Lifestyle Change-Day 1

I’ve decided that more things need to change, I need to do better-health wise. I’ve been posting about FMS and ways to better your life if you are a “victim” of this disability, and I do follow many of these practices, but I need to do even better.

 

I try and eat as healthy as possible, although I admit that I don’t always. I would all the time, but quite honestly, it is difficult to afford the foods and supplements that I need. My boyfriend of four years and myself are essentially self-reliant, which we are proud of, but being so young and still in school makes it difficult to make more money. I’m not trying to complain or anything, just laying out facts.

 

On top of financial reasons for not doing everything “right”, it is also because of this damned Fibromyalgia. Of course. I try and do yoga, exercises that my physical therapist taught me, and milld cardio as often as I am able, but many days, I’m just not in good shape. Either I’m in too much pain, too exhausted, or(on good days) just afraid that the exertion will make me feel even worse.

 

Currently, I eat fairly healthy. I do eat at least 3 servings daily of fruits and veggies, some protein, etc. I walk at least 20 minutes most days of the week (simply because there is rare;y an available vehicle-but still, not a bad thing), and do my yoga or physical therapy maybe 2 to 3 times weekly. I take a mild pain killer and plenty of OTC’s…I was taking supplements (B complex, D, and Omega 3), but my boyfriend’s brother’s cat got sick, and me being the animal lover and amateur vet that I am-I gave two of those three away. And ran out of the D, waiting for a new script.

 

Back to the point.

 

I want to begin a new lifestyle change. Healthier diet, more yoga, more supplements, etc. Today, I’ve eaten watermelon and a rice cake. I know that I won’t be able do do much today in the way of exercise because my IBS has been exasperated by my dysmenorea (been out of school since last Thursday), but I want to do at least a bit of yoga later.

 

Doesn’t help that it’s been raining all day. Dampness and cold just kill my joints.

 

Wish me strength and luck!

 

 

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My Story

Although I initially created this blog to help others and get awareness out, I’ve decided that I also want to use it as my own FMS journal. It won’t be a story of my life, but it will be the story of my disease. I want others who have FMS to understand that there are people who have gone through similar situations, and I want those who don’t have a clue to get one. No offense.

So I’ll start from the beginning:

I can remember being eight years old. This is the age that everything seemed to begin, though why, I haven’t a clue. My legs, feet, and ankles would hurt me horribly, especially at night. Sometimes I’d describe it as burning or aching, but at times it literally felt like somebody was drilling into my knee caps and ankles. Miserable. This went on for maybe a year, the whole time my family telling me that it was “growing pains”. Finally my Mom brought me to a podiatrist who said I was flat footed and gave me “cookies”-plastic shoe inserts. These seemed to help for awhile. Also at about this time, I noticed odd things going on with my stomach. I started getting upset stomachs more often, although nothing too severe. Toward my ninth birthday, I remember my first colon spasm. I was crying, praying to God for it to stop. This sensation began happening more frequently, but only every few months, so my Mom thought I was just sensitive.

At about age twelve, I began having pain in my neck, right shoulder, and upper back. Because of family situations, we brushed it off as stress pains. Also at this time, my ankles, legs, and knees started hurting again, more severely. My stomach pains became more frequent, we thought I must be lactose intolerant. Limiting dairy did seem to help, so we didn’t think much of it.

All this went on until about age 14. At that time, I began slipping into a severe depression. I began having anxiety attacks on an almost weekly basis and got so depressed that I was referred to a nurse practitioner overseen by a psychologist. This BITCH (sorry) diagnosed me as bipolar within a total of 30 minutes of knowing me and put me on medications which made me even more miserable. Lithium, Seroquel, Ambien, etc. Thank God that my Mom finally believed in me and supported my decision to stop these horrible meds, maybe 10 months after I began them. Sadly, they had screwed me up. My weight went from 120lbs. to over 170lbs. (I’m only 5’1″). Meanwhile, almost that entire year, 10th grade, I had been at home because of both my physical and emotional problems.

The next year came around, 11th grade. I wanted to be in school so badly, but I was just so sick and depressed all of the time. So we began the frustrating process of seeing specialists. I ended up missing most of that year as well.

