Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

It's Christmas Eve day, and I've got lots to do, so that's all you're getting from me today!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Hair!

I (finally) got my hair cut on Monday. I went to Stacie at Strut in Hamilton. I always love the colour she does my hair, though I'm always taking time to get used to the cut. They always look great, I just get the jitters when I lose 3 inches at a time. My hair grows so slowly, it takes six months to get that back! This is yet another reason why I'm always so careful who cuts my hair, if I got a bad cut, I'd have to live with it for a long time. Stacie always does an amazing job though, even if it does take me awhile to get used to the shortness.

This time I was prepared I think though. I wanted to get it cut. I knew it needed it, and I really wanted a change. Change I got! I have bangs! It's dark, really dark. Ebony dark! I really like it. I was thinking more of a milk chocolate brown, but I'm totally loving the darker brown almost black. I'm sure it will fade to a slightly lighter brown, it always does when you get your hair coloured, and I'll be good with that too. It's just at my shoulders with a layered edge. It feels so light and healthy. She styled it for me, flat ironing it, and it shone like glass.

New Hair

Even today, with me doing nothing to it, it's still shiny like glass. I love it. I love having healthy hair! :D I also realised that, after 30 years of having curly-ish hair, I have straight hair!! My bangs dried perfectly today, all on their own! The last time I had bangs I had to flat iron them every day to shape them, what a pain in the ass that was. But no more! They dried beautifully, just the lightest curve in the tips, exactly as I would have done if I'd had to style them! The only curl in my hair is at the very ends. For some reason my hair likes to curl every so slightly there. It's not a bad look, but if I was going out I think I'd straighten it so it would look perfect. But still, I don't have to do my bangs! Squee! So exciting for me.

Me, Silly Face

I think part of what helped me keep my positive attitude about my hair is the glowing comments I've gotten. We went out to dinner with friends last night; everyone noticed my hair and was very enthusiastic about how much they liked it. So yay!

It's the end of day 2 with the new hair and I'm still loving it. Very good sign. :D

In other news, I'm baking xmas gifts today, I can't say what however, as it's a surprise. Hopefully I can get some more done over the next few days as well. I also promised a sick friend I'd make her shortbread. So much baking to do. oy. I don't think I'll bring anything baked home for Christmas this year, though I'm sure there will be more than enough goodies that my mommy made.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tempis Fugid

Wow, here it is the 12th already!

Update on my health: I've been taking a low dose of Cymbalta, which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor(SSRI). It's an antidepressant that works to decrease pain. I've read a bit about it, but I'm no good at chemistry/biology, I don't actually understand how it works.

In terms of me, I'm not sure if it's working or not. My knees aren't as sore as they've been, but I've also been living within my limits for the past month, and have been very careful not to push too hard. My shoulder is still sore, and I don't know why, so I'm guessing it's the fibro. I still have killer headaches. I have one today. It's enough to knock me over. And I'm beginning to worry the drug is fucking with my sleep. For the past two weeks now, I'd say since I started, or a little after, I've had the hardest time getting any kind of restful sleep. It used to be that the pain would make me up. I don't wake up in pain these days, which is good. This could be the drug, or it could just be the fibro has settled, that happens from time to time as well. But now, a new thing for me, as I'm falling asleep, just as I'm about to pass from light sleep into real, deep, restoritive sleep, my brain jolts me to full wakefulness. This happens ALL night long. I wake up feeing just as tried, or more tired than I went to bed, and terribly frustrated as well.

I never used to have this problem!! I'm hoping if it is the drug it will "settle down". I think the first time I took this, at double the dose I am now, I complained to my doctor about not being able to sleep, and he said sometimes there is a peroid of adjustment and it could take up to five weeks to settle, and that I should stick with it. I will... but fuck, I hate being so damn tired. Fibro makes me tired enough as it is, add to it bad sleep, and I feel like the walking dead!

In other news, I'm still in the middle of christmas shopping and have yet to do much baking. In terms of the shopping, I know exactly what I want, and I think this time, that's making it all the harder as I'm having a terrible time finding it. I'm hoping to feel well enough to go shopping later this week. And do the baking too. I am doing baking for a few presents this year, so I need to get to that. I'm making things that will keep, so now's the time. Or, as my mom says, do it when you feel up to it.

It really weirds me out that I identify so well with my 76 year old grandmother (she raised me, I call her mom, because to me, that's what she is). I mean, I'm 30, but I feel 80 more often than not. It sucks big hairy goat balls. But at least I'm beginning to get treatment, hopefully things will get better soon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preliminary Diagnosis: Fibromyalgia

I went to see my doctor yesterday, and finally made him listen, or perhaps I should say, I was finally open about how much pain I'm in, all the time, and everywhere. He poked some spots on my shoulders, back, hips, and OW. He says I have Fibromyalgia. He sounds very certain... I'm not as certian, but it would explain a lot.

What is Fibromyalgia, you ask?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FM or FMS) is a common and disabling disorder affecting up to 15% of the population (according to a study at McMaster University), women more often than men. Despite the condition's frequency, the diagnosis is often missed - often due to the way it is diagnosed.

FMS patients experince widespread pain, disturbed sleep, and exhaustion from head to toe. Fibromyalgia literally means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons—the soft fibrous tissues of the body. Although the muscles hurt everywhere, they are not the only cause of the pain. Instead, the diffuse, body-wide symptoms are greatly magnified by malfunctions in the way the nervous system processes pain.

FMS often comes with many other issues, it keeps bad company: migraines, tension headaches, irritiable bowl syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (jaw pain), and a whole host of others, these are just the ones I have.

Reading, about the symptoms, was like reading a page of my life, so to speak. I certainly present this way. I'm not sure I have enough tender 'trigger points', but I sure as heck have a lot of the other symptoms. Thankfully not all to the severity mentioned in some articles.

One thing that always kills me when reading about these things is the... level of docotor's surprise that depression goes along with chronic pain conditions. I mean, hello! if you lived with chronic pain for years on end, you'd be bleeding depressed too! Especially when you consider this gem of a quote from neuroscientist Linda Watkins, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado at Boulder:

"Because the current definition of a good drug for chronic pain is one that fails to provide adequate pain relief 60-80% of the time, more efficient pain control would be most welcomed."*

That indeed is a frightening thought. Still, it can't get any worse than living with this for, oh, I'm guessing ten years, undiagnosed. It just has to get better.

My doctor gave me a drug to try - for the pain. He finally understands just how sensitive I am to drugs, and has me on a low dose, and wants to monitor my condition. If this doesn't work, then it's off to a rheumatologist for me.

I have some hope. I know I'll never be 100%. I've come to accept that chronic pain is going to stay chronic for me, but what I want, what I'm really hoping for, is improvement - to get to a level of pain I can bear; to be able to manage my pain; to not just have to suffer through it day in and day out with no way whatsoever to make it better, ever. That's what I can't handle, the utter lack of hope, the lack of control of any kind. I want to be able to have some say in things, and right now I don't feel like I do.

So Fibromyalgia may not be good, but living with it for as long as believe I have, undiagnosed, is way worse. Knowing is better. Even if this isn't what I have - diagnosis is SO fuzzy for this condition - at least it's a step in the right direction. My doctor understands how much pain I'm in, he wants to help me, he's willing to send me to someone else if he can't. This is good. This I can live with. This makes it easier to bare - there is something to look forward to, something to hope for.

*Watkins LR, et al. TRENDS in Neurosciences 28(12):661-669, 2005.