For five years now I've been telling doctors that I believed part of the symptoms I had for false heart attacks were Mitral Valve Prolapse, this is one of the very many conditions that comprise Fibromyalgia. The problem is, as with all things FM, is that the symptoms vary from person to person. In my case it doesn't always happen, so I've been seeing doctors for years now and they haven't heard the telltale murmur that characterizes MVP. Till today. Vindication, but still not going to dance about it, being right about even an occasional problem with your heart means celebrating a problem inside of your heart. Then again, it took 7 years to finally narrow the diagnosis to FM in the first place, progress at last! Have I mentioned I like young doctors?
As with all doctor visits I like to do a little review before I go in; because, it forces me to take stock of my physical condition. I print it out and take it in with me so I don’t forget anything when I get to see the doc. I've been shamefully lacking in my "scheduled" doctors visits, but I was really left no choice but to go as I woke up the other morning with gout symptoms in my right big toe. Definitely a wtf? moment.
Big angry red toe with pain primarily isolated to its joints, the red goes along the inside of my foot and from the tow halfway down my foot. Murphy’s law being what it is, average gout attacks run 3-10 days and three days have passed since I made the appointment, but we’ll see what the doc has to say. Maybe a blood test to check levels. That’s fine, I have to fast for cholesterol testing anyway.
So, the wait between "scheduled" doctor visits? Strictly speaking it wasn’t quite a conscious choice, I’ve been fairly sick for months now, and it either slips my mind to schedule an appointment or I just don’t feel like I have the energy to bother. Then during the times I feel better I’m distracted playing catch up with everything I’ve let slide when I was down. It’s a pretty easy trap to fall into, and as much as I fuss at people for it, I admit I’m no better about it myself.
So, basically I think the beta blocker I’ve been taking to hold off migraines has been masking a blood pressure problem that’s creeping up, hard to say heart rate and blood pressure were up slightly, but I had a long wait and those irritate me. I didn’t think the mood stabilizers/anti-depressants or whatever they’re called were doing anything, but apparently I have more mood swings without them.
But, on to the symptom stuff, once again, I caution hypochondriacs not to scroll past this point, you have enough problems!
Persistent Pain in muscles and ligaments:
- I’m back up to around 8 Tylenol Arthritis a day on bad days, 4 on good ones, I would usually like to take more but you can only take so much of that before it starts to screw you up. The laundry list of where it hurts is long, back, shoulders, neck, hips, legs, knees and feet for starters, and we can’t forget the hands of course. Feet is the biggie, as I exert myself the pain starts in my feet and climbs my legs, if I can stop when it hits the knees I’ll generally recover quick enough. Once it reaches the vicinity of my gentlemen’s equipment, I’m in trouble for the next three days.
- I’m having a harder time with walking than I care to admit, I used to use the cane to help ease the pain in my back from standing or walking too long, but the distance I can go without it has dropped. As I said above, my feet try and give up first, then ankles, up into my knees, hips and then into my back. The more tired I get the worse it hurts and if I don’t have the cane I get an ugly stoop.
- The shiatsu chair helps with the back and soaking in a really hot bath do as well, but I have to watch the soaking, if I feel a little itchy anywhere when I decide to soak I get itchy and rashy.
Unrefreshing Sleep, Poor sleep:
- Sleep, as always, is a major problem. It’s a bitch getting quality sleep, not long after I get to sleep it seems like it’s time to get up. I don’t normally get a lot of deep sleep, I wake up tired in a shredded bed; but, I can’t go back to sleep because I stiffen up if I don’t get up and move around. I also have to vary how I sleep a lot, sometimes I need the floor because it helps my back, sometimes I sleep on the couch because the vertigo kicks in and I have bedspins and sleeping almost sitting up helps that. I’ve tried the over the counter sleep aids, but they just make me feel hung-over.
Fatigue (mild or totally drained feeling) :
- I haven’t had anything like energy in months, I used to be more cyclic, I feel good for about a week, then rundown for 2-3 weeks, then thrashed for a few weeks, then a couple weeks of rundown and then better again. The feel good times are not in evidence, my better times now are a bit below the rundown times I used to have and the bad times make me not want to get off of the couch. I refuse to be stuck in bed or on a couch though. Come to think of it, I haven’t had a “not too bad” sort of day in about a year, but I’m a damned fine actor when I need to be.
- Migraines are back up, I’m looking at one a week, which adds the pre- and post-migraine funk to everything else. I’m getting primarily ocular migraines now, lots of flashing light that really screws with my vision, but no pain. But, if I get 8 migraines a month then at least 2 of them will be the painful, hating life variety.
