Thursday, February 19, 2015

And then I had to go and try to change things...

So, I found that wonderful sweet spot in the medicine cocktail I take for my fibro. I had a long stretch of feelin' good and doing stuff and baking things and photographing people and being a human and all that neat stuff you guys do all the time like you're Superman or something.

And I thought to myself: "Self, the whole point to you finding a fibro treatment that works is so you can stop taking so much pain medicine."

And like I dumbass, I replied: "You know, Self, you're right! Let's fuck some shit up like the dumbass we are, because I hate feeling good enough to live life like a goddamn human!!"

So, I decided that since I was feeling so good, I could cut back on the amount of muscle relaxers I was taking.

Just a reminder, here is what I have been taking for the fibro- the "sweet spot" I referred to in the first sentence- One 10 mg muscle relaxer between 530 and 6 AM, two 5/325 Hydrocodone tablets between 10 and 11 AM, three 5/325 Hydrocodone tablets between 6 and 630 PM, and two more muscle relaxers and the generic Cymbalta between 7 and 730 PM.

This is just the pain meds. This doesn't include all the "stay-alive" pills
I take in the morning after my first muscle relaxer.

My first step was to take only ONE muscle relaxer at night. I still fell asleep that night, I still slept, and I still woke up. Except I didn't sleep good. I woke up at least twice. But hey, it was one night and this is winter (our weather is unpredictable). So, I took only one muscle relaxer a second night. (this is along with everything else- I just cut back a single 10 mg tablet of muscle relaxer).

I woke up the next day with my arms, shoulders, neck, and hands so sore and so stiff that I could barely move. I said "Fuck this shit" and took two muscle relaxers at night and damned if I didn't feel better the next morning. Not 100% better, but significantly better.

So, what I can garner from my absolutely unscientific shot in the dark experiment is- Don't fuck with a good thing. If it ain't broke, stop fucking with the ain't-broke thing, you stupid, stupid human. It took me another two days before I felt better. And I still don't feel as good as I felt before I tried to fuck with things. My hands are still a bit sore and yesterday, my right elbow and wrist were so sore that I couldn't fully straighten or bend my arm. I walked around with one arm crooked slightly, like the worst C3P0 cosplay in the history of terrible cosplays. When I woke up this morning, my elbow didn't hurt at all.

I'm not going to mess with any doses of my fibro cocktail until it stops working for me. And then I'll talk to my doctor first. Because I'm a stupid, stupid human.

And to end on a much prettier and less-stupid note, I took a bunch of macro photos the other day. My son gave me a batch of tulips for Valentine's Day (and also some chocolate, because I have a good son). So, I took them over to the window, spritzed them with a water bottle, and snapped a few shots. The purple flowers are from a hyacinth I picked up at the grocery store a week or so before Valentine's Day.  Click on any photo to go to the Flickr album...

Valentine's Day tulips

Valentine's Day tulips

Valentine's Day tulips

Valentine's Day tulips

Valentine's Day tulips

Valentine's Day tulips

Hyacinth from the grocery store

Hyacinth from the grocery store

Hyacinth from the grocery store

Hyacinth from the grocery store

Hyacinth from the grocery store

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Some good news and maybe some weird shi- news...

First of all, the new medicine still seems to be working out. My bad days are becoming random and not predictable (as in- "not every day"). Any recent flareups have been related to the completely random weather we've been having (warm, then cold, then warm and snowy, then cold and clear, then and then and then...) So, we can call generic Cymbalta some kind of success.

Now for the weird shit...

For a long time now- and I'm not even sure how long because I haven't been keeping track- the palm of my right hand has been itching. Like severely itching. Not the skin- it isn't on the surface. It feels like something furry and angry and maybe a little bored is trying to wriggle out from under the skin. It's almost dead center in my palm. And nothing helps. Scratching just creates an irritation on my skin. Ice makes it settle a little, but mostly it just makes my hand cold (and then causes the Raynaud's to pop up). I've tried Old Wive's tails (rubbing it against wood- not that kind of wood, though I suspect if I did that, it'd distract me enough from the itching) and I've tried rubbing it against money (the Disabled Guy's family is overflowing with ridiculous superstitions).

So, I finally did a Google search to see if it was maybe related to the medicine. It is not. But the funniest thing to me was on the list of possibilities that apply to me- the two choices: Cirrhosis or a nerve issue related to carpal tunnel and/or fibro. I laughed for far too long about that Grand Canyon-esque leap of extremes.

