Saturday, March 11, 2017

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

Very few people know I have Fibromyalgia.  I tend to remain silent about my medical conditions.  On rare occasions, I might discuss Fibro if I'm reasonably sure no one in the room will change the subject and start whining about their health conditions with a defeatist attitude.  Meh. I don't want to hear how you have given up trying to lower your blood pressure.  I have a "fight back" mentality.  That kind of rhetoric is a giant buzzkill. 

I also hold back from mentioning Fibro because a lot of people jump in with, "Oh, yeah, I am tired, too."  And this will be someone who does not have chronic fatigue--one of the hallmarks of Fibromyalgia--and the only reason they're tired is because they have a damn hangover or stayed up watching TV until 2am.  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. Anyway, I don't want to be viewed as someone with medical issues. I prefer to be treated as a healthy adult who is stubborn enough to kick a disease in the teeth if it gets in my way

Fibro is like the Walking Dead.  But with lying down instead of walking.
Yes, I'm a teeth-kicker. You know how some people sit and listen quietly in the doctor's office and take whatever prescription is handed to them, no questions asked?  And they slowly meander through each day, sighing a lot?  I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. 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.  Well, 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 just makes it worse, in fact.

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...

I'm barely scratching the surface here, but you can read more on Wikipedia.  I currently have or had up to 29 of these conditions and my research and trial treatments are an ongoing juggling act.  But I have found ways to feel better regarding the Fibro symptoms that I want to share in a series of short blog posts.  Because I'm too tired to write long blog posts.

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.  And so I lug around a list of corn products to avoid when I shop for food or eat out.  Such a hassle.

Or, another way to word this is: 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, even if I change nothing else!  You see what I did there?  That's called teeth-kicking. I am not 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.  And it is my wish for the world that no one with Fibro will feel hopeless. I can't make you see it my way.  I'm just saying that there are ways to fight back.  I'm doing it.

Here's another Fibro issue: magnesium.  Apparently, many of us have magnesium deficiencies and taking a larger dose helps.  It helps me enormously.  It decreases my pain and my insomnia especially.

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.  Regarding magnesium, a lot of people with Fibromyalgia have IBS-D and taking magnesium can make it worse.  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 stranger on the internet does.  Be proactive and find out what works for your set of conditions.  Fight back every chance you get.  For now, if you want to slink back under the bed covers, I will understand. Talk to ya later.

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