Monday, December 6, 2010

Question of the Week: What Illness-related Surprises Bug You?

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Many of you that come here to my blog live with chronic illness(es) like I do. For each illness, there are symptoms that are expected, identified and the subject of treatment.

For example, fibromyalgia causes body-wide pain, fatigue, problems sleeping, impaired ability to recover from exercise, headaches and fibro-fog.

Over time, I have come to accept the presence of these symptoms as part of my daily life.

But then there are the weird symptoms that pop up from time to time that are related to our chronic illnesses. I've come to see them as little surprises or "unadvertised specials." With time, I've learned that some of these new symptoms are associated with flare-ups and illness exacerbation. Others, according to the medical professionals that I have seen, are logical parts of the disease spectrum, even if my fibromyalgia books, trusted online resources and doctors don't happen to mention them.

One such illness-related surprise is my occasional problems with swallowing.

This little "unadvertised special" started appearing a few year into my life with fibromyalgia. After many bouts of choking, I happened to mention this problem to my sleep specialist, who sent me for a swallowing study. What I learned from the study was that when I eat solids and liquids together, sometimes the liquid sneaks past my tongue and down my throat before I am ready to swallow. The speech therapist I was then referred to for treatment said this makes sense: fibromyalgia effects muscles and my tongue is a muscle too.

After several sessions, I learned some exercises to help reduce the problem. But every once in a while, if I am not careful, the problem can rear its ugly head, like last week when a whole mouth-full of diet Coke when down the wrong tube. (Gasp! Bleck! Cough, cough cough! Ugh!)

So this week I want to know--what illness-related surprises bug you? What unusual symptoms have you developed? What "unadvertised specials" came along with your diagnosis and what have you done to cope with and manage them?

Leave a comment here and let us know your answer to this question. Or head over to the Oh My Aches and Pains! page on Facebook to leave a comment and join in on the discussion.

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Bethany said...

With late stage heart failure, I could not get used to the fatigue and breathing difficulty. Then after my transplant, the rejection treatments cause excruciating body aches and flu-like symptoms. So glad you have a blog addressing all of this! Folks need support!

Offbeat Follies said...

Memory loss. Specifically, short-term. Out of all of the symptoms, this one is the most depressing and difficult to accept as I used to have an outstanding short term memory.

Felicia Fibro said...

I don't know that they necessarily bug me, but I've certainly had new symptoms pop up over the years. I write them down in my doctor notebook and bring them up at my next appointment. I've gotten a few more diagnoses from those symptoms, which luckily have lead to some treatments for those symptoms. Most of those new diagnoses I've found to be overlapping conditions with fibromyalgia.

Anonymous said...

As Rachael said, MEMORY LOSS!! I can't remember from day to day simple things like when the Guys will be home for supper. They both have second jobs, and I can't keep it straight. It'always a surprise when someone walks into the house!