Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I've Seen those Ads, You've Seen those Ads, We've ALL Seen those Ads...

You know the ones, where the woman (always a woman!) is in her business casual clothes complaining that she's got "chronic, widespread pain" and how her doctor told her that attached to those aching muscles are nerves that send messages to the brain.

Wow, lady, I took general science in the eighth grade too! If you haven't witnessed the impressive creativity that is a drug ad- and congratulations, welcome to the Internet- here's a YouTube video of one...



Did you see that? The graphic with the brightly-lit "nerves" is a "dramatization". You know, just in case you believed that's what nerves look like.



I can't take Lyrica. Mostly because when they had me on Gabapentin, I swelled up like a startled blowfish.

See? Yeah. I swear this is a totally real photo of me.



There are many drugs out there that are supposed to help with "chronic, widespread pain" also known as fibrofuckingmyalgia. And to get to a point where one helps with the "chronic, widespread pain" is a crapshoot. Some people get lucky and have certain drugs work for them and they need not seek out more. In my case, the muscle relaxers help me sleep, which usually helps me feel better. I also have the Vicodin for my nightly pain and any spontaneous daytime pain.

But I digress.

In those ads, the woman whinges about her "chronic, widespread pain"- and I don't blame her- but she grasps her shoulder and makes a small wincing face to show her discomfort. Let me tell you what fibrofuckingmyalgia makes me feel like today.

Today, my skin feels hot, but when I touch it, its cool and normal. Under my skin, I have the beginning itches of that "millions of tiny, hairy-legged spiders" thing I've complained about before. I'm hoping that it doesn't escalate because as I type this, I'm an hour from taking my Vicodin at its regularly scheduled nightly time. That hot-feeling skin thing, that's my muscles. They feel like they're being pulled to the point of burning pain. But it isn't really intense, more like an annoyance. The burning pain- you all should know what I'm talking about. You've done a task, be it on purpose or accidentally, where your muscles were overworked. Weight-lifting, bike-riding, carrying a toddler for any length of time. And you can't stop what you're doing, but you can feel your muscles burning.

That would be the lactic acid being released in your muscles. But imagine that feeling all the time. All the time. Right now, sitting here at this computer, typing on this keyboard, my arm muscles burn like I'm in the weight room screaming: "Feel the burn! FEEL THE BURN!!" Except I'm not. I'm sitting here at this computer, typing on this keyboard. There's nothing strenuous about what I'm doing.

This pain I'm having in my muscles, below that burning feeling, isn't a wince-inducing, shoulder-grasping thing. It is actually more like: "please don't touch me or I may have to rip your arm out of the socket and throw it because it hurts." The hoodie I'm wearing hurts my muscles. My clothing is hurting me. I'd be sitting here, at this computer, typing on this keyboard, stark naked if I could, but my computer desk is in the dining room and the dining room and living room are kind of open to each other. And I simply can't afford the therapy my kids would need after seeing their mother surfing on the Internet, while naked.

This chair hurts to sit in as well, but I haven't yet mastered the art of levitation, so there isn't much I can do about that.

I can feel every single muscle movement. Even the ones that are supposed to be unconscious- like breathing and blinking. When I blink, the skin and muscles around my eyes ache. When I breathe, the muscles and ligaments in my chest ache. I feel every muscle ache because my muscles feel like they're pulled to the limit.

Sometimes, when I feel that I can't take the pain much longer- or if the Vicodin is taking too long to take the edge off- I will purposefully press on one body part or flex a body part just so it will hurt more than the other body parts and I can forget about the "chronic, widespread pain" for a few minutes. This time of year is particularly rough because the weather seemingly changes daily and I've got almost nothing to distract me. In the Spring and Summer, I can lose myself for thirty minutes in photography. Then I can lose another hour, sometimes more, by editing the hundred photos I took in that thirty minutes.

I just tossed my hair out of my eyes and felt everything from my head down to my mid-chest burn and scream out a little. The hair is still mostly in my eyes. My "overactive nerves that send messages" don't look all sparkly like they do in that ad. Mine are angry and ugly, and look more like that guy from the toenail fungus ad.

Yeah, this guy.



So there you have it. How fibrofuckingmyalgia makes me feel. And this flareup has been going on for two straight days. And most of the time, I go through my days with that slight burning pain in my muscles. Those are "good days". Today is a moderate day. I didn't take any Vicodin, even though I wanted to. I did spend about an hour curled up under my fleece blankets in bed.

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