Variations of Fibromyalgia Treatments – What Works and What Doesn’t?

Yesterday was an exhausting day for me. That’s why things were quiet here on The Journey. Today is a bit better so I am baaaaacccckkkkk. Part of the problem is that yesterday were MIchael and Lauren’s final full day of school. I was very emotional about it. I remember each of their first days of Kindergarten and now they done with their final regular day of their senior year. They just have to go a couple more times to take 3 exams they weren’t exempt from. So in addition to working around here between rest periods I decided to torture myself by looking at their baby books. DUMB IDEA!!! I don’t recommend it on a day like yesterday. It’s getting more and more difficult to claim denial now. Their graduation party is tomorrow and graduation is one week away. UGH!!

Ok – enough of that. You came to read about Fibromyalgia. I thought today I would talk about some of the different treatments that I have tried. Maybe I’ve tried something that you haven’t thought about so we can keep learning from each other. Just like the other day feel free to leave comments about things that you have tried – whether they’ve helped or not. What doesn’t help you may help someone else and vice versa. Plus remember that each comment you leave will enter you in the Fight LIke A Girl tee shirt giveaway tomorrow. By the way, the drawing will be in the evening since we will be covered up with a double graduation party most of the day.

Of course I think I’ve tried every anti-depressant and pain medicine available on the market. The combination I’m taking now seems to be working. In addition to Fibromyalgia I also have chronic depression and anxiety disorder. I’m just gonna list the things I can remember that I’ve taken. Here we go: Wellbutrin, Paxil, Prozac, Neurontin, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Ambien, Trazadone, Celexa, Elavil, Zanaflex, Robaxin, Ultram, Vicodin, Percocet, Nucynta, Morphine, Fentanyl, Actiq, Effexor, Pristiq, Zoloft, Darvocet, Xanax, Ativan, Demerol, Elavil, Lortab. Ok I think that’s all I can remember. I’m sure there are more. Sometimes the side effects were too much for me. Sometimes they stopped working so we had to change. Sometimes I just got no benefit from them at all. It’s all part of the “game”. It’s just a fact of life. Finding the right combination can take a while. Just be patient and try what they doctor suggests. If he’s a doctor you trust then all he’s trying to do is find the right magic formula for your system.

I’ve also had various procedures done. I’ve had trigger point injections, which is a lidocaine injection to the trigger points bothering you the most. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works short term and sometime you get a lasting benefit. I’ve had nerve blocks. I’ve had Radio-Frequency Ablation, which is when certain nerve endings are carterized to block the pain signal. The first time I had it done it worked beautifully. Because the nerve endings regernerate themselves the procedure has to be repeated. When I had it done for a second time a year later it wasn’t as successful. I’ve had Botox injections – not for wrinkles – but for the expectation of pain relief they discovered helped people who suffered with headaches.

I’ve been treated by a chiropractor. I’ve had massages. I’ve used electrical stimulation to relax muscles. I’ve gone to rehab a number of times for therapy. I’ve had acupuncture. I’ve done Yoga – which is really nice and does work for me when done consistently.

I’ve used various homeopathic remedies. I’m currently using Advocare – which is really helping a lot. I use Spark and the BioTools products daily. I can tell a real difference in my fatigue levels and pain levels when I don’t use them. I was really impressed with the benefit I got so I signed up to sell it for the discount. I’d be glad to send you some samples if you would like to try it yourself.

Spark comes in 7 different flavors

BioTools – Two products in one package

As I said earlier, it can take a long time to find the magic formula for you. Try not to get discouraged – I know that is so hard. But there is no healing pill you can take and get better. Fibromyalgia is a lifelong battle. Eventually you can get to the point where YOU control IT instead of IT controlling YOU. Don’t give up! Because that’s definitely not gonna do any good. Keep trying until you find the right thing for you. My current medication formula, massage, Advocare and pacing myself is working for me.

Now it’s your turn – comment! Tell us what you’ve tried! What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? I’m taking notes!

