Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Time for Some Changes

I went to see my neurologist this morning.  Basically, since the end of December, when I last saw him, I had one great month (remember when I was giving away my "spoons"?), and now a kind of shitty month (now it's more like: "hey, brother, can you spare a spoon"?).  

In my little fibro-world, when things are mildly acceptable, I am elated about it.  I get to smile and laugh and joke and even enjoy some things.  But there is some sort of threshold in my pain tolerance - and I guess everyone has one - when I keep trying to just buck up and "make it, Champ!" but end up sort of a quivering mess.  

I know it may seems silly to most "normals" out there that a backache or some jaw pain or some insomnia can cause me to have a major meltdown, but throw a few of these symptoms together, multiply the intensity several times, and leave them to worsen over a period of not hours, not days, but weeks and even months on end of constant, chronic, unrelenting symptoms, suddenly retaining sanity becomes a real challenge.  Throw into the mix the fact calling in sick for several weeks straight is simply not an option, especially with medical benefits for both myself and my husband riding on my performance and full-time status.  Let's just say it's a character builder (and I've got character oozing out of my ears).

Anyway, after a somewhat less snarky explanation of the above, my doctor offered me some options, which I agreed to try.  

Since my Tramadol doesn't seem to be helping me with pain any more, and since there is a danger of serotonin syndrome if I increase the dose and continue taking Pristiq, I'm now going to try Darvocet for pain.  Darvocet, I was promised, would perform much better on all kinds of pain, but it may cause side effects, especially in sensitive me.  After the description, I told him that it sounds just like the "magic wand" I need!

Since the Ambien I've been taking (only 5mg per night) always seems to want me to sleep for 12 hours (no exaggeration), and also since I've had problems properly waking up after those 12 hours (I have these weird, lucid dreams in the mornings), the doctor is having me try Sonata.  He tells me that Sonata will allow me to wake up more nicely in the morning, while still helping me to get to sleep in the evenings and in the middle of the night when I toss and turn from pain. 

Finally, and this one was the most difficult decision for me, because of my severe concentration problems at work and my tendency to be easily distracted, my doctor offered me a prescription for Ritalin.  My job as Senior Business Analyst in IT requires a lot of abstract thought, sometimes with multiple steps having to be played out in my head before taking action.  I've always been a diligent worker and am proud of my career progress.  However, at times I feel like a completely different person, trying to do Benia's job.  All it takes is one, quiet side conversation, whether it's about work or personal stuff I don't even care about, I cannot help but hear a word or two, then POOF! - situational amnesia sets in.  I can't remember what I was doing or what I was about to do, or why I picked up a pen or what I wanted to type or anything.  I stare and stare at my workspace, hoping something will come back to me.  Sometimes, it does, but other times, I have to let it go and do something else until I find my way back to it.  

That is so unproductive, and since I tend to have a lot of tasks assigned to me (as the expert or specialist, or person assigned to a project, etc.) I become this bottleneck for projects.  When my whole department has to delay a software release because I'm two days behind, I feel the stress.  I'm not a slacker and I can't tell what my coworkers think of me.  Not all of them know or understand about my health problems.  Well, at any rate, because this is such a big deal to me, I decided I should try the Ritalin, once and for all, and see if it's good, bad, or doesn't do anything for me, just so I know, once and for all.  The Ritalin is not replacing anything I'm already taking, so, unfortunately, this is adding to my mix of drug treatments.  However, if it helps, it will make a world of difference for me.

Each new drug will be tried one week after the previous one, so I can judge its effectiveness without having to guess too much which drug is doing what to me.

Wish me luck.  If you're a fibromite (or someone who has had a concussion, like I have), and you've tried any or all of these medications, let me know your experiences.  Every patient is unique, but I'm interested in knowing what they did or did not do for you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feeling Icky

Bleh...  In a word, that's about how I've been feeling for the past week or three.  I'm so glad I had some good days to celebrate, because these are the days when I just don't have it.  I'm tired, I'm achy, and I have to really push myself to get anything done. 

My motivation is getting things off my to-do list, because I keep writing things down over and over, wherever I am, on various slips of paper, and eventually, I have lists and lists repeating the same important tasks all over the place, while the task itself remains undone.  I'm proud to say that I managed to cross a couple things off my lists today, and even tossed an obsolete list or two away.  It's progress that I am happy about, even though I know I could have done all that and more very easily in "the before time".

I've noticed the stairs are getting more and more taxing on my leg muscles, lately, too.  I have been mixing up my stretching routines with some isometric strengthening exercises, including some squat-type moves that help strengthen my leg muscles.  Of course, progress has been slow.  I have been slow!  

I feel this post is somewhat disappointing, but I wanted to check in with whoever might be reading and let them know I'm still alive.  I'm just not feeling right lately, so I don't have much to say today.  I'm feeling icky with a flare-up and I'm pushing through it.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you could have perfect health, but only by giving up one of your five senses, which one would it be?
I thought and thought about this. I would not choose to give up sights or sounds - that seems too drastic. Touch is tempting with the fibro, but think of how lonely and weird that would be, especially if losing a sense of touch could make me fibro-free. It's like the gift of the Magi.

At first, I was going to choose my sense of smell to give up, since it seems to be so minor in a person's life, plus there are so many unpleasant smells that I could do without. Then I remembered that taste is affected by smell, and I would be losing part of taste as well as smell in one shot. That would kinda suck.

Ultimately, I decided, and this was a tough one, that I would lose my sense of taste to be perfectly healthy otherwise. I would not be able to taste my favorite foods, but I could still smell them. I love the smell of a nice, hoppy beer and always take a great, big whiff before my first taste of a new beer. Perhaps I would eat more healthfully (you know, eat to live, rather than live to eat) but not have to sacrifice the world of wonderfully smelling foods.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Weird" Things I've Done

What is the weirdest thing you have ever done?
I struggled with this question. I've done some unusual things, but nothing completely unheard of. I don't know if there's anything weird enough to be fulfilling as an answer to such a question. Here are several "weird" things I've done. Perhaps you can decide which is the weirdest.

My husband and I have converted our entire front and back yard lawns into organic, native gardens to better support the local native ecosystem, save on mowing (work, pollution, noise), and make better use of rainwater.

Don and I sometimes take "beer-cations", which are road trips planned around specific breweries and pubs where our favorite microbrewed beers are available.

I have endured three months on a "yeast-free" diet (which I hated but made me skinny for a while). I had to cut out sugar and all sugar substitutes, yeast (breads, beer), vinegar, additives, and other specific items. I also had to limit my dairy and fruit consumption. It was doctor-ordered by my fibromyalgia doctor at the time, who suspected I had a yeast overgrowth in my gut, and could be contributing to my fibromyalgia symptoms... but he was wrong. I felt awful on this diet and he ordered me to stop after three months instead of six months.

I had a tonsillectomy a few years ago because the crypts in my tonsils were breeding bacteria and making tonsilloliths that I had to periodically poke out with Q-tips or water jets or my fingers.

I'm sure I've done other things that some people consider weird, but this is all I can come up with for now.