Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's Not Just Fibromyalgia

"What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek ones for muscle (myo) and pain (algia).
Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. Like arthritis, however, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities. Also like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition, a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain."
                     - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)                                                    http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/ 
Found on primalhangout.com
I feel like I am one of any number of ambassadors for fibromyalgia in that I try to help people understand what it is. My biggest issue is that it is hard to explain, as I said in another post. However, this post is talking about parts of it and....
I have been an overweight adult pretty much my entire adult life. Back in the late 1990s, I tried a drug combination known colloquially as "fen-phen." It was touted as a miracle weight-loss method. The course of treatment my doctor prescribed was 12 weeks on, 12 weeks off. I lost 29 pounds during those first 12 weeks. 
During the first 12 weeks off, it became major news that people were dying of heart problems, and it was advised for all patients to stop taking it immediately. My doctor ordered an EKG to make sure my heart was okay. I was 37-years-old and worried about having a heart attack. Luckily, my heart was undamaged. Today, I am thankful that I was only on the medication for one 12-week on cycle.  
That experience has made me leery of taking new medications. I learned a while ago that taking a new medication is not a good idea. I see the Lyrica ads on TV, and it seems like a cure all - until you hear the side effects. Lyrica was a new medicine for treating fibro about the same time as I was diagnosed. 
Besides the fact that death can result, one of the side effects is weight gain. When it was new, I was close to my goal weight, but I would not take a new medication again. I will weight five years until it has been through beta testing. Now, I am already on a medication that causes weight gain, so I certainly do not need another one that does. 
One of the hardest things I deal with is "fibro fog." Fibro fog is an apt name - it's like a fog wall takes over my thought process. And, my memory is shot. I used to have a very good memory, but now I worry that other people will think I have early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Truth be told, I think the same thing sometimes. 
Source: photobucket.com
Like Alzheimer's patients, I can remember the past very well, but have a problem with the present. I lose time now. I have missed a couple of appointments because I thought it was a day earlier than it was. Today, I did something new; I showed up for an appointment two days early. All I can think of is that May is the fifth month and today was the fifth, so I got them confused. 
I think part of the memory issues might come from the fact that I am always tired. Last week, I had gotten about eight hours of sleep over a three-day span of time... and not one of those hours was during the night. So far, this week has started out the same. Last night, I nodded off for about 15-20 minutes during one of my favorite television shows. Today, I fell asleep twice - once for about an hour, and once for about 2.5 hours. I woke up halfway through the second night of the same television show. 
This post is very late tonight, partly because I slept during my normal writing hours, but also partly due to the fact that my brain could not think of something to write about. So, I decided to write about the problem with thinking. I am surprised I got this much written, as I am trying so hard to keep my eyes open... and, I'm hungry. I slept through supper time. So, I think I will end here and go eat. If I can remember to do so.