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Archive for the ‘FMS’ Category

I have a cold. My throat is really sore and goopy and I am wiped and achy. The sore throat started Monday evening. I only arrived home Friday evening. I swear, the moment I saw my chidren they must have infected me.

Both Maya and Asher were home Monday for supposed illness, but they got awfully perky and annoying and I regretted letting them stay home. The next day, Maya was fine and Asher was much worse. He stayed home again and acted as a sick child should, lying around like a blob and sleeping a lot. The two of us crawled into my bed an snoozed away a good part of the day. Now he’s back to his old self and I still feel like crap.

Part of the crappy feeling might be that I am officially painkiller-free. I’d like to say I am drug-free, but they have me on a great pile of other things, so I can’t. Anyway, I kept forgetting to take the painkiller on time the last few days and didn’t notice much of a difference, so my last dose wore off at around 1 am and I haven’t taken any since. It might not sound like a lot of time to you, but to me it is huge. I haven’t gone this long without taking those stupid narcotics since the doctor put me on them, several years ago.

My goal in getting off the heavy stuff was to avoid withdrawal as much as possible. I have experienced it several times (when I would forget to take my pills on time for some reason and a couple times in the hospital when they messed up my dosing) and it sucks in a very big way. I had a big argument in the hospital with J over this, as he wanted me to go cold turkey and get it over with. I kept saying, “I’m not going through withdrawal. I’m weaning slowly,” like a broken record, or possibly a stubborn child. The pharmacist came up to talk about it and said both our arguments had merit and I told her, “But I’m the patient and he isn’t and I’m not going through withdrawal.” I already have enough shit to deal with.

I think he secretly thought I would drag my feet at the end, that the closer I got, the slower I’d go. He underestimated my will to be free of this stuff.

So I am happy to report no withdrawal symptoms so far, just crappy FMS ones. I love spring (who doesn’t?) but it is hell on my body. I think I’ll take a nice little nap.  

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Speaking of matters of the colon (Alan, thank you so much for your illuminating contribution to the topic!), I should mention that I appear to have found a sure-fire solution to constipation.

Here we go into the realm of too much information, so brace yourselves – as I’ve whined about before, I have Fibromyalgia (FMS) and take heavy duty drugs for the pain (I’m still slowly weaning, but am still on them). Those drugs can cause constipation as a side effect. And I have IBS, making it worse. Basically, my guts have been on strike for a long time. I tried fiber and more fiber and lots of water. When my doctor told me to walk, I walked half an hour a day, to no effect.

But a couple of months ago, I started really walking, beetling around the dog park with Jasper for an hour to an hour and a half virtually every day. Nothing stops me – rain, snow, my own screaming muscles. And I realized a couple of weeks ago, about a month after I began really walking seriously that, well, the situation had resolved itself.

So, for those of you who suffer from the same concerns, skip the expensive, yucky drinks and go for a walk – a long, fast walk. Then do it tomorrow. Then the next day. Don’t stop and you’ll be amazed.

Maybe I should make up some harmless powder and sell it in a big jar with instructions to take every day with lots of water, then stipulate that it won’t work unless the person taking it walks briskly for an hour a day. Do that and it’ll kick right in and cure your constipation problems! I could be rich, rich!

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I’ve been getting some strange search strings lately, or just some plain dumb ones. I wish I could answer them in retrospect. Like to the person who googled, “pain in tooth that was just filled.” Honey, it is going to hurt for a little while. It just got drilled. It needs a chance to settle down. Don’t worry about it. Take Advil. That stuff is great for dental pain.

Someone else googled ‘smartest dog ever.’ Fortunately, this time coming to my site gave them the answer they are looking for right away: my dog.

Some wants ‘real life people who converted religions.’ I don’t quite get this. Real life people? As opposed to fictional? Because, frankly, it is way easier to come up with actual human beings than fictional ones. Maybe they meant us average joes rather than famous people like, uh, Sammy Davis Jr.

Some guy (I’ll assume it was a guy) wants ‘mom’s breasts.’ I can only guess he wants his own mom’s breasts, although how the internet is supposed to know who his mom is, I am not sure. But if he wanted someone else’s mom’s breasts, why didn’t he just search for ‘breasts’ alone?

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Even weirder than people who google their way to me is the stuff I manage to follow out, like the link to one FMS web page that talked about ‘colonix.’ Curious as to what this is, I googled it myself. Well! Apparently there really is no shame in the land of the internet.

