My Fibromyalgia Check-list: Legit Reasons Why I’m a Surly Bitch

flag_hybrid_purple_f_cat_lowerres

Fibromyalgia, insidious onset (yeah fucking right). Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, worsened by physical exertion or stress (CHECK)
  • Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level (CHECK)
  • Recurrent flu-like illness (CHECK)
  • Sore throat (CHECK)
  • Hoarseness (CHECK)
  • Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especially in neck & underarms (CHECK)
  • Shortness of breath with little or no exertion (CHECK)
  • Frequent sighing (CHECK)
  • Tremor or trembling (CHECK)
  • Severe nasal allergies (new or worsened) (CHECK)
  • Cough (CHECK)
  • Night sweats (CHECK)
  • Low-grade fevers (CHECK)
  • Feeling cold often (CHECK)
  • Feeling hot often (CHECK)
  • Cold extremities (hands and feet) (CHECK)
  • Low body temperature (below 97.6)
  • Low blood pressure (below 110/70)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dryness of eyes and/or mouth (CHECK)
  • Increased thirst (CHECK)
  • Symptoms worsened by temperature changes (CHECK)
  • Symptoms worsened by air travel
  • Symptoms worsened by stress (THAT’S A BIG 10-4)
  • Headache (CHECK–MIGRAINE)
  • Tender points or trigger points (DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME)
  • Muscle pain (CHECK)
  • Muscle twitching (CHECK)
  • Muscle weakness (CHECK)
  • Severe weakness of an arm or leg (CHECK)
  • Full or partial paralysis of an arm or leg
  • Joint pain (CHECK)
  • TMJ syndrome (MAYBE)
  • Chest pain (CHECK)
  • Eye pain (CHECK)
  • Changes in visual acuity (frequent changes in ability to see well)
  • Difficulty with accommodation (switching focus from one thing to another)
  • Blind spots in vision
  • Sensitivities to medications (unable to tolerate a “normal” dosage) (UMM, DUH)
  • Sensitivities to odors (e.g., cleaning products, exhaust fumes, colognes, hair sprays) (YES, YOU FUCKING STINK)
  • Sensitivities to foods (CHECK)
  • Alcohol intolerance (THANK FUCK, NO)
  • Alteration of taste, smell, and/or hearing
  • Frequent urination (CHECK)
  • Painful urination or bladder pain (CHECK)
  • Prostate pain
  • Impotence
  • Endometriosis
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Decreased libido (sex drive) (UNFORTUNATELY)
  • Stomach ache; abdominal cramps (CHECK)
  • Nausea (CHECK)
  • Vomiting (YEP)
  • Esophageal reflux (heartburn) (CHECK)
  • Frequent diarrhea (THANKS, IBS)
  • Frequent constipation (AGAIN, THANKS, IBS)
  • Bloating; intestinal gas (BEANO DOESN’T HELP)
  • Decreased appetite (I WISH)
  • Increased appetite (LE SIGH…)
  • Food cravings (THAT’S FUCKING NORMAL, DUDE)
  • Weight gain (UGH)
  • Weight loss
  • Lightheadedness; feeling”spaced out” (CHECK)
  • Inability to think clearly (“brain fog”) (THAT’S CALLED COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT. CHECK)
  • Seizures
  • Seizure-like episodes
  • Syncope (fainting) or blackouts
  • Sensation that you might faint
  • Vertigo or dizziness (CHECK)
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (CHECK)
  • Tinnitus (ringing in one or both ears) (CHECK)
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light) (DARKNESS IS MY FRIEND)
  • Noise intolerance (SHUT THE FUCK UP)
  • Feeling spatially disoriented (CHECK)
  • Dysequilibrium (balance difficulty) (CHECK)
  • Staggering gait (clumsy walking; bumping into things) (CHECK)
  • Dropping things frequently (CHECK)
  • Difficulty judging distances (e.g. when driving; placing objects on surfaces) (CHECK)
  • “Not quite seeing” what you are looking at
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) (CHECK)
  • Sleep disturbance: unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep (CHECK)
  • Sleep disturbance: difficulty falling asleep (CHECK)
  • Sleep disturbance: difficulty staying asleep (frequent awakenings) (CHECK)
  • Sleep disturbance: vivid or disturbing dreams or nightmares (CHECK)
