Fibromyalgia Awareness – by Caz at Invisibly Me

This is a blog post from Caz at Invisibly Me blog marking:

International Awareness Day – ME/CFS // Fibromyalgia // MCS – 12th May 2018

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Today I’d like to do my own little tribute for the International Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia. It’s a little in advance as I’m sure that come Saturday there will be many posts on this.

Fibromyalgia has long been looked upon with scepticism, with many individuals and medical professionals doubting its existence. Some have regarded it as an umbrella term for lack of an officially recognised diagnosis, while others have intimated it to be psychological. Recent years have thankfully begun to shed light on this condition. Tireless campaigning has helped to raise awareness, increase understanding and has worked towards official recognition. But the fight isn’t over yet. There’s a long way to go to reduce stigma and improve both diagnosis and treatment for those dealing with fibromyalgia.

I was officially diagnosed with fibro by my rheumatologist last year after dealing with symptoms for years, initially thought of as being due to other conditions, that there was nothing wrong with me or perhaps that it was in my head (which they also said about my stomach issues, and here I am now, with a stoma!) For a while, I had asked to avoid labels and ‘umbrella terms’, mostly for fear it would signal the end of the road. I didn’t want them to stop looking for causes and the root of the problem, leaving me forever feeling worse and with no real way to get any better. I wanted them to keep looking, to figure out what was wrong, how my life has taken such a turn so quickly and left me like this for so long. The official diagnosis is to be reviewed in the near future due to overlapping symptoms between fibro & ME and the query over whether it’s both.

For full post visit Invisibly Me – and please share!

Calling all Mums and Mums to be who have experienced #Fibromyalgia in #Pregnancy

This post comes from Melissa v Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Survey, Book and Page

After being disappointed at the lack of information about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia when I had Nu four years ago, I set about writing up my experiences and researching as new information became available.

On my Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries page I include my journals from my second pregnancy last year, which I edited and posted over this past year.

Now I’m writing a book!
On my new Fibro Mama Pregnancy & Fibromyalgia page I include the links to the ebook I’m writing as I publish the posts. When it is complete (and edited) it will be available for purchase, with extra content.
For now, could I ask you a favour?
Would you fill in a survey so I can add to the research available (limited) and my experience (two pregnancies makes me an expert in my experience not collective experience)?
Please take the time to visit Melissa’s blog,  her page that includes links to her coming book and the survey.

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good Morning and welcome to another week, another Monday Magic and some more great blog posts to explore!  Monday Magic

Here in England the schools return this week, much to my daughter’s disgust, and it feels slightly odd that we only have one child still at school.  I have almost missed the ritual trip out to buy school shoes and stationary, but my 15 year old doesn’t need me for this any longer.  Note that I have said ALMOST, not really missing queuing up with a numbered ticket in a branch of Clarks along with a bunch of harassed mums and boisterous children……however there are going to be some shopping lists I should think, ahead of the soon to be politics student going off to uni in a couple of weeks.  He is more concerned about his football season ticket and joining the Facebook freshers’ group than how many sets of bed linen and cutlery he might need. Who am I kidding? One set of bedding will last the term, won’t it – there is no way my 18 year old son will change it of his own accord, YUK!

Moving on swiftly, September is Chronic Pain awareness month and naturally with my background I will be mentioning it….just a few times!  This week also happens to be Fibromyalgia awareness week – which falls under the chronic pain umbrella – and Kat writes about this over on Chronically Composed – a Scottish journey with Chronic Pain.  The other posts I have found this week include a back to school guide, an emotive poem about depression (you can see I have commented on it), a young dad struggling with illness and surgery whilst raising his family, and a face that many of you are already familiar with – Danny from Dream Big who is currently concentrating on his Youtube channel and MS awareness.  Plus a great post looking at what is more important in blogging…numbers or friendship?

But to kick off I have kindly been given permission to bring you this fun poem from Anna on Healing Hugs and Hope blog……

An Ode to My Heating Pad

Oh, heating pad,
 your warm hugs ease
my aches and pains.
I need your healing squeeze
When my feet get cold,
or when I get one of my migraines.

From arthritis to subluxations,

you’ve nursed me through.
When I find my muscles tied,
I cuddle up to you.
It’s so nice and toasty,

with you by my side.

Due to my poor circulation,
I’m often very cold.
When my thyroid acts out,
you are too hot to hold.
Still, you know I’ll be back,
  it’s your gentle hugs I’m mad about.
If you love your heating pad so much, why don’t you marry it? Well, maybe I will….

