chronic illness

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Well…if there is such a thing. I’ve been doing more research on fibromyalgia since its seems to still be plaguing me after surgery. We’ve three different medications so far to no avail so I’m trying to gather a “game plan” for when I meet with my rheumotologist on August 6. Luckily, I have found a wonderful group of individuals on facebook with a variety of chronic illnesses who offer information and support. The group is called “but you don’t look sick.” The creator of the group is also the writer of the “spoon theory.” So as I was searching through different information I came across this list of fibromyalgia symptoms:

People with fibromyalgia can have any combination of the following, and to varying degrees of severity:
General Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events
Other family members with FMS Sweats
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Cravings for carbohydrate and chocolate
Headaches & migraines
Muscle & Tissues Morning stiffness
Muscle twitches
Diffuse swelling
Fibrocystic (lumpy, tender) breasts (as an overlapping condition)

Sinus & Allergy Related
Post nasal drip
Runny nose
Mold & yeast sensitivity
Shortness of breath
Earaches & itchy ears
Ringing ears (tinitis)
Thick secretions

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

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

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

Cognitive (fibrofog)
Difficulty speaking known words
Directional disorientation
Loss of ability to distinguish some shades of colors
Short-term memory impairment
Trouble concentrating
Staring into space before brain “kicks in”
Inability to recognize familiar surroundings

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

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

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

Skin & Nails
Pronounced nail ridges
Nails that curve under
Mottled skin
Bruise or scar easily
Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions)

(Sources: 2004 Devin J. Starlanyl. All rights reserved. “Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) For Doctors and Other Health Care Providers.” )

Geez, as long as this list is you would think everyone would be diagnosed with Fibro!! But I can say that after looking at some of these items I do feel less crazy. For example, I often have the “sleep starts” or falling sensations and end up jerking away (and usually hitting John in the process). And I could never get any of my doctors to answer why this happens. Or I sometimes have difficulty with my words which makes me feel incredibly stupid. Like last semester in my Hebrew class I knew how to pronounce a word and could hear it in my head but I could not for the life of me get it to come out of my mouth! My professor and classmates probably thought I was an idiot but it was so incredibly frustrating. I can honestly say that I experience all of the symptoms listed here….well, except for the “mottled skin”…I’m not really sure what that is. Its great that they can associate all of these to FM but why can they not figure out how to stop the symptoms from impeding on life so much? Maybe soon.

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