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midwestmom2013 posted:
Hello everyone. I am new to this community and decided to join in hopes to be able to better understand what I am going through.

I am 42 and work full time along with being a wife and mother. I started have mild pain in both arms and chest with daily headache about 2 years ago. Due to family history of heart disease, I had a heart catheter performed which came back normal along with normal bloodwork. I then blew off the symptoms until the pain started to intensify in my arms and spread to other parts of my body with severe neck pain. MRI normal except for some bone spurs. After thinking I was overreacting, I decided to wait and see if things would improve. Of course not. So, I returned to the doctor and they sent me to a pain specialist to have an EMG done. Boy, that wasn't fun. That also came back normal.

I was becoming so frustrated that nothing was being found for the pains, so again I waited. In the past few months, I have now noticed "dead arms" while I am asleep on top of all of my other symptoms. This happens almost every night with at least one arm this way or both. It doesn't matter how I lay, this still happens. Once I try to move around, the feeling comes back but no "pins and needles" feeling. They just seem to finally wake up.

Anyway, I just recently went back to the doctor to have some more bloodwork and a few xrays. Again, all normal except for some arthritis in my hips. The doctor is stating he is leaning toward fibromyalgia and he gave me some Cymbalta to try but a little scared to start this med. Basically, I do not know what to do at this point. I guess you can say I have been somewhat diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

I guess I am posting on here to "vent" a little as my frustration to being in pain everyday is really getting to me and be sure that I am not going crazy and that this does exist. I have always been a very active person in sports since I was a child. I never would have thought I would be like this to the point that daily activities are too much for me.

Luckily, my husband has been supportive as he had a herniated disc that caused him a lot of pain, so he tries to understand and be sympathetic. I am hoping by talking with all of you, it will help me cope with this. I do not want to get to the point of not wanting to do anything because of the pain and being tired from not sleeping, but I am getting close. It takes every ounce of energy I have to do any normal activities, but I continue to try to put a smile on my face and act like nothing is bothering me.

Thanks for listening to my ranting.
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BetteK responded:
Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if your primary care practicioner had held a magic wand capable of diagnosing your problem when it first appeared. Unfortunately, that's not the way it happens. For most of us, a diagnosis took years. That's partly because there are so many vague symptoms and so many different illnesses that those symptoms could point to.

Just be thankful that you now have a diagnosis.

Now it's time to educate yourself about FM. Get on the Arthritis Foundation's website for basic info. Read some of the posts here. You will be amazed at the variety of symptoms and the plethora of "treatments." (Some of these may even help you. Many won't or will cause intollerable side effects. You'll find your own mix, but it will take time, and it will vary as your illness changes.)

Unfortunately, the thing you will need the most of is patience.
Think of dealing with a 2 year old. Fibromyalgia is just as volatile (spelling?) and just as unpredictable, and just as frustrating.

However, you will find your own level ground. You may never have the life you once knew, but you will find a place where your pain is just "background music" and not a "rock band in your life."

Hope some of this helps,

BetteK
atle (spelling?) and just as
 
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Anon_10089 responded:
One thing I'd suggest you address soon is a way to get more and/or better sleep. I find that when I sleep okay (it's never good) for a consistent amount of time, I will have less pain and more energy overall.

There are prescriptions that help with sleep. I usually just use over the counter stuff. The OTC sleep aids usually are just the chemical in benedryl without the other stuff. I have had good success with melatonin. With anything, the amount you'll need can vary. Try taking the lowest amount first, and then go up if it's not working.

Cymbalta has helped many but there can be side-effects. One common side-effect is weight gain. It's not 100% certain you will experience that, but it does happen to many people. However, some people feel so much better, that they're okay with the gain.

I currently take a low dose of amitriptyline. This is an old antidepressant but is used for pain at low doses. I think it has helped me a lot and I don't think I've had side effects.

Unfortunately, FM is often life changing and it can take awhile to get back to a good balance with yourself. Stay as active as possible. Give treatments awhile to work. Pacing is very important. Prioritizing what's important to you is also very important. For example, my husband and I would rather go have fun on a Friday night, even if that means I leave a sink full of dishes. I can't do it all, but I can do a lot!

This group is a great place for support and resources!
 
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midwestmom2013 replied to Anon_10089's response:
Thank you both for your replies. Getting more sleep would be a wonderful thing. I am trying to do more research so I can learn more. I have found when I have talked to people, including my employer, about how I feel, they look at me like I am crazy. They say I am just stressed or getting old or maybe I am going through depression, etc. I quit telling people things to avoid these conversations because they do not listen or understand.

At least here I can read and communicate with people going through the same things I am. I am glad I have found this!

Thanks again!


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