Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Pained Life: Gender Bias in Pain Treatment

Though I don't completely disagree with this article due to my own experiences, I can't help but wonder if men who suffer from Fibromyalgia, largely a women's disease, would agree with this writer's sentiments.  I'm curious.  Curious indeed.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Morgan Freeman Story

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Pain

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia varies.  There are many positive reports of women going into a remission of pain while pregnant in their first and second trimesters and then have the pain return for the last trimester.  Others, like myself, may experience no severe pain flares, even after delivery. Having said all of this, I do not believe I am part of a small privileged few by having less pain during pregnancy-- quite the contrary-- my as flare-free as possible days came with a little extra work. 

My first born was a little tough, I had not been diagnosed yet so a lot of the pain and fatigue I had was partly due to not knowing my illness, and partly due to my thinking everything was just pregnancy related.  It wasn't hard to assume that my symptoms were just the pregnancy because many of them overlapped. 

I had lower back pain, fatigue, bloating, chemical and food sensitivities, and muscles that didn't work as well.  All of these symptoms, including muscle weakness, or being a clutz when I sprang my ankle during my first trimester, could all be explained away as normal pregnancy symptoms. 

When Scott and I wanted a second child, I was already diagnosed and knew what to look for.  I had similar symptoms with my fatigue, clutziness-- yup, sprang the other ankle with my second, and lower back pain.  But the fatigue was considerably different with my second, and not so much for the worse, just different.  I grew tired during the middle of the day with my second.  With my first, I wanted to go to bed by 7 pm. 

With each pregnancy I tried to find ways to cope with my symptoms via healthy foods.  Eating protein and iron enriched foods helped with my mid-day fatigue, and believe it or not, eating fatty foods helped to increase my energy throughout the day with my first pregnancy.  You all know that I'm a firm believer in the statement, "You are what you eat."  That statement has been a mantra of mine for what seems like a lifetime.

But, that doesn't mean that I eat healthy 100 percent of the time.  In fact, I made plenty of wrong food choices while pregnant, just as many moms before me (and even after me) may have.  Yes, I will admit that I ate frozen pizzas twice a week with A LOT of extra grated cheese, as well as, a weekly Egg McMuffin with my first pregnancy.  I ate Thai and Indian food with my second bi-weekly, along with an occasional medium rare burger.  Sadly, I ate "worse" while pregnant than I do on a normal basis.  Yup!  Guilty as charged!

You might all be wondering, "Geeze!  Where's this blog post going!  I'm trying to be the best Mom possible with my pregnancy and SHE'S supposed to be this fabulous girl and all.  UGH!!"  Okay, before you chastise me-- hear me out with the mantra, "You are what you eat." 

It's true that if you put junk in daily, you will get junk out.  But, none of us are perfect and none of us should deny ourselves the things we like continuously for forever and a day.  We, especially moms, need to learn how to cut ourselves some slack, and gosh darn it, we need to learn how to relax, especially before the baby comes.  If that means having an occasional Big Mac, then do it!

Finding ways to relieve your stress, whether that be sipping a favorite cup of tea, having a double cheeseburger, or practicing yoga, is up to you.  Find your niche, the thing that makes you, you.  Find that indulgence and do it as often as you can before the baby and make sure you find time to do it after too!

All of these things will help you to stay as flare free as possible because it will reduce your stress of being a new, or not so new mom.  Many moms go through stress, even after they have one kid under their belt.  Having a second is twice as hard when both need you at the same time, three is thrice, and after that, I bless you all because I have NO idea how you deal with it on a daily basis.  It honestly must be hard.

Maintaining my stress day-to-day is what really helps me to be as flare free as possible.  This can't happen every day of course.  You'll have those days when you wish you could replace the teenage years of bullies and boyfriends with sleepless baby nights, but again, find your moments to indulge.  It will all help in the long run because if your baby sees a woman dealing with life's pain positively, they will grow up with the same beliefs.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Could Fibromyalgia be Labeled as a Psychiatric Illness?

Apparently the fears I expressed in an earlier post entitled First Test to Objectively Diagnose Fibromyalgia  may possibly come to pass with this latest article I've come across.

It saddens me that we may wind up being classified as a psychiatric illness because I truly believe that Fibromyalgia is so much more than just a psychosomatic disorder.  There are many, many other factors like food and chemical sensitivities, bloating, dizziness, vertigo, RA, thyroid issues, IBS, and migraines-- to only name a few-- that patients suffer from.  And what's sad is, many of these can be medically measured.  Our pain can also go into remission or flare when the weather changes.  This is not caused by a lessening or increase of stress in our lives-- it's just part of the disease. 

Many of us, including myself, have had symptoms since birth and it's taken us years to find doctors that "get us".  If our pain becomes classified as a mental disease, we, along with others who have similar diseases, might be classified as having a mental disease. 

Now one might say, "Hey, Kim relax!  Things look good!  The study sounds like it's a step in the right direction.  They are trying to get a better diagnostic test for Fibro sufferers."  I understand what you are saying.  You want me to look at this a very positive thing.

But I have a great fear.  Forgive me for sounding this crass about my fear, but this has to be said this way so non-Fibro people "get it".  Can you imagine a person who has cancer getting the care they need from a psychiatrist?  I can't.  And that COULD very well happen IF that poor patient becomes misdiagnosed!  It's NOT far-fetched in the least to think this way!  After all, it can take some time for symptoms to show up on a test.  What about someone who suffers from heart issues?  Some patients who complained about fatigue were turned away from the hospital only to show hours later with congestive heart failure.  What about Alzheimer's?  They don't have a test for the early stages yet.  It's hard to diagnose in the early stages at this point unless you have a brain scan, and even then it might be hard to catch, no one's really sure because the symptoms are very few in the early stages.  Mistakes happen everyday in the medical community, and unfortunately, we Fibromites have seen A LOT of them when it comes to our own diagnoses. 

The saddest part-- if we are lucky, we have health insurance that we pay for.  This study may give the insurance companies the right to tell us they won't pay for our care, and that's not right.  You may think this isn't your fight because you don't have Fibromyalgia, but I beg to differ with you. This study may just pave the way for insurers to classify anything psychosomatic if there isn't any test that truly labels your issues as anything else. 

This issue seems to rely a great deal in coding and billing, and since about 6% of the world's population has Fibromyalgia, I'm pretty confident in saying that not many insurance companies want to help the patients pay the bills if it drastically cuts into profits.  They'd rather see the patients foot the bill.  And if they can do it to us, they could do that to others that suffer just as much, or far greater than us.  In this case, greed IS NOT good. 

Stay Fabulous!
Love and Friendship,


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