I am Ok… Just Ok

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Today was my first day in a new office, which can almost make it feel like a new job. We have been growing so fast that it’s been hard to keep up with all the space we need. We were crammed in a small office with just enough room for everyone, and one free desk. I had the biggest desk out of all of the Account Managers, and for that I was grateful. I needed the room for training new hires at my desk, as we had one small conference room between three departments and I was often booted for random reasons. Not the easiest to work around when I need to train, all the while Sales needs to do their up-training, and then Fulfillment needs to review tasks at hand. All of who need the conference room and the projector. So I was SOL off and on for the most part, as I was the smallest training group (usually only one or two people – My largest group was only 7). In the new office I have a smaller desk, but we have SO much more space. We have combined multiple departments from multiple locations that will benefit from being in the same building and put together the new office. The location is much closer to me, and overall a better place to be. Each department has their own training rooms, meeting rooms, and extra desks for growth. And by extra, I mean half the desks are empty. We are ready for growth! I am incredibly happy about this change!

blonde-woman-driving-carOn my way to work this morning I saw a silver Infinity, and the “Horse” came to mind. Usually when he crosses my mind (especially with a visual aid) I get a twinge of hurt and regret, however this time was different. As the car passed the one way stop I was at, I thought of his face. No hurt. No regret. I didn’t get the feeling in the pit of my stomach I used to get, and I didn’t get.. feelings. Nothing. None. If anything there was a lingering indifference. I thought about my time with him, and if I would want to do that again. No. I don’t. In fact, I would be fine if I never spoke to or saw him again. I would almost prefer that I never have interaction with him again. I know it is odd to linger on this feeling, but it honestly surprised me. I have had so much going on recently that he hadn’t crossed my mind in… well… possibly a few weeks. I have been focused on other aspects of my “roller-coaster” life, my heart in other places, and my mind pulled in a million directions. But not to him. Does this mean I am free? Does this mean it is over? I sure hope so!

Once I was settled in I realized that I lacked both coffee and food. I looked around the office since we were supposed to have a coffee maker in the new break room, but alas, there was no coffee. There is a soda machine that provides free drinks, an ice machine, and two HUGE empty break rooms. But no coffee. OH! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!?!? Settling for soda for my caffeine intake was a battle I could only blame on myself. I generally try to steer clear of the stuff, as sometimes it can make me stiff and sore. I opted in for a Gatorade and a bottle of water with the soda. Had to wash the gunk out of my system somehow. That was the closest I was going to get.

As my day went on, my body began to shake. I couldn’t decide if it was the sugars in the soda, the Gatorade, or what was going on. I chalked it up to the lack of food, and at lunch consumed a large amount of banana/apple/honey/raisin granola with pineapple and a bit of sugar free jello. My shakes went down and I figured they would eventually stop. I worked through all my daily tasks, stopping now and then to stretch my shaking hands. Every once in awhile I would notice the full body buzzing inside my skin, and eventually the ache that came with it. Two tylenol and a bunch of water. Try to prevent the aches before they require the harder pain meds that I try so hard to keep in case of a major flare. sitting-desk-woman I am only given 30 a month, and at times I require them three times a day. Today did not seem like a pain prescription day, so I carried on! Work chatter. Laughing. Chatting back and forth. Sending each other gifs of creepy faces. Clients. Audits. Work, work, work! My day went on without much of a hitch, but the buzzing inside never left. My hands shook slightly, and sometimes a lot, depending on how I held my arm. This was odd to me, as I didn’t have enough Dr Pepper to do this to my body. I drink HIGH amounts of caffeine on a regular basis, so having it give my body an uncomfortable buzzing feeling was just not possible. Then it hit me… Fibromyalgia. My ever lingering illness! Hiding just below the skin and waiting for the chance to remind me who is really in charge!

