Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm ready to talk

I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't written in a while. It's not because I haven't had anything to say. In fact, it's really the opposite. I've had quite a bit to say - I just haven't been ready to talk.

I've been debating for a while..... What should I say? How much should I share? When should I do it? Well, I finally decided that now is the perfect time and I'm "a sharing friend", so I'm sure I'll share more than most people want to know. So, after all of that build up, what is it??

I have recently discovered that I have fibromyalgia.

There I put it out there for all the world to see. (Ha ha -- at least the 10 people who actually read this blog!)

It all started a few months ago. (Actually, when I think back, I believe I've had symptoms for a long time.) The nerves in different parts of my body starting doing really weird things and my migraines were getting much, much worse and more frequent. I mentioned these things to my doctor during my annual physical and his immediate response was, "Hmmm. This is troublesome and I'm ordering an MRI of your brain." Talk about freaking out! This has been my doctor for over 20 years and he's never said anything like that to me! He's always Thankfully, the MRIs (I had 2) were fine. No abnormalities at all. (And yes - I really do have a brain in this head! That was a relief!) He ran a ton of other tests and took what seems like gallons of blood, but still no real answers.

I really am happy that I don't have lupus, or MS, rheumatoid arthritis or any number of other autoimmune diseases. (At least not that is showing itself right now.) I do NOT want any of those things. Yet, it is very frustrating that I am having these troubles and "nothing" keeps showing up.

So, how does fibromyalgia affect me? I HURT all over! In some areas, I have "skin sensitivity". One example is the outside of my pinkie finger. I wouldn't say it necessarily "hurts", but it is very sensitive all down the side. It might last for a few minutes, or it might last all day. For about 2 weeks, my left leg HURT to the touch. Even the sheets and my clothes caused real pain. I almost always have a deep aching, pain, inside my left leg and a variety of other places on my body (especially in my right arm and hand. In fact, I've had to stop a number of times while typing this update.) I also have muscle weakness in those same areas. There are times I feel like my left leg can't support my weight.

There are also times of extreme fatigue. I'm not just talking about being really tired. I'm talking about being so fully and completely exhausted that holding my arm up is simply too much effort.

I've also been dealing with a deep depression as part of this. Again, it's not just being "sad". It's about crying for no reason -- not wanting to get out of bed -- and not wanting to do any of my favorite things. I love to garden, scrapbook, and shop. These past few months, the thought of doing any of those things has been incredibly overwhelming.

On a positive note -- I have been taking Cymbalta for the past 3 weeks and it does seem to be helping a bit. The intensity of the pain has lessened, the depression is lifting, and my energy level is increasing. I'm very happy about that! I'm not 100%, but I'm on my way. It's clear to me that the Cymbalta is working because I've been without it for the past 2 days and tonight is rough!!! The doctor had given me samples, but once we knew this was the medication that was working, it was time to get a prescription. There was a mix-up with the pharmacy and we couldn't get it until today. Yuck! Another yuck - we're not sure that my insurance will pay for it! My doctor is willing to do what we need to, so I'm confident this will work out. It will all be OK.

There is no test to diagnose fibro. It's basically a "diagnosis of exclusion." I went back to the dr this week and while he didn't officially say the words, "You have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.", fibro was the only thing we talked about. He acknowledged that he's ruled out everything else.

I keep thinking about my sweet husband. He has been amazing through all of this. He supports me and loves me unconditionally. He didn't "sign up for this" -- my words, not his! He always says he's "in this" and has been so great. I just feel bad when I can't do what we normally do. I know I'll "get back". I just wish I was already there.

Anyway - if you stayed with me until the end, I hope you now understand why I've been MIA for a while. Now that my secret is out, I promise to write more often. Thanks for understanding!

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