Friday, April 10, 2015

The Trouble with Chronic Illness, Part 2

Hello Readers,

I was not able to post yesterday as planned thanks to my health.  Being chronically ill is frustrating to say the least. Little things started happening when I was 18, so 37 years ago. My college roommate and I irritated each other to the point that we both needed medical assistance in feeling better.

I will not bore you with all the details, but things started going wrong with my body, one thing at a time, until diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 45. Fibromyalgia. How can you explain it when there are over 100 possible symptoms? The graphic below is just a fraction of them.
I went to the doctor because the insides of my knees caused me so much pain - first, when I was trying to sleep on my side and they would touch; then, all the time. I blamed the pain as coming from being cheerleader back in the saddle shoes days, plus jumps when I was a figure skater. The doctor started pressing certain parts of my body without telling me what he was doing.
The last one he pressed was the lower one on the front of my neck in the collarbone hollow. I wanted to hit him, it hurt so badly. I am not one to hit people, so he was safe. I found out afterward that he was confirming what he thought was the cause by pressing the 18 "tender points" associated with fibromyalgia. If 11 of them are sore with pressure, a positive diagnosis is given - I had 13 react. 

The strange thing is most do not hurt unless touched. I can no longer sleep on either side because of the hip tender points. I was told early on to tell people it is like arthritis of the muscles. In addition, it is as the pain associated with the flu, except it does not get better in a couple of weeks.

The bad thing about it is it gets worse over time. When diagnosed, a very close friend did not think I had it, because she her diagnoses was not until she had lived in her bed for a year. She was in so much pain, her husband had to carry her to the bathroom, but just being held caused her an enormous amount of pain. The difference was my diagnosis in the early stages of the pain; hers was not. I also chose medication while she chose to eat a macrobiotic diet.

have discovered that certain foods do cause a reaction - usually muscle weakness, but my foods were not the same as hers. Really, it is a matter of determining for oneself using dietary guidelines to judge which foods cause a negative reaction. For example, I can eat potatoes while she could not. (She passed away in 2009.)

To be continued...

- Amelia