Friday, December 16, 2011

update: 16 december 2011

Here are some notes I omitted from my initial post.

Pain meds

When I have severe flare-ups that include pretty bad all-over body pain, I take a prescription painkiller. When I was first diagnosed, the rheumatologist prescribed Ultram (tramadol). Later, my family doctor gave me Tylenol 3, which is acetaminophen (paracetamol in Europe) plus codeine. I take these as needed, which for me comes out less than six pills a year. If your pain requires more medication, you might be concerned about taking painkillers. But to me it's a simple equation: use every available tool.

Menstrual cycle

I used to have very severe fibro crashes when I had my period. My periods had become extremely painful from large - and growing - uterine fibroids. (Fibroids are very common benign growths.) The fibromyalgia plus horrible periods created a monthly nightmare. I would lose three days out of every month with cramps, body pain, mental confusion, and depression.

In 1998, I had a partial hysterectomy, which means the uterus was removed but the cervix and ovaries were left intact. I was completely certain that I didn't want children - I believe my partner had already had his vasectomy, or soon would - so this was not a difficult or emotional decision for me.

No longer having periods was so wonderful! It was incredibly liberating to be free of the monthly pain and emotional turmoil. And... my fibro pain improved, too. I don't know what the connection is, but there was an almost instant improvement.

* * * *

It's strange to think back on that time, before my symptoms were under control. If I ever feel unhappy about my limitations, I only have to think of how miserable I was then. I do less now, but I feel so much better. It's worth it.