Chronic (medicine), Conditions and Diseases, Connective Tissue, Fibromyalgia, Health, Massage, Mental confusion, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Myalgia, Myofascial Release, Patient, Symptom, Trigger point
For the fibromyalgia patient, the many sensations spinning around in the head and throughout the body can be overwhelming. The list of possible symptoms is long, but surely the patient can expect at least: muscle pain, fatigue, disrupted sleep, mental confusion, and unpleasant side effects from medications. One will have to deal with reactions from co-workers and friends (you don’t look sick), and indifference or total disbelief from doctors.
From my own experience, the mental confusion and fibro fog that often accompanied me through my days kept me from having a true understanding of what was happening to my body. As a result, I allowed the doctor to prescribe medicine that was too strong, which only made my foggy brain worse. It was only when he changed the medicine to one with fewer side effects (he thought) that I went into a spin on a very small dose, and I knew I had to take myself off it right away. It was the weekend, and I simply stopped taking the medicine. I had only been on it for about a day and a half, so stopping it was not really a problem, according the doctor on call. By the time I saw my own doctor the next week, I had experienced severe mood swings, from manic-like entertainment for my friends at the gazebo, to a depressed state of fatigue, and all within a few days. The doctor and I agreed that I had to allow the medicine to clear out of my system, and then we would re-evaluate. Perhaps I did not even need pain medication, and this was the only way to find out.
Within a few days, my thinking cleared (no more stand-up routines on the lawn), and I was on a different track. My pain was real, but not severe. My intellectual need to research and dig out “the real stuff’ led me to explore Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Release through an oriental medicine approach. The doctor was all for my embracing a self-help attitude and suggested ways to find someone in this field. So I got on the Internet, and who knew that literally around the corner was a massage therapist who had worked with FM patients for many years, and who knows all about Trigger Point Therapy, or TPT (my acronym). I made an appointment, and I was happy.
Thinking back at the onset of this diagnosis, I know now that the truth of a chronic illness came upon me slowly, and as symptoms piled up one on top of the other, I realized one day, “Wow, I really have this thing big time. What do I do now?” My previous doctor did not take this seriously and called it a wastebasket of symptoms. I left her shortly after that. As I delved into the causes, symptoms, and many kinds of treatments available, reading books and Internet articles on everything from nutrition to chiropractic to yoga, I realized that it takes a lot of knowledge and coordination to get this right. It takes a team, and the patient is the team leader.
By the way, the manic description above was not quite that bad; I just took some literary license to make a point. There is more to come on the oriental massage techniques and my new team member, so stay tuned.