Monday, August 11, 2008

The Frustration of Fibromyalgia

I've been reading this book titled "The Fibromyalgia Solution: A Breakthrough Approach to Heal Your Body and Take Back Your Life" by David Dryland, MD, with Lorie List (copyright info below). It's taking me a long time just to get through the first chapter. I have a really hard time reading self-help or medical books.

Here's a portion of chapter 1, titled "The Frustration of Fibromyalgia" and you'll see some of what I've been dealing with in recent years:

"Fibromyalgia feels different to everyone. The common denominator in most cases is an elevated awareness of painful and uncomfortable sensations throughout the body. The pain can be diffuse or localized, and it can move from one part of the body to another. Most patients complain of pain and stiffness in their neck and shoulders or in other stiff, tight muscles. For a lot of people, there is general tenderness throughout the body. Painful sensations may be described as aching, burning, or throbbing. What hurt intensely yesterday may only be a mild ache today. In fact, so many places can hurt that at a doctor's visit, a patient may only focus on the things that really hurt that day. Confounding to doctor and patient, such an account distorts the picture of the illness and often prevents an accurate diagnosis from being made.

"Fibromyalgia patients are chronically tired and often wake up feeling as if they didn't sleep at all. Depression is common, but who wouldn't get depressed by unending, unexplained misery? Many people experience memory, concentration, and cognition problems--a condition commonly known as fibro fog. Fibro fog is actually one of the more frustrating symptoms people experience, making it difficult to multitask, concentrate at work, or think on their feet. Other symptoms include headaches, numbness, skin irritation, feeling too cold or too hot, sensitivity to bright lights or loud noises, and an aversion to intense tastes and smells. Due to a depressed immune system, fibromyalgia patients are more likely to catch a cold. They will be sick longer and have a longer recovery period. Existing or previously undetected allergies can become unbearable. Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, adding tremendously to their discomfort.

"Headaches and heartaches go hand in hand with fibromyalgia.... Fibromyalgia symptoms can come and go, leaving you enormously frustrated with your inability to know how you will feel on any given day. Adding insult to injury is the fact that no matter how terrible you feel, you can still appear healthy to everyone else. An initial outpouring of sympathy from friends and family will often fade as the illness drags on without any explanation. Physicians have trouble identifying a physical cause that explains the continued pain. Even when a physical cause is identified, such as a strained back, the pain is always far greater than would be expected for the type of injury.

"Fibromyalgia is full of cruel ironies. It makes you too tired to get out of bed, while at the same time, lying on a mattress is so unbearable, you can't stand to stay there. You will want nothing more than to fall into a deep sleep but find yourself staring at the clock instead. Exercise that feels great one day leaves you in agony the next day.... And on the day when you wake up knowing you would do anything to get your health back, you are too exhausted to figure out how on your own."

(c) 2004, 2007 by David Dryland, MD; published by Warner Wellness, New York, NY,

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