Friday, March 17, 2006
First of all, I want you to know I did indeed realize it was Friday when I woke up and I made it into work! On time, even.
My post yesterday mentioned that I have fibromyalgia and I realized afterwards that not everyone probably knows what it is or how it affects people...so here's the low down.
Imagine you have the flu. Your body aches to an extreme, you're exhausted, you feel like you couldn't get up to save yourself if the house was on fire. That's what fibro can feels like. That can be accompanied by headaches, IBS, muscle twitching, numbness, brain "fog" and memory problems, urinary issues, sleep disturbances and other things as well.
Some people suffer all the time; others deal with flare ups like mine. it would be safe to say there is never a day when I am not fatigued or feeling muscle or joint pain but I have learned to take that as a part of life. It's basically my "normal" until I have a flare up and things get much worse.
For a long time, the medical community didn't recognize fibromyalgia as a disease and some doctors still don't. They think it's a stress response or depression or who knows what. I've had doctors who recognized it and accepted it and doctors who completely blew it off.
They also aren't sure what causes it. One thing could be related to something called substance P in your body which decides how your body feels pain. Others say it has something to do with the neuroendocrine system, nervous system or a virus. I've also read and heard that it can be triggered afer a traumatic event (physical, like an accident or major surgery or emotional like something that would cause post-traumatic stress).
And they aren't sure how to treat it. I try to manage mine the best I can with anti-inflammatories because I don't want to depend on any of the other drugs they suggest (steriods, anti-depressants, etc). They believe that your diet can affect it as well - saying to cut down on alcohol, caffeine, sugar & carbs. A regular sleep schedule (because part of it may also relate to never getting into real REM sleep) is also recommended.
Most of the time, I can manage the pain and the fatigue. I have a tendency to overdo things - often - but am getting better at knowing my limits. A little bit, anyway. It's hard for me to admit that I struggle with this so most of the time I just act like it's not happening. When I was first diagnosed, I found some online support groups but came away feeling very depressed and discouraged. Many people with fibro are on disability, some can't even get out of bed some days. I hope and pray that I don't reach that point but I can definitely understand how it can come to that. Hopefully it never will for me. I just keep on going and make my way through...thinking that this too shall pass.