Pain isn’t always bad. I know that the pain of the injections and PT is going to help the pain of the fibro. But try telling that to my lizard brain that just wants to escape is like telling a four year old she can’t have desert unless she finishes her vegetables. I’ve come up with some coping strategies that help me stay in the present, especially when there is a man standing over me with a needle and causing pain.
Yesterday I started Neurontin (Gabapentin). Wow, that stuff really hits hard. The whole world was spinning. I even fell asleep waiting for a student. The side effects seem to be decreasing quickly. I don’t like the thought of adding yet another drug to my cocktail. But if I want to control the pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety, then it’s necessary. And, I’ve read that Neurontin can be helpful in preventing migraines. So that’s another plus.
So, pain isn’t always bad. Like Austin pointed out, wrapping your head around the fact that the pain “is for your own good” is difficult. So I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing. Injections and PT twice a week (maybe PT more often, I have to ask) and meds. Plus some gentle stretching at home and exercise as I can handle it.
Now I’m tired, so I guess it’s time to hit the sack.
Yup. Triggers galore. And the back pain got so bad, I asked Dr. K to do the injections in my hips and the muscles near my spine. So yeah, the laying on the stomach thing is no fun. He pokes around and then he say, OK, I’m going to do the injection now. I can make sure my eyes are open and I’m breathing properly. I pick one object to focus on (his ultrasound machine) and I try to describe it in my head. It keeps me in the present. It’s difficult, and I still tend to slip into the past. I’ve asked Dr. K not only to tell me when, but to say my name too. Somehow, hearing my name snaps me back if I’m falling into the past.
PT is incredibly painful too. They’re doing heat and TENS on both my upper and lower back. They’re doing ultrasound and massage on my upper back/shoulder/neck area. I know the pain of the treatment is going to make the pain of the disease decrease. The massage part is the worst. Again, I know it’s going to help in the long run. In the short run, it sucks. Actually the worst part of the whole thing is having to take my shirt off. The PT rooms are very private and they cover me with a towel. But I feel so exposed. On my back. No shirt. Pain. Yup. Triggers galore.
My orthopedist recommended stretching between the injections and TENS treatments. I found two videos from a fibro sufferer that focus on the areas where I have the most pain. My shoulders and neck and my hips. I hope they might help someone else who’s in a similar situation.
From my cursory research, it seems like there is a relationship between past abuse and fibromyalgia. I won’t pretend to understand the science. I can barely concentrate on watching stupid sitcoms (King of Hill in the current case). But you know what. This makes me angry. I have the psychological fall out with depression, PTSD, and phobias (anyone want to come to Korea and hold me hand while I try to go to the dentist?) But now I feel like my body is betraying me too. I realize the fibro symptoms have been here for a long time, albeit at a much lower level. I was first screened for fibro in college, but I didn’t respond to the requisite number of trigger points.
I’m tired of all of this. And sometimes I wonder if it’s worth going on. I’m going to ask Dr. P about trying Cymbalta as that’s an antidepressant that’s approved to treat fibro as well. Then again, it might be all in my head. Those knots I feel in my shoulders and neck. I’m just imagining them. I find myself getting more and more cynical as time goes on. I try to pick up after myself, but I can never seem to get the shoebox I live in clean to my satisfaction. I need to mop the floors and wash the windows. Laundry is so exhausting I feel like I need to sleep right after hanging it up.
I want to scream. I want to yell at and shake the people who violated me as a child. I want them to know what they did to me and 20+ years later it’s still affecting my life.
More shots today. Including four in my hips and lower back. It’s really hard for me to lie on my stomach. I did ask Dr. K to tell me when he was going to actually put the needle in. That helped a little bit. I also concentrated on keeping my eyes open. I realized that the pain was causing me to scrunch up my face and thus close my eyes. It’s a lot easier to slip into the flashback when your eyes are closed. I concentrated on my breathing as well. In retrospect, I was hyperventilating. Today’s injections weren’t pleasant, and were actually very painful. But I did make it through them. I managed to stay in the present. So it was a small victory.
It did, however, take a lot out of me, both physically and mentally. Thankfully Friday is my day with two classes. Or would have been. I ask for the key to upstairs so I can just chill out away from kids for a while and one of the other teachers said “E didn’t tell you have a class with K today?” Ummm, no, she didn’t. He’s been out all week recuperating from a car accident. Fair enough. So I pull out his class stuff and I wait. And I wait. He shows up 25 minutes late. I was so pissed off I did the bare minimum to get him caught up with the rest of the class. Actually, it wasn’t that much given the class’ level is so low. Instead of going forward in the curriculum, they’re going back to review what they probably never learned in the first place.
