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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Turning over a new leaf

Two years ago, I suffered six full-blown strokes in a matter of seven days. God is good and I have no visible residual damage from the strokes. The mental and emotional parts of me are scarred.

Although I had battled Rheumatoid Arthritis before the strokes, it has escalated since then. I also now battle Fibromyalgia. Due to these two facts, I am in severe pain most of the time and this has affected me both mentally and emotionally. In retrospect, it may have been a good idea to have sought counseling following the strokes.

I did, however, seek medical help. Since the strokes I must take the following meds: Aggrenox(to thin my blood), Altace(to regulate my blood pressure), and Vytorin(to reduce and conrol my cholesterol level). Those meds are considered life-sustaining. I also take the following meds: Cymbalta(to help with depression and fibromyalgia), and Plaquenill(to help with arthritis pain and to help slow the progression of damage to my joints). I also take Vicodin(to kill the pain)on the days when I absolutely have to.

I have good days, so-so days, and bad days. I live for the good days! Even though I am not an overly active person, I do enjoy the things I do...and when I want to do something, I want to do it! Pain often keeps me from being able to do even the simple things. Some days I can not stand long enough to wash the dishes or walk downstairs and carry a basket of laundry from the basement to the first floor, let alone cut fabric or piece a quilt top. This pisses me off!

I am only 47 years old...I am NOT 87, 97, or 107. Aging does not now, nor has it ever, frightened me. Not being able to take care of myself due to disabilities, does however, terrifies me. If at 47 I have days when I need assistance to partake in normal activity, what does the future hold for me in terms of independence?

Aside from the physical aspects of my life comes the normal mental and emotional things. I am working on acceptance of these changes in my abilities and yet need desperatley balance acceptance with NOT sacrificing my need to continue to strive to hold onto my independence, or as much of it as is possible, for as long as I can.

Then there are the fibro-fog days. Just like when I was having those six (initially undetected) strokes, my mind fogs up making it impossible to have any clear thoughts what-so-ever. These days are sheer hell and cause me to wonder which is worse...the physical manifestations of all of this or the mental and emotional ones.

Today is the third good day I have had in a row. This after two solid weeks of sheer hell enduring a dual flare-up of my conditions.

As I am learning more about the symptons of both Fibro and RA, I am attempting to educate those around me. I know it is difficult for my children-who are all young and brimming with life-to see me not being able to do normal things for myself some days. It is also, for the most part, difficult for them to understand what I am going through. The more we talk about it and the more they learn, the better it will be for all of us. Knowledge is power!

This blog entry is a major step for me. In the process of accepting life as it is for me, I have decided that blogging about what is going on with me will accomplish two things. First, it will help me vent. Secondly, it will potentially help others who suffer as I do.

I generally shun the thought of blogging on my bad days. No one loves a complainer. I do realize now that even though that may be true, I can no longer keep all of this crap bottled up inside of me.


Cute Girl aka Allie said...

Honestly- and this is said from the heart not being my usual smart a** self- it's about time you wrote about this. Seeing you suffer those strokes was the worst week of my life. Seeing you get through it and end up having weeks like the last few is horrible but I am glad you are finding a way to get it out. I know how much it bothers you to not do the normal stuff. And I know I tease you about being old but I try to understand that this has nothing to do with how many years young you are. You're still young and vibrant in my eyes- even if u need help with laundry sometimes. I love you, crazy lady.

Kiddo #1(hehe fif will freak when she reads that)

Jeanne said...

Phyllis, I hope your good day total keeps climbing. I also have fibro and CFS and it really gets in the way of things I want to do sometimes. Our insurance recently stopped paying for my Cymbalta, also. I guess they are all doctors in those offices. Wishing you good days.

NCMtnSoap said...

Hey sweetie! I so feel for you. I also have fibro, lupus, and CFS. One of the best drugs I have ever tried for CFS and fibro fog is Provigil! It is amazing. I have really low blood pressure so many drugs make me dizzy, but this one does not. You might ask your dr about this one and see if it will help you get thru the fog.
Big Gentle Hugs

Tracey in CT said...

I hope that your good days will soon outnumber the bad days!

Greatfullivin said...

Hi Phyllis,
I often stop by to read but this is my first comment. I really hope your good days start to outweigh the bad ones. Those who know about RA and fibromyalgia know how dibilatating they can be. I will be praying for you. Thanks for sharing a part of "your story"