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The Lazy Weekend

This past weekend I got to tag along with Ron on a business trip to Phoenix. It was so relaxing. We stayed at the Hilton Squaw Peak Resort.Check that link for some pictures more incredible than I could take!

The resort was incredible. Ron is a Hiltons Honors club member and he had some free nights built up so we used them to relax in a place pretty close to Heaven. The weather was amazing! It was in the upper 70s with the humidity at 10%. I didn’t know places like that existed. I laid out every day and never sweated a single drop.

This was the view from one chair at one of the pools. The resort had a water park as well. There were pools everywhere. The sky was that gorgeous blue every day. We drove around and saw some of the city. There are hills and mountains everywhere. However, they are the most unusually hills/mountains I have ever seen.

They were all rocks, dirt and cactus. I’m used to seeing hills/mountains of trees and green. No green here! It is all brown because they are in the desert.

Squaw Peak right behind the resort. This was taken from a bridge crossing over the lazy river in the water park. The lazy river was probably my favorite thing. It was so relaxing.

The weekend was just awesome. And to be honest I felt better than I have felt in AGES! With humidity that low my fibro was non-existent. I had NO PAIN at all! And I had NO HEADACHE!! It was such an incredible relief. Now that I’m back in Nashville my pain has slowly ramped back up. And two hours after we got home yesterday my headache was back. I’m gonna need Randall House to move it’s headquarters to Phoenix. I’ve decided it!

Here are a few more pictures:

My view one time I was laying out.

The cactus were as big as trees!!

One of the beautiful pools!

I’ve decided that if you have Fibromyalgia then Phoenix is the place to be! I think I’ll start packing now just in case…..

 

So This Is What It Feels Like To Be A Contributing Member of My Family

I have been feeling much better the last couple of weeks. And things have changed dramatically around here. I’m finding that I can do a lot more than I thought after getting the house to the point where a mild level of maintenance is what I have to do each day. Last week I got myself back on my regular Advocare schedule and have been feeling considerably better. I spent a couple of days getting the house in order. And I’ve merely been working on keeping it that way a little bit at a time each day.

I have even begun doing all the evening cooking. Well, I say all of it, but it’s actually just the weeknights. Ron still gets the weekends. Honestly when you are feeling pretty good then just sitting around is difficult. When you have energy again after spending so long with out it then you want to take advantage of it and get up and busy.

So I have a menu chart up on the fridge. I’m not as organized with the cooking yet as I plan to be. But I’m taking this one step at a time. I’m moving into the organization level little by little. The next part of the plan is to add a second sheet to the fridge for a grocery list based on the menu plan. I am enjoying knowing that my family knows what time they can count on dinner every night (5:30). And it’s nice that I’m keeping up on the chores in the kitchen so it’s not always a big mess of dirty dishes. It makes the kids chores of doing the dishes at night much smoother of a process.

I’ve been searching some home organization sites to work into my routine. I just feel more in control. I still have some bad days with my fibromyalgia. But I’ve discovered if I keep on top of my Advocare products and my regular medications I feel almost normal most of the time. This is really what I’ve wanted for so long. I just wanted to be a regular providing member of my family. I wanted to be more of a help than a hindrance. I’ve noticed that Michael and Lauren respond better to the family unit when things are run smoothly with me taking part.

I’m not completely where I want to be yet. Eventually I’d like to be one who can lunch with friends and/or go to church regularly. I’m still on a day to day basis with that part of my life. But the part of my life INSIDE the walls of our home is coming together.

God is good to provide me with the means of access with items that are working wonders for me. I think if you were a member of my family you could see the big difference. The other day Lauren said “You’ve been doing a really good job of being the Mommy lately. You’ve been doing a great job cooking. The living room is staying clean. I noticed you cleaned out the fridge and are keeping up with dishes. And I noticed you organized the closet upstairs. Keep up the good work.” HAHA! And I notice that I’m getting cooperation around here without having to BEG for it or have Ron do the asking. I’ve also picked up on some much needed and greatly appreciated affection from one of my kids. I think they other will come along with time.

