Just when you start thinking you have fibromyalgia figured out – at least in your own body – and start to relax your guard, it hits you right in the face – and the rest of your body, of course.
I have been sailing along, minimizing the flare-ups . . .
2 days later:
Uh, let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, I was minimizing flare-ups (all you fibro folks can stop laughing now). But really, I had been sailing along pretty smoothly for a few months anyway. That was before last Monday.
Monday morning had been great. I had gotten a lot of small household chores accomplished as well as getting the grocery shopping done. I had even called my doctor for a new script for my sleep medication. I couldn’t figure out why the mail-in service had only sent 60 tablets when the doctor had prescribed 90 for a three month period (you know, one-a-day, like the vitamins). I had decided to forego the mail-in service and get my medication at the local pharmacy. The doctor’s office had been very pleasant and helpful. So when I went out to run an errand after lunch, I decided to stop at the pharmacy on the way by to see if the prescription was ready.
It wasn’t. Okay. They couldn’t fill it because the insurance was telling them I had already had it filled at another pharmacy. What? Where? The pharmacy tech was very helpful and called the insurance company for clarification. That’s when I learned that the insurance company had changed their policy (pun intended) and now covered only 60 days worth of certain medications in a 90 day period.
I tried to keep my cool. As I saw it, I had two options. Either I could pay for the third month out of pocket or I could go without the medication one month out of three. I have a sleep disorder related to the fibromyalgia. I can sleep without the medication, but it isn’t restorative sleep, even with the CPAP I have been using for my sleep apnea. Neither option seemed appealing to me, though I tried to keep smiling and being polite.
Inside, though, I could feel a disaster in the making. I could feel the surge of adrenaline in my body as the fear started to build. My conscious mind knew this would be resolved. But my body was panicking in spite of my brain. I left the store as quickly as I could, because I didn’t want to embarrass myself with a melt-down in the store. Of course, I had to drive home – just a mile and a half, plus waiting for the red light. But now I could feel the tears gathering. I knew that bawling my eyes out (for no real reason) would not be helpful to my driving. So I used all my strength and all the techniques I’ve learned to hold it in. I forced myself to sing along with the radio so I would keep breathing deeply.
When I got home, I called my husband at work to let him know that he needed to call human resources or someone to find out what was going on and what we needed to do to get my meds. As I told him the story and apologized to him for not being strong enough to handle it, all my resolve and techniques melted away like a Popsicle in the sun. He, of course, assured me he would take care of it.
In the meantime, I went to my bedroom and let it all out. I hate it when my body takes over like that and no amount of rational thinking can stop it! But what’s worse is knowing that, when that stress reaction occurs, I can expect a world class fibro flare.
When my husband came home from work, he had figured out the problem (the government decided to treat this medication as a controlled substance now – swell) and the solution (the doctor needs to complete a certain form and submit it to the insurance carrier to document the need or something like that). Great – the government has found a way to make my life more complicated because some other idiots are abusing their meds.
Once the adrenaline rush wears off, my body crashes. I feel like a wet dish rag. My muscles feel like every iota of energy has been drained from them. The fatigue makes me feel 200 years old. The energy drain and fatigue are not the worst thing that results from the stress over-reaction, though. For whatever reason, once the energy drain sets in, my muscles seem to go into contraction overdrive. I can almost feel the tensing move up my back and neck, then into my scalp. The result, which you are probably familiar with, is PAIN. Back pain, neck pain, headache. On the scale of 1(least) -10 (unbearable), this was at least an 8. Since I had been cruising through life the last few months between 2 & 5, this was a very rude awakening! I still had Fibromyalgia (duh!) and it still sucked.
Today is Thursday and I’m finally sort-of back to where I was. The pain level has dropped down, but the fatigue is still pulling at me.
So I’m going to offer this piece of advice that seems obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway. Never take fibromyalgia for granted. Enjoy the lulls – but until they discover the cause and a cure, be aware it can always come back to bite you in a way you don’t expect!!