How do I begin? This silent and mysterious disease is so puzzling that I find it difficult to talk about. I had symptoms for years and did not know what they were. They would last for a day, and the next day I would feel fine. I thought I had a virus. That is the reason I never mentioned them to a doctor. That was a failure on my part, but finally I have a diagnosis, thanks to online information and a doctor who understands.
My family is supportive, but the mysterious nature of this disease leaves them in a quandary, as there seems to be nothing they can do. They are very sympathetic and try to assist me. To complicate the situation, I also have two areas of spinal stenosis due to several falls and I suspect the aging process. Add degenerative disc disease and scoliosis to make up the full pot of soup. These cause me more pain than FMS, and I sometimes have trouble walking. I take a cane when I go out.
I am under the care of my primary care doctor. I was delighted to find him, as I had been unhappy with the previous doctor, who seemed not to have more than a mild interest. She had put me on Cymbalta, and it seemed to help with the day to day muscle pain. And she did blood work to rule out RA, thyroid disease, and muscle enzyme involvement. (I don’t know the clinical name for that.) The problem with Cymbalta is that while it makes me comfortable most of the time, I still have episodes of the classic FM muscle pain and fatigue that put me in bed. Another Cymbalta tablet helps with the pain after a few minutes, but the fatigue lingers. I am having that kind of day now. I was originally prescribed 30mg. My current doctor upped it to 60mg a day, and has now prescribed two 60mg caps a day if needed. I occasionally take two.
Fibro fog is another symptom that is not helped with Cymbalta. The mental confusion, short-term memory loss, and general malaise is so very debilitating. I cannot drive in that condition. Fortunately, I am retired and do not have on-going commitments, commuting, etc. When I feel this way, I just have to give in to it and not attempt to do anything complicated, such as paying bills, making appointments, or complex cooking.
I found this interesting diagram of the human body showing the many areas that exhibit FMS. Some of the symptoms were news to me, such as muscle twitching, but that happens all the time with me, and I’m glad to be able to categorize it. In addition to twitching muscles, I also experience “itching” skin, which can sometimes keep me awake all night. I believe that a person will not exhibit all these symptoms, and may or may not exhibit several at the same time.
Treatments I Use
Itching: warm shower before bed, followed by generous body lotion.
Pain: Cymbalta and frequent use of 600mg Tylenol sustained release tablets between doses.
Fatigue: Afternoon rest, no radio or TV, no phone calls.
General health: Exercise such as walking and swimming, plus hydro massage (Whirlpool). Stretching.
Treatments I wish to try
Therapeutic massage, more frequent swimming.
A support group that I could join or form. This might help others as well as myself. So far I have not found a group, and the online help says to call the Arthritis Foundation.
This is all I can write today. If anyone wishes to reply, add comments, or offer suggestions, I would enjoy communicating with you. I wish you all the best of health. Thanks for visiting my blog.
P.S. This is being written on June 17th to let you all know that I have started an on-line support group. Anyone wishing to join this group is welcome. It is a “closed” group, meaning that only members are able to see the posts. One thing to know is that you must have a Facebook page, since this is a Facebook group. If you are not on FB, you may open a page; please upload your photo; then you will be all set to send a request, and I’ll be happy to put in your name. Thanks, and I hope to see you soon.