Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blast From My Past: My Very First Blog Post

Happy New Year World (2010)Image by Lel4nd via Flickr

This is the very first blog post I ever wrote on AOL Journals, back on January 2, 2006. It's interesting to look back four years and see where I was, two years into my life with chronic illnesses.



Yes, I am hanging in there despite all my medical problems.

To date, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis of my neck and low back (degenerative disc disease), cervical radiculopathy (a fancy way of saying that the pain travels from my neck, down my arms and into my hands), carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic myofascial pain, chronic headaches, atypical migraines and chronic low grade fever.

Whew! All this from tripping and falling in October 2004. Who knew you could hurt yourself so much just from tripping and falling?!?! Although I do suspect that the trip- and-fall was just "the straw that broke the camel's back".

For a girl who considered herself healthy, I already had several health problems before October 2004: Hepatitis C from blood transfusions in 1988, Type 2 diabetes (related to the Hep C?) and a history of acute leukemia that has been in remission and "cured" for almost 18 years now.

What do I do with all my time?

I've been spending a lot of time reading and watching TV/movies. When my arms and hands don't ache too much, I check my e-mails and search the Internet researching my medical conditions. I keep in touch with family and friends via telephone and e-mail mostly...

I was able to teach myself knitting for a while, but had to stop when my arm pain/carpal tunnel symptoms got worse after the cervical epidural injection wore off in September.

Between all the fatigue and pain, it's really hard to do much around the house or go out and run errands.

My sister has been an angel... she has been my "chauffeur" and takes me to my doctors appointments and runs errands with and for me when she has the time. I don't know what I would do without her.

I'm doing a home meal delivery service because shopping and cooking is just to much for me to do right now.

I have been seen by way too many doctors and I am starting to feel like that elephant in the parable about the blind men.

Since I have an illness (fibromyalgia) that the medical establishment doesn't understand very well, I have been left to try to put the pieces together and make some decision about how I should proceed with treatment.

There is emerging some evidence that my Hep C may be involved in this whole picture. As my liver specialist recently told me, "Some people with Hep C have aches and pains. It's hard to say if that is the case with you, but if you treat the Hep C and the aches and pains are related to Hep C, they will get better with treatment." So I am seriously considering starting interferon and ribaviran treatment in this New Year...

The pain doctor wants me to have some deep injections to see if he can treat the nerves in my neck and low back and stop some of the pain. The bad part of deep injections is that they strap you down on the procedure table face down and sedate you for the procedure... I must not be a very good patient because the whole thing just makes me anxious!

Believe me, I wish I was feeling better. I'd settle for every day being a "bad day" at work if I could just have no more pain and fatigue days.

Everything that I have been reading says that fibromyalgia gets better with time ... how much time it will take, I don't know.


Forward to today and some things have changed. For starters, I no longer have my sister's help and the home delivered meals became too expensive so I stopped getting them. Instead, I've figured out some work-arounds for getting to appointments and getting help with errands. I've also discovered some fibro-friendly methods of meal preparation like using a crockpot.

I tried Hepatitis C treatment in 2007 and was unable to tolerate it. I stopped getting the deep injections for pain because they weren't working for me. These and many more experiences taught me to give each new medical treatment a time-limited trial period, after which I decide whether to continue based on the outcome of the trial. Unfortunately, though I have tried many things, few have helped.

I have decided to stop waiting to get better. It's not that I would not welcome it, but rather an acknowledgment that this is not the path I am on right now. I discovered that expending energy waiting to get better interfered with my ability to enjoy today. I've learned to have some fun each day and make more activities fibro-friendly so I can do more and enjoy more of what life currently offers me. I've decided to focus on what I can do in the here and now and I try to leave my concerns about the future and what it has in store for me in the care of the universe.

So I guess I no longer want to bargain a lifetime of "bad days" at work for a life free from chronic pain and fatigue.

Yes, I am still hanging in there despite multiple chronic illnesses. But on most days, I hope I get to do more than just "hang in there." That's why I've also decided that every New Year I get to celebrate is happy just because I get to experience it.

I guess you could say that chronic illness has helped me develop an attitude of gratitude.

Looks like I've come a long way since January 2006!
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