Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Posts tagged ‘chronic illness’

Let’s Own It

Here’s to all of you with chronic illnesses and conditions! During this latest flare (Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Piriformis Syndrome, IBS-C) plus additional infections (bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection), I looked at myself in the mirror and simply said:

“I am going to make sick look good!”

My chronic conditions have taken enough! I will embrace my “new” fragile self and continue to thank God every day for his strength and courage to allow Him to be seen through my weaknesses.

Hope

It feels like an eternity since I have written a health update!

Again, I must express my gratitude for my pain pump!  It is the reason that my Pain Specialist has been able to determine that I have Sciatica (both left and right side)…. Sacroiliac (right side)…and now Piriformis Syndrome.

A week from Monday, I will receive another injection to calm the Piriformis.  We are working towards improved function of my right leg.  I am sure many of you have dealt with the Sciatic nerve(s) acting up: burning, numbness, tingling, throbbing, stabbing, muscle spasms, etc.  My right leg from buttock to the tip of my big toe has been experiencing these symptoms along with being unresponsive at times –foot will drag or leg will not move when I tell it to.

The issues with my right leg have been a big problem for years now.  I had come to accept this as just one more thing to learn to live with…yet now more layers to my medical conditions have been uncovered.  There should actually be improvement to movement!

Backwards

Chronic conditions take such a toll…stretching us to our breaking point…like a tennis ball on an elastic cord…we are tossed about without rhyme or reason.

We are bombarded by new or worsening symptoms…as we start a medication, deal with interactions between medications, struggle with adjustments to our prescription(s).

Add new diagnoses that further complicate our all ready complex situations…we truly push our medical teams…as they are thrust into the unknown.

The inevitable “Flares” that strike…some we know are coming due to choices we make (like going out to lunch with a friend…attending Parent Night to meet our son’s teachers…a simple short ride in the rig)…others strike for no apparent reason…forcing us to cancel plans…to retreat to the safety of our homes.

It is no wonder that we often feel that we are going backwards…despite our best efforts.

Yet I caught a glimpse of something precious when I paused with my eyes closed…in that short time, I took time to review the past few weeks…months…and saw progress!

I am speaking of those little changes…sitting through a rented movie –actually being able to focus and watch it…no recent falls…sleeping in a four hour block at night.

Take heart! Even when we feel like we are going backwards rather than forwards, we are progressing.

Another Tangent

As if our body’s aren’t under enough stress with our hidden illnesses and conditions, there always seems that more gets added to our plate!

I have been absent in dealing with “new” pain affecting my lower back and both legs. Results of the MRI showed Herniated discs (L4 and L5, S1 and S2) and arthritis in same area. So yes, definitely Sciatica.

I will go in for steroid injections next Wednesday. I do hope they provide relief. It would be SO nice to go back to my “usual” pain!

A Glimpse of the Unseen

Chronic illness and pain often leaves us feeling like we are driving a hazardous road in the blackest of nights in blinding snow.

I hear the tumultuous waves crashing nearby. My knuckles are white as I clinch the steering wheel ever tighter.

My body is overwhelmed, yet again, with increased stabbing pain and extremely overly sensitive skin…I am counting hours to my appointment tomorrow. A much needed refill to my pain pump and discussion of my latest MRI.

In the early morning hours, as I laid in bed feeling the pain ramping up, I prayed for a touch of relief…tears could not help but fall. I was granted a little more than an hour’s fitful sleep during which I was given an awesome dream.

I dreamt that I was clinging as tightly as I could to a rock as a storm raged around me…pounding pain, large hail stones striking exposed skin, winds whipping and tearing around me…every pore seemed to be screaming as the pain within was rising to the symphony around me. Then I opened my eyes to see that I was clinging to Jesus, his back taking the brunt of the forces.

I awoke with a renewed sense of hope…looking forward to tomorrow’s appointment…knowing that I am truly not alone…that my prayers are being heard.

Entering a New Reality

I was right when I thought this would be the hardest step in my new reality. I am referring to coming off of Cymbalta as part of clearing my body and having the pain pump take over.

We are very close to having the pump dialed in; this next adjustment may be the last one needed. I know the conversation with my pain specialist will be an interesting one as we discuss how my body is reacting.

Now for the truth of the reality of coming off of Cymbalta. I have described this as the most difficult step…at least I had anticipated it to be. Know that words cannot describe the intensity of the symptoms. The intensity of the brain fog is greatly amplified as well making thought and speech a huge frustration!  It is so hard to focus to interact with others…the wrong words are constantly used…don’t even think about driving.

Just a handful of the symptoms that have been exaggerated by the process: Brain Fog, burning, electric shocks, numbness, difficulty walking (legs do not obey), falling (or near-falling), nausea, abdominal cramping, IBS-D flaring, throbbing pains all over, stabbing sensations all over, tinnitus, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, irritability, skin sensitivity to touch…

I have found that normal distractions or other tactics we use to help ignore symptoms do not work. It is truly a day-to-day battle to not lose my sanity! Even with all the questions we had asked and the additional research done on-line, I was truly not prepared for the amount of energy this process would take.

I am praying throughout the day and night for help make it through this step. There is light at the end of this I know. It will be such a relief in the months ahead having this medication cleared out of my body!

Thankfully today I have a break from the electric shocks and nausea…the balance of my symptoms are doing their best to make up for those that are not present!

Just remember, if you are considering coming off a medication like Cymbalta, take the time to research, to speak with your medical team, to share information with your spouse and children…then buckle up for a hellacious ride!

Living “With” Fibromyalgia

Receiving the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia often takes a long time.  Every other illness/condition must be ruled out, or added to, our list of diagnoses.  After all, Fibro is rarely a lone diagnosis; it can be the primary or secondary, irregardless, the diagnosis of Fibro is a life changing event.

There are many ways that those with Fibro are treated…antidepressants, pain medications, alternative therapies (like acupuncture), chiropractic care, etc.  Some of us have extremely hypersensitive systems that greatly restrict what our medical team can prescribe or do for us.

Fibro does not manifest itself the same in each person; it can range from a slight inconvenience to overwhelming…meaning some can manage Fibro and continue with a normal life, whereas others are forced to quite jobs and become homebound.

There are 100 symptoms of Fibro.  Just as some people experience a handful of symptoms, others experience 25 – 50,  and still others will experience close to, if not reaching, all 100!  These symptoms do not hit all at once…the symptoms of Fibro can change on a daily, weekly, sometimes hourly basis.

When diagnosed with Fibro, we often fight our condition.  It is a challenge to learn how to deal with the symptoms, that can be overwhelming….fatigue, burning, numbness, tingling, brain fog, headache, stabbing, throbbing, cramping, muscle weakness, etc.

It also takes time to truly understand that Fibro is a condition that will not go away…there is no cure…the symptoms can improve and then flare at any given time.  Sometimes we can understand what we did to cause a flare, other times we can not make any sense of it.

We do eventually come to terms with our condition.  We learn to live with Fibro.  We accept the life changes it has forced us to make…we learn how to limit our activity and maximize rest in order to minimize our symptoms.  We see that we our definition of living has changed to adapt to our condition.

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