Sunday, October 2, 2011

Storytelling Sunday - Not "That Lady"

In this episode, our heroine finds herself faced with new medical obstacles and searching for solutions.  But she doesn't want to be "that lady" ... you know that one... you most likely have an elderly relative or neighbor who is "that lady"... the one who only ever wants to talk about her medical problems and what the doctor said at the latest visit and how it is affecting her every bodily function in excruciating detail, on and on, until you are ready to make a run for the hills just to avoid the verbal onslaught of medical terminology that is sure to cause you to catch something icky...


sourced from Google images
September has been a crazy month.

A new word entered my life - Fibromyalgia.

Provisional diagnosis on the 15th.  But first the doctor had to rule out a host of other ugliness - lupus, lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, Vitamin D deficiency... honestly, I can't even tell you everything they tested for - just that it took SEVEN vials of blood to run all the tests.  All of which, thankfully, after waiting around a full week, came back normal.  Because as scary as fibromyalgia is, the other options were a heap load more frightening to contemplate. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is not life threatening and not debilitating unless you let it be. I am so grateful it was not anything worse.

The best way I can describe fibromyalgia - it feels like you have the flu – your body aches all over, you have a non-stop headache, and you just feel lethargic – all you want to do is curl up in a corner and sleep… or maybe read a good novel. Only unlike the flu, this feeling doesn't resolve after a few days. In my case, it has been ongoing for months. Some days better than others, but never a day that is totally pain or fatigue free.  And the constant pain and fatigue has a tendency to make you a bit, um, ... cranky. Yep, cranky.

The worst symptom IMHO is the fatigue. Total. mind. numbing. fatigue. 

"Today I don't feel like doing anything. I just want to lay in my bed." 

Fatigue that leaves you unable to concentrate on anything. Almost like you've suddenly developed ADD. And you know how sometimes you have a word on the tip of your tongue but you can't find it for a few seconds? Well, that seems to be a daily occurrence now, multiple times a day. Serious Brain Fog

All that to say, I've been away from my blog for awhile and just recently reappeared. You may have noticed a lack of comments from me on your blogs as well - I assure you I have read every post, just didn't have the energy to comment most of the time! 

I waited for the blood work to come back before saying anything. I wanted a confirmed diagnosis. And I guess I needed some time to digest it all.  All the uncertainty, fear, depression. I needed to work it out. I didn't want to gunk up my blog with posts about worries and complaints. I so DON'T want to be "that lady."  

On the same day my diagnosis was confirmed, this post came up in my Google Reader.  Jonathan Fields writes that "...uncertainty is the new normal."  Check. The past four or five months have been living testament to that.  But he goes on to say "When you find the strength to act in the face of uncertainty, you till the soil of genius." Cool. I must be borderline brilliant by now!  

I think that blog post was just the Universe's way of letting me know that it is okay to feel uncertain about where things are at and where they are going.  

Truth is, I know that I will cope. I know that I will find ways to work around, over, and through it. I refuse to allow fibromyalgia to define me or to defeat me.

My first act of defiance will be to go sugar-free for the month of October ... just to see if the change in diet has an effect on the symptoms.  Not crazy sugar-free (I'm not reading pasta sauce labels or eliminating my morning bowl of organic oatmeal that is sweetened with organic cane sugar).  I am eliminating all cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc.  Believe me... it is a big enough percentage of my current eating habits to make a difference!  Even if it doesn't touch the fibromyalgia symptoms, it will at least be healthier!  Maybe a side-effect will be a reduction in waistline chub???

And today I was reminded that happiness must come from within.  I'm drawing on reserves right now. But I'm still smiling. :)

19 comments:

debs14 said...

You poor thing, I do hope that it is one of those things that will eventually go. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious, although it must be simply horrible to feel like that every day. Wishing you well and hope that the sugar-free diet helps in some way x

scrappyjacky said...

Sending you hugs,Cheri....and I'm sure you'll find ways to control it.

Jo.C said...