I often forget about some of the symptoms that don’t linger as often. This “buzz” or “tingle” is one of them that tends to come when I have high pain, so having it come without pain first is weird. My Dr recently started me on a new arthritis medication, so perhaps that is what is going on. Maybe it is helping with the pain, but the “buzz” from the fibro is still there. Lingering. HAUNTING. Being a pain in the ass, to put it bluntly. But what caused this buzz? I hadn’t done anything different, minus the lack of coffee replaced with soda in the morning. Once again, it hit me. We are in an new office, and the lighting, air, and all of the components of my day to day environment had changed. This can often set off a Fibro flare, and cause symptoms to arise. Sensitivity to the light change could even cause the ridiculous feeling I was having. Reviewing online I found that I was right in my assumptions. Now, just to cut in – I know that I have been like this for a few years, and I should know my symptoms by now, but it is so easy to assume or remember incorrectly. I like to double check my assumptions if I am not 100% sure I am correct. Sometimes my symptoms are a warning sign for something bigger coming, and sometimes just a reaction. I like to review and update myself on the differences, as it keeps it fresh in my mind. Never can be too careful when you have so many different things going on inside you.

Fibromyalgia2 Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of chronic widespread muscular pain, achiness, non-restorative sleep, and severe fatigue. The genetic component present in Fibromyalgia negatively affects the brain’s ability to process pain normally by altering the pain threshold. It is not uncommon to find hypersensitivity to touch, heat, cold, chemicals, light, sound, and smell. In Fibromyalgia this translates into pain. If genetically predisposed, a trigger usually occurs to initiate the disease. Subsequent triggering mechanisms such as accidents, trauma and or stress may increase symptoms. The good news is that Fibromyalgia is not fatal and can be controlled with proper diagnosis and a wellness regimen.

Yes, just a reminder that even changing offices can cause a flare. Isn’t it funny how I can be so pleased over such a positive change, all the while my body is throwing a mini tantrum? Where is the time out corner for my immune system? No fits allowed! I decided to just settle in and deal with my buzzing, plugging my headphones in and shutting out the world. The sounds of the more open office space may have even triggered this odd flare. There is a cooling vent directly above my desk, and I kept going back and forth between freezing and burning hot. No temperature control as well. Oh, body! You are such a delight! I sometimes forget the symptoms that I can get, and ones that others suffer through daily. Though I am in pain daily, I am also lucky to still be well enough to work. To even sometimes be able to plug in, take some tylenol, and shut out my pain. Others are not so lucky. Some of the symptoms that people suffer through daily are:

  • Sensitivity to medications and foods (often lactose intolerant)
  • Sensitivity to odors, sounds, and bright lights
  • Early morning stiffness
  • Tender points (see diagram)
  • Trouble finding words
  • Burning mouth or tongue
  • Decreased concentration and memory
  • (creating “Fibro Fog” read definition)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry eyes
  • Muscle cramping
  • Muscle weakness
  • Regional Muscle pain
  • Myofascial Pain disorder
  • Sensation of vibration
  • TMJ
  • Headaches
  • Generalized weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Sensory overload
  • Exhaustion after minimal exertion
  • Swollen extremities or sensation of swelling
  • Special instability and perceptual disturbances
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Irritable bladder syndrome
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Diminished stress tolerance (emotional and/or physical)
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Low Blood pressure

  temporary-bump-sign.ju.09 Though I suffer from over 90% of these symptoms, it could be SO much worse at the end of the day. After work I stopped at the grocery store to buy a bag of potatoes and a box of ramen noodles. (As requested from my teenager) I made it into the store, grabbed both items, zoomed through the self checkout and was back in my car within 5 minutes. As soon as I closed the car door I realized I was having an asthma attack and was shaking twice as bad as I had been all day. Grabbing for my inhaler, I leaned back and took it all in. Sweat poured down my face, though I had the windows open and a cool breeze whistled through the car, I was sweating. My hands were shaking and I felt incredibly weak. Getting the focus to drive the short few blocks to my house, shaking and sweating the whole way. Once home, I jumped out of the car and hurried myself into the house, telling the teenager she needed to retrieve the items from the car.

Here I am two hours later, still shaking, but now I am freezing. Covered in a blanket, blanket on my lap, shaking and freezing my ass off! My children in tank tops and shorts, the temperature the same 70 degree it always is, but I can’t stop shaking.