I am forever grateful for my friend who told me about Advocare. It’s making a HUGE difference in my life. And I’m not writing this as an Advocare marketing piece. I’m writing it as a way to share the amazing things that are happening for me. After being so sick for so long, I had pretty much given up hope of getting back on a path even close to normal. But God has provided a way. And I’m thankful for my friend who introduced the way to me. I’m winning! And I’m eternally grateful for providing a means to insert me back into my family and my job as homemaker.

Normal Makes Me Furious

Allow me to warn you before you read any further, A few hours ago I posted on Twitter that I was having a pity party. Normally I don’t write when I’m in pity party mode. I have, however, moved on from the pity stage into the angry stage. So the coast may be clear now. There shouldn’t be much whining (notice I said “much”) but I can almost guarantee there will be anger.

I am furious at Fibromyalgia. Normally I just roll with the flow. But when I take too much time to think I remember the days when I was normal. I remember the days of waiting for Ron to get home from work and then suggesting we go to the mall or out to dinner. There were actually days I would get a shower and get out of the house regularly. I know it’s hard to imagine. I even had a job once! It all seems like a lifetime ago but I’m pretty sure it was me. When I see those times in my mind the woman in my images sure looks like me (although I weighed a LOT less). Now I will say this, Advocare has pretty much taken care of the numbing fatigue we battle. However, nothing cures Fibromyalgia. The pain is still there. The depression is still there. The brain fog is still there.

I apologize repeatedly to Ron for getting “stuck” with me. He’s a workaholic with tons of energy to spare. I feel guilty that I can’t get out and do those things that I know he would like to be doing. But bless his heart he is constantly reassuring me that he loves me. He is an incredible caregiver. But I know there are so many things he would love for us to do together. He deserves so much more. (oops a little whining is slipping in here – sorry) He never makes me feel bad about what I can/can’t do. I’m the one who does that enough for both of us. Sometimes I’m so mad at my body that I could spit nails.

And I still have no idea how growing up with a sick mother is going to affect the kids long term. We have tried to keep things as close to normal for them as possible. We’ve worked hard at never allowing my illness to hinder them from experiencing the things they want to do in life. But I’m sure someday I will see something in them that will make me think “if I hadn’t been sick they wouldn’t do/feel/think that”. That’ll make me mad all over again.

So for now I would just like to give Fibromyalgia a swift kick in the backside. Either that or I’d like to wipe my mind clear of those “normal” days so they can’t haunt me now. They are such a tease. And I don’t like it – not even a little bit!

A Free Gift For You as A Thank You From Me

I have been challenged to reach the next income level in Advocare! The challenge is to reach a certain number of orders in product by midnight tonight – EST. I have decided to offer you a special gift if you can help me. This will work out for both of us!

This will be a great time to do some Christmas shopping, stock up on your Spark or other products and ask any questions you might have. If you have not heard of Advocare – it is a health/wellness/weight loss line that was originally created specifically for professional athletes in 1993. However, not long after that it came out of the locker room into our homes. Advocare has numerous professional athletes as UNPAID endorsers. We have a full time Science-Medical Board team that works constantly on making products better to help people live healthier lives.

This line of products have really changed my life. As you know, I have Fibromyalgia. The fatigue that goes along with Fibro has been the thorn in my flesh for the last few years. Advocare Spark has all but wiped that out. Spark is full of vitamins and minerals that get me going in the morning and keep me going all day long. Truly – it has made all the difference in the world for me.

Spark comes in 7 different flavors

Another product that has really helped me feel better is BioTools. The BioTools product work on bringing internal balance to your body systems and work on muscle recovery among other things. However, the greatest thing that BioTools has done for me is balance out my gastrointestinal system. Irritable Bowels Syndrome (IBS) is also a physical condition that usually accompanies Fibromyalgia. BioTools has truly wiped out my IBS. I will never go without it. If you’ve ever been grounded to the house because of IBS then you know what a great relief it is to find something to help.

