Saturday, October 3, 2015


I was so excited!
We could have an accurate diagnosis.
Then I thought about it.

I've gone to doctors that absolutely refused to write about Fibromyalgia in my charts. He looked right at me and said, "well, I'm not writing THAT down." I've been to doctors that have given me the "oh-suck-it-up" look and shrugged their shoulders. I went to a dermatologist because the skin was peeling off my fingers and, I kid you not, he walked out of the room and looked back at me and said, "you know, you do live in the desert."

Will one little code fix that kind of attitude?
You just can't fix stupid.

Health care has gone beyond terrible. Those who belittle and dismiss your symptoms as, "all in your head." The ones that tell you Fibromyalgia isn't real and they certainly won't write that down in your chart.  The ones that have you crying when you leave the office. They are also the physicians that have you doubting yourself and you start thinking about what you did to deserve this or, worse, what you did to yourself that brought this on. Then there are the doctors and clinics that will take thousands from you, knowing there is no cure, give you false hope and when things don't work tell you that you're on the right track.

Will a simple code fix all this?

Then, there's the other end of the spectrum. I've almost become embarrassed to say the word Fibromyalgia. People look at you like it's the garbage can diagnosis that some doctors have made it out to be. If they can't tell what's wrong with you....well must be Fibromyalgia. It may very well be just that......but it's the look that goes along with it that gets to you. It's the look of disdain or the just plain patronizing that gets to me. It's the almost pitying look that says, "well.....if you believe it....."  I'm really tired of doctors pulling that.

Let me get this straight. There is a code for being sucked into a jet engine (V97.33). There is a code for other contact with a pig (W55.49X???). There is a code for being struck with a turkey (W61.62X). It took this long to get a code for Fibromyalgia??????

So, back to the question.
Will the code fix it?
I'm not sure.

Whether they like it or not, Fibromyalgia is real and recognized. I just don't think that years of thinking that it's a problem of neurotic, middle aged women will go away quickly. There will always be doctors that are more interested in getting you out of the office than finding out what's really wrong. Having said that.......

I'm convinced that my dog gets better care than I do.

The vet comes in the room and bends down and pets him.

Calls him by his name and lets him know that she cares.

At that point my dogs tail is wagging a mile a minute.

If there's medication she explains how to use it and what it's for.

She really wants to get to the bottom of the problem.

Plus, she wants to know in a FEW DAYS if the medication is working.



Maybe I should go to a veterinarian.

My dog doesn't know how lucky he is.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


As of today,

October 1, 2015,


has it's own ICD-10 code.


No longer can a doctor look at you

and say Fibromyalgia doesn't exist.

We can finally have a real diagnosis.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


"One good thing about music,
when it hits you..
you feel no pain."
Bob Marley

What is it about music? Why does a certain song trigger so many memories? They can be good memories or bad ones and those memories can take us back and give us those very same emotions as if it were the very day. Music has the ability to give us peace and solace. It can soothe, inspire and uplift. It can bring joy and make us smile.

So what does that mean for pain?

I guess we should go back to the definition for pain. Pain is defined as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in such terms."

So if pain is an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience can that same stimuli be overridden by the pleasant and emotional experience that music brings? Can music provide enough distraction to alleviate pain and suffering?

Music therapy is used to induce relaxation and to be used in a multi-disciplinary approach for pain management. It covers listening to music, writing songs, singing along to music, discussing lyrics and meditating with music in the background. A Danish study has shown that people experience less pain when listening to their favorite music. "We measured both directly and indirectly how the participants experienced their pain after having listened to self-chosen, relaxing and pleasant music, and we measured an effect on all parameters. They reported that the pain became less unpleasant and less intense,” says study lead author Peter Vuust, of the Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN) at Aarhus University, Denmark."

It's possible that people could require less medication and see improvement in muscle relaxation, blood pressure and heart rate. It also reduces the rate of disability. If the music expresses contentment it really doesn't matter what the genre.

I have always loved music. Of course, my OCD little self always alphabetized the albums and if you took one out you better put it back in the proper place. Nothing felt better than putting on my headphones, kicking back and listening. 

Maybe there is something to this. 

All I know....

when they thought of music therapy,

I don't think they meant.....

to crank up Pink Floyd full blast...

Or.....maybe they did.....

I can be Comfortably Numb.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Flight or fight.
It feels good.
Until your body gives out.

