Chooch and I just returned from the rheumatologist after having blood work and x-rays of my feet and hands. While there is something minor going on with my thumb/wrist joint-thingy, she was able to rule out Lupus (again) and rheumatoid arthritis. The crackly noise my knees have made when I bend them a certain way? Well, in spite of the entertaining response when I creep people out with a demonstration of it, it actually goes by the less hilarious name of osteoarthritis.
The immense joint pain, which when it is settled into my feet I liken to walking on broken glass when on carpet, is due to Fibromyalgia. I know at least a half dozen people that have it, and the amount of pain they live with is more than a little daunting. These are people whose entire lives are changed by their pain, and it doesn’t matter if they are “good” people or “bad” people or educated people or uneducated. They are Altered. Even worse, their loved ones have to deal with all the complications that goes along with living with someone that has chronic pain.
And let’s not forget that this is another scoop on my health problem ice cream sundae. I have a history of heart disease and diabetes on my Dad’s side. I have breast cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis on my Mom’s side. I have been out of work for the last 2.5 years while doctor’s try and then give up on finding something that can be cured for the migraines, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, stutter, tremors and “brain fog. ” I have TMJ. I was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. (I say diagnosed in that case because we have no idea how long I’ve actually had it, but it’s believed to be over a year before detection and treatment, when the ideal is within 8 days. I’m still trying to sort out what long-term effects that leaves me open for, although I’m starting to wonder if I should just leave that door closed. Just for now.)
Adding Fibromyalgia to the sundae actually accounts for a lot of symptoms that have emerged in the last six (?) months: joint pain, memory and mental function, tension or migraine headaches (there has been a dramatic increase in both, but I was chalking it up to a medicine change in recent months).
I just returned from therapy and am adding on to the post I had already started composing. I only mention this because it may have impacted my mood and it may appear abrupt to you, but many hours have passed since I started this post.
As has happened a few times previously, I had therapy on the same day that something very troubling has happened, the diagnosis whined about above the stars. Well, according to T-Pain (My therapist, and I mean the alias in the kindest way), it’s ok for me to wallow today. As long as I don’t linger for too long, I can throw myself a Pity Party. After I get bored with that, I will take action as needed to improve things as much as I can.
I have already taken steps there, and am hoping to take my first water aerobics class by next week at the latest. It’s my first little baby step back onto the path to half-marathon training, and even if I don’t make it that far I will, in my own experience prior to this diagnosis, feel greatly improved just by being in motion as often as possible. And if you need any proof that this means a lot to me, bear in mind that means I will be wearing a swimsuit. In public. Me, who’s gained 40 pounds since June of last year.
It just gets more and more awesome the more toppings you put on the sundae, eh? All I know is, if I’d known that my last 5k might be my Last 5k, I would have run like I was on FUCKING FIRE instead of making adjustments to minimize later pains. I would have run like Phoebe on “Friends.”
She also had me do “art therapy” for a bit today, handing me a blank sheet of drawing paper and a box of colored pencils. She drew a vase and told me to fill it with what was inside me. Guys, it was so fun. Even better? She wants me to continue doing it. Daily, using drawing paper, colored pencils or and nothing but a giant circle as my guide, I’m to fill it in however I feel like filling it in. I think I’m even going to attempt using it as a meditation device.
Even though my Mom was ** an amazing artist, I gave up on myself as one a long time go. My crafts over the years included replicating someone else’s design by:
- stitching tiny X’s,
- using any color I wanted (!) on someone else’s cast pottery and ceramics,
- crocheting, knitting, latch hooking, really any craft involving the knotting of yarn,
- singing along to the radio,
- attempting to learn a song on the bass guitar,
- baking other people’s recipes
- creating the Stargate quilt with my husband.
My instances of artistry are few and far between as an adult: painting one picture, writing one novel, casting and painting some clay to my own odd amusement are the only things that come to mind after a good 5 minutes of thought and a discussion with my husband. He thinks the quilt should be on this list, since we created the pattern for it. I call shenanigans because our sole intent and execution was to replicate the design as precisely as we could within the time and money constraints we had at the time.
But that’s not what this is about. And by silencing the left side of my brain for a while, the right side stretch and move unfettered, possibly even showing me tangibly “what is going on with me” as I deal with all the challenges in front of me/us. It could be useless, or it could be cheat codes to some cool level previously unaware of, that will help me deal with the stresses and minimize their impact on my health.
I have to admit, I’m getting kind of addicted to my epiphanies and changing of core beliefs and all that jazz.
And if you have ice cream cravings now, like I have ice cream cravings, you have Mur Lafferty to blame for it. She mentioned it earlier today and I’ve been craving it ever since. Thanks, Mur!
**Someday I will not have to backspace to replace “Mom is” with “Mom was”. Although T-Pain might be shooting for that, I don’t think I’m looking forward to it.
2 replies on “Joint Pain Diagnosis and Aftermath”
Viv, Water therapy is fabulous. I did it in basic when my body fell apart. It feels great to get your weight off your feet and be able to move and get exercise. Low impact FTW. Fibromyalgia sucks. I almost added a but, then decided you know those. You are an inspiration in rising above and have a great support system. Please just don’t be afraid to ask for help. I am so proud of you for taking care of yourself body and soul. Please know you can call me any time. I love you babe.
Thanks, Heather. I don’t know that I’m doing anything inspiring of such kindness, but I will happily take it! I love you, Sweet One!