Fibronaut At Home

The Fibromyalgia Handbook-Step 2

I am currently reading The Fibromyalgia Handbook: A 7-Step Program to Halt and Even Reverse Fibromyalgia, Third Edition by Harris H. McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulghum Bruce, M.S.  I have to start out by saying that after my last post, I finished reading Step 1: Start With Medical Treatment and found that the author said almost the same thing I did.

“Although there is no quick fix, you can find success with treatment using a trial-and-error procedure.” (pg. 97)

While this is an extremely frustrating process and can leave you feeling like a guinea pig, with Fibromyalgia, there is little choice.  That doesn’t mean that finding the correct mix of medications and supplements is impossible but it is different for everyone.  My doctor made a very valid point to me.  It was something that I had read before but didn’t really consider being a problem for me.  Just because you have fibromyalgia, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything else.  The majority of blogs I’ve read on Fibromyalgia are written by people suffering from more than just Fibromyalgia.  My problem is that my old doctors were saying that all I had was Fibromyalgia and wouldn’t look at anything else or even consider that maybe my normal was different than the standard normal.  As soon as I said the “F” word (Fibromyalgia), nothing else was considered.  My doctor is currently running a clinical trial on me to see if thyroid medication would help me because I have almost every symptom of under-active thyroid.  He also has me taking adrenal support and magnesium malate.  My previous doctors wouldn’t even consider doing anything like that.  My former neurologist also gave me a big speech about how the vitamin industry is not regulated and tried to tell me that generic medications are only required to contain 20% of the medication (according to my insurance company this is false).  He really discouraged anything not put out by the drug companies.  Step 1, in a nutshell, is start with moist heat twice a day and if you still have pain then add medications.

Step 2 is to exercise daily for mobility and energy.  One of the big questions I had at the beginning of this chapter came out of this statement:

“…exercise is more effective in easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia than medication or alternative treatments.” (pg.99)

If exercise is so successful, why not start with that?  I’m pretty sure that every doctor I’ve seen has suggested yoga, but I was reluctant to believe that yoga would cure all my ills.  One of the hardest things for me to understand with this disease is that there is no quick fix and no magic pill.  At least not yet.  I’ve since started doing the stretches contained in Step 2 and have begun to notice the benefits.  I listen to my body and when I feel the tightness start, I do the warm-up and then the stretches.  I’m considering going back to a physical therapist, although the last time was torture.  One of the ideas in this chapter that I really like is to warm-up and do stretches before doing daily living activities like showering, laundry, or dishes.  My biggest obstacle to working out has always been that I don’t have time with all the other things I have to get done, especially when most normal daily living activities take all the energy I have.  I also have the DVD Anchor Bay’s Healing Yoga for Aches and Pains (thanks again to my awesome library) and whenever I am at home and feel in a lot of pain despite all the pills I’m taking, doing just the first section of deep breathing and stretching helps.  I would also like to try out the warm water pool we have nearby (25 min. drive) but I’m still waiting to hear on my disability appeal.

This chapter has a lot of great alternative ideas for getting exercise daily and explains how to divide your day so that you do get in the necessary exercise and stretching.  I would encourage all my fellow Fibro Fighters to check out this chapter if you are having trouble getting motivated to exercise or if you are like me and just don’t think you have the time.

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Driving

I feel like a failure.  I hate to say that, but I really wanted to be able to take my kids to lunch with their Daddy today, and I’m not because I hurt too bad and I know that I wouldn’t be able to drive that far and sit through lunch and then drive back.  Twenty miles doesn’t seem like it’s that far until you have muscle spasms in your legs that could potentially cause you to speed ahead when you mean to brake.  Or you have so much pain in your knees or hips or ankles that you are driving with one leg.  Suddenly you have a Fibro-fog brain fart that is so intense that when the light turns green, you rev your engine (Don’t worry.  You’re in park because you can’t hold your foot on the brake that long so you put it into park at every red light) instead of pressing your brake to take your car out of park.  Or your arms, hands or shoulders hurt so bad that you can barely grip the steering wheel, let alone turn it and even holding your arms up for that long of a drive, even if it is practically a straight shot and all you do with your arms is navigate a straight line and put the car in and out of park.  Or your neck muscles have such bad spasms that you have a headache and you can’t turn your head from side to side to even back out of your driveway.  Your feet hurt so bad that pressing the pedals feels like you’ve got tacks in your shoes.  Your Fibro-fogged brain is zoning out on the cows and the farm houses and the trees and whatever else catches your eye.  Distracted driving?  You bet.  Then somebody calls you or texts you.  You don’t answer, they become worried and they call again.  A month or so ago I was driving to a doctor’s appointment and my Dad kept calling me to make sure I was doing okay and I probably snapped at him and said something rude like “I can’t drive if you keep calling me.  Stop calling me!”

