This is the first time since starting my blog that I’ve had more than basic fibromyalgia symptoms. My fibromyalgia has been mostly under control for at least six months, but it’s kind of hard to tell with all the POTS stuff going on. Some of the symptoms between the two conditions overlap, with chronic fatigue and widespread muscle aches being the two main ones in my case. Towards the end of getting my fibro controlled, I’d been able to identify several of my triggers: injury, bad illness, exhaustion, major over exertion, severe allergy flares (if I haven’t been controlling things very well), sudden shift from warm weather to cold weather (like, from 70F to 40F, which happens in CO on a regular basis), and hurting my feet. Thankfully, many of these triggers need to be paired with others to set off a bad flare.
Since injury is one of my main triggers, where the severity of the injury increases with the severity of the flare, I was expecting my surgery to trigger a MASSIVE flare. Imagine my surprise when I spent about a week after the surgery with hardly any fibro symptoms at all! I could kind of tell, in a weird way, that there was a massive one brewing, but I was somehow able to hold it off… and so I let myself believe that it wasn’t going to surface. I was wrong.
I can’t remember exactly when it started. Sometimes, the flares come on suddenly, but sometimes they are far more gradual. So gradual that, all of a sudden, I realize I’m in the middle of a flare and can’t pinpoint when it started but realize it’s been happening for days. Well, that’s how this one was. I was lying in bed Sunday night, struggling to get sleepy, when I suddenly realized I was in the middle of a flare. After realizing it, I thought back and was shocked to find that I’d suspected a flare since at least Friday. What made me realize I was flaring? My hips. I was lying in bed, and I wasn’t moving much, so I’d expect to get a little stiff… but this was not “a little stiff.” My hips felt like they were on fire! Not on the surface, but deep in the joint. My whole pelvis felt uncomfortable… well, excruciating is a better word. You know the type of sensation you get when you skin your knee? Now pair that with the feeling of rug burn, multiply both those feelings by three, shove that sensation deep under the skin, and then spread it into every nook and cranny of your low back and pelvis. That’s the best way I can describe the pain I was in, and it still doesn’t really do it justice. I wriggled, and squirmed, and twisted, and moved in every direction I could think of, and I still couldn’t find a position to even lessen the pain. Of course, I slept horribly, which is the exact opposite of what you want to do with fibro issues.
My fibro symptoms are interesting, and can vary. For me, a flare consists of intense and widespread pain, and complete exhaustion. My upper back, between my shoulder blades, gets extremely stiff and sore. My lower back feels like I’ve been holding a backbend for days on end. My pelvis flips out on me, causing intense burning sensations in that region. All the rest of my joints get sore, as if I’ve vastly over used them, or even injured them. My wrists and ankles will sometimes randomly sprain themselves (or at least present symptoms of being sprained), causing me to need braces. I get headaches on a regular basis: migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, combination headaches, normal headaches. My muscles start cramping up, very randomly. I will get knots under my shoulder blades, which causes intense pain all the way up to the base of my skull and down to my last rib. My rib will start to work its way back out of place again. Breathing starts to hurt when my diaphragm cramps. Chest pain, which is hard to tell if it’s coming from my pecs, ribs, or POTS. My skin starts to have crazy sensations. Sometimes, it feels as though Argentina ants (tiny ants) are crawling all over my skin. Sometimes, I’m getting static electricity shocks all over. Goosebumps without being cold; the sensation of rubbing a balloon until it’s all full of static and holding it over your arm; large bugs (like spiders or something) crawling in pinpoint locations; pins and needles; the sensation of rawness. I become extremely sensitive to everything: sound, smell, light, touch, taste, temperature, etc. Being sensitive like that makes me snappy, so I get grumpy during my flares too. Sometimes, I can tolerate Dan rubbing my back and feet. Sometimes I can barely tolerate hugs. Luckily, Dan has gotten used to it now. As long as I tell him I’m flaring, he asks before he tries to touch me in any way, and is very forgiving about the snappiness. I’m so incredibly lucky I have him in my life. He won’t just tolerate my flares, he does everything he can think of to try to help mitigate the symptoms: tea, heating pads, massages, minimal lighting, minimal noise, bland foods, sugary/sweet/starchy foods, ice packs, blankets, loose clothing, etc. He’s even made me squishy nests on the ground in front of the fireplace so I can be comfy and warm! (Nest is shown in the title image.) It’s so sweet, and I feel so blessed.
This flare hurts. A lot. My pelvis is acting up, my thighs and back ache, and I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep constantly, but floating in the air so I can’t get all stiff and sore by doing so. The headaches are not being helped by my period (which usually is accompanied by daily migraines already), neither is any of the internal pain. Thankfully I’m not being expected to do much in my life right now. My classes just need me to read from the textbooks (and I need to study cranial features a bit), and no one in my life really is expecting me to do much since I’m still within the three week period after my surgery. The kitties have been rather low maintenance lately as well. Actually, I think they know I really don’t feel well, because Mikki is being very benign (as opposed to normal) and Artio is being much more snuggly.
With Dan on his business trip, I’m glad Mom is around to help. By the end of the day, even if I’ve only been awake for 5-6 hours, I’m exhausted. I would be eating horribly if she wasn’t around to help make dinner. The house would also be a mess, since I just don’t have the energy or ability to clean anything. Mom has been doing the dishes, and helping with the laundry too. Having a clean house to recover in is fantastic, and really makes it easier to focus on getting better. Thank you, Mommy! ❤
Hopefully this flare doesn’t last for too long… I just want my life back! On a positive note, I’m at two weeks post-op and have managed to dramatically cut back on my pain medication. Yesterday, I took half a Tramadol in the morning, and half at night, then just some Tylenol before class and ibuprofen at bed time. So far today, I’ve only taken one dose of ibuprofen (when I woke up) and one dose of Tylenol a few minutes ago. Obviously, the cut in pain medication is not helping the flare, but I don’t want to build up a tolerance to any of them. Now, I’m going to get more rest and continue watching LOTR The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition, bluray) 🙂 I love these movies, they’re gorgeous and have so much information in them it’s a new experience every time!
3 thoughts on “The Pain of my Fibro Flares”
I’ve just had surgery too and had no symptoms since but I know that feeling that something is starting. My bones are tingling at times and saying ‘we will be back’. Personally, I would hope not.
This sounds so awful. I have some fatigue from my chronic conditions but not neary as bad as those with fibro. The pains and aches sound so bad too. I’m sorry you have been flaring.
When I first started having flares, before I was diagnosed, it was terrifying! I would start bawling… not so much from the pain, but because I thought for sure something AWFUL was happening. Like, something potentially terminal or similar. Thankfully, that is not the case. At this point, while extremely uncomfortable, I’ve at least gotten used to the pain that comes with flares. Well, at least to the point of being able to function while having them. One plus is that they have raised my overall pain tolerance, which makes life for someone as careless as I am much easier 🙂
Thank you for your sympathy and understanding! It helps a lot knowing that people care; it gives motivation to get through the most difficult parts.