#Fibromyalgia, skin and #Eczema

I swear FMS has more symptoms than humanly possible.  A while back, maybe seven years, I had a spontaneous skin reaction that looked like an allergic reaction.  Erratically spontaneous and if I scratched, at all, blood would rush to the surface hickey style, then usually bruise.  That confused a few doctors, but the consensus seemed to be eczema.  Not the sort a person would get at the elbows and fingers, the sort that could be anywhere and certainly anywhere where I happened to scratch (in which case usually my arms or legs... but that first year, a few bug bites and I scratched all along my back making long red welts that really did look like an insane allergic reaction).  Otherwise I have no problems with it and you can't tell I have it at all.  So out went my little shower scrubbie things and in came the dove soap and moisturizers.  It is irritating, but manageable, assuming I don't get an itch, or god-forbid a bug bite.  It has in the past caused scaring, because sometimes I am not aware my skin is reacting under my clothes and those pin-prick blood dots can burst.  But I mean I have FMS... the syndrome that literally makes you sensitive to everything; light, odors, chemicals, foods.  You name it.  Add in the asthma and hay fever and yeah not surprising.

Recently I had a skin reaction that did not look like the usual rash thingy, but since it was not about pain I could not be bothered to bring it up to my doctor.  It was just a dime sized area that was lighter than a freckle but darker than my skin, just a pigmentation thing, no raised skin, no dryness.  I thought it was a faint scar really.  So... easily ignored.  until another smaller one appeared beside it, then another... then they connected into what seriously looks like a mickey mouse logo.  So I thought expanding freckle like markings... possibly nothing but potentially not good.  I go to the doc and... eczema again.  Not related at all to itching and irritating my already irritated skin, but rather to heat irritating my already irritated skin.  Because my workplace broke its air-conditioner and has yet to fix it... causes most of us more headaches and bouts of sluggishness, if not troubles breathing.  Eczema apparently has to do with inflammation of the skin and my doc said the heat aggravates it under the surface and can cause a pigment change.  He gave me a cream for it, so that is fine since it will help with inflammation as well as moisturizing.  But since it is a pigment change I am now thinking I will permanently have a freckle on my tummy in the shape of mickey mouse.  Who needs tattoos?  And given the air-conditioner at work has been broken for a few years now (its on a list to be fixed somewhere in lala land), I could either get my own camouflage cheetah look or if they all connect a seriously nice permanent tan.  I told my boss I'm allergic to work, because technically I am... the sweltering heat is causing the reaction and trust me when I say my house stays very nicely air-conditioned.  Imagine what it will be like working there when it actually hits the summer heat fest.

So I had a nice Pubmed quote with link here for you guys but someone decided they didn't like that so I had to remove it. People are weird like that eh? But I guess that is what google is for. lol

The symptoms of Eczema can be aggravated by many things it seems from what I have looked up in general though. From allergies to mold, pollen, dust mites and to animals. I buy a new pillow frequently because of this, although people say you can wash it... just I like mine very flat. Also to wash your bedding frequently as well for those pesky dust mites. I have a slight allergy to cats and allergies to pollen and dust. Bought a really good vacuum to handle all the dust as well and vacuuming regularly helps keep that contained... but then I have asthma as well so I do all that sort of thing anyway. Colds or the flu. Contact with rough materials... and well that seems to be a constant aggravator with FM... can't stand certain materials against my skin. Dry skin is a big one and that is why one of the main treatments is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Temperature: feeling too hot or too cold can irritate the skin. Fragrances and dyes added to lotions and soaps which is why you should choose unscented eczema moisturizer. And the infamous stress.

You can look up the symptoms but suffice to say that it can appear in different ways. Mine just looks like a hickie type rash and never appears different that that. However, my spouse recently got eczema and his is very inflamed in that area, red and the skin is extremely dry looking. For me the location is anywhere I am itchy which is why I wonder if it is eczema at all. Whereas my spouse it was on his feet... and that is more typical as it tends to be in areas like knees, elbows, feet, hands and the neck.