Good luck with it Cheri and the lazy song often sums me up (and cheers me up!) - I love it! Hope the sugar detox works x

Sian said...

Cheri, I am delighted that you have joined us today and feel very moved that you have chosen today to open up about what has been going on healthwise.

I'm sorry to hear about the very rough time you have been having. It sounds like absolutely no fun at all and I'm sending you our love and best wishes in managing your health in the months to come x

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Oh, Cheri, I'm sorry to hear about this. I totally understand your statement about reading blogs but not having the energy to comment. :o(

I LOVE that you included Bruno Mars lazy song. It's one of my favorites! And good luck with the sugar free diet. I gave up sugar for a month this past year and felt SO good during that time. I hope it will help relieve some of your pain, my friend! xo

furrypig said...

Hiya Cheri sorry to hear you have had to have so many tests after being unwell. I am also a fan of the Lazy Song! Sending you hugs and wishing you lotsa luck xxx

Lee Currie said...

We all deal with something and I have no doubt you will handle this with trademark grace and defiance! Tons of hugs being sent your way. Looking forward to hearing the results of your sugar fast :)

Ginger said...

Hi Cheri :) I'm sorry to hear this, but it seems to me you have a positive outlook on this diagnosis which seems to be hitting more and more people. You are right, it is not a death sentence, I think it's one of those things you just need to really pay attention to what your body is telling you. I'm sure you know this already but Christy Tomlinson talks about her fibromyalgia and how she tries to deal with it.

I'm going to print out the post you provided the link to. I find it very interesting he suggests to singletask... wow what a concept! I know for myself, I can run around in circles and not accomplish a darn thing, so I try to purposefully focus on one thing... it works!

Take care :)

MonicaB said...

Cheri, I'm sorry to hear of the worry you have been going through. The uncertainty can be the most stressful part. I hope the change in diet helps relieve the symptoms for you.

Heather said...

Hi Cheri. I'm sorry to hear you have been feeling so low but hopefully now you have a diagnosis you will be able to cope that much better. I'm a bit concerned that you have described how I have been feeling for a long long time so maybe its time for a doctors visit! Take care xx

Melissa said...

Oh Cheri, I'm so glad that now you know what's caused all the tiredness and "crankiness" these past few months. It sounds like you have a plan to start right away trying things to see what works - sending lots of positive thoughts your was as you eliminate sugar. Hope you have some very energetic days this month!!

scrapchick said...

Sorry to read this but it seems you are taking it in stride and with some humor - always a good thing. Take care.

humel said...

Oh, Cheri... So sorry to hear about this, though I'm relieved with you that it's nothing worse. My friend suffers from this condition so I know a little about it. Sending you lots of love and best wishes xx

Cheryl said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry that you're going through this, Cheri. I hope that now that you know what it is, though, you and your doctor(s) will find a course of treatment that makes you physically feel better. In the meantime, keep up that amazing and infectious positive attitude. If anyone can beat this, I know you can! *hugs*

Kelly said...

I know quite a few people with fibromyalgia. It's not easy. I'm glad you're sharing it with us, and I had to chuckle at your "that lady" cartoons!

scrappysue said...

Cheri, I am so sorry I missed this post earlier; I wish you all the very best with your new journey. I am sure that the sugar reduction will help a heap. Loved the cartoons, they really made me smile on a day I really needed it. x

Kai said...

Reading this a couple days late but still always thinking of you. You were on my mind so much over the weekend... and I don't think, even if you tried, that you would EVER become "that lady". You're too self-aware for that. HUGS! Take care of you.

alexa said...

Hope the new way of eating is helpful. Omega 3 is good as well, apparently. :) And I'm a fan of getting comfortable with uncertainty - you don't have to live in fear. Thinking of you...

Angelfish said...

I don't know how I missed you on Sunday Cheri, sorry about that. I have a couple of friends with fibro and it is very much a case of listening to your body and pacing yourself each day. It sounds like you are approaching it in a very positive way. One of my friends cut out aspartame and found that helpful.