I know that it isn’t my fault that I have fibromyalgia or that I have all this pain but I hate disappointing my kids all the time.  Sometimes  I go along with whatever we’re doing even though I hurt, just so I have the experience.  Maybe I hurt, but I still get to witness all my family’s joy.  I’ve always been more of a spectator and I’ve never really had a problem with it.  For me, my driving is a safety issue.  I have to look at the broader view and if I already hurt, driving is not going to make that any better.  I think my kids understand because they didn’t seem too upset about not meeting Daddy for lunch but sometimes they say they’re okay and later, it all comes out.  Since I decided to blog about this, my legs have been under the heated blanket with a heating pad on my knees.  My legs feel better now (although I haven’t tried walking yet) but even though I have my arms propped up, my neck hurts and I’m getting painful spasms from my neck all the way down to my finger tips.  It’s a good thing I’m pretty much done here, because my body can’t handle one more minute.  Fibro-fighters unite!

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I Can Do Eet!!!

Do to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, I had to drive myself to my appointment with my pain specialist today.  This is a ginormous deal for me.  The trip takes about 45 minutes and includes driving on the interstate.  This is the farthest I’ve driven and the first time I’ve driven on the interstate in over a year.  I kept telling myself out loud, “you can do this” over and over when I felt myself tensing up or hyperventilating.  At the top of my lungs, I sang along to “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp, “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Hella Good” by No Doubt and a couple other songs that I cannot, for the life of me, remember.  Despite the mini-concert, I arrived safely and a half an hour early for my appointment.  This was a good thing, as they do a UA (urine analysis) at every appointment.  Unfortunately, even though they got me right back for the UA, I forgot to tell my doctor’s front desk that I was done peeing in the cup and didn’t remember until a half an hour past my appointment time.  Do they not realize they are dealing with a fibronaut?  They’re lucky I remembered what I was supposed to do with that little plastic cup after I read the directions that are taped on the wall next to the toilet!  By the time I was finally called in to see the doctor I was exhausted and not looking forward to the drive home.  The pain in my shoulder was screaming at me that it was time for my muscle relaxer but I knew if I took it then, I’d be too tired for the drive home.  While my “driver” did arrive to “help” with my nearly-three-year-old, she cries every time he tells her anything, she won’t let him take her to the bathroom and she won’t stay in the waiting room with him.  I still had to drive us home, but at least (since when is atleast not a word Google Chrome?) there was someone following who could honk wildly if I drifted or swerved or something.  My nearly-three-year-old also got an impromptu lesson in peeing in a cup when she refused to stay in the waiting room with my “helper”.  That wasn’t an awkward experience at all (did the sarcasm come through?).  I realized on the way home that I didn’t have to take the interstate that morning after all.  With the stress of the trip to the doctor and the actual doctor visit over, I found a route that avoided the interstate completely.  Thanks to fibro-brain, I am unable to make last-minute decisions.  Thanks to our finances, I don’t have GPS or a smart phone.  Which means, if I don’t have time to get on my laptop before I leave and I have to drive on the fly, I take the first route that pops in my brain.  We made it home again safely and after picking up my other two from school, saying I hurt really, really badly is an understatement.  My pain specialist has allowed me to take 800 mgs of Ibuprofen three times a day if needed and I need it now.  My fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, feet, toes and hips are killing me and I want a nap.  I’m under my heating blanket even though its’s 70 degrees outside.  I’m ending this now because I can’t type anymore.  Fibro Fighters Unite!

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