Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Kiss Of Death

Long ago I was in a car accident and sustained whiplash and a concussion, among other things. Most of my injuries cleared up pretty quick save for one nagging lingerer, the right side of my neck. To relieve pressure that would cause neck pain and headaches I started cracking my head from side to side. Snap, crackle and pop multiple times a day for the last nineteen or so years. The first sign of a repetitive use injury reared up in college. When I would type a lot my wrist would hurt. So I'd put on a carpel tunnel splint, turn in my term papers and wait a couple of days for it to clear up. My career as a makeup artist aggravated this injury as well. Hinging my arm out from my body to blend eyeshadow and puff on blush gave me a numb and tingling arm with a hand which wouldn't grip. When Fibromyalgia crippled me I actually lost use of the arm and hand entirely. My current profession behind the computer is not very friendly towards this problem, either. I now use an ergonomic keyboard, wrist beanbag and support my elbow on the chair arm or face dire consequences.

When this numbness and tingling takes over I usually have my husband rub my neck knots with icy-hot, ice it and rest. Well this past week my husband took a few days off work and we ripped apart the office. Organizing, filing and trashing clutter and junk. It felt great. Until my damn neck and arm started acting up. The pain got so bad I was ready to punch my arm through the wall to distract from the fingernails on the chalkboard anxiety taking me over. So he grabbed the icy-hot and dug in. But I got sick. Within five minutes I was running towards a spinning bathroom to puke and pass out. I didn't do either, thankfully, and sat in front of the fan sipping water wondering what the hell just happened. I reached up and rubbed the knot lightly and there it went again, a flash of feeling like the worst flu that keeps you plastered to the bathroom floor all night long. So I was able to recognize the link. But with a history of strokes bells and cymbals start clanging.

So today I went to the doctor and remembered why I am so damn frustrated with our modern medical system. Long story short my Vagus nerve was stimulated from the massage, causing the nausea and spinning. No strokes, she was reasonably sure. But no acknowledgement my pain was serious, either. And within minutes I morphed into that poor little girl from seven years ago, running from doctor to doctor looking for help, a diagnosis, somebody to take me seriously and believe my pain is real. The girl who fought so hard to obtain a diagnosis that is the kiss of death on a medical chart. Fibromyalgia is such a nightmare. If you look too good they don't believe you are sick. If you look like crap they think you are depressed and crazy. If you go in with a list of problems a mile long they get overwhelmed and only address the top two or three, leaving oodles of unmanaged symptoms. If you complain and whine they don't want to help you. If you are proactive and positive they never really see what is truly going on. So screw them, I have to say. The best they had to offer was a November. I am going to see an acupuncturist and chiropractor and see if I can get help with this problem that way. I am not that girl from seven years ago. I am wise and worn with the reality of living with Fibromyalgia. I am not going back to desperation and hopelessness. As the old adage says, if you can't go up the bloody mountain then just go around it.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Great post. I totally agree with you about the Medical Profession. Been there done that. I have been seeing a Chiropractor and use massage therapy to manage my pain. I am totally off medicine because I am tired of doctors just to increase the dosage and for me to ignore the side effects from taking that crap. When new symptoms occur, "oh that is part fibromyalgia"..
    So Kudos to you ;)

  2. Maybe find a neurologist who can access if there is nerve impingement that can be relieved. I too had double whiplash and a concussion 20 years ago, ulnar nerve transposition in one arm after the hand turned blue, hurt like hell and the fingers had very reduced sensation. I've often wondered if that accident was the trigger for the fibro.... now you have me wondering about it MORE. There are TWO of us. How many more?

    I've used Dragon naturally speaking software and it helps minimize the typing - you have to sit on your hands to learn how to use the voice commands well, but at least for big blocks of text it is worth using.

    Feel better my dear, or as better as you can! I too want to try acupuncture again. It is something that helped me once, not sure why i hesitate to drive an hour to get to the guy who helped so much.

  3. I've been fighting a headache for a week, a week I can't have one because my 17 year old grandson is here for his summer visit; possibly the last one because he graduates in May and will be off to his adult life. I've had the two next oldest ones here, we've been entertaining them, and I've been trying to work (I read/review books) while this is going on. My husband has been stressed due to this and it's just taking a toll. I figure that, other than Monday when I have to take the next-oldest grandchild to his tuba lesson, I'm going to be staying down and quiet, I need to recover.

    My neck is hurting and even the chiropractor isn't working it out. I can't tell if it's stress related or what. I got the whole auto-accident/concussion/whiplash thing in 1982 and that's when some of my stuff started. I'm just about to go into a wheelchair for everything because of the weakness the fibro is causing.

    We fibrokins gotta stick together.



    I found this to be an interesting study on the link between cervical spinal trauma and incidence of Fibromyalgia. I've heard it suggested before, but hadn't seen any studies or serious commentary on it before now. Definitely worth a read.

  5. "The pain got so bad I was ready to punch my arm through the wall to distract from the fingernails on the chalkboard anxiety taking me over." My eyes grew wider when I read this.. and thinking, "that's IT! THAT'S the feeling that I can't explain, but makes me stop reading immediately, stop doing whatever I'm doing and try anything to make it stop!!!" Thank you, Leah, for calling it what it is!! If you have suggestions that are helpful, I'd love to hear them!!

  6. you are so right Leah about the doctors. They think your fine if you look good and depressed and crazy if your not. After I left my job being disabled for many years I couldn't do it anymore. All the doctors thought I was depressed because I was crying when I was in their office and made me see a shrink. After being on antidepressants for 2 years I weaned myself off cause I knew I was not depressed and sure enough I'm fine now that I'm not working. I was just so stressed out from hurting and working they don't understand. Well I understand.