blog written by an amazing fibro ally. You can find it at . She describes exactly how I feel. http://chroniclesoffibro.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-am-sick.html.
The Tools of War
I'm sure you have seen the commercial that says moving more can help fibro symptoms. The problem is when you are in the midst of a flare you do not feel like moving. Then, you realize your body hurts whether you move or not. I feel like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz. I need oil for my creaky joints. I have found that simple stretches can help. The trick is to hold the position for at least one minute. Here is the stretching regimen I use;
- You can do the first one standing up or lying flat on the floor. Simply stretch your arms over your head. Try to clasp your hands together. The longer you hold the position the more it will help, especially if you have shoulder pain
- Next lie flat on the floor and bring your knees up. Keep your knees together and put your bent right leg flat on the floor with your left leg on top. Try to keep your back flat on the floor and stretch your arms out to your sides. After holding this position for a minute swing your legs over to the left side and hold. This will help the pain in the hips.
- Sit on the floor and bring your knees up with your feet flat on the floor. Put your left arm on the outside of your right knee. Turn your body and head to the right putting your right hand on the floor behind you. Try to keep your eyes on that hand. After a minute turn to the left and stretch the other side. This will help with neck and shoulder pain.
- The last is to stand and bend over trying to touch your fingertips to the floor. Since fibro affects your balance make sure you are near something you can hold onto if necessary. This will stretch out your lower back relieving the pain.
Another form of exercise recommended by doctors is yoga. I live in a small town and do not have access to a yoga studio. I'm considering checking out a course online. If you are able, walking is often the best way to keep your joints lubricated. At this point I am not able to walk very far because of the pain in my feet.
My last tool is medication. I have been on Lyrica for two months. The medication makes me sleepy and I hate taking it during the day. It lessens the pain somewhat, but it never subsides completely. I feel as if I simply wander through my days, accomplishing nothing. I have not been able to work for 2 1/2 months because of the constant pain and effects of the medication. Perhaps this is not the medication for me. This will be something to talk about with my doctor.
A Goal to Work Toward
I have realized my attitude about this illness is the key to managing my illness and my life. I have not spent enough time fighting this monster. I have at times given up and spent the day feeling sorry for myself. So the battle plan will include a change in my mindset. I will continue to follow my doctors instructions. I will participate by discussing my symptoms and challenges with my doctor. Continuing my stretching routine will help with the pain and might even lead to walking. Reading and learning all I can about fibro will help me become more confident in this battle, and those to come.