Where have I been? That’s a good question. I’m still here. I just haven’t been blogging. I’ve thought about it off and on, especially when I read other people’s posts. But I couldn’t seem to find the motivation to do it myself. But today, here I am.
I’m still working full time, for the next 528 days. That’s when I can take early retirement. I am so looking forward to that (like you couldn’t figure that out from my countdown, right?). There are days when I’m not sure if I can make it through the next 528 days. I’ve now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (or rheumatoid disease, which I prefer to call it, because it’s so much more than arthritis), osteoarthritis, neuropathy, and the latest diagnosis, fibromyalgia. No wonder I’m in constant pain. Whew!
The fibromyalgia diagnosis came about the last time I saw my rheumatologist. I told her that I was having pain all over, that the blankets, at night, hurt my legs and feet. I told her that my hands hurt all over, not just in the joints. She asked several questions, then did the pressure points test. Uh yeah, those all hurt…a lot. So we talked for a while (she’s the best about talking, listening, and explaining things), then she told me that there was no blood test for fibromyalgia. She said, with everything I had told her, my answers to her questions, and the locations of the pain when she tested those pressure points, that I could add fibromyalgia to my list of ailments (my words, not hers).
So we discussed various medications that we could try, the pros and cons of each of them. We decided to try Gabapentin first. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about taking that particular medication. I’ve heard some real horror stories about the side effects of it. But I have been in so much pain, that I was willing to at least try it. One of the other things that sold me on the Gabapentin over the other drugs, was that it could possibly help with my sleep (lack of sleep is an entirely different blog post, let’s just say that I haven’t slept well for several years). So I picked up the prescription and started taking it. She started me on a really low dosage to see how well I tolerated it. I’m glad to say, no hallucinations! I didn’t notice a decrease in the pain for the first week. And it made me a little drowsy, but not enough to actually sleep well. We increased the dosage the second week and again the third week. By the end of the third week, I noticed significant pain relief, but only for a few hours. I was also drowsy enough to sleep for a few hours.
I called my rheumatologist after the third week to let her know how it was working. At that time, she doubled the dosage and instructed me to call her again after a month on this dosage. So the higher dosage does help me sleep better. I’m still awake several times during the night, but can usually go back to sleep fairly quickly. The higher dosage does help more with the pain, at least while I’m sleeping.
I’m going to continue with this treatment and see where it takes me. If any of you have fibromyalgia (or RA, OA, or neuropathy), I’d be interested in hearing about how you cope. Good luck to us all with our treatment. Here’s to a relatively pain free day (I dream about those kinds of days.).