At the end of the day, today was actually pretty decent. Though I felt like my body has not been at rest at all, it has been so much worse before. I realized that my feelings for Horse have left. I have a good job with a nice new office, though Fibro flaring, I am sure it will pass. I have a home, and kids that love me. And as the Beatles say, “All you need is love..”, right?

I am ill. I am limited… but I am ok.

The More You Know… First Time With The Rheumy

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I finally saw a Rheumatologist last month, and I have to say that it was a bit different than I expected. I have heard of him before, as I happen to work with his son, and was excited to find that the recent switch of Insurance providers at my place of work allowed me to see him now. Prior to the switch I had been avoiding seeing a Rheumatologist due to the nearest one that took my insurance was an hour drive. I had been in basic denial of really needing to see one, and this just made it easier to justify. As my illness has progressed, and the fact that I have yet to recover from the bronchitis I happened to acquire in February, I knew I had to suck it up and actually see this through. It is better to know exactly what I am dealing with, or at least work on finding out more about my body. Maybe then I can get more answers about how to deal with this.

When I arrived, they were all incredibly polite and professional, but in a casual way. I was not handled with “kid gloves” like my physicians, and I wondered if it was due to the fact that they are used to dealing with the elderly. As much as people would like to think that the elderly are fragile, it is generally going to only be their exterior that has so many “soft spots”. I find the elderly to be quite entertaining, and much more friendly than the average person thinks. taking vitals I get along with people far beyond my years, which I chalk up to me being a young mom (Age 15 – So smart) and suffering through “elderly” diseases starting at 26. I had my vitals checked, and a quick exam which caught a temp of 99.9 – Which is my temp almost EVERY time I go to the Dr. I run an elevated temp daily, and had to tell her it was ok and normal for me. She seemed both amused and concerned that I was so nonchalant about a temp that generally implies some kind of virus. Autoimmune illnesses are fun. Sudden fatigue and constant fluctuation in temp. WAHOO!!

Since I had injured myself just a few days before, I was limping around with a colorful sock over my not so sexy bandaged ankle. This did not go unnoticed by my Rheumy, but he just laughed it off after I told him I got into a fight with a small rock, and the rock won. “I fought a rock and the rock won.” He introduced himself, and we started in with the casual conversation about my process it took to get to him. The wall I initially hit after eating lunch one day nearly three years ago. Being bed ridden for a solid week, and running a temp of 99.9 for three months straight, no break even with meds. The physician, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, gastroenterologist, the works. Surgeries, tests, missed work, symptoms, medications, MORE medications, MORE symptoms, etc. He sat and listened to all of my woes, and asked questions as I went. He went further and further into my history, asking questions I hadn’t even thought of. How many bones I broke, if I had ever been limited physically for any reason before I got sick, and other random things. Oddly enough, he made me realize that I had been systematic for YEARS before I even hit that wall, but I wrote it off as other issues. It easily could have been other issues, and wasn’t necessarily something to be alarmed about, but once it started to randomly cripple me I should have looked over my personal health history much deeper. Well, a little late for that but at least we are doing this now.

cos-01-young-woman-doctors-office-hospital-gown-de1 He left the room to allow me to change into to a hospital down, and when he returned started the exam. He checked some pain points in my arms, checked the movement of my joints, extremities, etc. He winced in certain places, letting him know the level of pain, but when he got to my back I couldn’t help by cry out when he pushed closer to the small of my back. I have a large area there that can get incredibly sore when I am having a flare. Still having symptoms from bronchitis and having a torn ligament in my ankle had caused this area to go haywire! He ended the exam short, and ordered quite a few xrays, ultrasounds and other tests. He told me that he can confirm the rheumatoid symptoms, as well as the fibromyalgia. He wanted to likely change my treatment, but wanted to wait until all the tests came back. He was concerned I might have some disc issues in my spine which could be causing the back pain. Then again, it could be fibro, but generally if it’s that I would have the severe pain across all my pain points and not just in the back. We would have to wait to find out, but in the meantime try to be nice to my body… and steer clear of small rocks. Who knows what might happen. LOL