Now, I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV, but I'm going to say right now that I'm not dying of liver failure and the itching is related to the nerve issue. (which makes sense, because it is almost always in my right palm and very rarely in my left- or even both at the same time. And my right hand has more carpal tunnel issues than my left because I'm right-handed). And, it's also one of those casual "mention it to your doctor at your next visit" things, unless it accompanies other shit that I don't have.

AND this... the generic Cymbalta for fibro... it turns out, that it may cause a drop in the body's sodium levels. I noticed that I wasn't swelling up as much as I have been (remember the flipper foot?). My cheekbones returned a bit and my clothes were fitting better. I didn't think anything of all that, other than I was feeling better, so my edema wasn't as bothersome. A couple weeks ago, I started to get dizzy and just sort of gross-feeling. Not sick, just not right. I decided to look up the side effects of the new medicine, to make sure I was just having normal shit going on, because I've been on it a few months. And, it turns out that it can cause Hyponatremia. If you don't feel like clicking the link, basically, that's abnormally low sodium in the body. Because we need some sodium to live.

I've been on a sodium-watchful diet since I was in my mid-20s. (technically, since I was 16, because my dad had his first heart attack then and my mom switched the entire household to a heart-healthy diet). When I was 26, my doctor told me I had high blood pressure and to go on a low sodium diet to help it. I tried and it did help- but in my late 20s, I couldn't fake them out anymore. So, along came the BP medication and the sodium-watchful diet. I call it "sodium watchful" because we eat pizza and such occasionally and people who are on an actual low sodium diet wouldn't do that. But, I do watch my sodium intake. Plus, I take water pills for the edema (Hydrochlorothyazadide). That would explain why I feel better for four or five hours after lunch during my day. My cereal for breakfast has almost no sodium in it. But, my lunch does.

I went on a bit of a sodium binge late last week into the weekend. I giddily ate potato chips and beef jerky because SODIUM! I simultaneously felt better and crappy at the same time. Anyway, now I know what a shark feels like when it swims too far into a river and loses the salt balances in its body. At least in my case, I can have a snack bag of barbecue potato chips and feel better. A shark has to eat a few people and then get hunted down by humans.

AND FINALLY... On Saturday last (as in, last Saturday, January 31st), I went to my first-ever Military History Fest. This guy has been nagging me to go (okay, so he asked me twice over the course of two years). I was going to go last year, but it snowed through the night and I didn't think it was safe to drive that far into unfamiliar territory. Well, this year, it started snowing at the end of the day, as I turned onto my street on my way home. As for "unfamiliar territory", the drive was literally an hour of I-90 and maybe a half hour of a couple small towns to the west of I-90. What I'm saying is, I've gone a lot farther down I-90 into Chicago and back again in worse weather... so I probably could have gone last year.

The big deal about that is that the VA has started regulating my Hydrocodone refills and now I get just enough to get me through a month. I didn't have any extra to take during the day over the weekend. I did all day at Military History Fest without pain meds. And the only problem I had the entire time was the pain in my foot. (my left foot, which will not win me an Oscar). And, I had a blast seeing the folks from GSM-Bristol and the Guilde of St George because everyone was so relaxed and not totally in character like they have to be at Bristol. I was in boring, normal clothes, but next year, I'll wear my (historically-inaccurate) garb so I fit in a slight bit more. I mean, I rocked my blue jeans, Wonder Woman T-shirt, and my metallic Docs, but I'd have felt less obvious in my garb.
(here's my 365 from that day). I sat through two panels, one about brewing beer and beerlike products and another about sewing. I learned a few things, but most notably, modern beer is for wusses because old-time-y beer (or, "olde-time-y") had way, way more alcohol content.

So, things are looking good. And I'm very optimistic about this year's faire season. We have approximately 99 days till the Janesville Faire. We've got about 155 days till Bristol. Bring it on. BRING IT ON!!

Instead of flooding this post with photos- like I'd normally do- I will just share the link to the album because you sort of have to see ALL the photos.  (this is just the photos of GSM, I haven't uploaded all the photos to Flickr yet).

~~GSM-Bristol in Shenanigans Through Time~~

And, I did a short video... I think you'll enjoy it. (I even tried to close-caption it). This video shows just how awesome the folks from GSM-Bristol really are. And the other group in the video is called 20th Century Marines (that's the link to their Facebook page).