Sunday, May 2, 2010

Learning to Live with Pain - and not succeeding very well at it

I've dealt with a lot of physical pain like childbirth, getting a liver biopsy (have you SEEN one of those needles) and a gall bladder attack that was worse than childbirth. Chronic every day pain now that's another matter. I've had pain every single day for the past 5 years. At first it was just being really tired and neck and back pain. I got the name of a chiropractor and was told he didn't do "cracking" which I was grateful for. He did some electrical type work on my back, legs and neck which helped a lot.

I've gone to a chiropractor before and didn't have to go for long. This time around when I got done I would hurt about 2-3 days later, plus I was really tired. I got a memory foam pillow which is wonderful, but I was still tired and achy all over when I have had a full night's sleep.

I then went to a rheumatologist that diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and poly arthritis. I've learned to live with the overall pain with the help of antidepressants and 3 types of pain killers. Painkillers do NOT kill pain LOL. They make it manageable. You don't get "high" from pain medications, they help you get out of bed every day, even if to stumble to the couch. That's one thing I told myself when the pain gets bad - just get out of bed - or I'd never get out. Oh that's another help - we have a sleep number bed and it's great.

I've tried an infrared sauna which helped but getting there was a problem after a while. I've tried massage - the first time was great the second time was awful - I started cramping up! I was stressed to the max taking care of my mother-in-law. I'd like to try it again maybe twice a month. I've tried acupuncture and after 2 sessions a week for 3 weeks the last session hurt so bad I didn't go back, but the first few weeks were great.

I know the weather has a big effect on my pain. I live in Salem Oregon, and for someone with arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn't the best place to be. I know I need warmer, drier weather. I've been in warmer, drier weather down in Tucson Arizona and I felt a LOT better. I still had pain but it was the underlying pain I could live with and walk around with. I still got tired after hardly doing anything but my pain level was lower.

There are things that help me be more comfortable - my heating pad, soft blankets, socks. Biofreeze which comes in a roller form so no stinky mess on your hands LOL. A nice warm bath with some nice smelling bubble bath, bath salts. Our two dogs Curly and Kayonna who lay with me. Kayonna is good at knowing when I'm really hurting, but I don't recommend a chihuahua as a service dog LOL.

My husband Rich does understand my pain, even though sometimes I feel like I'm a burden or ask too much of him at times. He's brought me a fuzzy queen size blanket, socks, my favorite dark chocolate candy. He's also brought me tulips in beautiful colors so I can look at flowers when the weather is dark and rainy. He's brought me a lot of flowers LOL.

I am part of the Chronic Babe Blog Carnival and the question is - OK the question is - What's your laugh-out-loud illness-related experience? For me it was when I was diagnosed with fibro and the doc asked me about sleep - I wasn't getting any LOL. He gave me Tizanidine and said even though it's main purpose was for muscle spasms it was being used for fibro patients for sleep. First night I took it and a half hour later I was OUT. A little while later Rich said I wasn't in bed and wondered where I was. I was on the toilet - SOUND ASLEEP!


CiCi said...

Oh Gerri .. I had no idea you've been going through all this. But I must tell you..thanks for the laugh on the last paragraph of your post on fibro.
Asleep on the toilet is no laughing matter , but, it tells a story of how well the medication worked for you and that you were able to sleep. Thank God for good medicine.
I hope your nights and days are better soon!


Judith Westerfield said...

I've fallen asleep in lots of places but never the Toilet! I'm still smiling.
Judith Westerfield
P.S. I did a sleep study and I don't go into deep sleep. I started taking Mirapex and it's been like a miracle.
It seems to work wonders for some but nothing for others. I know it is helping me go into deep sleep as I don't have that bone weary exhaustion anymore.
There are studies that indicate that many (not all) fibro patient's brains don't manufacture enough dopamine (it's not Parkinsons) Mirapex is a dopamine enhancer. Just want to share for what it's worth.

Dana Marton said...

Well, all I can say is sleep is sleep is sleep! No, seriously, you're lucky to have such a wonderful hubby! I'm so sorry you have to go through all you're going through though!

Love and Blessings,

Dan said...

I love you and your sense of humor Gerri!

You're the best there is!!!!