Fun new fact! I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis after all. My specialist informs me I have Fibromyalgia instead. Rightio! And that means frick frackin what exactly?
The research out there is a minefield, but I wanted to know the nuts and bolts of what’s going on with my body, so here in excessively worded laymen’s terms is what I found out. I’m making it simple so I can remember. I’m in my first week since diagnosis so the training wheels are definitely still on here.
For the sake of simplicity, here’s a conversation between a normally functioning body which encounters pain:
Body: hey brain, totally just stubbed my toe man. Pretty sure it’s broken.
Brain: no it’s not, it just hurts like hell. Here’s some serotonin to make you feel better and cos I’m nice I’m gonna go ahead and put some inhibitors in place so you can stop whinging. Call me back if it still hurts in an hour.
This is what my body does in the same situation:
Body: hey brain, just stubbed my toe. It hurts way more than usual… what’s that about?
Brain: I don’t know. For some reason I can’t give you the serotonin you need and I can’t block the pain for you with the usual inhibitors. Ew, now I can feel it too. And it won’t stop! Argghhhh!
Having Fibro is like my brain is a pharmacist and all outta the things that normally work. So I feel pain more than other people, and for longer. Actually like forever. Yay.
There are some medications that help put those blessed inhibitors back in play (but only to a certain extent). These drugs have traditionally been used to treat depression. Turns out they’re not so good at that. What they are good at though is pain relief where normal pain relief like panadol and his bigger cousins like codeine and opioids don’t. They also help with falling asleep, so I can’t take them during the day much.
The biggest mistake some people make is thinking oh ok, anti-depressants work. That means your illness is all in your head and you just need the right meds. Nope! The only part of this that’s all in my head is the fact that that is where my brain happens to live. And my brain has a faulty way of dealing with pain. This does not mean I’m imagining it. You wouldn’t tell someone with a brain injury that their symptoms weren’t real, so please don’t say it to me. Or anyone with Fibro. It’s just not the case and also really rude.
So what fun symptoms do I get?
- Widespread chronic pain
- Interrupted sleep
- Bowel issues that can either present in constipation or diarrhea
- Memory loss, concentration problems etc also know as ‘Fibro Fog’
- Sensitivity to light, sounds and smells.
- Headaches and migraines
- Sensitivity to touch. So what feels like a light punch to you, is a knockout to me
- Weight gain
There might be others, but these are the ones I’m experiencing. Not an exhaustive list by any means, but like most things on this blog, these ones are all about what’s happening to me. Fibro has also been linked with depression and anxiety. Both of which I’ve had for years and years. Some people develop them at the same time as Fibro. It’s a whole ‘what came first’ scenario and Dr’s don’t seem totally sure about why they seem to be connected. In my case the horse was way before the cart. Or the hen before the egg? Whatever, I’ve been mentally ill longer than I’ve known this fresh hell. Probably.
So what now? Like I said, some anti- depressants might be effective. Side effects being drowsiness and a fucked up metabolism. Oh wait, way ahead of you there. I’ve been on the weight gain roller coaster for years. Least fun ride ever.
So to sum up, this sucks. But it could be worse. I’m a whinger by nature, but I’m also good at looking on the flip side. So while my my whole body hurts and there is no cure, it’s not terminal, it’s not necessarily degenerative and I’ve got a kick arse support network. So kiss mine Fibro, I got this.
Keep dancing peeps.
💋 Bon xx