This blog has been on the back burner for a couple of months now. I’ve been having one of those honeymoon periods where I feel really good. Apart from some minor pain and some tight muscles in my hip I’ve been feeling good. I have been able to go about my daily life and almost for get that I have fibromyalgia. I’m thankful for that time.
Unfortunately, the pain comes in cycles and it’s not predictable. Most would say that I “overdid it” but really I have been doing the same things and more for weeks and I’ve been fine. So the timing is anyone’s guess.
I tell people about my “disease” freely and it’s not to get sympathy. It may come up in diving when a diver has a medical condition that they have to overcome. Sometimes people ask me how I like my BCD because it’s lighter weight and a back inflate which differs from the mainstream. They are used to seeing a certain style and they ask what I like about it and I often tell them why I chose it.
You may have noticed that I put the word disease in quotations. I did this because I often don’t know what to call it. To me, the word disease implies that I have the flu and I will eventually be cured or it will eventually disable or even kill me. But that’s not the right word because fibromyalgia isn’t curable but neither is it necessarily progressive and it doesn’t really effect the actually strength I have. I have struggled hard to accept this but it’s not going away and I have the strength it’s just going to hurt like hell sometimes.
I sometimes use the word disorder which is probably the closest word to correct. Even that isn’t perfect though. Disorder often implies a more chronic condition but it still implies that it can be fixed. The term “chronic condition” applies I suppose but I don’t like that one either. Honestly, I think there just isn’t a good word to use that doesn’t trigger a pity response. So, most often I tell people “I can let it beat me or I can take control and live my life”. That’s what I really strive for, to live my life on my terms as much as humanly possible.
As much as I try there are days when the fibro wins. A few months ago I noticed a strange pain in my feet after I dive. I didn’t think much of it at first. The pain wasn’t bad enough to stop me and, unlike my fibro pain, wasn’t constant. After about 3-4 weeks, about the time I started Divemaster, I went in and had an x-ray just to confirm that nothing was broken. After about 4 more weeks the pain was still there so I went back to the doctor. Even a chronic pain patient knows that if it was nothing it wouldn’t be going on this long. She listened carefully to me and I asked if it could be a stress fracture. She seemed to agree that was likely since stress fractures are often missed on x-ray and don’t show up until 6-8 weeks later if at all. She she ordered a bone scan.
I had a bone scan last week because I have been having pain in my right foot for about 2-3 months. It seems to get better for a while and I keep thinking it’s getting better. The I go and do something and aggravate it and it hurts again. In fact, each time I aggravate it it’s a little more painful than that last time.
I finally got tired of waiting for it to heal and went in to the doctor’s office. Two months ago I had an x-ray that didn’t show anything. Come to find out, that’s rather typical of a stress fracture. Stress fractures are like a crack in the bone. They often don’t break the bone completely in two and there are different schools of thought on how to treat it depending on the severity of the injury.
Sometimes they put the effected limb in a soft cast or boot and sometimes they even use a plaster cast. I feel lucky that the injury, while painful, doesn’t require either of the above.
The bone scan consisted of getting an injection of contrast and then coming in 4 hours later and having the scan done. The scan looks at the bones and detect the small cracks that are seen with stress fractures that x-ray can’ detect. The whole scan took about 20 minutes.
After a week of waiting I talked to the doctor’s office and go the results. I’ve already said that I have a stress fracture and it really wasn’t a surprise to me. I was surprised that I was told to rest, no running or jogging but swimming is ok. So, I can keep diving unless diving aggravates the pain.
Unfortunately, I think that I got the injury from diving and carrying all that heavy gear and rolling an ankle a few months ago. Since diving is my passion these days, this stinks! I really didn’t get any idea how long it will take to heal from the nurse. Now it’s a matter of what I am willing to sacrifice. Not running and resting a doable for the most part. Not diving is not really doable. I’m hoping that I can still dive whenever I can carve out the time. I purchased and ace wrap to wear daily to minimize the movement of the foot on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I’m not sure why I even bothered to get it checked out since the diagnosis basically does nothing for me.
More recently, I’m having a flare that I, as usual, have been pushing through for a couple of weeks now. I started to feel the pain in my neck and shoulders where it always settles about 2 maybe 3 weeks ago. It starts out as just a little pain at the end of the day. Slowly it creeps in at different times of day and becomes more frequent. I’ve been seeing, or rather feeling, the signs, but I’ve been ignoring them. I wanted to pretend it wasn’t a flare but just a little bump in the road. That worked for a while but gradually it’s gotten to a point where its pretty much a constant pain and stiffness.
I can go about the day-to-day, put it aside for a time, but it now refuses to be ignored. I went to work today and I was talking about a night dive with some of the people with the shop. I left the shop and told them I would play it by ear and see what was going on at home. By the time I made it home I knew I was sore. It wasn’t until I sat down though that I really felt it. I am definitely in some sort of flare. I hope and I pray that I don’t get to where I was last fall.
You know, pain is the body’s way of telling you to knock it off. The problem is that I live in some degree of pain every day so my body is basically telling me this every day. Has been for as long as I can remember.
The difference between today and last fall is that I know what’s causing my pain and I know how to ease it. So, tonight I stayed home because, to be perfectly frank, I hurt like hell. My plan now…lay low as much as I can this weekend. Heat, TENS, pain meds. I also need to set and appointment with my provider for OMT and that may help. I had hoped to put that off until the kids were back in school but I guess that won’t work.
It’s times like now that I wonder what my chances are at ever having a decent career since I will always have these flares at random times and most employers wouldn’t really say I’m sick. I don’t know what happens as I age. Do the flares get worse? Do they come more frequently? Generally speaking, most things to get worse and more frequent as we age and our body declines after the age of 40. Geez I’m almost there.
Right now though, I just want my nice soft bed.