Now I’m in 12th grade, a Senior. In my 17 years (18 on January 6th), I have had more tests and been on more meds than anybody should in a lifetime. I’ve had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, nerve conduction study (NOT PLEASANT), countless blood tests, x-rays, PET scans, and the list goes on. When I got a printed copy of all the meds I’ve been on from the pharmacy for my disability case, it was literally ten pages long (in tiny print). I’ve seen two gastroenterologists, an endocrinologist, two pain management specialists, a neurologist, a psychologist, a physical therapist, a rhematologist, and the list goes on.

I’ve dealt with embarrassing and painful tests, the disbelief of doctors, family, friends, peers, and teachers, the physical and emotional pain of FMS, CFS, and IBS, the guilt of relying on and letting people down, etc.

I need to get this out there, need to inform people, teach them what FMS really is and what it is capable of doing.

Western Medications for FMS

Although everyone diagnosed with FMS must meet the same basic criteria, symptoms and severity differ greatly, and therefore, so does treatment. Personally, I have tried Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella for maintenance medications and Toradol, Tramadol, and Vicodin for pain. Some medications may work great for one person but make the next incredibly ill because FMS causes medication sensitivity in many. FMS has been considered one of the most difficult health issues to treat correctly, and it may take years to find the correct medication “cocktail”, but don’t give up.

 

Maintenance Medications (typically in the SSRI or SNRI category, usually see results in 1-6 months)

Savella

Effexor

Cymbalta

Lyrica

Zoloft

Celexa

Pain Medications (typically anti-spastics, muscle relaxants, or opiods)

Ultram/Tramadol (a mixture of synthetic codeine and an antidepressant, most common pain med for FMS, less addictive than many)

Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)

Percocet (oxycodone and acetominophen)

Soma (powerful muscle relaxant)

Flexeril (muscle relaxant)

Toradol (NSAID)

Zanaflex (anti-spastic)

Over The Counter (OTC) Pain Medications (preferred above prescription pain killers, but often do not offer enough relief in those with FMS)

Ibuprofen (best dose for patients of FMS: 600mg to 800mg every 4 to 6 hours)

Naproxen (best dose for patients of FMS: 500mg every 8 to 12 hours)

Acetaminophen (best dose for patients of FMS:  650mg to 1000mg every 6 to 12 hours)

 

 

NOTE:

This is for informative use only, please see your doctor before changing your medication routine in any way.

 

 

 

 

Fibromyalgia Syndrome: An Overview

FMS is a chronic pain condition which anyone can get, although most sufferers are women between the ages of 16 and 35. The symptoms of this syndrome are varied and widespread; the most common being:

Anxiety, Irritability, Mood Swings, and Depression

Bloating, Constipation, Diarrhea, Nausea, and Stomach Cramping

Sensitivities to light, sound, touch, chemicals, foods, medications, detergents, etc.

Cold and Hot “Flashes” and/or constant low-grade fever

Constant Fatigue, Lack of Energy

Dizziness, Vertigo, Sight Disturbances

Heart Palpitations and Chest Pain

Memory and Concentration Difficulties, also known as “fibrofog”

Numbness and Tingling of the limbs

Headaches, Migraines

All-over joint and muscle pain, especially in “tender point” regions; this pain is usually described as radiating, aching, stabbing, and/or throbbing.

* A full list of symptoms can be found here:  http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibrosymptoms.htm

There are a few overlapping conditions which occur in people with FMS. In fact, over 60 percent of doagnosed FMS sufferers also experience at least one other chronic illness. The most common overlapping conditions are Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Carpal Tunnel, Hypoglycemia (often reactive), Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS), Seasonal Affective Disorder, and yeast, bacterial, or parasitic issues specifically of the intestines.  . The fact that people with FMS also usually have other problems makes it more difficult to both get a correct diagnosis and to treat the problem.

What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome? No one knows the complete answer to this, although there are a few theories  which could explain it’s apparent random choice of victims as well as its quick onset.

The one thing that most doctors and researchers are positive of is a genetic link. Other possible causes which are  being considered are continuous stress or trauma, a certain virus which in genetically predisposed people may cause FMS, other chronic pain disorders or psychological conditions, and environmental factors.

Hopefully as more people become aware of FMS, more research will be conducted which will give us the much needed answers we pray for.

{ Fibromyalgia Syndrome tender points. }