Scientists are finding out that exposure to chronic stress affects, and causes damage, to the hippocampus region of the brain. The researchers are also exploring the role of the hippocampus in regards to pain perception in people that have Fibromyalgia.

When your body perceives a threat the nervous system responds by sending hormones into the body.  These hormones put your body on alert. Muscles tighten, the heart beats faster, all your senses become sharper, blood pressure rises and you breathe a little faster. It is your body’s way of protecting you. It can help you rise to challenges and can keep you alert.

It puts you in survival mode. 

Chronic stress is different from the "flight or fight" syndrome that the body produces when it experiences acute stress. Chronic stress can change the way the body functions because the body feels like it is constantly under stress. Stress hormones are released into the body at an unprecedented rate. For example, the heart is more susceptible to disease when an excessive amount of cortisol and adrenaline are released into the body. Brain function is also thought to be compromised; learning and memory can be affected. The immune system, suffering under an onslaught of these hormones, is suppressed. It's overworked and then it does not respond well. You are at risk because your body isn’t able to fight off diseases at an optimum level and then when you get sick it’s harder to recover.

Cortisol is produced in the adrenal cortex is the adrenal gland. It regulates blood pressure. It regulates glucose metabolism, immune function and inflammatory response. In small amounts it can heighten memory functions, lower your sensitivity to pain, helps maintain homeostasis (internal equilibrium) in the body and can give you a quick burst of energy. To turn it off, however, the body must switch on the relaxation response. If you don't switch it off, i.e. relax, the body doesn't have an opportunity to return to normal.

When the stress that you're under is greater than your body is able to tolerate, you are at risk of a stress related disorder.

The body doesn't differentiate between physical or emotional stress. Stress is stress. When you keep yourself in stress mode the body has a harder time shutting off the switch. When you think you thrive on stress and get the high from the stress that ultra Type A personality puts it under; think again. 

If long-term stress can rewire the brain, I must be severely rewired. Stress can creep up on you and before you know it our old friend stress feels warm and fuzzy. It feels normal and very familiar. You get used to it. It's sneaky. The price you pay for that familiar, over-achieving, perfectionist feeling is a heavy toll on your body. 

What kind of toll?

The negative effects can impair your memory, lower the function of your thyroid, give you blood sugar issues, decrease in bone density and muscle tissue. It disables your immune system so you can quite possibly have a big bulls-eye on your back for germs in the environment. 

You don't sleep right, you don't eat right, you don't relax right and you think you're cruising through life: until...............until your body says, “enough.”

Insomnia, anxiety, depression, illnesses, heart problems, autoimmune illnesses or worse.

Each of these illnesses has its own problems and when put all together you're on a merry-go-round and getting off of that merry go round isn't easy.

Make no mistake.
Stress can kill.

Put this together will a central nervous system dysfunction that researchers are finding in Fibromyalgia patients and you have a recipe for disaster.

I always loved high stress positions.

I loved being a Type A squared. 

I thought I was invincible.

I was wrong.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I've learned a lot.
Taking it to heart?
Well.....not so fast.

Being in pain on a daily basis has taught me a lot. Not only has it taught me about my body but it's also taught me about my soul. 

So, what have I learned?

1. I've learned that chronic means forever. When I was first diagnosed I didn't know what it really meant. I knew there would be bad days but I actually thought I'd also have pain free days. What I've learned is that Fibromyalgia doesn't change. It's there with you in varying degrees of severity on a daily basis. Wishing it away doesn't work.

2. I've learned that trying to fix all of this sometimes doesn't work. I've jumped on every bandwagon out there. I'm not saying that a good diet doesn't help and I'm not putting down alternative medicine. I think there is a place for all of it. I, personally, just don't think that there is "the miracle cure for only $29.95" out there. I don't think all of this is a conspiracy of "big pharma." Having said that, I think the medications that have been approved for Fibromyalgia don't work for a lot of patients and, personally, I think the risks outweigh the benefits.

3. I've learned that we need to take responsibility for our actions. I can't reinvent the wheel. I was born with my Type A squared personality. I loved the stress of the job and the more on my plate the better I liked it. Your body was not meant to live in the "flight or fight" survival mode on a continual basis. You will burn out. I've come to realize that my excuses for not coming down off of hyperdrive were just that: excuses. We need to decompress not only for our mental well being but for our physical well being. Now, for the caveat. Just because we loved the lifestyle does not mean we did this to ourselves and if we just calm down it will go away. There is a switch that has been tripped and, hopefully, that is what researchers will try to figure out. Me? If I do anything I do it all the way. I work hard, play hard and rest hard. I also got sick hard. I guess I've been perfect at that as well. I wake up everyday thinking that I'll set these realistic boundaries for myself and once again I find a way to count everyone of my imperfections. I find a way to include just one more task, one more email or one more activity that I know will hurt me tomorrow. 

