I've been planning to give an update on my stupid health issues for over a month now, but when I stumbled upon this old post, written a little over a year ago, I didn't want to put off writing this any longer. And it's probably going to be a long one (even longer than my usual), so don't say I didn't warn you. In fact, I almost split it into two (or three) posts. If you have no interest in my health, and only come here to hear me say something funny, or extremely stupid and/or personally embarrassing, do yourself a favor and skip this one.
My Chaz Bono chin/neck appears to be on the verge of giving birth. I've
The "big secret" will be of no interest to my friends in Bloggerville. It will only matter to those who know me- those who've been kept in the dark about it- or who've been basically lied to every time I told you I'm fine. If you fall into that group, I'm sorry. I'm nowhere close to fine.
Supposedly, I have Fibromyalgia. I haven't even decided yet if I believe Fibro exists (which is not to say that I think people are lying about their pain. I don't. I believe it has become a very popular catch-all diagnosis in recent years when a doctor doesn't know what else is wrong with a patient, to the point that some people are being misdiagnosed with Fibro when they actually have something else).
Actually, the onset of my "illness" and all the continuing symptoms line up most closely with Lyme disease, from what I've determined through my own research since all this started. Here's what happened...
(If you want to shorten this post, and couldn't care less about Fibromyalgia or how I got "sick," skip all the blue type and jump to the end)
Several years ago, I started running a fever and feeling achy, like the flu was coming on... Only it never did. I had a solid week to ten days of high fevers and feeling really tired and out of it (but no other flu or cold symptoms, like coughing or congestion, nausea, etc.). And when I say tired, I mean laying down to take a little nap, then sleeping for the next 18 hours. This happened several times throughout that week (Thank God Darrell was home at that time to help with the kids, at least). It was weird. But, again, we thought I was coming down with something, so it wasn't that weird. The aches kept getting worse, but finally the fever stopped. I expected to get better, but the aches and fatigue continued.
After a couple weeks of that, I went to the doctor. He asked me if I'd had a tick bite and/or a rash when I first got sick, and I said 'No.' This ruled out Lyme, as far as he was concerned. But... Wouldn't it be possible to get a tick bite and a rash in a place you wouldn't necessarily see? Especially if you're, um, large-ish, like myself? Now, several years after the fact, I wish the Dr. would've just tested me for Lyme anyway. He thought it sounded more like Leukemia and tested me for that, as well as for Lupus. Both were 'negative,' so he said Fibro was the best fit.
I have never heard or read of another case of Fibromyalgia that initially presented itself with fever. Plus, I continue to have bouts of unexplained fever. In fact, I've been running a fever every day for the last three weeks. Whenever this happens, I hate it. I always feel like I'm just about to get sick, but never do.
During the time of waiting to see what was wrong with me, I also started to notice that, as the fatigue became worse and I was feeling more tired, I was actually sleeping less. It's as if those 10-18 hour "naps" in the beginning were God's way of prepping me to never sleep again.
I don't know what the heck it is, but I do know that I am in pain, to some extent, almost all the time. Often intense pain. It does go through 'cycles' (for lack of a better term) where it gets better or worse, but some part of me is always hurting. The cycles of pain do not seem to follow the cycles of fever, either. There is no absolute pattern to any of it.
Right now, as I write this, the bones and muscles all around my collarbones and in my pelvic/hip areas feel like I've been beat to crap in a bad car accident. I've had times when it's hard to walk, hard to lift my own baby, hard to get myself in and out of the tub or the car. Oftentimes, weakness comes with the pain, and you can see me visibly shake as I try to lift a glass. It's ridiculous. To watch me walk around during these times, you would think I was 40 years older than I am.
Because of that, I have become a hermit of sorts, even avoiding phone conversations (especially with my mom, who probably thinks I'm a horrible daughter for not keeping in touch as I should. Sorry, Mom). The kids always say I have a "pain voice" and they can hear it when I'm hurting. It took them a while to learn the difference between my pain voice and my angry voice- lol, but now they can hear me say "hi" and know immediately that I'm in pain. And it's just hard to make small talk or focus on a conversation when you're in pain. When I'm hurting the worst, I will avoid you like the plague. I won't go to church, or the store, or any other place. I'm like an old cat, who will slink off to a closet to die alone (speaking of which... I just realized I haven't seen Mama Kitty since yesterday... Hmmm).
The long and short of it is that Fibro has added about twenty years to the way I feel and the way I function. My "Quality of Life" sucks. I'm lost in a constant brain fog (pain distracts you from everything else). I'm slow. I'm unproductive. I'm... pitiful.
Aside from the pain, the most frustrating aspect of this is the extreme fatigue. I am tired all the time (but can't sleep, which is also apparently a normal part of Fibro) and always feel worn out, as if I've just been through a rigorous work-out.
