Thursday, June 7, 2012
Drawing a blank...Oh, I know...I'll tell my Story!!
Over the past couple weeks, the thought has crossed my mind as to what the heck I was thinking when I decided I would start a blog and share my life with people...and actually be able to keep them interested and intrigued by me and my life - as it realtes to my fibromyalgia. I figured I could blog on my bad days about what is bothering me, and on my good days post the yummy things me and my husband decide to cook up in our kitchen or on our grill...but beyond that, what else can I possibly write about that people will want to read!?!? Oh, and not to mention, I've never really considered myself to be much of a writer...that's evident from my childhood diary and journal...they're kinda sad interpretations of what my day was like - and of course they skip a year at a time between entries. So, I am deciding, and posting it for all to read, that I'm going to do my best to just "keep it real" and be honest about life with Fibromyalgia, post interesting info when I see it or read it, and of course I'll keep posting recipes as I make them!
So, here's a little about myself...I was born and raised in Minnesota - small town life was where I grew up. I was a pretty active kid - I liked to run around outside and play with my friends. In junior high and high school I was in a number of activities and sports. I went on to college right after high school and loved every minute of being at Winona State University - I may be biased, but I think it's the best school ever!! Anyways, time flew by there and I was soon spit out into the "real world." I didn't realize that there was anything "wrong" with me until I was well into my later 20's. I thought the pain I felt and the fatigue that could hit me like a brick wall were "normal" and that everyone had those issues...
I didn't start to realize there was something wrong until the summer of 2009, stress from work had gotten so bad that I wasn't sleeping at night, which in turn made my fibro symptoms flare up, which just perpetuated the cycle of lack of sleep and painful days - which of course caused the stress to become even worse. I started by entering my random and seemingly unrelated symptoms into WebMD - yup, that awful online doctor that flesh and blood doctors despise...but it lead me to the conclusion that I wasn't crazy, and that there was something wrong with me, which in turn meant - there is a way to treat and manage these symptoms!! YAY!! There was a light at the end of my tunnel!
I finally convinced myself that I needed to go in and see a doctor about these symptoms and see what he/she could come up with to help. I called my clinic and told the appointment person that I wanted to see a doctor about my symptoms and that I think I have Fibromyalgia, she scheduled me with an internal medicine doctor. So, I went to my appointment as scheduled and started talking to the doctor and telling her my symptoms. She then did the trigger point test (anyone with Fibro is familiar with that); but she barely touched me (literally), so her immediate conclusion was that there was no way it could be Fibromyalgia, that I must have arthritis and/or a sleep problem. So, she sent me to the lab for blood work and a sleep study for my sleeping problem. Both came back negative - no problems there. I went back in to this doc and she basically told me there was nothing wrong with me, that I don't have fibromyalgia and that I'm just going to have to deal with it.
I refused to accept that...it was a couple months later when I had an appointment with my OBGYN for a regular yearly check up that I mentioned something to her and asked if she knows any docs in their clinic system that is familiar with diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, and she referred me to a rhuematologist. I have to say, that referral was the best I could have gotten. I quickly scheduled the appointment and when I went in to see the Rheumatologist, I didn't even get through my entire list of symptoms before he said that he was pretty sure I had fibromyalgia, but he needed to run some blood work to rule out anything else. After the lab assistant took about 6 vials of my blood, they ran just about any and every test known to man that related to an autoimmune disease and all came back negative. So, here I am, diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. When I first started talking about it, people would say how sorry they were to hear the news...but I was THRILLED!! Okay, not necessarily thrilled, but excited to have an answer - and to know that I didn't have anything that was damaging my joints, my nerves or any other part of my body - AND, I now had an answer and could figure out how to manage it!!
So now I had a mission...to find out a way to lessen my symptoms so I can live as FULL a LIFE as I had always dreamed of. On one of my follow up visits to my Rheumatologist, I asked him what he sees as the best way to manage symptoms. He said that his most successful patients learn to manage their symptoms through lifestyle and diet changes, the ones who manage with little or no prescription medications seems to live the fullest life. I made a decision that day, that I would be one of "those" patients then!
I went completely gluten-free the end of August 2010 and haven't regretted or turned back! I noticed within a week or two that my pain and fatigue had greatly diminished; however, I did notice when I ate something I didn't realize had gluten in it, my symptoms would come blazing back almost immediately. I have lived and grocery shopped now for almost three years buying one set of food for me and another for my husband. It can be a bit more costly, but the benefits far exceed the monetary cost! Now don't get me wrong, I do still take 1/3 my prescribed dosage of gabapentin as well as a small dosage of muscle relaxers to help me get to sleep and stay asleep at night, and I would go without those if I could, but I do still need the small bit of help at night.
Well..that gets us to where we are today. I am LIVING my life with my wonderful (and amazingly understandable) husband, working full-time during the week in the receivables department of a law firm, running a small photo booth rental business on the side, spending as much time as I can with family and friends and still managing to stay sane and keep my symptoms to a minimum. I am so amazingly blessed to have family and friends who understand and accept my limitations and go out of their way to support me and the lifestyle changes I've made to manage my symptoms. I pray for each and every one of you that you have people surrounding you who are equally supportive!
God Bless Each and Every One of You!