Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Smile Through The Pain

Some of you are not aware that I have been suffering from chronic pain and fatigue for several years, now. I have seen many doctors concerning my problems. With each visit I am hopeful that I will finally get an answer; however, that has yet to happen.

The pain can be unbearable at times, usually when I am on my feet too long or over exert myself. For example, yesterday I worked at the Duck-Duck-Goose sale sorting clothes for donation and/or pick-up. I was on my feet for 4 hours; subsequently, when I left my hips were aching and the pain was radiating around my midsection and shooting down my legs through my knees and into my feet. The pain is not always triggered by standing or walking, though. Sometimes it is brought on if I get too cold; if the weather changes; if I sit too long; or for no identifiably reason. When the pain gets this bad, the only way I can get relief is by taking medication and going to sleep.

Since, I also suffer from chronic fatigue, sleeping is always welcome to me. Unfortunately, if I were in bed everytime I was hurting or felt sleepy, I would sleep my life away. You see, it takes very little for me to get exhausted. I can push myself by getting up and staying up without taking any naps during the day. But, usually, I will have a BIG crash after several days of this. When I crash it is not uncommon for me to sleep 18 - 20 hours a day for a couple of days at a time.

I have undergone various tests; however, we currently do not have a medical diagnosis. The doctors have said that I appear to have arthritis; however the rheumatoid arthritis test came back negative. I have also had every type of blood and hormone test run; underwent a Dexa Scan of my spine (since I shrunk 2" in a little over a year); and consulted with a Chiropractor. All to no avail.

About a year ago, my current Doctor prescribed Cymbalta to try and alleviate the pain. He also thought it might help with the chronic fatigue I was experiencing. He was unsure if the pain was causing the fatigue or if the fatigue was causing the pain. (You know, which came first - the chicken or the egg?) Cymbalta is an anti-depressent that is also useful in treating the pain and fatigue associated with depression. He asked me if I was depressed and I wasn't really sure. I told him that hurting and being tired all of the time didn't make me feel that great (emotionally), so I was willing to give it a try. Basically, my Doctor thought this would be a good place to start in trying to break the cycle of pain =sleep=pain.

I can say, on a positive note, that the medicine does help with the day to day pain that I use to experience. I am feeling a lot better than before; however, I do still experience the fatigue. I am o.k. with being fatigued as long as the pain isn't as bad. I would hate for it to be the other way around.

I know that my condition affects my whole family. Bub is wonderful and always supportive of me. When I get "down" (in both definitions of the word), he is always there to pick me up. I feel guilty that he has to deal with all of this at our "young" age. This is the type of thing you expect to experience later in life. I also worry about the affects on Kaylea. I am hopeful that when she gets older, she will remember all of the fun we have together and not that I was always tired and/or sick.

My inner voice can get pretty brutal at times. I will catch myself thinking, "I am just lazy!" and asking, "What is wrong with me?" But then the rational part of my brain provides comfort by acknowledging that I am not laying around watching TV day in and day out, like someone who is "lazy" would do. I don't think a "lazy" person would be able to sleep 20 hours at a clip for 2 days straight. Maybe I am wrong; maybe they can. It's just that I have never known anyone that can sleep as much as me and I have known many a lazy bum in my life.

I wish I knew all of the answers to my questions, but I may never get them. I guess I will have to just smile through the pain and take lots of cat naps!


sistasmiff said...

I'm glad you're getting some answers. I hope they can come up with a good plan to give you some relief.

Angie said...

I truly believe that there are times when we have to choose an unconventional route for relief (emotional, physical, etc.) from pain and "down" ness.

And, when you talked about the pain cycle. That's very valid. I'm glad you're finding some relief.