Saturday, October 16, 2010

I AM Fibromyalgia

Let me introduce myself. I am Fibromyalgia. A chronic medical condition caused by a malfunction of the Central Nervous System with dysfunctional hypersensitive nerves. I cause multiple pain sensations. I play havoc with muscles causing them to be weak. The tendons and ligaments are not left out either.

I do not allow sleep. You may sleep for an hour, but then are awake the remainder of the night. Your body is exhausted. Your muscles, etc have no time to regenerate energy = pain. The body can become so tired that it becomes nauseated. Fatigue will drag you down. Even if you take medication to give you a full night's sleep.

Substance P causes different pain sensations. Cramping, burning, stabbing, dull, sunburn, just to name a few. Some have pain over their entire body. Others in different parts of their body. The pain can move from one location to another.

I also cause a decrease in Serotonin. Serotonin helps mask the sensation of pain. So, an increase in the sensation of pain and a decrease in masking the pain .... I've got it covered!!

You can have trouble with IBS, causing you to have as many as a dozen bowel movements a day. Others become constipated.

I am good at playing havoc with eye sight. Poor guys get an eye exam and new glasses. Soon after, I change their vision. I change it often so new glasses don't help. There are times I cause eyes to burn or to be dry. You can see spots before your eyes. For Debbie, they are not spots but thin, odd shaped floaters. They disappear and reappear when exhaustion sets in. When you go to the grocery store, the different colors on the grocery shelves can run together making it difficult to focus. Heaven forbid that a lady should pass you in the isle wearing strong perfume. These situations can cause a dandy headache or migraine.

Balance is not as good after I move in. As you become exhausted, it is hard to pick up your feet. They can drag and cause tripping. If your sight is wacko, that also plays into your balance.

Tension headaches are with you constantly, getting worse with fatigue.

Migraines are a specialty. For example, they come on when you reach your physical limit, are stressed or eat something that would trigger a migraine.

How about Plantar Fasciitis? Pain in the bottom of your feet. It is worse in the morning, but bothers you all day.

Loud sounds, bright lights. Boy is that fun. Sounds can be louder and light is brighter the more tired you become. Even though the lights are not bright for the average person or the room noise is not loud, it is to the Fibro sufferer. They are magnified.

You will also be frustrated with weather issues. Some feel better in the heat while others have increased pain. Then there are some who feel better in the cooler weather of winter, leaving others with increased pain.

For some folks, specific foods cause increased pain. Examples include seafood, wine and sugar, to name a few.

When you are fatigued, the muscles in your throat will restrict and not allow food to be swallowed. You need water to help get the food down.

Watch out for chest pain. This pain is not a heart attack. The nerves along with the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can become hypersensitive which results in Fibromyalgia pain.

As Fibromyalgia, I cause cognitive problems. You will replace words with other words while you are talking, typing or writing. Sometimes you know when this happens, sometimes you don't. During a conversation, Debbie's mind goes blank and can't say the correct word. She knows what the word is, can see a visual picture of the word and can see the word written, but she can't verbalize the word out loud.

Memory, what memory? I wipe out bits and pieces of your memory...such fun! You either can't remember what you WERE talking about, what you were GOING to talk about, or an accurate VIEW of a story. This will cause anxiety because of the frustration, so you tense = pain.

You won't be able to concentrate. It's almost like you have Attention Deficit. Focusing is a challenge. A combination of cognitive, memory issues and focusing is called Fibrofog.

I mess with your emotions and cause depression. Some are so depressed they take their own life. I hate to cause that extreme emotion, but it does happen. Anxiety messes with the fright or flight emotion. This will cause your body to tense and not know what to do. That's a fun accomplishment for me.

Restless Leg Syndrome is when the muscles contract causing limbs to jerk. I'm not sure why they refer to it as a "leg syndrome" because the arms are involved too. I don't leave out any part of the body. I even cause the creepy crawlies. This is when it feels like you have a bug crawling on you. You scratch even though there is nothing there.

When Debbie's body becomes exhausted, she sweats. When she sits down, sweating subsides. She has over taxed her body. The body can only do so much while on your feet. Again, frustration = pain.

Goose bumps happen even on a warm day. I create them at the least on the arms and thighs. I make that area of the body feel very cold. Debbie's husband, Dwain, calls this a "cold snap."

Itchy spots can appear in the palm of your hand or other areas. Usually in what can be called "hot spots." Sometimes they show up because of a change in medication.

Tingling and numbness to any of your body parts, but the limbs are my first choice.

You can loose some of your hair. Commonly this will happen soon after I come to live with you on a daily basis. It just thins so not a big deal, at least for me.

Would you like to raise your blood pressure? I can arrange it. Whether it is because of stress or your medication.

I don't want to leave out your mouth. Cold and canker sores in or outside of the mouth are common. I also arrange for you to have excess phlegm in your throat.



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  2. Hi Deb! Thank you for this awesome blog post!

    I was diagnosed in April 2010 after 12 years of dealing with Fibromyalgia. At this point, I've had enough and, since I refuse to take prescription medication, I just started a regiment of supplements 24 hours ago for mood, energy and the other "wonderful" side effects of FMS. I'm optimistic that I will find some relief in the next couple of weeks but I have to say that FMS is such a pain in the butt! (and everywhere else)

    I'm a fighter and your blog post made me laugh because I love how you made Fibro a form to make it easier to picture as the villain! I will not go down without a fight and your post gave me a renewed spirit to keep fighting that blasted evil menace! Thanks!

  3. Thank you Shannon! You put a smile on my face with your post. I wanted this blog to be a place where I can vent and I get tired of saying "my leg hurts." Had to think of it at a different angle. I'm glad you enjoyed my words. :D

  4. Hi Deb..I wish I were up to fighting this like Shannon. It just is what it is. You said it all so eloquently and truthfully..I need to bookmark your post..sometimes I have a hard time explaining it, still. Why do I have to keep explaining this..ugh.

  5. must continue to explain because they can't see it. I've always said that we should have little red dots on our face so people could see that something was wrong.