Let’s fast forward to the follow up that occurred three weeks later. Wander in about 15 minutes early. Temp taken: Only 98.9 this time. Sweeeeeet. Not really having a flare up, as my ankle is mostly healed with just a few pains here and there. Bronchitis still hanging around, but mostly just an ugly cough and some breathing troubles. The weather here has been so flaky that I doubt I will be clear of this mess any time soon. This time I waited in the exam room for about 25 minutes, and I just assumed that he hadn’t really looked over my results yet. I had looked over them multiple times in my online interactive office. I read through my bloodwork, but my xrays and ultrasounds were not available to view. In my bloodwork there was indication of high inflammation, which I found weird because I was on Meloxicam. This is a high does of anti-inflammatory and should keep it under wraps, and definitely not outside of the safe zone. Then again, bodies like mine like to be assholes and do whatever they want, which includes getting inflamed for no REAL justified reason. Thanks, body.

Going over the xrays he showed me where I was having issues. Both hands have just begun to really feel the effects of the rheumatoid. Both pinky fingers and ring fingers have lost all joint space between the bones. The pain in my arms and hands can be accounted for there. Rheumatoid-arthritis-of-the-hands-X-ray-2354547 My thumb, pointer, and middle fingers are actually being effected by osteoarthritis, and are not really showing signs of ra yet. He showed me on both the xray and a chart what the differences were, and though at the time I could spot them with his guidance, I can’t tell the difference now. I am sure as time goes on and I monitor my TWO different kinds of arthritis I will learn to spot the differences on an xray. For now, I have been trying to practice on Google images and try to educate myself. As per my back, the discs are firmly in place, though I have a very strong arch. Most people have a mostly straight spine, with a few very natural curves like a very soft curved road. Mine on the other hand is mostly normal, until you get to the waist area. At that point my spine curves slightly right, in and then back out like a loose backwards C. You can see exactly where I broke my tail bone as a child, and really explains why I can’t get rid of my big butt. Apparently this isn’t an issue, as all my disks are still in place, but mixed with my DD breasts it can cause quite the back pain. However, not the back pain I am experiencing. That is ALL fibro, baby!

We went over pockets of fluids in my arms, knees, and other areas of concern. Shots that will get rid of them slowly, and medication changes that will also help. Changing from meloxicam over to generic Voltaren 75mg twice daily for the inflammation. He would like to steer clear of steroids for now, as I tend to have the worst reactions to medications. This one is going to be softer on my lower intestines, and should help with both the fibro and the arthritis. Once we addressed all my illness issues, he brought the xray of my neck to attention. Not only was my neck too straight, it actually curved in the wrong direction. The supporting ligaments had been damaged, and the disks between the bones were almost completely gone. The disc between the C7 and T1 was obliterated. Done for. Gone. He started asking me about accidents I may have been in… care wrecks, other things. I looked away like I was thinking, and kept telling him I had never been in an accident. He danced around the subject asking if I had ever taken a hard fall and hit my head, or anything else. I sighed and finally said, “I was in an abusive marriage.” We went on to talk about the blows to the head, the concussions, and other things that could have destroyed my neck the way it was. He apologized for pushing me to talk about it, but it was medically important to know what happened to cause the injury. He said based on my xrays he had assumed abuse, but did not want to push the subject in case he was wrong. I figured he saw the broken collar bone, and ribs. The issues that arose from being married to such a big man. We went over the treatment of heat every night, continue with my muscle relaxer but taking it nightly until we get the swelling down, and see what it does for me. h-UPSET-WOMAN-AND-DOCTOR-960x540 The new meds for the arthritis would help with my neck as well, but I will never be able to fix my neck without surgery. He closed the conversation with, “It is a good thing you divorced him, and such a shame that he left you with something to remember him by.”