I’ll save you the links, for the faint of heart. For those less faint, it shouldn’t be hard to find. Turns out that a lot of people are very worried about being constipated and so some guy (now lots of them) came up with a ‘cleansing system’ that requires lots of fiber, laxatives and herbal teas. You can juice and fast too, if you’d like. Of course, people have been doing this for centuries, but the twist one guy came up with is the idea that, thanks to our sluggish systems, bogged down by our unhealthy Western diet, our colons are becoming lined with a thick layer of something one of them coined ‘mucoid plaque’ – basically shit that just sticks around forever, releasing harmful toxins into our systems and making us sick.

That concept has a certain appeal. If you feel crappy, take this stuff and shit out all your illness. I might have even considered it had I not had that lovely barium enema last year to try to figure out what was up with me. Already chronically constipated, I had to drink this hideous, horrible laxative which basically has one on the can until you are shitting water. I was a bit concerned I wasn’t empty enough, as my body was more resistant to the laxative than it was supposed to be, so the techie kindly took some pictures to check and pronounce my guts pink and squeaky clean.

Here’s the thing about the colonix people – after they give themselves the runs for a while, they start to shit out weird stuff, ropey gross stuff. They are convinced this is the ‘mucoid plaque.’ But if anyone was likely to have such a thing in them it’d be me, and nothing of the sort showed up when I scrubbed my insides clean. Of course, I wasn’t using those expensive colonix things, which contain lots of fiber and clay and stuff that might possibly bond together in one’s guts and come out in a big lumpy pile and convince the gullible and vulnerable that they are ridding themselves of long-held toxic poop.

Here’s the weirdest part: there are many, many people out there – a whole sub-culture – who decided to ‘cleanse’ themselves and then blog about it. Every single day, they write down how many times they pooped, when and what the poop was like. And, best of all, they take pictures! Some of them have entire picture galleries devoted to the products of their butts! I have come across a lot of weird stuff on the internet, but this really ranks right up at the top.

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I swam. I yogaed. I walked the dog at a furious pace for at least an hour. Every day was something. Friday, I crashed. It rained, so I even got out of walking the dog.

Shauna asked if it would be better. Yeah, it’ll get better. Only it’ll take 6 months or so of having it feel worse. The entire time I was doing yoga, I had a running commentary in my brain (that I tried to squash it, since it seemed very un-yoga-like) that went like this: fuckthishurts, fuckthishurts, fuckthishurts.

The nice yoga lady, who knows I have Fibromyalgia Syndrome, told me to take it at my own pace and if it hurts, my body is telling me I’ve gone to far. Unfortunately, when you have FMS, your body frequently tells you that getting up in the morning is going too far, or braiding your hair, or walking up the stairs. You can’t listen to it. It lies. I didn’t tell her that. I just smiled and assured her I would listen to my lying body.

When you have FMS, you have to view exercise like physiotherapy. After J tore his calf muscle in the spring, his physiotherapist would massage the scar tissue, digging her way into it to break it up and telling him that the way he knew she was doing it right was by how much it hurt. That’s how it is. Exercise hurts. All of it. It hurts to do it and it hurts worse after you are done. People tell me about how invigorated they feel after they finish a workout. I just feel a sense of accomplishment from ignoring the pain for long enough to get the job done.

That sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s an accurate description. (If you can’t whine on your own blog, where can you whine?) As shitty as I’ve been feeling for a long time, I feel shittier now. The only saving grace is that I knew what I was getting into, and I know it can work.

When I was 21, unemployed and living with mommy and daddy, I began to exercise. I biked, which I loved for the speed and freedom, making it easier to ignore the pain (this time, I’m too far gone to get on a bike, but it’s almost winter anyway, so who cares). I biked for longer and longer, until I was gone for an hour or two every day. I also used their rowing machine in front of the TV, and did weight training with some small hand weights of my father’s.

What it added up to, at it’s peak, was about 2 hours of exercise a day. And, at some point, I realized that the pain wasn’t much there, and I slept through the night and I had energy. I’d kicked the FMS into remission. But it took being an unemployed bum at my parents’ house to give me the time and freedom to do it.

I went back to school for my Masters in Journalism and even though I did try to get to the gym, the school schedule was grueling and I was reveling in the revival of my social life. The exercise fell away and the beast returned. Now I’m 20 years older, fatter and in worse shape, so I think it’ll take longer to get there this time, but every study ever done on FMS had demonstrated that the only thing that reliably leads to improvement is exercise, and I have the personal precedent to back that up.

But, fuck, this hurts.

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Ow ow ow ow ow. Ow.

I exercised. Ow.

I’ve been walking, convincing myself that is exercise. It is, right? But it clearly isn’t cutting it, so now that all three kids are in school full time and I don’t have a full time job, it is time to ratchet up the exercise. Significantly.