And guess what? When people see a big woman who says she's tired and is having trouble getting out of a chair, you know what they think? They think "LAZY!" "LARD*SS!" They think, "Maybe you should put down the cake, honey." That's what they think. You can see it in a person's face, sometimes... you know, when they're judging you and making assumptions about who you are based on your weight. I hate that part of it, too.
I'm no longer on any pharmaceuticals for it. I tried several (for years) and they didn't work. I think this lends more evidence to the idea that I have something other than Fibro, but what do I know? I'm not the one with the degree on my wall. I'm just the one in pain. And currently, I'm the one in pain with no health insurance, so there won't be any further testing or prescriptions in my near future.
In addition to the Fibromyalgia-or-whatever-it-is, I still have uncontrolled Diabetes (the fat chick kind, Type 2- not the "born with it" kind), high blood pressure, ridiculously high cholesterol, HORRIBLE insomnia (and have I mentioned I can't sleep?) a bad thyroid, and a hormone imbalance that drives me up the wall ( PCOS- Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome). And, as long as I'm listing ailments, I've had a new, weird thing going on... In the past 8 months or so, my armpits have started hurting, too. What the heck is that? I have no idea whether or not that's part of Fibro, or Lyme, or any other thing, but it seems like a strange area to be hurting. It's even painful to shave or put on deodorant. As if the rest wasn't enough, huh? Well, I've always had to be a little unusual. I guess my pits are no different. I'm a mystery, wrapped in a pancake.
Wow. This is a lot of rambling. Look at all these words! Are you even still here? Am I flipping talking to myself again?
It's a little late to make a long story short, but basically... It's time to take the bull by the you-know-whats and do something. I don't know what. But something. If I don't change my ways, I'm going to die. I don't mean that to sound all melodramatic, like I'm dying today, or anything... I just mean I can't reasonably expect to be around for my children's children if I'm going to continue choosing to ignore my health (or at least the parts of my health that I can control, anyway).
I can't do anything about the constant pain or fatigue. I'm stuck, there. And the point of mentioning it in this post, is not so that I can whine and complain. This is not a "poor me" thing. This is about me being fed up with all the things in life that are beyond my control, and wanting more than ever to get control over the few things I'm able. I know my weight is to blame for some of this. And some of this is to blame for my weight. And really, the only thing I have a real shot at controlling is my weight. And by controlling my weight, maybe I can have a little control over the diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, and just maaaaybe, my life expectancy (not that I truly think I can control how long I'll live, but you know what I mean... I'd like to add a few years if possible). I'm hoping I can find the strength to knock down this one huge domino in my life, and then that domino will... well, you know how dominoes work.
As far as getting the weight issue taken care of... I just don't know how to do it. I know that I'm not going on another diet. I'm more interested in learning how to eat better, healthier, and more organically, than I am in following some restrictive plan that will leave me feeling deprived and only yield short-term results.
I just want to live a healthier life and feel better. That sounds like it should be easy. Why isn't it easy? Am I really asking for too much?
If you read Looking For George, I'm looking into a lot of the same things Elaine is interested in (bio-identical hormones, etc.) trying to live as naturally and healthfully (??? Healthfully? Is that a word?) as possible without a reliance on pharmaceuticals. I'm trying to find more natural ways to manage pain and insomnia effectively (which I haven't yet) and trying to figure out a healthier diet for myself and my family. That's where I'm struggling the most. I've told you guys before that I don't know the first thing about eating (or cooking) healthy food.
I'm very confused right now about what exactly qualifies as healthy and what doesn't. A lot of "lite" or sugar-free products, like yogurt, for example, contain Aspartame and/or lots of other chemicals. So is it really better to give up the calories, but eat the chemicals? OR should I be looking for more natural, unprocessed products that may have a higher calorie count, but contain less "crap?"
I may or may not blog about my little Journey to Health, and my progress (if there is any). I haven't decided yet. If I'm successful, will it even matter to anyone but me? Does anyone have the slightest interest in hearing that one of my fat rolls shrunk by 1/8 of an inch? And if I'm not successful (again), do I really want my failure recorded here, staring back at me for all eternity, in black and white? If I do blog about it, maybe it will help keep me accountable? Or maybe it will just help me lose the 2 readers I still have... I don't know.
I certainly will not blog my starting weight, but my goal is to lose 75 pounds, and give Laverne, Mary Kate, and Ashley their walking papers. I want to be running around outside with Sammy this Summer. I want to get some type of activity into every day. This will be very hard to stick with on my "bad pain days," but I hope to do something, even if it's only walking around the block.
I may blog more about my plan, once I know what my plan is going to be. Right now, I'm confused. And frustrated. And feeling like the odds are against me before I even start. But... I still have a tiny bit of hope, too. I feel a change is coming. And it's just got to be a good one, right?