Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am sitting in a lethargic haze at my PC, feeling most peculiar due to a nasty flare up of Fibro pain. This time it is my right neck, shoulder and part of my chest wall, oh..., it is also radiating down my right arm. So much so that it has affected the strength and muscle tone of that arm and the pain awakens me at night as I am unable to relieve the pain by altering my position.

I embarked on yet another diet this morning; pills, pills and yet more pills! Oh..., I am not at all a happy bunny today. I am pretty well sedated by the coctail of pain relief I am taking at regular intervals throughout the day. It includes quantities of Solpadol (Codeine & Paracetamol), Zydol (which isn't narcotic, despite behaving like one), Lyrica (an anti-epilepsy drug which is somehow great for nerve pain), Prozac (which is good for nerve pain), and Amitriptylene (a potentially addictive tri-cyclic antidepressant which is very effective in terms of pain relief and relief of insomnia), and don't forget Cataflam (non-steroidal anti-inflamatory). My goodness; what a mouthful - figuratively and literally!

Recently a psychologist; whom I am attending at the request of my Rheumatologist, told me "that Fibromyalgia was related to how (I) am feeling." He made it clear that he didn't wish to get into an argument about this statement. My mood is far more likely to be affected by the pain, & it's debilitating effects, that I experience everyday of my life! I am very much inclined to tell the lovely, lovely French gentleman where to SHOVE it!

The previous week the same man told me that he didn't believe my memory had been sufficiently impaired as to be problematic. Indeed, he can't see any problem with it at all! The fact that BB's friends are convinced that I have Alzheimer's Disease is obviously irrelevant; as is the fact that BJK keeps reminding me of missed appointments and conversations that haven't taken place. Go figure...!

Despite the huge handful of hope (aka medication); the pain remains, though the senses have gone! I don't enjoy the sensation; being out of my tree isn't a giggly high, or a mellow "Hey man...!" It is a sluggish & lethargic heavy fatigue; it interfers with my comprehension and concentration. Heaven knows; on the best of days my concentration levels are variable; the BRAIN FOG that accompanies the Fibromyalgia takes care of that! No, I definately do not like being under the influence; especially as I am still in pain and contemplating my next dose of confusion.

I remember being told; during my student days, that clock watching was a sure sign of pending narcotic addiction. My Family Doctor was concerned about my regular use of codeine based pain relief; believing ME to be in danger of addiction.

I now know that clock watching probably has more to do with pain than addiction. If I were addicted I would be self-medicating a little too frequently; instead I prefer to go by the clock, I am only too aware of the horrible effects of drug addictions. After all; I have nursed many addicts during my nursing career!

Rather than trust my ability to self regulate my Family Doctor prescribed tri-cyclic antidepressants, which have proved successful in the treatment of Fibro pain. Unfortunately, during an intense flare-up Amitriptylene is insufficient and I have to resort to codeine anyway!

As I sit staring intensely at words on the monitor, my right arm is clutched tightly to my body; an effort to restrict movement of the shoulder, while the rest of my body is happily floating off somewhere towards the rear of the house! It's a shame my mind isn't quite so happy. And NO! There is no chance of me becoming addicted or abusing my pain killers 'cos it's horrid...

My rant today is soley motivated by the fact that I AM suffering a flare up of a condition called FIBROMYALGIA. It is NOT, I repeat NOT a psychosomatic disorder and frankly, considering the debilitating effect of the pain and the drugs I am taking in an effort to control it; I resent the implication implicit in " (my) feelings affect the way (my) body feels."

To many doctor's FIBROMYALGIA/ME/CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME is little more than an exclusion diagnosis. An exclusion diagnosis means that IT is only diagnosed in the absence of abnormal test results to exclude anything else. Outside of the medical fraternity Fibromyalgia is a little known condition.

To make matters worse; Fibro sufferer's look normal. We look pretty healthy. Our families & friends don't realise that we often can't join in; it's not that we don't want to! The condition gives very few hints to those on the outside and we are often accused of being lazy or disinterested; or depressed.

Were I suffering from depression and let's face it; EVERYONE has bad days, it would almost certainly have a lot to do with the fact that little sympathy is forthcoming & the medical fraternity is clearly divided in its view of what is to many a very REAL and FRUSTRATING condition.

I might be medicated with psychotropic drugs (ie happy drugs) and anti-epilepsy drugs, but I am NOT under the care of a psychiatrist, never have been and certainly Do Not intend to be! Nor do I have epilepsy or indeed depression...!

So, let me ask you a question; if I were to borrow my mother's Mink Coat, would that make me a mink? I think not!

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