So yeah. This explains a lot about my chronic pain issues – and a bunch of other things.
It explains my IBS and anxiety.
It explains my sensory overload.
It explains my chemical sensitivity.
It explains my need to manage my “spoons.”
It explains why drinking alcohol makes me hurt all over.
And it also explains how I can move forward, and I’m actually already on the right track.
So, yeah. I went to see the rheumatologist who was interested in my case. He did a few physical manipulation tests and very quickly ruled out rheumatoid arthritis. (Also he mentioned that while my grandma had a supposed history of it, back in her day “rheumatism” was just the word for arthritis so that isn’t actually diagnostically-relevant.)
While my CRP levels are elevated they’re actually not indicative of a chronic inflammation problem – they’re just indicative of being a software engineer.
But all the other pain complexes I have? Textbook fibromyalgia.
One thing he wanted to make clear to me is that it isn’t a disability on its own, but something that needs management. The people I’ve known with fibro who have gone on to become profoundly disabled? It’s because it’s something that’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of, and there are preventative measures that help to, well, prevent that.
He encouraged me to continue with my exercise regimen, and to also add additional exercises in.
He also had some specific recommendations for anti-inflammatory measures; getting more turmeric, taking more NSAID medications (he said that my “taking ibuprofen like candy” phase wasn’t really all that effective and that I can take way more than that, but also recommended a daily time-release dose of ibuprofen which is pretty effective), and using cold packs (not hot packs!) during my breaks. (So I will be bringing some of my cold packs to work next week.)
There are also other medications that I can take if those don’t work, although those are more extreme measures which are harder to focus so he’ll leave it up to me as to whether I want to try them.
He has no problem with me continuing to use CBD products for pain management, and said that opioids actually won’t be helpful in the long run because one of fibro’s effects is to make the opioid receptors shrivel up much more readily.
Oh, and he was happy that I was already taking the initiative with my sleep stuff – because fibro and sleep issues are interlinked and treating sleep issues is incredibly helpful for treating fibro, as well. Because part of fibro is exacerbated by the constant stress response of disordered sleep. If I hadn’t already had a sleep test that’s what he was going to recommend I do next. So, yay me for being proactive.
(And here I thought disordered sleep was just causing inflammation, when really it was causing my brain to overreport inflammation pain.)
So, yeah. I have fibromyalgia. And it’ll only take over my life if I let it.