Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You're never too old to learn things...

Fibromyalgia is like a fuck-you cocktail of learn-as-you-go.

Remember that? Yeah, a few weeks ago or something... I came up with that as a description for Fibrofuckingmyalgia. And, today, I done learned up something new.

I've "liked" a few pages on Facebook that are related to fibrofuckingmyalgia in an attempt to learn about it and keep up with new and fantastic treatments. I say that tongue-in-cheek of course, because there is nothing fantastic about this disease. Or syndrome. Whatever-the-fuck-you-call-it, it sucks. One of the pages posted a link, then one of the other pages posted it. I'm Facebook friends with the admin on the page that posted it second... not that it matters, I was merely informing you. Anyway, here is the article link-

Ten things to stop doing to yourself with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

While I was looking through that article and scoffing and making noises about how easy these ten things are to stop doing, I clicked other links that took me to other articles about The Monster List of Fibro Symptoms and then another about Understanding Fibro Pain.

I was ready to copy/paste that list of symptoms and nitpick them to death, but I'm kind of tired and I'm definitely on a lot of pain meds right now (not only is the dental thing still annoying me, I'm having a flareup of some -itis pain because the weather is changing. How much is the weather changing? We're going from a high of 52°Fahrenheit to a high of 24° in less than 24 hours). So, instead of doing that, I'm just going to talk about some stuff directly related to me. And that's what this blog is about, right? Me? Well, me and McFall. That's what I named my fibrofuckingmyalgia- in case you weren't taking notes when I first started this blog.

I've got all of the "usual symptoms" except for hair loss, depression/anxiety, and loss of libido. I'm still a horny, hairy, calm and cheerful bitch. But this list had a few more on it than I expected. When I say "a few more" I mean "holy shit, that's a lot of things". And what I like is how it has the symptoms broken down into categories that make sense.

General Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events
♦ Other family members with fibromyalgia (genetic predisposition)
♦ Sweats
♦ Unexplained weight gain or loss
♦ Cravings for carbohydrate and chocolate
♦ Headaches & migraines
♦ Vision changes, including rapidly worsening vision


Okay, so I said I wasn't going to copy/paste. I lied. Well, actually, I changed my mind. If you feel like reading, well baby, I feel like typing. And that's why we're here, right?

Delayed reactions- well, of course. I do something or have something stressful, it doesn't hit me till a day or so later. That's typical.

Other family members- yup. Gots me lots of them. There was an "unnamed nerve disorder" that was diagnosed by biopsy in my mom's side of the family years ago. Mom and her siblings were all biopsied and they all have it. I had some cousins get the biopsy and some had it and some didn't. Well, we don't know what it was called because at the time, nobody ever knew about it and all they knew was that the nerves "overworked themselves till they seemed to degenerate"... and that's all I know about it.

Sweats and unexplained weight gain/loss- those are also signs of perimenopause. So obviously I have that going on. (also, those are related to thyroid disorders, so that's another notch in my belt of faboo health stuff).

And then we have the ones I don't have a problem with- I don't really know if I'm craving carbs or not. I take this Vicodin and the muscle relaxer and I get the munchies from time to time. I don't get headaches often enough for me to keep track of them and my vision seems to be fine for a forty-two year old who has always had better than 20/20 vision.


Muscle & Tissue-Related Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Pain that ranges from mild to severe, and may move around the body
♦ Morning stiffness
♦ Muscle twitches
♦ Diffuse swelling
♦ Fibrocystic (lumpy, tender) breasts (as an overlapping condition)


Pain that ranges- holy hell, yes. I don't even need to go on about that here, just read some of my previous posts.

Morning stiffness- hehe, I just turned into a twelve year old. But no! Not that kind of morning stiffness. That might explain all that spam email I get though. But the fibro symptom of morning stiffness, yes, I have that. In spades. So I should have used this ♠ instead of ♦

Muscle twitches- well, I don't know if I have this or if its just normal shit.

Diffuse swelling- THIS! This place was the first time I read this as a symptom. Since late December 2004, I've had "unexplained edema". First it was "unexplained" then it was "stress-related", then unexplained, then "related to perimenopause", then back to unexplained... they have no idea why I have it, but I do. Some days, its just my lower legs. Some days its my entire body. Some days, its just my extremities. There are some days I start out wearing clothes and by noon I have to change into sweats and a giant T-shirt because the swelling has gotten so bad. And I take 75 mgs of Hydrochlorothiazide every morning.

Having a name for that and a cause, well, I feel like I deserve ice cream. No, I didn't discover it or name it or even have anything to do with it. I just like ice cream.

That last thing- the lumpy stuff, I don't have that. At least, not any more lumpiness that isn't just me being fat.


Sinus & Allergy-Related Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Allergies
♦ Post nasal drip
♦ Runny nose
♦ Mold & yeast sensitivity
♦ Shortness of breath
♦ Earaches & itchy ears
♦ Ringing ears
♦ Thick secretions


Okay, so of all these- I have allergies (ever since we moved from Kansas to Georgia, I've had allergies), shortness of breath (I had a lung infection for 5 1/2 months that led to asthma, long story for another time, this is already long enough), and ringing ears. I've had tinnitus for so long I don't remember not having it. But, I'm in good company. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are also tinnitus sufferers... and not that I'm happy that they suffer with it, but you know, it makes my nerdy heart skip a beat. What? You don't know of my unnatural love for Shatner and Nimoy? Psh, and you call yourselves my friends?