BioTools - Two products in one package

Now for my special gift for you for helping me today – all orders of $25 or more will receive a free Blender Bottle from me as a special thank you.

A free Blender bottle as a thank you

I can’t tell you how much I thank you for your help. This will mean the world to me. You can order straight from my site. Click any link I’ve included in this post and you’re there. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Sometimes I Wanna Punch It In The Gut

I have spent most of the last week in bed. Tropical Storm Lee came through here the last few days and it gave me a mind numbing headache. Oh my word! The pain!! Thankfully though I woke up this morning and the pain was much better. I did notice about 1:00 it was coming back though. So, I took some pain medicine and went back to bed. I didn’t want to make it worse again. If I thought it would do any good I would punch a hole in the wall of something. This mess makes me so mad sometimes I can’t see straight. It interferes with everything! What I especially despise is when it starts interfering with those outside of my family. A couple of weeks ago a childhood friend of mine was in town visiting with his family. We were supposed to get together. Did we? NO! Why? Because of my Fibro. Yesterday I was supposed to go to lunch with a friend. Did we go? NO! Why? Because of my Fibro. I feel like it has cost me so many important things and people in my life. And you know what’s even more aggravating? The self-imposed guilt I deal with. Everyone always says they understand and that I shouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure they really do. But I don’t! So I pile on my guilt. I feel like guilt and Fibro hold the steering wheel to my  life and the rest of me just has to go where they lead.

Well, I didn’t intend for this to come out all negative and angry. But sometimes it just really makes me feel that way. It infuriates me. This illness has stolen my life. Most of the time I do pretty well with it and plug along doing what I can when I can. But then sometimes I just need to sound off about how angry it makes me. I’m sorry you had to read all of that. But this is real life. Life isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it is thunder, lightening and skunks. That’s the truth! Today I’d like to punch it in the gut and kick it while it’s down!

Just pouring my heart out here. Sometimes that happens. I think I’ll head over to Shell’s blog and link this up and then read some other blogs where people Pour their Heart Out. Then I won’t feel like I’m the only one.

Living in a Fog

I have mentioned here that Ron and I are doing our own Bible Study here at home on Wednesday nights.  We have been hashing through some stuff. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna bore you with any of our baggage. well, maybe just some of MY baggage. Lord knows I have enough of it.  Last night we covered a million miles of stuff. I told him that I wish he could live just a couple of days inside of my head to see what it’s like to live in a brain similar to swiss cheese and full of smog and fog – all of which goes along with Fibromyalgia. I find that one of the hardest things to describe. It really just seems to come across as an excuse. I understand why it could appear that way. And to be completely honest that ticks me off. Why would anyone make this up? Who COULD make this stuff up? I tried to explain is as if there is a barricade right above the top of my head that keeps any thoughts from escaping or creeping in. But the inside of the brain is best illustrated by these two pictures:

Can't see anything through the fog!

And this is what it looks like when something new tries to get through.

The body language when this is going on is similar to what you see in the movies when a patient is over drugged in one of those mental institutions and they just stare straight ahead but aren’t really looking at anything and don’t seem to hear anything going on around them.

I would love to sit down with someone who could explain to me what exactly is going on in the brain of a fibromyalga patient. Why do we get fibro fog? What does our brain look like on a given day – foggy or otherwise? What is going on up there? It feels like brain cells are dying by the thousands every single day. It’s so mysterious. Sometimes people don’t believe Fibro is a legit illness – that it’s just all in our head. Well, I would say then that that is the ONLY thing in my head. That seems to be the headquarters for the pain, fatigue and fog we experience every day. I wish there was some kind of procedure that could be done – like McDreamy does on Grey’s – that can just be zapped or burned off and destroy Fibro. It’s just such a nuisance.

Living in a fog is not really living! It’s merely existing from one day to the next whether you want to or not. Honestly I’d rather NOT!