I think I finally understand why the trigger point injections are so triggering for me. First of all, they are painful. Like cry out and bring tears to your eyes painful. Even after switching to a finer needle, they’re almost unbearable. And let me tell you, lidocane burns. So that’s that little fact too.
Having the doctor behind me is somewhat triggering. I can’t see what’s going on. Plus he’s poking around in already painful areas trying to determine where to do the injection. That brings back my touch = pain association. The PT having to poke at my back and neck to figure out where to put the TENS cups reinforces that touch = pain thing too.
I think the biggest thing about the injections is that I can’t predict when he’s going to stick the needle in. I realize for a normal person that might not be a problem. For me, it all goes back to the unpredictability of my father and his games and the pain. I think I’m going to ask Dr. K to tell me when he’s going to stick the needle in. It’s a simple request (I hope).
I am worried about one thing. As the pain in my neck and shoulders gets better, I can feel the pain in my lower back ramping up. It’s up to about a 3. It feels nothing like the pain I had with the herniated disks. It’s the same sort of pain in my upper body. And it’s right where fibro trigger points are. I don’t think I could handle PT or injections in that reason. Lying on my stomach for any sort of procedure is difficult for me and I had to do that for the TENS on my back. But to have someone poking around down there. Ugh. No please no. I know I shouldn’t ignore it. I’m going to try some gentle stretching and hopefully I can prevent a full flare up down there.
Pyschosomatic. That’s what Dr. K the orthopedist told me yesterday. Apparently he did talk to Dr. P. And now I guess I’m just crazy and it’s all in my head. Or not.
I suppose how it depends on how you define psychosomatic. If it’s physical symptoms caused by psychological processes, I’d say jump off a roof. If it’s physical problems exacerbated by psychological stressors I’d say you’re right on the money.
My pain levels have dropped since Dr. P upped the anxiety medication. But, you have to remember, I’ve also started the trigger point injections and PT. I’ve gone from an 8 to a 5 in terms of pain. Not fun, but much more bearable. I also thing the Risperidone had something to do with it. It was interfering with my sleep and I think it was making me more anxious. It’s like a vicious circle.
Am I aggressive? Is telling Dr. P I don’t want to take the risperidone anymomre aggressive? I don’t know if it’s a language thing (he looked aggressive up in his E>-K dictionary) or what. For me, being able to say I don’t want to do this, it makes me feel bad, is hard. Aggressive? Assertive? In two weeks I had gained about 5 pounds. I don’t need that. I’m still seriously obese even losing those 45-50 pounds. I can’t afford to gain weight. And it never really helped with the nightmares. It made me sleepy, but I didn’t sleep well and often was up with the birds.
The only way I can describe my behavior in his office was completely dejected. I hadn’t slept well in weeks (part of that I think was the risperdone). I was anxious. My pain levels were though the roof. Passive aggressive? That wasn’t my intent. It really upset me and I left in tears. I don’t even think he believes the pain is as bad as I say. I don’t know what my options for changing doctors are. Psychiatrists aren’t a dime a dozen around here. Ones that speak excellent English are even more rare.
At least the orthopedist does believe me on the pain. He’s felt the muscles in my neck and shoulders and can see what a mess they are. He changed to a finer needle to do the injections and they’re still making me wince and cry out in pain. I gave him Dr. P’s number and he’s going to talk to him.
I just don’t know what to do anymore… I feel like a failure as a human and as a teacher. I totally snapped at my 5th and 6th graders for not listening yesterday. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for them. But I was so exhausted with teaching the 3 classes before them (including a class of 6 year olds which ended up coloring the last 15 minutes). I did apologize to them.
I think about cutting all the damn time now. It’s been more than 10 years since the last time, and when I made my vow never to do it again. It’s getting harder to resist. I want some pain I can control. I want anything I can control. I can encourage my kids to do their homework and practice for their speaking tests, but I can’t make them. They do poorly and it reflects poorly on me. I’m not their mothers and I don’t want to be. But the mother’s bitch at us when their precious little darlings come home with 60s on their monthly tests.
Much to talk about. Don’t feel like talking. I just hope I can hold myself together.
I’ve been having pretty consistent nightmares for the last few nights. In them I’m running. In some of the dreams I know the person. In others I don’t know the people (or person). And in some of them it’s just running from something big and scary.
Would someone please tell my brain to shut the hell up at night and just sleep like a normal brain?