Things that help with eczema are the unscented moisturizing for sure. They often recommend to take cool or warm baths and showers over hot ones, unfortunately. But heat dries out the skin. Also to use soap rather thank body wash and a scrubbie sort of deal... as you don't want to be scrubbing your skin. That is really just scratching in the guise of a shower I find... and damn could I work up a quick rash doing that! And it is recommended to put the moisturizer on right after you get out of the bath or shower to get it to absorb nicely. Using antihistamines may help with allergy related symptoms and certainly during peak allergy related seasons I do that.

Got lucky and killed my status migraine

I have had this acute horrific status migraine since Friday, it was a hormonal trigger one, and those are the ones that go on strong no matter what you do.  Since I had already used a Triptan on monday, I used my 12 hour release painkiller for Tuesday.  Got me though half the day, but it was brutal after.  So today, when I got up, I used the 12 hour release one again.  It worked a little for a few hours and then not at all.  Or I should say it was decreasing the amount of pain I felt but the status migraine was at the intense as hell stage so even that painkiller could not bring the pain down enough the function at work.  So I took one of my four hour painkillers, tramacet.  And I think that was just a little too strong, since I was almost completely pain free.  My head only hurt if I tilted it a certain way or moved it too quickly, but otherwise I was feeling no pain.  usually I would say if a painkiller completely knocks out the pain then I have used too much, since the idea is to bring the pain down to a manageable level.  But it was awesome.  No pain, a bit stoned, and got loads of work done.  What amazed me is that they pain did not slowly creep back in.  I had actually killed the status migraine with a painkiller.  Wow.  And it was a good things too, if that status had persisted any longer I would have felt desperate enough to go to the ER and then I would have felt frustrated and depressed when they did not help me.

Reflecting on positive wish fullfillment

Perhaps you have heard of the pseudo-psychology-philosophy that what you will out to the universe can be manifested.  Obviously I am a tad skeptical of that movement, but I am well aware of the power of positive thinking.  Sure I like to get a good rant on to vent my frustrations  (damn you unfair world, body, indifferent doctors, work...).  Ignoring other people, workplaces, society and the medical community and just focusing on the essence of our personal well-being and emotional health does this idea that it is possible for us to get effective treatment long term, that there is hope of that, a viable strategy?  Obviously there was a time when I did not think so and not having that killed my will to survive.  I literally did not see the point of a pain filled existence, of a torment without end... seemed rather cruel for people to expect me to endure that.  I often hear people with chronic pain say they are existing, not living and I agree, once all facets of my life were cut away to merely survive then that is all there is and obviously hope that it will not persist is vital.  So there was a time when I not only believed I was merely existing but that my existence resembled a nightmare.  Just like a nightmare I flailed around alone, unable to alter the terror of the situation, unable to scream for help with people unwilling to help and just essentially trapped in this timeless state of struggle and pain.

I don't think I can say with a straight face that it is in face probable that I will ever get effective treatment and so I choose not to think about the future at all and I choose to continue this existence for others.  And that really is ignoring that core sense of well-being I am referring to, that is beyond the outside world and is something that can only be created and held onto within.  Yet, I know I can be in pain and be happy.  I know that I can get satisfaction from small successes.  I know that not achieving great things is not a great sin.  I know what it feels like to accept my limitations.  All that is possible without hope of relief and that sounds quite a bit like defeat and going through the motions.  Sounds like hope of a better future is necessary to our will to survive.  I think that even if all reason and experience suggests things will not get better, physically wise, that we ought to lie to ourselves and believe that is possible that it will.  Even if we believe it is not possible we ought to lie and lie until we believe the lie.  Because once we grasp that hope again, throw that positive thinking out into the universe, that even if it never happens the belief will be what makes us want to persist and enjoy all the possibilities we actually do have, thus improving our quality of life despite the pain.  We all experience depression now and again, anger, frustration,  guilt and acceptance... but going through that continual process wears us down if we do not think their is the potential of improvement.