After getting the shots in my arm, and almost FACE planting while getting out of the chair, I went back to work. The feeling of relief, pain, and hope was overwhelming. I kept thinking about how it is good to know what is going on, but upset that what I went through in my marriage really did destroy parts of me inside and out. Literally. Emotionally as well. I tried not to think about it, and just focus on what I was going to do with the new information. New treatment, new hope, and another appointment a month from now to follow up. I learned nothing new about my knees, but felt much more educated on my body in general. Now I know what is going on in the places that hurt, and I begun going through it in my mind.

Feet: Rheumatoid arthritis

Knees: Osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. No cartilage from damage. Fluid pockets. Inflammation.

Abdominal pain: Celiac, and ovarian cysts. Inflammation from both.

Back pain: Spine curve.. big boobs. Yay. No inflammation.

Neck pain: Damaged to the ligaments and discs. Little to no inflammation.

Shoulder and upper arm pains: Damage to the right from injury, fluid pockets and inflammation.

Elbows: Irritation from both the shoulders and the hands. No inflammation.

Hands: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation.

Jaw: TMJ. No inflammation. Possibly from Fibro.

Full body muscle/muskoskelital pain: Fibromyalgia

Stomach ache: Gastrointestinal damage.

Bleeding from anus: Colon and lower intestinal ulcers and internal hemorrhoids.

Going through all of my body, and my daily pains I was brought back to realize how miserable I really am. I often feel bad for being so inactive and feel so lazy! Being reminded that I actually am sick, and I really do need to rest myself until we figure this out. sick-in-bed I need to count my spoons and stick with them! Pushing myself only makes it worse, and can prevent me from actually doing the things I need to do for myself AND my family. People who end up with chronic illnesses are often left feeling guilty, and need to find a way to cope. We can’t help but watch others walk around, enjoying their bodies, and end up feeling both jealous and resentful. I tend to go back and forth from “I GOT THIS SHIT!” to the “What is wrong with me, why can’t I handle this?”. Though it may seem like such a bi-polar way to look at things I have come to realize that it really is natural, and I really will always be this way. Now, will I always be on the low side of my roller coaster? No. No way. Sometimes the roller coaster may even stop on a high point, and I will get to enjoy and consume the wonders of the world with a big grin on my face! But I am never going to get off this roller coaster. It is my life now, and it is what I have to deal with.

Getting more info on your illnesses are really both enlightening and pleasing, as well as hurtful and depressing. Knowing my hands are just going to get worse, and my body is going to slowly break down is not fun. Knowing how to slow the process, and take care of myself so I can handle and live with my disabilities is a good thing… but I don’t want to do it. I WILL, mind you, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to try new meds and have to learn and handle the side effects. I don’t want to have to remember that my headaches and neck pain are from a man I left a little less than 10 years ago, and that I will always deal with it. I can lessen the pain, and help with the inflammation, but it will never go away. Once again, told I am sick forever at age 29. Three years in. Single mother of 3 girls. Full time working mom. Sick. Forever.

Well… now I REALLY know, right? *sigh*

Rain…

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I used to love the rain so much! The sight, smell, feel, everything! In many ways I still do. It’s my favorite time to do photography. It’s still just as beautiful as ever! However, my body doesn’t seem to agree with me. It’s pouring rain outside today, and inside I’m writhing in pain. I’m sitting at my work station, headphones in so I can focus on my work, because the sound of other people speaking is aggravating me. It’s not them, per say, just that when you’re in this much pain even the littlest things piss you off.

rainingI wish I could be home! I really should be in bed, doped up and watching old Supernatural episodes… but I’m not. I can’t miss any more work until the end of June, unless it is prearranged and I have worked out make up hours with my boss. If I should miss time, I lose my insurance. As someone who relies on medication and Drs to function, I really should have insurance.

I have taken half off the last oxycodone I have, and am waiting for a call from my Dr to refill my tramadol. I’m nearing tears, but I’m holding it together. I am still coughing and recovering from bronchitis, and emotionally drained from the dramatic break up week with “Rain”. My youngest is with her dad this week, as my sitter ended her services on Monday and I can’t start her at a new place until next week. I’m broke, tired, sick, and sad. Another down in my lovely rollercoaster life. How far will this drop be? How far up will my next recovery go? When do I get sunshine?

How long is it going to rain?