As I said earlier, I have been rather healthy most of my life, so to have been hit with so many conditions in an almost back-to-back manner over the last five years has been not only been like crashing into the rocks of life, so to speak, but also left me scratching my head, wondering where I went wrong.
I have occasionally asked once or twice out loud, “Why me?” or “What else is going to happen?” The latter of the two questions is more ‘dangerous’ if you will, because I am of the spiritual belief that if you ask that question, you WILL get an answer and it might not be the one you want.
When the symptoms of the Fibromyalgia began in the last quarter of 2008, I was also dealing with the early stages of a recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS); had just started a new job and was in graduate school, which is stressful enough by itself.
I was experiencing recurrent left arm, wrist hand pain and upper back pain. It became more frequent and more intense in 2008, recurring near the end of every year after that.
On top of that, I was dealing with early stages of menopause. No, I was past the ‘peri-menopausal’ stuff, I was in menopause. Cessation of menses for two years, mood changes—brisk at times, hot flashes that were so strong—causing the very quick rise of intense heat that made me very uncomfortable.
The hot flashes were intolerable at times, both because of frequency—one to two an hour some days while awake—and then a few during my sleep and intensity. There was some early insomnia (difficulty falling asleep); changes in skin tone, body odor and the appearance of my urine and feces—sorry ,I’m a nurse and I’m graphic in my descriptions.
You can read below for the rest of the details and please go to the resources page for links to websites where you can get definitions of the various conditions I describe here. I got some early attention for the CTS in 2010, but it became more serious by 2012 (see below).
The menopause was very difficult until I spoke to a high school classmate, who is a women’s health nurse practitioner, who told me what I needed to get Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) from my primary care physician.
I had already tried a lot of over the counter preparations, homeopathic concoctions and changes in my diet that were only serving to deprive me of the food I wanted to eat, not relieving ANY of my symptoms. I was miserable every day. My friend encouraged me to try Vivelle-dot® (estradiol) patch—a form of estrogen and Prometrium, which is a biologic progesterone (another hormone women make). It has made quite a difference and made living comfortable again. I had to insist on it with my PCP and she capitulated and holds discontinuing them over my head if I can’t control my cholesterol levels.
Now, I can sleep well; the flashes still come, but not so frequently and they are less disruptive. I keep a hand fan with me in my purse and electric fans on my desk at home and at work. I dress in layers with an office-appropriate sleeveless top on even during the winter or a jacket to cover me. I learned what things trigger the hot flashes and avoid them or minimize them. For me those things are washing my hands in hot water, too many layers of clothing and sudden bursts of movement. Sometimes it’s none of those things.
Cervical (neck) injections in winter 2012 for the carpal tunnel, lumbar injections for the Sciatica in Fall 2012 and then cervical surgery for the carpal tunnel and some other related neurological symptoms I was having in February 2013. January 2013 also brought on a severe bout of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which resurfaced in Fall 2013 and continues to the present, although very mild at this point.
My knee problems are very chronic, since age 12 and became a problem again in spring 2011. I was diagnosed with chondromalacia patellae and was sent to physical therapy for six months to strengthen my thigh muscles. They recurred in winter 2014 and forced me to stop swimming in mid-March. I returned to the same orthopedic surgeon I saw in 2011, but this time, he wasn’t willing to even examine me without me asking him to do so!! He gave me the same diagnosis, sent me for x-rays and I didn’t go back. Not good enough.
I went to see another orthopod (medical slang for an orthopedic surgeon), who was a high school classmate of my husband’s. I found out in mid-April that I had a lot of problems in my knees beyond the chondromalacia and arthroscopy was recommended.
WHY I HAD ARTHROSCOPY–I had all of the problems listed on the page below, and more, like BAKER’S CYSTS behind each knee. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/arthroscopy/basics/why-its-done/prc-20014669