My fibromyalgia is bad. Very bad. Washing and cutting up potatoes to boil causes extreme neck pain, for instance. This makes dinner difficult. Every little injury hurts for days, and I am only getting worse. I take 2 pills in the morning and 4 in the evening, and that isn’t counting the pain pills (which I am still slowing weaning off successfully, so at least that is going in the right direction). I feel like I keep propping myself up chemically while the foundation crumbles.

So, time to rebuild the foundation. I swam laps for half an hour this afternoon. I paused every 50 meters (2 pool lengths) to rest, could only do breast stroke and my shoulders and neck still complained (front crawl is completely unbearable) and pulled a calf muscle. All my muscles are screaming, which has tipped me off to how much walking wasn’t really exercise.

I’m going back Friday, then Monday, then Wednesday again. And I signed up for yoga Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will not quit this time, no matter what. And once my body stops screaming at me for all that, I will add weight training. This will not be pretty. The squeamish among you may want to avert your eyes.

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You know what I don’t get – how people manage to throw up photos so fast onto their blogs. Getting them the right size so that they don’t eat all my space takes time, and slows me down. I have two photos ready to go, except their pictures aren’t. Off to work on that.

Oh, and I also don’t get the point of having tags and categories. What’s the difference?

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 I realized this morning that since the piece I wrote on the overview of conversion isn’t actually going to be published until September, it wasn’t very smart of me to put it in my blog now. So I made it disappear. I’ll bring it back when it comes out in the paper. It isn’t like I have a massive readership here, but still, it seems unprofessional and I am sure the editor would not have been delighted.

And so, instead I will talk about me. Me, me, me!

I mentioned a while ago that I had decided to wean myself off the painkillers I’ve been on for my Fibromyalgia, so I thought I’d update that, since some people have actually asked.

It hasn’t been as awful as I feared. I’ve cut my dose in half at this point. Going down the first quarter of a dose was really easy, and I started to think it would be a snap and I’d have it done by the end of the summer, but then the next quarter took about 4 times as long. It wasn’t so much the traditional withdrawal symptoms that got to me, but my Restless Leg syndrome.

RLS is a bizarre annoyance, where one had an irresistible urge to move one’s legs. It sometimes affects other limbs, in my case, my right arm is the worst. My mother has it, one brother, and I’ve noticed poor Asher twitching his legs as he falls asleep lately, telling me, “I just need to move them.” The weirdness continues to another generation.

Anyway, RLS is worsted by some things, like pregnancy (it was awful) and – surprise! – opiate withdrawal. My arm makes me so crazy at times that I want to punch a wall. I twitch and wiggle it non-stop when it is bad, and then when it fades, I’m left with sore muscles from the constant movement. I have, at times, literally had my arm fling me into consciousness when I’m in bed at night.

But, other than that, it really hasn’t been too bad. I’m delighted to be taking so much less, and I can actually imagine doing this successfully now.

You know what I want to know, though? I want to know what opiates feel like to those not taking them for pain. I adjust my dose slightly depending on a full or empty stomach, or the degree of pain, and sometimes I overshoot a bit. When I do, I get a dull ache in my head and my skin itches. I dislike this. I get no sensation of feeling high and it certainly isn’t pleasant. I cannot imagine that those people taking stuff like Oxycontin for fun feel like this. But clearly, this stuff will never feel fun to me. Anyone out there want to fess up as to what feeling high on opiates feels like, just to satisfy my curiosity?

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Flaring

It is a warm, sunny May long weekend, which is when us south-eastern Canadian go gardening nuts. So far today I have planted my tomato plants, chives, asparagus, a new hunk of decorative grass and some woolly thyme. I have also moved a big hunk of not-so-decorative decorative grass from a primo garden spot to the garden equivalent table right by the bathrooms to make room for some pretty stuff like echinecea.

It sounds impressive, if you ignore the fact that it was only 3 tiny tomato plants and the chives and asparagus are about 2 inches high. The truth is, it is a pathetic showing for a gardener with a lovely day. My fibromyalgia is flaring. I am utterly fatigued. All The Time. Every muscle feels weak and overused and a 70-year-old man would beat me in a foot-race right now. I sit on the ground and plant for a bit, getting my kids to bring me soil and plants, then I go inside to lie down for a bit, then back out to the garden for a bit.

It’s pissing me off, I have to say, but I’m trying to be positive about it. At least it is a lovely day. At least the children like to help. At least no one is suggesting that I should be washing dishes or doing laundry instead of being outside on such a beautiful day (or, at least, no one in this house). At least I can still get out and garden a bit.

Okay, back to the dirt.

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