4. I've learned that I can't be in denial. It doesn't work. Trust me, I've been down that road too. If I just forget about it and push through it will be ok. Your body has a wonderful way to pay you back. I do it all the time because I don't listen to my own advice. I feel pretty good? Back to mach 2 until my body reaches up and slaps me as if to say, "you were acting stupid and I stopped you for your own good." Gee, I sound like my mother. 

5. I've learned to forgive myself. I know that we hear from articles and people all the time that we are the result of trauma and abuse or our own unresolved hurts and issues. Maybe it's true and maybe it isn't. I do know that I didn't hurt like this until I had a car rear-end mine in 2008 going about 35. Maybe I need to forgive him because NONE of this started until that moment. Then again, maybe that was just the trigger. I don't know. Here's what I think about forgiveness. I think asking forgiveness for those issues can be healing if you have had trauma or abuse and need to move forward from that. Forgiveness doesn't give carte blache for the act but what it does is tell the ones who have hurt us that they no longer hold any power. I think on another level we need to forgive our body for betraying us and changing our lives. I'm a natural cynic who has unyielding faith. Weird, isn't it?  I have an absolute faith in the tenet that God has never left me or forsaken me, no matter what my personal circumstance. Whatever I'm going through right now will take me to a different level; not only in my life but my faith. I've never faulted God for my personal circumstance. On the other hand, if I hear "suffering builds character" one more time I may scream.

6. I haven't learned that it helps to keep our minds positive. This one is the hardest for me. I am not Mary Sunshine. I tend to see the glass half empty and as far as human nature goes, well, I've never been disappointed. I like phrases like, "when you see the light at the end of the tunnel it's probably the train coming at you full speed."  So how do you do this? I don't think I'm a pessimist....I'm more of a realist. I have really tried to be optimistic but if any of you have some ideas I'd love to hear them. I want to be better at this, I really do. I only put this in here because I haven't learned this lesson yet.

7. I've learned that we need to trust our own judgment. There are all sorts of groups on social media out there. If you don't follow a gluten free diet you're going to be in pain. If you don't follow use alternative medicine you won't get well. If you go to a regular doctor you're an idiot. I've seen people used medical terminology and they have NO CLUE what it truly means. It does take awhile to find a doctor that will understand and listen. I'm not saying they are infallible but to trust social media isn't the way to go. We need to listen to our bodies, ourselves and our doctors.

8. I've learned that I need to let go. Life has a funny way of showing you another destiny than the one you carved out for yourself. What I did and had before is different now. I can't hold on to the past as desperately as I want to. It isn't good and I might miss opportunities that show up because of chronic pain. What does it take to reach a point of acceptance? Sometimes I think acceptance and resignation is the same as defeat. There we go again. Anything less than perfection is failure. In my head I know that I'm an imperfect being but the bar that I've set for myself is a different issue altogether.

9. I've learned that it's not a bad thing to be a little vulnerable. This one is hard for me as well. I've always equated vulnerable with weak when, actually, it's quite the opposite. It takes a great deal of strength to admit weakness. I've found out that sometimes I'm not as strong as I think I am. I've also learned that everyone else has weakness as well. We always think the other person has it all together. That's not necessarily true. I think it's more than that, though. I still say it makes me imperfect and weak. It makes me realize that I'm not as strong as I think I am and I can't take care of myself all the time. It's self-reliance and I may not be in total control of my destiny. I hate that.

10. I've learned that I don't have control. This one is a constant struggle. I've always liked to control the environment around me. That's a huge part of my personality. I've always felt that if I can control things then I won't get any nasty surprises. Well, I didn't say that it worked I just said I liked to operate that way! I've had to accept that I won't know what I'm dealing with regarding my body on a day to day basis. That means I can plan but plans may change. I've had to let go and that isn't easy for me.  So many things haven't been easy and I've had a hard time dealing with that. I know it's something I have to learn to accept but it's that darn little word called control. I don't have it and it makes me crazy.

So here's the top ten lessons for the day.

What I've learned.

What I'm still learning.

And what I should give up.

As far as that last one?

I'm not big on giving up things!