Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fibromyalgia, Part 1: I'm fighting it, dammit.

I hold back from mentioning that I have Fibromyalgia because a lot of people jump in with, "Oh, yeah, I am tired, too."  And this comment will generally come from someone who does not have debilitating chronic fatigue--one of the hallmarks of Fibromyalgia--and the only reason they're tired is because they stayed up binge-watching Game of Thrones until 3am.  These people probably don't mean to be insensitive by glossing over my massive fatigue issues, but they still irritate me.

So I don't mention Fibro very often.  Also, I don't want to be viewed as someone with medical issues. I prefer to be treated as a feisty person who fights back when there's an illness.

Fibro is like the Walking Dead.  But with lying down instead of walking.
Some people sit and listen quietly in the doctor's office and take whatever prescription is handed to them, no questions asked. I'm not that way. I do exhaustive internet searches, go to the doctor with a list of blood tests I think I might need and try every supplement or food group that I suspect might make me healthier. One year, I drank carrot juice virtually every day. For a year.  I do not go down without a fight or... at least, I fight when I have the energy. Energy is a key concept here.  It's hard to fight when you don't have any energy.  Coffee can only do so much.  Sometimes coffee doesn't do anything.  And sometimes, coffee actually makes it worse.

This is it in a nutshell:  two of the biggest components of Fibromyalgia are fatigue and pain.  That's on a good day.  On a bad day, it's bone-crushing fatigue and flu-like body aches. 

 There will be a sunrise tomorrow! But you will sleep thru it.
But there are many other symptoms of Fibromyalgia, plus over-lapping or "comorbid" conditions that go along with it.  These include: Multiple Sclerosis, Celiac Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid Lupus, Hypothyroidism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sjogren's Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, Restless Leg Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, PCOS,  "Fibro Fog" and problems with cognition, (I'm getting tired of capitalizing letters, so...) weird allergies that come out of nowhere, migraines, gluten sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis, hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, multiple chemical sensitivities, osteoarthritis, insomnia, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, paresthesias, psoriasis, swelling, inflammation, urinary problems, a lot of digestive issues, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature or light or noise or barometric pressure... Read more about co-morbid conditions on Wikipedia

I won't get specific, but I either had or still have roughly 28 of those conditions.  Oh, I'm sorry, you don't seem to be reacting.  28! [Painful emoji.]  So with that many issues going on, my research and trial treatments are an ongoing juggling act. Because lying in bad 24/7 doesn't fix this thing.  Sometimes it's necessary, but sometimes I get up anyway and try one of my many little secret half-cures.  And I have found ways to feel better, at least regarding the Fibro symptoms. So I want to share those in a series of short blog posts.  Because I'm too tired to write long blog posts. Gyah!

Corn sensitivities are NOT fun, just in case you wondered.
Corn sensitivities are one of my key issues. If I eat corn, corn muffins, popcorn, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or any of the seemingly billions of food products made from corn, I feel worse.  It might be because of GMO corn problems or because corn is high glycemic.  I don't know what the reason is.  But corn is an issue.  So I lug around a list of corn products to avoid when I shop for food or eat out. 

Such a hassle.

No, no, wait. That sounds negative.  So let's find another way to word this: Good news! I found out corn triggers my Fibro symptoms! That means all I have to do is avoid corn products and I will feel better at least some of the time, even if I change nothing else! You see what I did there? That's called being positive and proactive instead of giving up.  It's not easy to stay positive, but I have no intentions of writing a horrible, whiny, downer of an article that makes both me and you feel hopeless about Fibro.  That's because I do not feel hopeless every day, all day long. And it is my wish for the world that no one with Fibro will feel hopeless 100% of the time. I can't make you put a positive spin on this. I'm just saying that there are ways to fight back. I'm doing it. Maybe you can, too. I don't know how bad your symptoms are, of course, and I don't know how many co-morbid conditions you have, but maybe I have some insights that will help you.  

Did I mention Fibro migraines? Oy!
Now let's talk about magnesium.  Apparently, many people with Fibromyalgia have magnesium deficiencies and don't know it, so taking a larger dose may help you. It helps me enormously. It decreases my pain and my insomnia especially. I can't say enough good things about magnesium citrate. (Other forms I tried were less effective.) But please keep in mind that your conditions may not match my conditions and you'll want to do your own research and talk to your own doctors before changing your routine. Magnesium can mess up your guts if you also have have IBS-D. 

Also you may not have corn sensitivities, so just because I am depriving myself of the sweet buttery goodness of big, brimmin' bowlfuls of grits doesn't mean you have to.  So, please, don't just blindly follow what some humorous, witty and talented stranger (me) does. Be proactive and find out what works for your set of conditions. Fight back when you have an ounce of energy and maybe you can make this experience a little less miserable. For now, if you want to slink back under the bed covers, I will understand. Talk to ya later.

dj runnels 
Despite having chronic illness issues, I somehow magically manage to run a large and successful shop called Life's an Expedition on Etsy.  Go figure. Also, you can follow me on Instagram @lifesanexpedition where I am told I am fairly hilarious.

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