Dealing with Fibromyalgia and its "F" Factors
Saturday, January 28, 2012
I have Fibromyalgia (FM) and this is my blog to myself on dealing with it and organizing it so that I can cut it down to a size where I can deal with it.
Fibromyalgia effects us all differently so I have had to learn to deal with it on my own terms. For me my pain seems to be worse at night. I would take meds but I have lots of side effects to the point of illness due to the medications, so for the most part opt out. For me I don't have a lot of choices.
In not being able to tolerate the high powered pain and often mood altering drugs offered to most FM sufferers I feel like I am a little weirdly wired from the typical FM patient. I had rather have pain and my wits and have a fair shot at losing weight and staying healthy, then have meds that interfere with my weight and have to deal with all the overwhelming side effects these meds produce in my sensitive system.
I have not really solved the problem, but I have at least risen to the challenge it has created and am learning to work with the problem. I now take some meds "as needed" or sparingly with my doctor's blessing. If I take them on an everyday basis many of these powerful drugs overwhelm my system and the side effects start showing up.
I have found that anti-inflammatory meds work sometimes but they are tough on my stomach. Sometimes that must be a trade off. Also OTC pain meds work somewhat, but when I am are having severe Fibromyalgia pain it can be a challenge trying to get through.
In discovering what helps give me quality of life I have pinpointed things I cannot do without. These, for me, are 2000 mg of coral calcium and, even though it is balanced with magnesium and vitamin D, a friend of mine and I were both told by doctors and lab technicians we needed to add even more vitamin D. We were told that most people, and especially those with FM, needed more vitamin D than they were getting.
I have been taking calcium for years and the right kind does minimize pain. I really notice it if I skip it. I started adding the extra vitamin D recently and it has seemed to help as well.
I have also discovered my triggers. For me I call them the F factors. These are Foods, Fronts, Failed sleep and Frustration which when allowed to go unchecked place my body in Fatigue causing my FM to Flare for me. Here is the equation.
F (Food, Fronts, Frustration and/or Failed sleep) x (multiplied) on Fatigue unchecked = FF (Fibromyalgia (FM) Flare)
If I can stay ahead of the F factors by
1) eating higher protein sustainable energy foods and avoiding junk food and high carbs,
2) paying attention to the weather to know when to expect a weather induced flare and planning on taking the meds I take sparingly the day or just before the front is due so I am ahead of the pain,
3) reading a scripture or other positive uplifting reading to ponder (for me it is a scripture that a student of mine brought me which brings me peace) and using other de-stressing techniques that leads to Frustration,
4) and relaxing at night before bedtime in order to get a good nights sleep and avoid the Failed sleep pattern
I have found that I can do moderately well considering the condition. As a matter of fact, just getting most of these reduces my FM symptoms. Unfortunately this is an if and does not always work out.
The scripture my student gave me, by the way, and which I keep in my Bible as a book mark so I can read it every night is
" Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives it do I give it unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid for I am with you always." John 14:27
However, there are many other uplifting scriptures or other writings that are peaceful and uplifting to focus on. I ponder good thoughts as I rise and upon going to bed at night to prevent frustration and especially in times of frustrations. I have found it does seem to help sustain the body as well as the soul.
If you are religious, a prayer journal at night, giving over your stress to God, is often very effective in reducing stress at bedtime so that sleep can be more beneficial.
These are just some of the things I have found helpful as I struggle to deal with my FM. I sometimes feel like a boxer giving it the one two punch and trying to keep it off guard, but then sometimes it flattens me. There are more techniques I use and others use as this is an illness that requires adjusting and adapting to whatever it throws at you, so the challenge goes on...
For a more complete blog of some of my methods of dealing with pain see my blog on "What Do You Do for Fibromyalgia Pain?"