Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hey, now... we're not done reading your last short novel (the previous post)

Since the last blog post was SO long, I didn't get around to covering the stuff in the second link I posted.

Understanding Fibrofuckingmyalgia Pain

I whine a lot about fibro pain and feeling crappy and all that, but truly, I'm not in pain in the proper sense of agonizing pain that often. I'm more often in a state of extreme discomfort. Now, this might be something related to how I cope with pain or how my body processes pain. Obviously, I've been in pain for a long time. I had that five-ish years in pain where nobody believed I was in pain or didn't think I had any kind of disease, so I sort of had to work through the pain. So, yeah, pain is relative. While some folks collapse into a quivering pile of goo when their pain is at a four or a five on that ridiculous pain scale, others (like me) can live with four or five and completely function. And while that ridiculous pain scale says a nine or a ten should bring you to tears. I rarely cry at my pain. I would assume that when I've reached a point where tears are flowing, I've also had a long emotional day that's intensified everything inside and I either have to cry or I'll explode. Which would be messy.

Or, Nigel Tufnel cranked that shit up to eleven and it isn't even on the ridiculous pain scale.

Now about that pain scale... I'm just going to link you to this post by Hyperbole and a Half because Allie Brosh is brilliant and she has the best pain scale ever in her post. So, if you must- go read it and then come back. We'll wait.

Did you read it? Did you laugh so hard that you blew milk through your nose and you weren't even drinking milk at the time? Yeah, she's fucking awesome. If you're anything like me, you read that post, then started clicking out on other posts and you suddenly lost three hours of your day and your sides hurt from all the laughing.

Now, back to that fibro pain thing in the first link.

Types of Fibromyalgia Pain

The first 3 types of fibromyalgia pain are medically defined:

♫ Hyperalgesia
♫ Allodynia
♫ Painful Paresthesia

Okay, so the link describes Hyperalgesia as ""Hyper" means excess and "algesia" means pain. Hyperalgesia is the medical term for pain amplification in FMS. Our brains appear to take normal pain signals and "turn up the volume," making them more severe than they would normally be.

And we've covered that a little already.

That Allodynia sounds like someone's name from a Jane Austen story. The annoying sister-in-law to someone named Elizabeth or Jocelyn. But that's the painful skin thing I have to deal with. Some days are okay, I almost don't feel anything. Some days its mild and takes something like my fourteen pound Chihuahua's big-ass paw pressing down before it hurts. And some days, Nigel is at it again and cranks it up to eleven. Those days, even the softest fleece feels painful. On those days, I just want to be naked and in between two soft fleece blankets. The difference between a fleece hoodie hurting me and those fleece blankets not hurting me is this: when I'm wearing a hoodie, the pressure of it on my skin changes when I move. If I'm naked and between those fleece blankets, I'm not moving. I'm laying completely still on the bed, the only thing moving on me are my eye lids and one hand controlling the remote. Unlike the Forever Lazy and Snuggie people, I have no trouble maneuvering under a blanket.

And most of you know- at least those of you who actually read this or even actually have this- stress exacerbates things. My mother passed away recently and with a death in the family comes sympathy hugs. Every last one of them hurt like a motherfucker. "Sorry your mom's dead, pardon me while I inflict pain upon your body."

No, they didn't really do that. They did hug me, though, and it did hurt. But there are times in your life when you put on your big girl panties and deal with it. That goes for you men too. And you'll look lovely in big girl panties. Most of the people who were hugging me for sympathy didn't even know I have fibro or that I have this apparently rare issue with it.

That third one, "painful paresthesias"- the link describes it as so: Paresthesias are odd nerve sensations that can feel like crawling, tingling, burning, itching or numbness. Sometimes, these sensations can be painful. Paresthsias are also associated with peripheral neuropathy, chemotherapy drugs, multiple sclerosis and migraine.

I know you've heard... well, most of you have read it, a few of you have heard it- I've described it as a million hairy-legged spiders trying to escape through my pores. Scratching doesn't help, it just hurts. Rubbing through my clothes offers little relief. The days when I feel the most Allodynia are usually the days that the spiders are plotting their escape through my skin.

The author of that piece in the link goes on to describe four types of pain that she has as well. I have similar issues to hers, but I call mine different names. One of hers is the "Knife in the Voo-Doo doll" pain. I have that too, but I've just always called it a random, sharp, stabbing pain. Every so often, I get a sharp, stabbing pain in my wrist and I lose all strength in that hand. I've had that for years and years and it happens randomly and not at all associated with anything. But as I deal with this fucked-up mess of fibro, I wonder how related it all is. I could probably dig into the dusty recesses of my mind and remember other times as I went through my twenties and thirties that were probably early indicators of fibrofuckingmyalgia.

I also get a "hot spot"- I read that term somewhere. In my case, my "hot spot" is in my right hip. That pain is in the muscle and goes from where my waist curves in, down to my hip joint. It was so bad leading up to my diagnosis that I thought I was having arthritis pain radiating from my hip joint and I actually feared the thought of ending up with hip replacement. (the knee replacement was no picnic. Except for all the narcotics they put you on. That shit is nice!). But, two weeks into my first treatment with muscle relaxers, that pain was gone. And now, if I'm overdoing it (too much walking around, walking too fast at the store, taking a character class with Jane the Phoole), I can feel that ache starting. And usually I will cease the activity that is causing it and not feel any extra pain. But sometimes (okay, ONE time) I can't stop. Nay, I won't stop. Hey, it isn't every day that you get to take a class with Jane the Phoole and I wasn't going to let fibrofuckingmyalgia ruin it for me.

I get some similar issues as the author with the "sparkler" pain and the "rattled nerves". The rattled nerves stuff doesn't usually get to me because of my hearing impairment, but sometimes even that doesn't help and I end up frustrated with so much happening around me.

And since I have no real way to wrap this up, here's a photo of my fourteen pound Chihuahua. His name is Bruno.

Bruno, basking in the sun

He doesn't look all that big? A little fat is all? Here's a photo of him next to Jasper- who is a normal toy-sized Chihuahua.

Bruno and Jasper

Jasper never hurts my body when he steps on me. He barely weighs four pounds. But Bruno... ouch. That's a lot of dog. A lot of heavy little dog.

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