Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When The Type "A" Gets Fibromyalgia

I can say the 1 good thing about my uber intense type A personality is that when I got sick there was no doubt in my husband's head I was sick. Watching me struggle up the stairs with a laundry basket, empty the dishwasher, cook a meal, make a bed, he knew something was seriously wrong. So simple and basic. I used to do those things in my sleep, with my eyes shut AND one hand tied behind my back! I thank God he never doubted me because everyone else I knew just did not get it. I know many of you struggle for spousal or partner support or have been left in the lurch by someone who "did not sign up for this". I can only imagine the pain and heartache and ANGER that must incite. But I know beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that I would not be sitting here today if it were not for the fact that he needed me as much as I needed him and we clung together through the storm of CFS and Fibromyalgia. Two little dinghies out at sea, sputtering to stay above water while a rip tide was pulling us down. Somehow we made it to the other side and washed up on the shore barely intact. Bruised, beaten and battered, but still alive. He has been to doctor appointments with me to try and convince the doctor this was not just depression. He had seen me depressed and this was something physical. Lots of good that did.

So riddle me this, all you former type A Fibrates. Does sitting around in pain and watching your life flush down the toilet of, well, life make you feel good? Does the fact you can barely work, sleep, cook, clean, parent or do anything else you did with vigilant ease before make you happy? I cannot for the life of me figure out why we are doubted and questioned so by those that knew us before we got sick? A person's personality does not change that much, it just does not! And how has the medical community pushed us aside, millions of strangers all complaining about a similar set of symptoms? How have they not by now recognized the multitude of Neurological illnesses that were "blamed on the patient" until science was finally able to source something concrete and stopped that practice? Are we all sitting back on our laurels laughing and rejoicing that we have pulled off the greatest hoax known to man? We have "gotten" out of all of our responsibility in life because we were smart enough to make up an illness no one can prove? Oh don't get me started, don't even get me started!

To me the A's are the doers in life, the B's the thinkers. We need them both. When I got sick I tried so hard to turn this A to a B. I tried so hard not to notice every little spec on the carpet I was too sick to vacuum. I tried to ignore the pile of dishes needing to go into the dishwasher full of clean ones. I pretended laundry did not exist. I tried to mellow out! I may have succeeded a little but then had 2 strokes and 6 months on Prednisone sent that "A" monster into overdrive! I was walking 7 days a week after springing out of bed at 7:30 every morning, doing strengthening yoga right after without a seconds hesitation. My house was clean, dogs were bathed, laundry was done, bills were paid, I was cooking complex and delicious dinners every single night, oh it felt oh so good. For the one second manic overdrive would let me think of it! Then it was on to the next thing. I do have to thank Prednisone for 1 thing (besides saving my life after the strokes) and that is The Fibromyalgia Crusade. Had I not been so full of YANG I would not have whipped up this awareness campaign and gotten it established to the point that we are ready to springboard into action! I am now off steroids and my repressed A is making peace with her default B. For now the pain is back, the stiffness, the fatigue and fog and I am moving much slower. But it is different now, because it is not just me. We are building and growing and there is a whole army behind me. They will soon find out they messed with the wrong personality!

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  1. I was definately type A. Worked very hard, never called in sick. People didn't understand when I couldn't work anymore. I had a great, well paying job. It didn't matter to me. I wasn't able to do it anymore. I am still me. It is frustrating as heck to not be able to do what we used to. This is the way it is. I do the best I can. I love "The spoon theory". It is so hard for me to not over do it on the good days.

  2. I was a type A and I'm having a hard time thinking of myself as anything else. I don't want to accept all the limitations that surround me now. This place has given me hope that there is a life to live even with fibro. It is sad and I've given myself time to mourn my old "self" and I'm trying so hard to adjust and have a life. I love my job but I've been too overwhelmed and in pain to be there much in the past year. I still hope I'll make it back there in some way and soon.

    I had to laugh at your comments about prednisone. I've been on it for about 20 years and when I have to take a big burst of it I feel like Wonder Woman, I can do it all! Keep up your blogs. Right now they are the highlight of my day! :)

  3. Wow, does this hit home for me. I see the laundry sitting unfolded and the dishes in the sink; I get so aggravated because my house is a mess but I just can't muster up the energy to do anything about it. People that do not feel pain all over their bodies and are not so fatigued that they can't even drive safely, just don't get it. I don't think any of us will get the respect and support that we deserve until the medical community finds a definite cause and a way to diagnose Fibro. Just because they haven't figured it out yet doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I hope and pray everyday that something will be done about the lack of knowledge about fibro and that someday it will be able to be treated successfully.

  4. I was a type A personality in a type B body. My personality pushed my body beyond it's limits time and time again. I am still trying to squash my type A.....and not be troubled by the mess in the house. I have always marveled at those who could just not be worried about the dishes in the sink but had people over for coffee anyway. I've always wanted to be that person but haven't gotten there yet.

  5. Leah, I have not been to the funhouse in weeks due to the pain and sleepiness I've been having. Tonight though on Katie Couric there was a segment on CFS and I wanted to make you aware of it in case you missed it. Hope is on the way.....

    Maybe FMS is next? Hugs, Connie

  6. I was definitely a Type A personality, always was a good worker and did more than I had to or never called out sick unless I was on my deathbed. But I didn't get to experience much life as an adult without FM/CFS because I was diagnosed at 22 and at that point was just graduating college. I was too determined to not give up and took 1 year off and then went to grad school despite how difficult it was for me and I am glad that I did it. I worked full time for 3.5 years but it caught up to me and had to quit. I now work from home at an extremely reduced schedule. I often get angry that I can't just clean my room without getting exhausted, it is hard to except things the way they are now.

  7. Greetings all the way from Denmark.. There is no diffence in the personalities you write about, Leah, allthough we're from different countries..

    I have 2 educations, bi-lingual secretary (English, German) and social worker ( I worked with refugees, who had been tortured). I was a single mom to a handicapped boy, who is now a young man. I managed a full time job, my son and taking one of my educations without help.

    I worked from early morning til late at night.. First my job, then at home cleaning, cooking, shopping, doing the gardening and minding my boy...

    I am a straight A person.. and I fear I shall never fully accept this level of no energy. We have no centres for treating CFS and Fibro i Denmark.. Doctors here think it's a mental illness... So people go to Germany, Norway or Sweden for help...

  8. I love this post Leah! I am most definitely Type A.
    I get sick of staring at the piled up dishes, the full trash can, the overflowing laundry basket and the dust that is collecting every where. I'm so stubborn that I still attempt to push myself to do some things. My boyfriend gets mad and steps in immediately though saying, "You could have asked me to do this hun."
    I am still having a very hard time letting go of the "old me". I miss her bc I loved her so much. She was amazing, outgoing, adventurous, caring, and so full of energy.
    I'm hoping to figure out who I am to become now. And I hope it can be someone I love just as much.

  9. I was so a type A! 4 years ago I was going to school full-time to be a nurse, working two part-time jobs (one as a reporter), raising 5 kids as a single mom, taking care of my sick mom, and STILL having a social life and kicking ass at keeping my house clean and semi-organized. Now.... ummmm, well.....I ended up having to leave school, both jobs (one at a time, of course), and now it takes everything I have in me to get HALF the housework done. Thank God for sending me my now husband who works hard to support the kids (not his) and I.

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