Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not All In My Head

This is a little lengthy. It is wordy and really not that interresting. And yet for some reason I felt compelled to type it all out. So here it goes...

When I first started getting sick about 5 years ago I think a few of those close to me(won't name names), really thought it might all be in my head. And honestly I kind of understood why they might think that.

I had no idea what was wrong. Only that I went from being an on time, if not early person, to being too tired to care that I was running late. I went from getting up 2 hours early to get ready for ANYTHING to rolling out of bed at the last possible minute. I used to go, go, go all of the time and loved to live that way... I cancelled night out after night out to lay on the couch. I felt like I had this continual flu. I ached and hurt all over. It hurt to wear clothes, to be covered by a blanket, to take a shower... I would stay home from work for a few days thinking I had caught something and then go in a day or two later feeling better, only to feel terrible by the end of the day again. There were headaches... I have always struggled with those, though.

After a few months of this life, I went to the dr. They ran tests, took x-rays, made referrels. And gave me no idea what could be wrong. After a few weeks I tired out and quit going. We even moved from our apartment because we had so many people suggest that perhaps the fact that it was the oldest building on Southern Seminary's campus had lent itself to affecting my allergies or something. We were grasping at straws. A move and a job change(full time to part time) seemed to really begin to help. I tired easily and still struggled with the same symptoms at times, but those spells of utter exhaustion were fewer between. I didn't hurt all the time anymore. I think it was a combination of a better schedule and a better understanding of my physical limits.

You would have thought that becoming a mother would have done me in, but because of no physical pregnancy I noticed no physical symptoms during the 9 months leading up to Will coming home. And when we did pick up Will, he was so easy. He slept 12 hours at night. He napped 3 times a day for about 5 hours total. And then when I got pregnant with Riley things were totally different. We just assumed I had bad pregnancies. I was anemic by my 3rd trimester and my hemoglobin was still a 9 after her delivery, but they said it would adjust back to normal. It didn't recover and I seldom felt better. I discovered I was pregnant with Emery 6 months later... With Emery things were even worse. My hemoglobin had remained at a 9. There were all of the pregnany complications. Even on bedrest I was exhausted all of the time. I wondered if it was the contractions that disrupted my sleep or the fact that I couldn't be active. And by the time they admitted me to deliver my doctor was in shock that my hemaglobin was a 7.

On the day I expected to be discharged my doctor came in... She was shocked to hear I had been walking to the nursery. She couldn't believe I nursed every 3 hours through the night, which involved me walking down the hall, buzzing to be let in, and sitting behind a screen in a room with 5 other nurses. Shocked I had not experienced chest pains or heart issues or required oxygen. I had issues with being out of breath but just figured it had to do with the 5 weeks of bed rest and limited activity for weeks before that. My doctor offered me a blood transfusion... It was now my husband and I who were shocked. My hemaglobin had dropped to a 5.0. I was not allowed to leave the hospital for fear that if I hemorraged for some reason, I would bleed to death. After 4 extra days in the hospital, 3 new iv's, 20 vials of blood for testing, 5 iv iron transfusions, 5 B12 shots, and a stringent schedule of dr visits and treatments for the next several months, I was sent home.

When Emery was 6 weeks I had a follow up visit for a flu. I had them pull my old labs from when I first began feeling bad and they said all had seemed normal, though I was recovering from a case of mono when the labs were tested about 4 years earlier. "What?" I said. They said it must have been that they never thought someone as sick as I had been would have had mono and not known so they didn't even think to mention it... Things were starting to come together in my head.

And it seemed like I was on the mend. My hemaglobin was up to normal after several weeks of iron transfusion. I was feeling better then I had in months. And then my precious 6 month old who had been sleeping beautifully became a bedtime nightmare! :) And all of the sudden I felt terrible again.

For weeks I debated another trip to the doctor where I described these aches and pains and fatigue that I felt so wimpy for even acknowedging. And then I got a knot on the bottom of my foot. It was so swollen I couldn't walk all evening. And then I got another knot. This time on the inside of my knee. And then there was another on my knee. Then one on my ankle. After about 24 hours they would become less swollen and painful... But my husband and my mom and dad were thoroughly concerned at this point. This was a tangible symptom. Something they could see and touch.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia came within only a few short minutes of being in the doctor's office. I had a few knots in my shoulders in the exact locations of a few trigger points and found all 18 points to be painful(11 are necessary for a diagnosis).

Fibromyalgia is often triggered by an some type of injury or illness. The dates of my untreated mono(was treated for a sinus infection and strep throat during this time) lined up perfectly with the start of all of the sickness. And it is thought that the mono is what kicked my fibromyalgia into high gear. Well, what I thought of as high gear until all of the blood issues. Since Emery was born I have not been able to get a jump on my symptoms. I can't seem to get enough sleep or rest to get much relief. The severe anemia kicked my fibromyalia into over drive and we are now just kind of waiting it out...

God has been really good to me. I have an amazing mother that drops her plans for the day at even the hint of xhaustion or pain in my voice. She rushes over and sweeps myself and the kids to her home. And Blake often gets the kids ready for bed and gets up with them in the morning, giving me the 30 extra minutes we have found to help immensly. I have wonderful friends who come over for company and manage to bring over their kids and leave my house a little cleaner then before they came. I know this isn't forever... That one day these days will be a distant memory. I won't miss the pains or the fact that I can't stay up late. But I will miss the constant reminder of how much I need these people around me. I hope... Pray that these lessons of the necessessity of dependence on God are as clear in 10 years as they are tonight. As I glance around me at the laundry and toys strewn all over the basement, I am pretty sure that if it wasn't fibromyalgia, I would have plenty of other constant reminders of my need for God. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm sad to hear how much you have had to go through(I have seen how painful and miserable fibermyalgia can be), but encouraged by how the Lord has used it for His glory. What a blessing for me to hear how the body of Christ has come together to support you. Will be praying for you.

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