Sleep-Related Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Light and/or broken sleep pattern with unrefreshing sleep
♦ Fatigue
♦ Sleep starts (falling sensations)
♦ Twitchy muscles at night
♦ Teeth grinding (bruxism)



Except for the teeth grinding, I've had all of these. The twitchy muscles, I don't know if they were much of a problem while I was sleeping, because I only notice them when I'm awake. Which makes for awkward good times. Especially in public.


Reproductive Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Menstrual problems
♦ PMS (as an overlapping condition)
♦ Loss of libido
♦ Impotence



Well, aside from loss of libido and impotence, yes. And all those can also be blamed on perimenopause and thyroid disease.


Abdominal & Digestive Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Bloating & nausea
♦ Abdominal cramps
♦ Pelvic pain
♦ Irritable bowel syndrome (as an overlapping condition)
♦ Urinary frequency



I didn't have any of these problems related to fibro. Unless we can include "bloating" with my "swelling".



Cognitive/Neurological Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Difficulty speaking known words, other language impairments (dysphasia)
♦ Directional disorientation
♦ Poor balance and coordination
♦ Paresthesias in the upper limbs (tingling or burning sensations)
♦ Loss of ability to distinguish some shades of colors
♦ Short-term memory impairment
♦ Confusion
♦ Trouble concentrating
♦ Staring into space before brain "kicks in"
♦ Inability to recognize familiar surroundings


I've been known to stammer over words and mispronounce words I know how to say. I don't like it and it pisses me off. I don't know if I've ever been disoriented directional-speaking, but I don't exactly rely on a compass to get around. I've always had a bit of an issue with balance what with being deaf in one ear. I do get the tingling arms/hands thing. My short-term memory is absolutely shit now. I was going to make a terrible short-term memory joke, but we're all better than that, aren't we? Confusion and trouble concentrating- not so much. My inability to concentrate is more because of the pain and not just, you know, bats dusting off my belfry or whatever it is that goes on up there. And the last two, nope. Not at all. My staring into space comes from all the pain drugs I'm on, not the fibro itself.


Sensory Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Sensitivity to odors
♦ Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature & humidity
♦ Sensitivity to light
♦ Sensitivity to noise
♦ Night driving difficulty
♦ Sensory overload



I don't think I'm sensitive to odors. I do have an extreme sensitivity to the pressure/humidity/temperature changes. Like a motherfucker. I can already tell you today that the weather will be changing in the next 24 to 48 hours. And in checking that fancy-ass website, I'm right.

Sensitivity to light- I've always been slight vampire-ish. I have to wear sunglasses even when its cloudy.

Sensitivity to noise- it doesn't apply here because I'm hearing impaired anyway.

Night driving, well, I'm not sure. I don't think so.

Sensory overload- I have experienced it, but I don't think its a major problem.


Emotional Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Panic attacks
♦ Depression (as an overlapping condition)
♦ Tendency to cry easily
♦ Free-floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
♦ Mood swings
♦ Unaccountable irritability



I don't have panic attacks, depression, or anxiety. And the other three- those are also common in perimenopause and thyroid disorders (and PMS, for that matter). But yes, I do have those. Mood swings not so much, aside from "normal to angry for no reason", but that would go under unaccountable irritability too.


Heart-Related Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Mitral valve prolapse (as an overlapping condition)
♦ Rapid, fluttery, irregular heartbeat
♦ Pain that mimics heart attack, frequently from costochondritis (as an overlapping condition)


I've had a heart murmur for my entire life. There was a time they told my parents I outgrew it, but quite obviously I did not. Hasn't been much of a problem and it never kept me out of gym class.


Skin, Hair & Nail-Related Fibromyalgia Symptoms

♦ Pronounced nail ridges
♦ Nails that curve under
♦ Mottled skin
♦ Bruising or scaring easily
♦ Hair loss (temporary)
♦ Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions.



All I've had from this group is bruising and ugly scarring. And if you've read this blog from the very beginning, then you'd know that before I made it all about fibro, it was about the scar from my knee-replacement that I named Fronkensteen. And, I've had adhesions related to that knee-replacement. Five weeks after the TKR, I had to get a manipulation (MUA- manipulation under anesthesia). That's where they knock your ass out and bend your knee for you, breaking up the adhesions and such.

Well, there you go... I was going to do the same with the second link- the one about the pain. But this is plenty long enough. And you probably already fell asleep. It took me forever to write this one. Mostly because I had to keep stopping to copy/paste and listen to my son tell stories. He'll be twenty years old next month and he still tells me stories like a five year old.

You know what I'm talking about- the story starts out with: "And that's when dinosaurs walked on earth..." and it ends "fifteen minutes ago..."

Thanks for reading. I hope this helped you in identifying some of your or your loved ones' problems with fibrofuckingmyalgia. And like I said in the title, way up there, way, way up there at the top- you're never too old to learn things.

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