I was thinking about this because I do not lie to myself very well these days.  Enough to get me going.  I say to myself today will not be that bad, which gets me out of bed and even if it does get bad or worse I then only have to make it through work.  A small enough lie to get me up and about.  And since I have been trying to exercise on the Wii I lie to myself and say the pain from FMS will eventually diminish once I develop some muscle... but obviously since the brain is running that show it is just another fabrication to ensure I continue the process.  But I have not been able to get that hope back.  Sometimes I would lose that hope for a few months as I was defeated by the pain, but it would come back as I got some fight back in me.  I know I do not have it back because I know I cannot think about the pain too much or my thoughts turn negative, which does not help me survive.  And I know when someone asks me honestly how I do what I do, I cannot look them in the eye and answer honestly.  But I am surviving and that is saying something there.  I just think to do more than merely survive we need that carrot dangled before us, to push us to continue, even if it is a useful fiction.  It is obvious that no one else is going to help us and in fact people can make things so much worse so very easily, but really people can survive the most horrific of ordeals if they believe it is only for a short time.  After all, I do remember doctors telling me they literally could do nothing for me and that I would just have to get used to it... idiot doctors, but still the point is I remember the crushing despair when I heard those words because they destroyed my hope that a medical professional would be helpful, or at least willing to try.  That is how easy it is to snuff the belief in the possible and a future.  So I actually think that while I am in emotional limbo right now that belief in a better future is what helps us cope in the end.

Chronic Pain blows

I think there was a time when I did not know what it felt like to hurt somewhere and to be tired all the time, but I can't remember it.  Which is a way of the body and mind adapting to new circumstances allowing us to adapt because otherwise we would remember what it was like to be healthy and do normal things... and that is too painful to handle.  So we develop a new normal, a baseline of pain that is within tolerable limits.  For example while I always have some FMS pain everywhere and maybe more in one area, my baseline is so normal it barely registers unless I am reminded by a specific movement.  It gets worse and sometimes it is crippling, but the norm for me is tolerable.  Likely was not in the beginning, which is why I did less and less, because in the beginning it was not normal, it was painful. 

What blows is that this is a process that keeps going on until your baseline of pain is quite a bit over normal tolerable limits.  We are talking superhuman pain tolerance, which is not like we are not feeling it as strongly as every other single person in the world, we are just not showing it.  Pain tolerance is not a trait or characteristic, it is a behaviour or the lack of. 

I know a migraine is painful.  I still do remember a time when they were infrequent enough that they blindsided me... a couple of minutes from aura, to nauseau to mind blowing pain.  Bam.  Down for the count.  Yet I wonder if that is my new baseline of pain.  Yeah, those migraines suck but they do not level me in seconds.  For one thing those ones are easier to treat... extreme pain quickly means take a triptan quickly.  So if it becomes severe enough, quickly enough, such that it makes me incapable of not expressing it, then it can be treated quickly and with moderate effectiveness.  Whereas that slow build migraine tricks you into thinking this could be a day where you should not take medication, cause you can't overuse that stuff, but then it builds, messing with your eyes, ears, speach and balance with the pain exponentially increasing into it is beyond acute, but by then traking a triptan is almost useless and a painkiller is just a mild tempering of the storm.  And while I know how fast a migriane can knock you down, wishing you could crawl into a dark cool place and live there I also know that is not an option.  Well it is an 'option' just not one you can actually 'choose'.  So you get people, honestly confused and some who know what a migraine is like, wondering how you can even function with near daily ones.  Well, I don't have an answer to that, except to try and really, really not think about it.  Because I cannot overuse painkillers or triptans that means whether I like it or not, whether I kick and scream or just whimper, I absolutely cannot treat every migraine I get.  So, damn, if I have not devloped a baseline learned tolerance to a certain level of migraine pain.  And that is just sucky because I want to kick and scream, and rage against the world for being so damn unfair, knowing it makes no differnence.  Nope, can't even have a little tantrum.  Thank goodness for blogs, so I can at least rant about it a little without feeling like it is wrong for me to express the fact that pain sucks, hiding pain sucks and being forced to do anything in pain sucks the most.  That's right.  I said it.  It sucks to go to work with a migraine.  Wow.  What a stunner.

