Monday, January 25, 2010

Working To Embrace The "New" Me

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia this past Fall, I was at first so thankful to finally have a diagnosis, but also scared for what the future held.

I was started on Lyrica, which is the only medicine approved for FM that I am able to take (due to reactions with the others). I was desperate for pain relief and prayed this would would work for me. Due to concerns about reactions, I was started slowly, with just 1 pill a day.

As time passed and intense pain remained constant, the amount of pills I took daily increase...2...3...4...5...6. Six is the maximum number allowed.

I have been on 6 pills a day now for a little over a week. One of my concerns (other than reactions) was weight gain. I've read that many people gain significant amounts of weight when taking Lyrica. So far that hasn't been a problem - Praise God!

While it's still too early to tell how effective the 6 pills daily will be (it can take up to a month to know that for sure), I have noticed my pain level does seem to have decreased some.

The pain I've had in my feet for over a year is almost completely gone. I notice the pain seems more "trunk" generalized and not spread to my limbs (although I have had temporary flares to one spot or another - for example, yesterday it felt as though my left thumb was broken. Today, it's fine.).

I still have the "hot poker" stabs of pain, but those are in the 2 spots where my pain began almost a year ago. I don't know if I ever completely expect those to go away, but they do seem to be decreasing in how often I get them, and how long they last.

So, while I feel there have been positives, I still have some concerns, such as if I am already at the maximum amount of medication allowed, and I am only 46....what happens when I'm 56, 66, 76, and God willing...beyond that.

I spent a lot of my "down" time doing research on the internet. I have read over different exercise options that will work, and different food options, as well as supplements. What I have decided to act upon is what I feel is right for me, I'm not suggesting this would be right for anyone else.

I found overwhelming evidence that gluten and sugar are two main things that those with any type of chronic pain should eliminate. Studies have shown that many people have dramatically improved their quality of life, and decreased their amount of pain by doing this.

So, I decided to embark on a gluten-free, sugar-free lifestyle. I had originally decided this a month or so ago, but it is pretty restrictive and I didn't wholeheartedly embrace it. But as the number of Lyricas I was taking increased, I just felt more and more drawn to it.

I'm learning that going GF is not as easy as substituting let's say rice flour for whole wheat. You have to adjust and/or add other things with the flour to get the consistency right, or something. That's going to involve more research than I am prepared for at the moment, so I again got on the internet and found GF/SF cookbooks and ordered 3 of them.

It's only been a week - and one of the WORST weeks I could have decided to embark on this journey. AF was here. Uh, hello....bad timing there girlie! Well, it has taught me that if I can survive that week, then I can definitely commit to this 100%. It has also taught me that I am so grateful for sugar-free chocolates that saw me through those darkest hours. LOL

I'm having to cook now way more than I ever figured I would do, or even care to. But, when you have pain as your motivation, it seems easier to get started.

I have to admit that I have been very pleasantly surprised so far. The recipes have been great! I made a lasagna last night and both Jay and Austin took just a small amount, and both went back for more.

I also found a pre-made pizza crust that I love, love, love! I can honestly say that I will never miss eating a crappy frozen diet pizza again, or any other store bought frozen pizza. I don't believe I'll even miss ordered pizza. It was that good!

There are other lifestyle changes that I'll write about later. I'm sure your butts are already numb from reading this long (sorry for the rambling, but I guess you're used to that from me by now...ha!).

Have an awesome day! It's a blizzard outside, so I'm going to go make up some recipes to freeze. :)


Debi said...

Ugh...I've been contemplating doing this same thing and then I come and read your post and am like, "great...I guess if Dena can do it, then I should quit wimping out!" lol Although, I'm still in the 'thinking it through' stage! lol

Keeping writing what you're doing and sharing....maybe I'll completely jump on the band wagon soon! :)

SusanD said...

Hey Dena, So glad to hear the Lyrica is working for you. Not causing weight gain is a plus too. Sounds like the recipes are very tastey.

I don't miss those Iowa winters. burrrrr! Too much snow and too many cold days in a row. Like weeks of it! I love your "spring" count down.

Have a great week. Blessings, SusanD

sara said...

if you haven't seen her blog already, go to A couple years ago this gal committed to cooking every day in the crockpot. but all her recipes are gluten free and everyone I have tried has been wonderful!!!

praying for you. btw, I miss you in P365!!

mom and dad said...

proud of you Dena to go beyond the 'pills' and we knew you could do what ever you put your mind to(even cooking with enjoyment). so glad you are finding relief. wly

Dena said...

Thanks Mom.
Sara, thanks for the link. I remember reading her site a few times a while back. I'll have to check it out again.
Susan, I wouldn't miss the winters either! They seem to get longer every year.
Debi...Do it! I am using tried and true SF/GF recipes right now, but I want to start going through recipes I have used over the years and see what I can adapt and change.

Bonnie said...

Hi. I know you don't know me. I've been a "lurking" follower for awhile now. This post really touched me. I have a dear friend with Fibromyalgia who has been told by her doctors that there is nothing else they can do. I don't really know what all she has been through, but I know it has been a lot. I cannot even imagine being told by my doctor that they cannot do anything for me and to just learn to live with it. (!!!) Do you mind if I forward your information to her?