  • Altered sleep/wake schedule (alertness/energy best late at night) (CHECK)
  • Difficulty with simple calculations (e.g., balancing checkbook) (I CAN’T MATH)
  • Word-finding difficulty
  • Saying the wrong word (CHECK)
  • Difficulty expressing ideas in words (CHECK)
  • Difficulty moving your mouth to speak
  • Slowed speech
  • Stuttering; stammering
  • Impaired ability to concentrate (CHECK)
  • Easily distracted during a task
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty following a conversation when background noise is present (CHECK)
  • Losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence (WHAT?)
  • Difficulty putting tasks or things in proper sequence
  • Losing track in the middle of a task (remembering what to do next) (DAMN IT!)
  • Difficulty with short-term memory (DID I EAT BREAKFAST?)
  • Difficulty with long-term memory
  • Forgetting how to do routine things
  • Difficulty understanding what you read
  • Switching left and right
  • Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you speak
  • Transposition (reversal) of numbers, words and/or letters when you write
  • Difficulty remembering names of objects (CHECK)
  • Difficulty remembering names of people (CHECK)
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty making decision (CHECK)
  • Difficulty following simple written instructions
  • Difficulty following complicated written instructions (CHECK)
  • Difficulty following simple oral (spoken) instructions
  • Difficulty following complicated oral (spoken) instructions (CHECK)
  • Difficulty integrating information (putting ideas together to form a complete picture or concept)
  • Difficulty following directions while driving
  • Becoming lost in familiar locations when driving
  • Feeling too disoriented to drive (CHECK)
  • Depressed mood (CHECK)
  • Suicidal thoughts (CHECK)
  • Suicide attempt(s)
  • Feeling worthless (CHECK)
  • Frequent crying (CHECK)
  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless (CHECK)
  • Inability to enjoy previously enjoyed activities (CHECK)
  • Increased appetite (CHECK)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety or fear with no obvious cause (CHECK)
  • Panic attacks (CHECK)
  • Irritability; overreaction (FUUUUCK!)
  • Rage attacks: anger outbursts with little or no cause (LOOK THE FUCK OUT)
  • Abrupt, unpredictable mood swings (CHECK)
  • Phobias (irrational fears) (CHECK)
  • Personality changes (CHECK)
  • Rashes or sores (CHECK)
  • Eczema or psoriasis
  • Aphthous ulcers (canker sores)
  • Hair loss (I’LL BE SHOPPING FOR WIGS SOON)
  • Dental problems
  • Periodontal (gum) disease

 

Fibromyalgia is kicking my ass today.

The lethargy attacking me today is at a level it hasn’t been in several months. It is five o’clock in the afternoon and I have just now managed to get up from the couch to do something useful. I consider writing useful. More than useful, actually. If not for writing, I would be constantly depressed.

Lethargy, for me, is a symptom  of Fibromyalgia. It is as frustrating to deal with as cognitive impairment, and on today’s scale, it exacerbates the physical pain so keenly I silently scream. Sometimes I cry out loud. Fuck, a lot of the time I cry out loud.

I was working at a hospital when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Many nurses scoffed when I told them what was wrong with me. I had suffered the chronic pain for a year before finally finding a doctor who could name the beast, and knew how to treat me.

I’m not going to list every single one of my symptoms here. Not now. I have dishes that need tending, and a shower with my name all over it. I just needed to tap out a few words about how I am feeling today, as the act is quite cathartic. Before I go though, let me say that if any readers out there suffer with Fibromyalgia, I feel you. Fibromyalgia is not a trash can diagnosis. It’s fucking real, and it fucking hurts. If any readers out there know someone suffering, be kind to them. Please, be kind.