Yep, that's what I was thinking today as I had one brutal slow building migraine.  Near mid-day I used a painkiller or two to get through work but by the time I got home it just got worse and worse until just moving, or having my head touch something, shot a blinding pain through my head.  To the point of being impossible to treat with painkillers or a freakin triptan and well beyond tolerable, such that it occured to me that the migraine I had yesterday which did not peak until close to bed time, I had not treated at all, except with a nap, was in some sense 'tolerable'.  How crazy is that?  Well, at least I remember how a migraine used to affect me so I get it when other people call in sick because of one or leave work early because of one.  I am still capable of sympathizing with their pain, while at the same time infuriated that those rules no longer apply to me.  Who picks these rules anyway?  Not sick enough to be on disability, but if I got them infrequently then clearly in way to much pain to work, but all the time?  Then obviously that is all good. Er?  Someone is not connecting the dots here. That's nothing against them because migraines are zero to acute pain in under ten minutes, and normally people are not expected to tolerate that.

So maybe it is just because we have chronic pain and those rules don't apply to us that we have to develop a baseline tolerance to it.  I know more than a few people with invisible disabilities and various forms of chronic pain and trust me you don't hear a peep out of us unless it is a bad day... which is a Bad Day.  Just remmeber, folks, just because we have to play nice with others, or get kicked when we are down, does not mean chronic pain sufferers are feeling less pain than someone else with the same damn sort of pain who gets it less frequently.  Like, IBS.  Ever get constapitated for a few days?  Had food poisoning and the opposite problem?  Try that for life... see, big difference.  I do not envy IBS sufferers that sort of pain, which I get sporadically with FMS.  I hate assumptions like that though.  Really, really hate it.  Yeah, I have a few invisible disabilities but they are invisible because I have been conditioned by the world and by choice not to express pain that I have learned to tolerate.  I really hate it when people assume I am effectively treated, or hell, cured simply because they cannot see the pain, or because I am at work.  I am at work because I would be fired to not be at work (cause my doc and the insurance companies think I am not sick enough), I don't mention most pain because it makes absolutely no difference if I do or don't and I can hide 90% of moderate migraine pain, because it is only noticable when it has made it impossible to sleep, made me extremely nauseous (I look pale then, and tremble), has greatly effected my balance, speach or eyesight... otherwise, no one can 'tell' until it gets to severe level.  Okay... breath... I'm getting all riled up. *damn you unfair world*. 

I used to know this dude that was a chronic liar.  Just lied and lied about insanely meaningless things, such that you could only maybe believe about 1% of what he said, but not even be sure then it was the truth.  People should treat chronic pain sufferers just like that. Whaaat?!  No, not that we are lying all the time... we already get people who treat us like that.  Even though you cannot tell we are in pain, even thought we look 'chipper' or 'totally hot' (could happen), even if we say we are 'fine' or adamendly deny the pain is all that bad... just believe all that 1% of the time and even then be assured you are likely not right.  We do put the chronic in chronic pain after all.  Otherwise it would be named 'thinks-they-are-in-pain' pain, or 'vaguely-discomforting' pain or 'randomly-sporadic' pain.  Seriously, pick up a dictionary every so often.

Anywayyy, back to that original point.  Realizing you have devleoped a new baseline of pain that you can effectively hide from others, and tolerate enough to do so and even function somewhat is kind of a bummer.  It is your body and brains way of saying this is never going to end so we just have to suck it up and get on with it on the days we can, so we can put more focus and attention to attacking the worse-er ones.

I would love to just redirect you to the new site...

But sadly the redirect function doesn't function. I will continue to persist hitting it and see if it will eventually do something. Or s...