Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Information Overload

My brain is all fried from all the FM research I did today. So in order to empty said brain, I shall now pass all of the information I acquired along to you. Then I'm going to think about something else.

This is just how girls are, you know. They have to talk stuff out. You know how men go into their cave to think stuff through? Well, this blog is my cave. Welcome, Honored Cave Guest. Come sit criss-cross-apple-sauce with me by open flame and smoke long pipe of deep thought.


Here are my symptoms.

First of all, Jeff and I, in our own little home consultation, examined me for tender points. I have 15 of 18, if we were feeling around on the right tendon/joint areas. (One site gave explicit instructions - I think for doctors - about where to feel around, and we followed them.)

Secondly, I learned that FM is not a psychological disorder. It is neurological. The problem, as one scientist put it, is disordered sensory processing.

One of the main causes of FM is neurological damage. I had severe neurological damage 9 years ago when I contracted typhoid fever in The Philippines on a missions trip. My typhoid fever went completely untreated for 8 days, which allowed the darling little bacteria to run rampant through my body and wreak havoc on my nervous system. But that's another story.

It's also the most likely cause of my current condition.

That said, here is a charming, tidy little list of the symptoms I experience, sometimes on a daily basis. Some days are much worse than others, and some of the symptoms listed could be caused by anything, and some of them, like 'stiffness after being in one position for too long' make you ask, "Who DOESN'T have that?" But when you add them all up and dump them all on one body in one day, it can be a little daunting. I call those days 'tired days'. Jeff calls them 'trophy wife' days. In other words, all that is required of me is to sit around and look pretty. And Jeff says all I have to focus on is the sitting around part, because nothing could possibly keep me from looking pretty. (I know. He's amazing.) So without further ado, I give you...my symptoms:

Chronic widespread muscle pain in all areas of body
Deep tenderness, soreness, and flu-like aching
Widespread burning pain
Dull pain in muscles, tendons, and ligaments
Muscle spasms
Leg cramps
Restless legs syndrome
Severe fatigue
Overwhelming exhaustion
Decreased energy
The feeling that every drop of energy has been drained from the body
Poor sleep
Absence of deep, restful, restorative sleep
Constantly interrupted during sleep by bursts of awake-like brain activity
Waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
Stiffness upon waking
Stiffness after staying in one position for too long
Limited ability to function both mentally and physically
Difficulty remembering
Difficulty concentrating
Abdominal pain
Chest pain
Tension headaches
Migraine headaches
Jaw tenderness
Facial tenderness
Sensitivity to noise
Sensitivity to odors
Sensitivity to medications
Sensitivity to cold
Sensitivity to bright lights
Sensitivity to touch
Feeling anxious
Feeling depressed
Numbness in arms
Tingling in hands
Tingling in legs
Tingling in feet
Reduced tolerance for exercise
Prolonged muscle pain after exercise
Painful menstrual periods
Dry eyes
Ringing in the ears

Sounds like fun, eh? After I read that list to Jeff this morning, he immediately said, "You stay there. Can I get you anything?" What a champion. My knight. However, one of the recommended treatments is activity (not overexertion, mind you). Which means that if it's at all possible, I should get 'anything' for myself.

Here are some more recommended management strategies.

Avoid inactivity
Engage in regular, moderate, low-impact exercise
Avoid overexertion
Practice relaxation
Stretch every day
Spend time outside every day
Go for a long walk once a week
Eat healthy meals (lots of raw veggies and fruit varieties)
Drink lots of water
Limit caffeine intake
Take calcium supplements
Take a multivitamin
Avoid unnecessary fatigue (i.e. go to bed on time)
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
Sleep all night if possible
Weekly massage
Chiropractic care, if needed
Massage your hands/feet
Use hot water bottle/heating pad on painful areas
Ice inflamed tendons
Take a warm bath before bed
Avoid being cold or in drafty conditions
Plan for changes in the weather to be accompanied by 'bad days'
Plan for hormonal fluctuations to be accompanied by 'bad days'
Pace yourself - learn to say no to others
Have a consistent amount of activity from one day to the next
Do something you find enjoyable and fulfilling every day - like blogging :)
Take frequent vacation days - like a Sabbath rest
Avoid tension/stress
Think positively

There are also drugs, of course. And I'll get there, I'm sure. No worries. But for now, we have enough to think about. :)

There. I've purged. Thank you for listening. Now I'm going to go think about something else.