A Silly Poem for People with Chronic Illness by Anna Ottlinger HEALING HUGS AND HOPE

So now time for feet up, cuppa in hand and enjoy some great posts!

https://chronicallycomposed.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/my-fibromyalgia-awareness-week-2017/

https://thezebramom.com/2017/08/24/back-to-school-guide-for-parents-with-chronic-illness/

http://lifesapolyp.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/dialectical-behavioral-therapy-for.html

http://angelanoelauthor.com/inspiration-motivation/be-awesome-in-real-life/what-matters-more-numbers-or-relationships/

http://channongray.com/talk-mental-health-awareness-stigma/

https://thisreallifedad.com/surgery-going-knife/#comment-332

http://www.homeschoolinsights.com/2017/09/trials-of-chronic-illness.html

http://www.weareholistic.com/mental-health-care/might-call-depression/

 

I really hope that you enjoy these as much as I have – and had a giggle at the poem from Anna. It appealed to me as I really can’t go anywhere without my heating pad!  Please explore the blogs leave some messages and share posts you enjoy.

Claire x

 

Half a life continued

The journey to UCL was long and became uncomfortable, but the stimulation definitely toned down my usual nerve pain.  I was lucky really that I had been allowed to go, as I am officially the most embarrassing mother and there was great concern in the back of the car that I wouldimages (4)
say something awful to the flatmates!  My idea of awful and his do vary greatly.  I was allowed in th
e flat but Duncan was informed that he wasn’t allowed to leave me – charming!  The flatmates, 2 girls and one boy, were all perfectly charming and chatted – I do think the problem is in our stude
nt’s mind……although maybe they were all grimacing after we left!! ha, ha, ha.

The disappointing thing that I found yesterday was that the stimulation didn’t prevent me from losing my left leg as I got out of the car.  I am sure that fellow nerve damage sufferers know what I mean when I describe a leg and foot that loses all feeling and just gives way, particularly after a period of sitting.  The strangest thing was that whilst I couldn’t feel my foot at all, I was completely aware of the stimulation – parasthesia to use the medical term – within it! Oxymoron or what!

Whilst the realisation that the neurostimulator can only do so much may be tough, it was the right decision to make that journey.  There have been so many times over the years that I have been asked why I am pushing myself to do something that seems at odds with a chronic illness, and this is where the double meaning of the “Half a Life” title emerges.  When you are in the midst of a chronic illness, in my case constant nerve pain, it is all too easy to give up on life.  Those of us at St Thomas’s pain programme earlier this year have lost so much already – lost careers in the room included anaesthetist, horticulturist, barrister, nurse, sculptor – and we are the tip of the iceberg, our careers are just the tip of what we have lost.  It can feel like so much of your life has been swept aside in a flurry of failed surgeries, drugs and their side effects, hospital appointments, benefits application forms and appointments and judgements and then appeals, until the day arrives when you don’t recognise the person looking back from the mirror any more.  The pain becomes so overwhelming that it is easier to stay at home in pyjamas than to meet a friend for coffee, or attend a meeting, or go for a walk, or do any of the things that made life more than Half a Life.

Whilst I was on the programme, I met more people who had tried to take their own life in the last 12 months than I ever have.  We were one of 2 programmes running concurrently: ours for people for whom all other options had failed but who had a condition which might respond to scs, the other a 4 week course for those not quite at the same point or with a pain condition affecting multiple areas of the body.  One lady, with fibromyalgia affecting her head, was told by her own sister, a nurse, that “pain is pain – it is all the same, so get over it”.  Believe me, it is not!  This poor woman has tried to commit suicide twice and was struggling to come to terms with the news that there is no cure for chronic pain.  (www.fmauk.org)

One focus of the inpatient programme was the baggage we are carrying that is preventing us from living the life we wa‎nt to.  Some of it is impossible to lose, but there are ways to make it more tolerable – haven’t worked out how I do this with teenagers yet! Some baggage is unhelpful, unwanted or downright destructive and needs to be dumped – but may be difficult to let go.  Our state of mind is bound tightly with our physical pain; emotions, expectations, relationships all playing a role.  When I was 18 I met a new friend, and he introduced me to his mother.  She had been left disabled following a failed epidural years earlier, but had never managed to move her life forward.  Now I have empathy and comprehension of her situation, but my overriding memory is still of a sad lady who was always in her dressing gown with a glass of sherry in her hand no matter the time of day.images (3)  I made Duncan swear that he would never let me become like this – no funny comments here!!

So I continued to organise the school fete, became a governor at one school and a Friends committee member at another, taught myself to make and ice celebration cakes, held coffee mornings and dinner parties. At times it is too much on no sleep.  It would be easiest to say “no”, not to take that car journey to drop my son off, but then I wouldn’t be living even the Half life that this illness has left me with.  (to follow – page re:Living with Chronic Pain – pain buddies please email me any info you would like included, claire@saul.im)