Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Battle I Face

I haven't written about this yet, but it feels like a good time to share a battle I've been facing for a few years with pain. I've had headaches and tight muscle problems since mid-college and have tried many different therapies since then to help with the pain. It's a long story trying different methods I didn't really see results from and have more recently had the pains get stronger and affect more of my body. 

I never want to be a downer, but I have to be honest and say that I very rarely have pain free days. It pains me to write the reality of those words, but it is the unfortunate truth. Some days, the pain is more mild and puts me in an achy fog, but it very rarely disappears completely. On the severe days, I'll be in bed with my heat pad on my muscles trying to rest it out and hoping for a better tomorrow.

In December, I visited my fairly new family doctor about how bothersome it's gotten and she suggested physical therapy since I was apprehensive about starting with medication. I went through mid-February when the physical therapists resolved that I hit a plateau and wasn't improving anymore. My muscles were still tight and I still had about as much pain as the last time I was in. I did have some improvements in certain areas, but my neck and shoulder pain and the headaches always persisted.

After months of hearing about fibromyalgia (click the link for Mayo Clinic's definition), I looked it up and decided I'd ask my doctor about it in my post-PT visit. She doesn't know if I have it yet (I hear it can be a long process to diagnose) but is trying treatments for it to see if they help with the pain. She prescribed Lyrica. I took it for 3 weeks unil I had some hefty side effects from the Lyrica (anxiety, racing heart, dizziness, unsteadiness, etc) and after them getting in the way of work, I stopped taking it.

I had a checkup with my doctor scheduled this week anyway, so it was perfect timing. I had called in to tell them about the side effects, so she had also suggested I stop taking it until I went in to see her. I let her know how badly it's gotten and that I'm in bed most times when I'm not at work. She prescribed Cymbalta and said she's had patients with my symptoms find a lot of relief from it. So I started it Friday and have been pretty nauseous/dizzy this weekend but my doctor said (and I've read) that it can take a few weeks to let your body adjust to the side effects of SNRI's like Cymbalta. I'm really hoping it helps and have already had glimpses of being pain free! Now I just need the side effects to subside soon :)

This is the journey I'm on, and I know God is here with me, but honestly there are many hard days that I need the raw, unfiltered love of friends and family to keep things in perspective. Nick has been so wonderful, doing basically everything around here when I'm in pain/sick, being understanding about my need to rest so often, and loving me when I'm grumpy after long hard days with pain, just to mention a few. I wanted to share this with the hopes that someone else may realize they're not alone in their pain, that you may be able to better help someone you know with pain, and even just to talk myself through it in writing. Here's to hoping and praying for pain-free days in my future...


Maria Alban said...

I have had the same kind of pains that your are describing, mine came after my car accident in Dec. 2009. I have not been able to get rid of the pain, I have done PT and went to a specialist. The doctors say there isn't much that they can do for me. I have to go to the gym to get rid of the pain, ha that made no sense to me.

I'm sorry that your stuggling with this and I hope that these meds work for you.

Rachel said...

I'm glad you posted about this, M. You know how much I love you and that I'm praying for you and your healing. I also pray you will have hope each day and will find comfort through Jesus in the rough days.

No matter what, I know it will be hard... just know you have many people that love you and go to God on your behalf. Beauty WILL come of this.

Unknown said...

Mars, praying for you so much. You are so loved and so many others lifting you up when you feel you have nothing left to say. God knows what's in your mind and heart and will meet your every need even when it seems like he's not, even when don't know it.

God is a big God and cares about you deeply. You were chosen by Him to be his daughter and loves you! :)

Marissa said...

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement, it truly means a lot. I'm feeling very optimistic and am thankful to have such good friends! Maria, you may want to talk with your doctor about fibromyalgia, there have got to be other treatments you can try. I would if the pain is holding you back. Keep me posted!

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