Saturday, March 31, 2012


Caitlin asked me what I thought she should draw. I said she should draw a capybara. She thought about that one for a minute, then said, "I thinFont sizek I know what you want me to draw!" She then proceeded to tell me that I really wanted her to draw a house, with some grass, a family inside, and a big sun outside. Um... yep, that's just what I requested when I said "capybara". Exactly.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Eyes Have It

After a couple of "are you okay?" and "are you upset?" comments this morning, I've come to the conclusion that my puffy, watery eyes are cause for concern to my neighbors. I'm not tired, nor am I upset. I just have allergies. I guess I'll be sure to keep my sunglasses on this afternoon at school pickup, or everyone will think I'm too upset to talk to them!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Fog Free

It was a low-hanging, gray fog morning. Snow is predicted tonight into tomorrow (although yesterday was 70 degrees!). This morning, as I was driving Caitlin to Kindy-crafts, she asked what was wrong with the sidewalks and road. They were all wet, but yet it wasn't raining. I had to explain the concepts of mist and fog. It seemed odd to me that she really didn't know what fog was. Then it hit me.... she doesn't live near the ocean. She doesn't experience the ever-present fog that surrounded me during most of my childhood. Instead, she lives in Colorado. It's so dry here that we hardly get condensation on our ice-water glasses in summertime. There's never condensation on car windshields. I noticed that even thought I'd spend a considerable amount of time outside in today's mist, it wasn't even humid enough to frizz my hair. Not even a little. Funny how different our lives will be now that we're raising our children in the Colorado desert.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

And the Diagnosis Is....

There are people who sleep all night and don't wake up. I'm not one of them. There are people who aren't wakened by every little thing - kids, heaters, wind, trains. I'm not one of them. There are people who can exercise, and hike or run, without pain and fatigue. They don't have to take a few days to recover. I'm not one of them. There are people who aren't in constant pain, who don't have a headache every day, and whose joints don't always hurt. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them, either.

Back in January, on the recommendation of my physical therapist (who I've been seeing because of my weak hips), and of a friend who is a nurse, I saw a rheumatologist. He asked me all sorts of questions about what I go through - about fatigue and aching, sleep, and weight. He asked about the numbness and tingling in my hands and pain in my joints. And when he pressed on certain muscles in my back, hips and legs, I almost jumped out of my skin. He asked more questions, and then sent me down to the lab. Six vials of blood later, I was able to leave.

And, the diagnosis is.... fibromyalgia.

My ANA tests all came back negative, so that rules out things like rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other autoimmune diseases. I have many symptoms of lupus, but that, thankfully, also came back negative. I'm in a lot of pain, and I'm fatigued. Other than high levels of inflammation, my test results came back completely normal. Even my blood sugar and iron levels were right in the middle of normal - and they're usually very low. According to my test results, nothing is wrong with me.

So here I am. Perfectly healthy and normal by all test results, and yet messed up in so many other areas. Days, weeks and years go by when I wake up feeling no better than when I went to bed. I wake up exhausted and with no energy. Most nights I don't sleep well, and there are many nights that I can't sleep. Sometimes I can't fall asleep, and sometimes I can't stay asleep. There's no rhyme or reason to it, either. Sometimes I'm so exhausted I can barely brush my teeth. I'll fall asleep for 45 minutes, and then I'm awake for hours! I am very familiar with my house in the dark. Even exercising wears me out. I exercise, and then spend a few days "recovering". It's taken me a while to figure out what was going on there. Everyone says that exercise should invigorate you. It should give you more energy. Hmmm... not in my case. The sad thing is that I should be exercise. I need to move more than I do. When I do what I should do, I compromise my ability to do all the other things I need to do- like care for my children without falling asleep on them. I should be able to walk or shovel snow without my joints swelling on me. I hurt all over. My back and hips hurt. My elbows hurt. Carrying my children can be excruciating. I really don't do it anymore. This is all just weird. A few weeks ago I went to a retreat up in Estes Park, and it took me two days to recover. The smallest of things wipes me out, and the smallest of things can make all my joints hurt.

All that being said, I'm now learning how to live with my "undiagnosed" fibromyalgia (what the doctor calls it). I've had all the symptoms for years now, but my coping mechanisms haven't been the best. The doctor put me on a medication to help control the chronic pain, constant headaches, and insomnia. I'm not sure it's doing any of those things, but I'll take it for a couple of months and see what happens. So far I've found that it keeps me awake at night if I take it at bedtime, so I take it at dinner time now. That seems to be a better solution. When I increased the dosage, I felt pretty loopy for a couple of days. I'd like to manage this without medication, but I'm not there yet. I need to get out of this brain fog that I've been living in.

It's odd that I didn't have these symptoms before we moved here. I've had chronic, reoccuring neck and shoulder pain since getting really sick when I was 18, which the rheumatologist thinks is connected. I've been tired since Brandon was born, but that might just be due to being a mother of young children! These days I can do nothing and need a nap! It feels like a part of my life just disappeared. These last few years have been really hard! Between this, the orthotics, and my hip issues, I feel like I've aged far more than 5 years since 2007, and I don't like it. Now that I know what I'm up against, maybe I can start to reverse it.