Morning Stiffness (not the good kind):
- Morning is the worst, I go to bed stiff and sore and wake up the same way, actually a little worse because until I stretch out I’m Quasimodo. I creak, pop, crack and snap until I’m fully stretched out, and morning is prime shiatsu time.
- My memory is really working on my last nerve, I have enough post it notes on my desk to look like yellow snow, and we all know why that’s bad. Too many things slip through the cracks right now, I used to be able to do everything from memory but now I can’t trust it. The fibrofog is miserable, it can last a few hours in the morning before my head is on straight. That’s why I type these things out, so I can look back and remember what to talk to the doctor about.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
- This is just unpleasant. Its either hard as hell to go or my butt thinks it’s a fire hose. Sadly, when I’m plugged up and my gut is cramping a cigarette really seems to help calm down my gut and get things moving. Tomatoes, cabbage and a whole lot of other favorite foods are off the diet. Its an endless cycle of can hardly go, hard to go, and can’t stop going with gut cramping gas thrown in for fun.
- I can’t stand still air, I always have a fan blowing on me even when I’m cold. Heat makes me feel queasy, too long in the sun and I’m exhausted and can get rashy, and cold stiffens me up. Noise and light, as always are irritations.
- Happening more, it sort of feels like somebody punched me in the pubic bone, an inch or so above my junk. It hurts, I feel like I have to pee all the time and I’m pissy about it, pun intended, get over it, this has been a sort of ongoing thing since my hernia surgery as well. One of the symptoms is also painful intercourse, yeah did you see where it said I felt like I was punched above the junk? You try and get a romantic mood going with that happening.
Numbness and Tingling Sensations:
- I have a hell of a time getting comfortable to sleep because I wake up with my arms asleep from sleeping on them funny. That is annoying as anything, and if I don’t move my legs often they do it too. Then there is just the annoying little tingles, randomly pop up in my face and hands.
- Muscle Spasms/Twitching:
- Legs and neck, annoying and makes me look a little spastic and I hate it.
- Vertigo sucks! I’ve had leg cramps from holding down the brakes because it felt like the truck was moving, it can get really bad when the vehicle next to me moves in my peripheral vision, it feel like I just moved and when I consciously notice what is going on I ease up. I have to stand up slow, I’ve forgotten a few times and wound up on the floor.
- I’m amazed I haven’t maimed myself, but apparently moving slow has a benefit after all. When I move quick I find that more often than not control becomes optional. Its also bad when I’ve walked a lot and I don’t pick my feet up as much. Ever stubbed your toe when you may be having your first gout experience. That’ll get your attention! And, of course, lots of dropped things, I’m amazed my phone has lived this long. I really notice it when I type, my fingers tend to hit random keys and I find myself looking at sentences in a strange unknown language.
- The same thing that had me in the ER a few times being checked for heart attacks, the chest tightens up and I breathe funny and a pain in the chest. It normally means I’ve overdone it, but it can come on randomly and leave me feeling like I can’t get a good breath.
Intolerance to Heat or Cold:
- Heat makes me feel sick, cold makes me freeze, I can dress for the cold at least. Fingers and especially toes get cold.
Frequent Abdominal Pain:
- Big huge nasty granny knots, and the only way to possibly, maybe, hopefully untie them will clear a room and offend the dog, and even that only works half the time.
- Randomly, I can’t get my breath for no reason, and heaven forbid I exert myself without pacing myself very slowly, it usually comes when my chest tightens.
Frequent Eye Prescription Changes:
- This in addition to ocular migraines, for a couple of years now, I have bifocals now because I can’t read small print and had to take off my glasses or do the “long arm” method. Even the bifocals get a little fuzzy, like tired eyes can’t manage the focus right. I also have occasional problems with night vision.
Dry Eyes and Mouth:
- Gum helps, but there are times when my tongue sticks to the inside of my mouth, in the past some medications have made this worse.
- Itching and bitching, thanks for asking, ranging from random rashes to hives. Atarax dealt with the hives, but I’m out. By “random,” I mean random. I’ve woke covered in hives or just a very faint rash and itching head to toe. A lot of rashes on my feet (wearing shoes has rubbed the rashes till it has scarred) and my whole scalp with break out now and then, which is unpleasant.
Sinus and Allergies:
- My sinuses are always irritated with me, congestion, runny nose or both, and hayfever season is miserable.
- Hands, feet and ankles, no telling when it will happen but I’ve barely managed to get my wedding ring off a time or two so I quit wearing it. Usually at the end of the day my feet and ankles are swollen, sometimes all the way up to my knees.
- Definite moodiness, I can go from massively grumpy to depressed and back in the course of a few hours. Then again, at other times I just get this weird mood when I hurt badly and try and make a joke out of everything, it’s really annoying when I catch myself doing that.