Sunday, 28 April 2013

This is the Story of a Flare

The last week I've been in the midst of a pretty serious flare. The worst I've had since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year.  Not all flares have a definable trigger, but this one did - a trip to the dentist.

I hadn't been to the dentist for several years until recently when the mouth guard I wear to stop me grinding my teeth away into nubs was beginning to get so worn I feared it might dissolve completely.  My dentist is lovely, he put me at ease, made me a new mouth guard and commended me for taking such good care of my teeth during my seven year dentist hiatus.  Unfortunately I needed a few very small fillings, which is always going to be tricky for someone with a mouth opening of under 2cm.  I had my most recent appointment last week, and I was having one of those days where my jaw just wasn't wanting to cooperate,and wouldn't even open to its usual 2cm limit.  I think the dental nurse also thought I was having a psychotic episode as every time the dentist used the drill, I started to giggle as it made my prosthetic joint rattle and tickled my earlobe.

My life isn't like other people's.

Anyway, the dentist visit triggered a migraine which meant I couldn't sleep and the pain and the lack of sleep (did you know there's a word for that?  Painsomnia - my new favourite word) culminated in my body deciding it had had enough and checking out of life for a week.  None of the many medications I take made any dent in the pain, or the exhaustion.

I've spent the last week in bed, getting very acquainted with my Buffy box sets which was the only thing stopping me from going completely mental with boredom.  There were (many) days where lifting my head or lifting my hand to use the TV remote just seemed like far too much effort.  I tried a few times to play games on my iPad or phone to help pass the time and had to stop after a few minutes as I was physically exhausted.  I basically felt like I woke up every day and someone had stolen all my spoons (damn spoon thieves) and I was working on negative spoons for the rest of the day.  

And then there's that delightful Catholic guilt that creeps up on you.  Guilt that you're not pulling your weight, not working on that custom Etsy order you really should be working on, not answering your phone because it's too much effort, cancelling appointments because leaving your bed (never mind your house) is just not going to happen, and guilt that you're just generally not functioning as a useful member of society.  The guilt (as well as the pain and exhaustion) was making me stressed and my usually fairly well controlled hypertension became... not so well controlled and I started getting chest pains.

Then there's the wonderful thing that is selective memory. I've mentioned before on here that sometimes (in the brief instances) when I'm not in pain my brain convinces me that there's nothing wrong with me and that I made the whole thing up.  During a flare I get the opposite effect, my brain had me convinced that this was how I was always going to feel and I might as well just get used to it.

Today I feel a bit better, I mean I'm still in bed but I've at least washed, remembered to eat, answered my phone, and written this blog post, which is pretty much more than I've done the rest of the week.  I recently saw a consultant at the Pain Clinic and she said that I had excellent coping mechanisms already in place, and I suppose I must do - it's taken more than a year for my body to give in to the fibromyalgia and I don't intend to let it win again any time soon.