Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Exciting, New Flavors of Pain

First off, I'm happy to report that my bout of food poisoning has finally subsided.  :)

After being in constant and varying Fibromyalgia (FMS) & Chronic Myofascial (CMP) pain for almost 5 years now, I'm surprised to find that I'm still experiencing some new, unfamiliar pains.

Having declared (only recently) that I have finally graduated to the final stage of grief - acceptance of my chronic illnesses - I thought I'd figured out how my new, broken body works to some degree. Sure, it's still unpredictable, but understanding the unpredictability kind of helps it be more predictably unpredictable. Words fail me, but I hope you know what I mean. Come to think of it, since Fibro Fog is part of the new me, perhaps these pains aren't really new. Perhaps they are just pains I've had but don't recognize this time around. Perhaps I'd experienced these pains earlier, but I was too new at this chronic illness thing and didn't quite understand what it was. Heck, I'm not sure now, but I have a hunch it's got something to do with FMS or CMP.

At any rate, I'll try to describe how these weird pains feel...

Last night, I was sitting on the couch with Don, enjoying some evening TV. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my lower left pelvic region felt like shards of glass were trying to break through my abdomen to run around the house, screaming. It was abrupt and made me "ow!" out loud, confusing Don as to what he might have done this time. I reassured him that it was nothing he'd done and felt it again. It was odd. I was happy to find that it settled back in and left me alone for the rest of of the night.

Today, I started my day feeling like I'd been run over by a Mack truck, but I still don't know why. I slept, dreamt, and don't remember exerting myself too much lately. (Although who knows what my thresholds are these days?) Eventually, I crawled into the shower and spent far too long trying to make the peppermint Dr. Bronner's soap wake me up or something, I guess. I got ready and drove myself to work. Getting out of the car was challenging, after having stiffened up during the drive (about a half-hour). I walked toward the building feeling sore in every last muscle from my butt down. Interesting, but nothing too unusual. Soreness is a fact of life for me now, even when I don't know exactly what I did to earn it. A few hours later, though, after going about my business at the office, I noticed my neck and shoulders got extremely tight and sore. My back hurts a little oddly too. It's like some package of misfortune has descended upon my upper body. What the heck? I try not to take too many as-needed meds if I can help it, but this seemed to warrant a muscle relaxant.

I'm still experiencing this high-level and sudden shoulder/neck stiffness and pain right now, and the legs are still sore when I walk. What happened? Was it something I did? More importantly, what's next??

I'm due for a vacation soon. Don has become wary of planning excursions with me lately, since he never knows if I'll be up to enjoying things with him, or if he'll end up having to try to enjoy something without me. I am convinced that if I am "on vacation" and not worrying about the usual stuff, my body will be more cooperative and let me have some fun without making me crash. I definitely won't be running marathons or anything crazy, but I think being pleasantly distracted helps keep stress levels down, which in turn, helps to keep my body processing working a little better than usual.

Cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

One Stress Declining; Another Rising

As my work project is finally coming to its fruition this very day, the buildup of mental stress is beginning to wane.  It seems everything has been going reasonably well and any problems that may occur with our project should be relatively minor and manageable.  I'm sure there will be unanticipated little snafus here and there, but thus is any IT project.  We learn as we go, maintain and fix bugs as we continue to find them, and make continual enhancements.  So, I do finally feel better about this.

Physically, though, I've got a new stressor.  Let me give you the background first.

Last Thursday, my employer threw a lovely picnic for us all.  I had a great time, sang karaoke, even danced and enjoyed life for a while.  It was surely confusing for all my coworkers to see me looking as if I wasn't in any pain at all - especially the ones who don't understand Fibromyalgia and it's ups and downs. 

Anyway, I had been developing a headache near the end of the party, though I ignored it as part of the deal for feeling great and having a few drinks.  I met up with my husband afterwards for water, coffee, and a half-sandwich.  I continued to ignore the headache, hoping the water would help keep it at bay.  I went to sleep expecting it to be gone or mostly gone by morning.

That night, I woke up around 1am feeling absolutely awful.  The headache exploded to a level 7 or 8 and I felt very uncomfortable.  I was nauseated, too, which happens with severe migraines, so I grabbed a couple of Triscuits and water from the kitchen.  Literally, after the first Triscuit, I had to run to the toilet.

I'll spare you the details, but it was pretty clear that this wasn't a typical migraine - it was food poisoning, and my body was getting rid of what I recognized as potato salad cubes, even though I'd only had a bit at the picnic, and it about 12 hours earlier - before my dinner sandwich meal.  I felt a little better after the explosive "episode" was over, but not fantastic by any means.  I assumed I was on my way to feeling better and went back to bed and slept a bit. 

I went to work the next morning, still feeling the workout of my guts and assuming they were just tired and recovering from that night's activities.  I had green tea to help chase away any bacteria.  I'd also found out others were ill from the picnic food, too, which confirmed my theory.  It was a hot day, so it makes sense.  I just wish I'd thought to avoid the "cold" foods.  (Lesson learned!) 

As the day wore on, I started feeling more pain in the guts again.  It was building up again.  I left work early and read about typical food poisoning and how to self-treat.  I assumed it was over that day, but apparently this thing can last a few days - and it is still affecting me today, three days later.  I'm hydrating and eating only bland foods and sparingly until things improve.  When the pain comes on, it gets hard to stand up straight, or tolerate any movement. 

At least I know this is one of those temporary things that normal people get.  If this was just some random Fibro symptom, I'd be much more confused about how long it would last or what it means.  I'll just try to rest my guts and body until this passes, though I still need to get to work to deal with any fresh problems with our new application.

Never fear, though, I've got vacation time scheduled in a few weeks and will be getting some R&R soon.  Just knowing that helps relieve stress.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Mess of Stress

Stress is a mess. Okay, I just wanted to rhyme that, but it didn't make much sense. I should say it can make a mess of me.

There's a huge, whiz-bang project going on at work that is (hopefully) going to come to fruition this weekend. I work in IT and this is a new business application that our team has been working on for many, many months now. There's been lots of testing and fine-tuning, and I haven't been able to afford the luxury of a sick day in a few weeks. There is too much to get done and I don't want to be the one to delay this thing (again) so I am putting forth as much effort and bravery as I can muster.

Unfortunately, I'm paying the price on weekends and evenings, when Don wants to spend time with me, but gets a tired, achy, fibro-foggy bundle of blah instead. I spent some quality time with Don last Saturday, sipping delicious beers at our favorite watering hole. However, Sunday was pretty much breakfast together and then my collapsing onto the sofa with a feverish headache and feeling incredibly worn out. Don was nicely productive and did thousands of chores and things that needed doing. I had to make Sunday my sick day.

Well, enough boo-hooing about this, I guess. I try to remember, as I drag myself into the office each day, that I am glad I am employed and can actually still hold down a job in my condition. I know many fibromites are not working because they are essentially disabled, and in turn, broke. It's adding insult to injury that the sick also have to be poor because of the way our health system is structured right now. I have hope that someday, things will improve.

In the meantime, I am trying to get it all done and hope it's all worth it when the project is launched.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given, and who gave it to you?

The "I'm always right" theory, from my husband Don, is very valuable to me. It's a confidence boosting way to proceed with decisions that allows for new information and changing opinions, no matter who you are. It's about what one believes to be correct at the time of question. It doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, it just means that I base my statements on what I know. As I know more, I may change my answers, but I always believe them to be right.

What's on your mind? Fun or serious questions welcome.