Tuesday, April 8, 2014

the curse of the dreaded fibro-fog

it was a dark and stormy night.... Oh wait, that's the beginning of a bad novel.This is just a blog post and I don't want it to read like a soap opera turned horror flick. No, this is just your average tale about a modern day woman who occasionally suffers from a malady known as Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia, for those who may not know, is one of those chronic ailments that are widely misunderstood but had gained much attention in recent years as more and more people become diagnosed with it and doctors scramble to learn the cause and subsequent treatment of it. Fibromyalgia, or FM for abbreviation purposes, is characterized by wide spread pain that does not seem to be related to one specific cause. Its not arthritis, or bursitis, it's not a flu or virus, though when in a fibro-flair up, I often feel like I have the flu... or that I've been run over by a semi.

I was diagnosed with FM about 10 or 12 years ago. Back then there were not many doctors in our neck of the woods who knew what to do with the diagnosis. I saw a specialist for awhile (back in the good old days when we had health insurance) and the most common treatment was putting us on anti-psychotic medication. (Crazy right?) The premise was that it would raise the serotonin levels which would help combat pain. I can't vouch for anyone else but after a horrible trial run with several different med's which made me feel crazy, I said "enough with that!" and decided to go with a more holistic approach. During that time I took a leave of absence from my job (I was driving school bus at the time and calling in sick way too much) and concentrated on trying to find answers to my problem. I was blessed to stumble across a chiropractor who practiced natural techniques.  Within the first couple of treatments I was experiencing less pain than I had in months. I kept up a regime of regular visits to his office, taking supplements and incorporating exercise as much as my body could tolerate. (A few years later when I opened up our Curves for Women's Fitness Center, I was really able to keep up my exercise, and thankfully with a workout that was easy for me to handle. It was a win-win for me.)

this helps keep me going when the going gets really tough. 

Getting adequate sleep is also important but the sleep issue is often trickier to manage as insomnia is one of the trademarks of this debilitating ailment. In addition to insomnia, joint pain and stiffness, there is irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, difficulty swallowing, and cognitive dysfunction. Or, as some of us call it "fibro-fog". (Today for instance, it's taken me most of the day to put together this post, something I usually knock out in a relatively short amount of time.)

A few years ago I made the discovery about my intolerance for gluten. Once I removed gluten from my diet I noticed a dramatic difference as far as inflammation goes. Now, when I do have a flare up, I can usually trace it back to something I ate the day before that was on the No-No list. ( this often occurs after eating out, as I can't control what goes into restaurant prepared food.) Despite the tricks I have learned to help keep this nasty condition at bay, I can't guarantee it wont rear its ugly head and render me useless.

don't bug me. I'm sleeping.

So, it wasn't a dark and stormy night after all. It was a dark and stormy Morning. One of those mornings where it hurts to even open my eyes.  Where it feels like someone poured cement into my joints and its quick setting cement.  Where mass amounts of coffee still wont make the brain fog lift.  On these days it would be better for me to just crawl back in bed and sleep. Or so one would think. But I find sleep just as elusive on these days as I do most nights. And sleep doesn't necessarily relieve the joint pain and stiffness. It's usually better for me to move, painful as it may be. So, this morning, if you saw someone stumbling down the road, with her ass dragging on the heels of her shoes, looking like a zombie... yah, that'd be me.

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