Thursday, December 6, 2012

Waiting for a Miracle

Yesterday I was bedridden from a bad flare. Fortunately, my husband didn't have a work conflict and was able to take the morning off to take care of our baby daughter.

After a decade of living with my chronic illness, I can usually predict a bad day and at least understand why my body is in revolt and agony. This one came at me from out of the blue. With the unseasonably warm and gorgeous weather we have been having, I can rule out that cause and it seems to be truly out of the blue.

This time of year with the holidays approaching, shopping trips to be done and all kinds of stress, there could be many ways that I would have over-extended myself. I haven't gotten started on anything. The holiday decorations are still in boxes, I haven't gotten a tree yet, if anything the pressure of my growing to-do list is the only stress I have. Even as I write both my legs are in agony. What is bothering me more than the pain, which I have grown accustomed to, is that there is nothing I can do except wait it out.

I've made the next available appointment with my neurologist. When I go into the pain clinic I will fill out the paperwork to indicate my recent treatment. On the form are boxes for what "alternative" treatments I have tried. I usually get to check all the boxes. Over the years I have tried everything. My diet is mostly organic, local, and over thought to absurdity. Once, I went gluten free for several weeks to see if I was part of a small percent for whom gluten triggered Fibromyalgia pain. In retrospect, it's a funny story. If you remove gluten from my diet I become incredibly hostile. It was PMS except worse for weeks, I would go into the kitchen, rummage through the cupboards pick up rice crackers and yell at my poor spouse about how much I hated anything made out of rice. My husband is half Indian and loves rice. It was a long, difficult month for him. Now we always keep cookies made from flour as part of our emergency rations.

For supplements I take calcium/magnesium to prevent migraines, vitamin D for a deficiency, prenatal out of habit, and B vitamins. When I have the occasional beer I make a bizarre version of a shandy: half beer and half lemon lime B vitamin fizzy drink. I think it's yummy. So I definately get to check the box that I take supplements to try and prevent my chronic pain.

I use wonderful buckwheat filled velvet things that I microwave to apply heat therapy. Sometimes they help to allieviate muscle pain, when they don't I stay nice and toasty. To make one at home, fill an old sock with rice then microwave. (a physical therapist told me that trick!)

This month I haven't tried any acupuncture. In part because it's the end of the year and my medical savings account ran out months ago. Also, I have found that for both massage and acupuncture the relief I get only lasts for hours not days. So while it is nice, I am often frustrated by it because if I drive to the appointment, by the time I get home, sometimes I will be back in the same condition as when I left the house.

During the years when fibromyalgia was still unrecognized by many doctors (I will never forget when Lyrica came out and a few friends called me to let me know that my disease had been cured because they saw an ad on television, bless them!) friends and family would share wonderful strange advice that they picked up from who-knows-where. My favorite example of this came from my step-mother-in-law. She is a public school teacher and had a colleague with Fibromyalgia. One evening after dinner she again told me I wasn't getting better because I didn't want to be better and described how the teacher she knew was getting great results eating a special ancient soup. In college a friend who was always trying the latest diet craze made me try the "cabbage soup" diet with her. We made a huge pot of vegetable soup which made her apartment smell like what I imagine old Russian women smell like, it tasted awful. The concept of the diet was that you could eat all the cabbage soup you wanted for two weeks and you would lose weight. I couldn't eat it for one meal. I think my friend held on for about four days. A few months after my step-mother-in-law told me about the miracle soup she reported that her friend had left school on medical leave. The soup didn't work for chronic pain either.

Deep down inside is a part of me that hopes that there is something that I have overlooked. Some simple obvious aspect of life that I could change that would make me better. Since I was diagnosed over a decade ago I have changed so many aspects of my personality. I've embraced a mindful, peaceful way of life. Slowed down in every aspect and learned to take each moment as a gift. I see beauty in small things and appreciate moments that I took for granted. Oddly enough I think I am happier now than I ever have been. I'm still checking the comments of this blog each day. If one of you have the recipe for magic soup, please share it. My cooking skills are not brilliant, but I can make soup, and I know all the Myalgia Mommies would also appreciate a good recipe. If it comes in the form of miracle cookies, with flour that would be perfect!

Until then, I'm going to take a nap. This afternoon I hope to get a Christmas tree with my girls and the miracle I'm looking for will be that my cats and baby don't break any of the ornaments I hang from it.

Happy Holidays,
ALJ 

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