Thursday, May 5, 2016

My aches and pains have aches and pains

Woe is me! Have you ever wanted to say that? Well, I've always heard it said by a cartoon character in distress or on an old black and white movie...not many people use the word woe in today's language but I couldn't find a more fitting word to describe how I've been feeling and that tiny little word did a pretty good job. This morning, even before I got out of bed, I was hurting. Every muscle, every joint, every bone in my body was hurting. I felt really, really old and I just wanted to cry. I have been having more and more days like this lately and it's beginning to worry me. I've read about a lot of breast cancer patients/survivors who've developed Fibromyalgia after surgery or treatment and I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps that's what's wrong with me. I hate to say it, but I hope it's Fibromyalgia and not a recurrence of cancer...

I looked up the symptoms of Fibromyalgia online and here's what it listed:

Fatigue - yep, I've definitely got that and lots of it
Muscle aches, either widespread or limited to a specific region of the body (back of the neck, chest, shoulders and lower back) - yep, got that
Joint stiffness and pain - definitely yes
Headaches - occasionally
Memory problems - yes, having more and more of those lately too
Brain fog - yep, feeling fuzzy headed all the time
Concentration problems - ummm, yes, I thought I just mentioned that a few minutes ago
Anxiety - sometimes yes
Depression - yep, having issues with that, too
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness - there are days when I definitely do but I try to rise about it. 

So according to what I've read and the symptoms I've been experiencing, I would be willing to bet I've got Fibromyalgia. And if what I'm feeling in my body is Fibromyalgia, I don't like it one stinkin' bit. 

The best way for me to describe whatever this is would be to ask you if you've ever had a bad case of the flu before and if you have, magnify the way your body ached and hurt by about 1,000 and you'll know how I feel. And to add a little sugar on top, throw in nightly insomnia and you get a great recipe for total suckage. (Sorry, I don't even know if that's a word but it was a very descriptive word that just popped into my brain from a storage bank somewhere and it seemed to work well for me here.) 

Waking up in tears because you're hurting so badly is not the way to start the morning and having to pop two Advil Ligui-gels before your feet even hit the floor isn't good either. But you do what you have to do to make it work and what really, really sucks is tossing and turning all night long trying to find a way to be comfortable with your big swollen arms and the mountain of pillows surrounding you and then, when you finally do fall asleep you wake about an hour later to intense that's total suckage! (Sorry, I'm kind of liking that word and I'm sure I probably heard it from one of my grandkids or off of some Austin Powers movie or something...)

Poor Pitiful Pearl
So woe is me! Woe! Yeah...woe is me. I'm feeling like poor pitiful Pearl. (She was a doll minted in 1963 and had the most homely, pitiful face.) I've decided I need to talk to my oncologist about these symptoms because they seem to be intensifying. I don't want to, but feel like I have to just in case. I'm sure he'll want to do more tests and I don't want to have to go through that but I do need relief and need it fast. 

I don't know anyone who has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia but I've heard there are medications that help with it. I don't want another medication! I'm on too many as it is. The internet lists a lot of natural supplements and herbs to help so I'll check those out until I can get in to see the doctor again. 

If you know someone who's been through breast cancer treatment or is currently going through treatment, please be sensitive to their descriptions of their aches and pains. We don't enjoy having to complain, really we don't...but sometimes when you're in a lot of pain, that's all you can do. Fibromyalgia pain isn't easily diagnosed. There are no specific tests to definitively point doctors to a sure diagnosis. So how do they figure out if their patients have Fibromyaglia? They go through a series of experiments and tests to rule out other things first and then, if there's no other reason for the aches and pains, they give a generalized diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. So Fibromyalgia is kind of the "catch all" diagnosis for all those aches and pains that seem to appear for no reason. A lot of people don't even consider Fibromyalgia a real disease and some doctors probably look at their patients as if they're hypochondriacs. But pain is real and we can feel it and we need a solution! I'm sorry to sound like I'm gripping and complaining, I don't want to be doing that. I'm just trying to share exactly how I'm feeling so you'll understand. Breast cancer is the gift that just keeps on giving... Lymphedema, Fibromyalgia...woe is me, woe is me. (And of course, not all breast cancer patients/survivors will experience these things but a lot of us do and it sucks...)

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