Renewed Appreciation

I have a new appreciation for my fibro normal. A new set of eyes to look on what I am able to do, instead of what I can’t. I have returned to the annoying state of not being able to fall asleep at night, thereby not getting enough sleep, resulting in an increase in physical pain, and just being flat out tired. I am thrilled by this. I am excited beyond words that Monday’s swim has made me super sore, because that means that I made it swimming. What a gift to be tired out by grocery shopping, because it means I got to the store after work.

I had a bad spell. It wasn’t a flare. It was a scare.

A couple weeks after returning to work in August I noticed I was more tired than usual. My whole self would just fall asleep about 8 in the evening, sometimes earlier. I could not stay awake on the weekend. I didn’t feel like doing anything because I had no energy. My mouth was super dry. I thought at first it was the latest in a serious of heartburn meds I was trying, because it was the only new thing in my life when the exhaustion began to take over. So I stopped that med. And, I didn’t get any better. I was a little concerned, but not really. I thought it was a super bad flare.

But it kept on. Profound fatigue, low energy and dry mouth morphed into what I soon recognized as depression. Of all the issues I have, deep depression is the hardest one to live with, it is debilitating. Depression was joined by flu like pain, not muscle pain, flu like pain. I would have long spells where I would be awake and not able to sleep, but just could not do anything. This was no flare. I got scared. I was losing myself. I was losing what functionality I had. I feared I would not be able to keep working. Each day was just so hard to get through. I could do nothing when I came home each night. Not one thing.

I prayed for answers. I prayed for relief.

And then I got worse. I was burning up, and then getting chills. But I had no fever. Something was really wrong.

There is a saying, sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. Fortunately this time, this was true. Because I realized what I thought was a feverless fever, was, in fact, hot flashes. I could get my mind around hot flashes. I made an appointment with my regular Dr.

3 vials of blood later, I was left waiting for results. A lot got tested. I was convinced I had acquired another chronic illness for my collection. What else could make me feel this bad, and lose so much function? I didn’t get clear answers that first round. I suspected estrogen decline (I already take Prometrium which is bio-identical progesterone because that had declined). But my estrogen was in the normal range. I asked to be tested for Lyme and if I should see my OB/GYN. My primary Dr. said yes to the OB/GYN and had more of my blood tested for Lyme.

I come out borderline positive for Lyme. Really??? Not expecting that. My regular Dr. offers me the option to get more detailed testing for Lyme or to just take a cycle of antibiotics. I am from NJ and go there or somewhere in the North East every year. Lyme can do some terrible things. I am not messing with it. I ask for the drugs.

Then the OB/GYN confirms my estrogen is normal, but that something is not right with my hormones. This is my “Take stock of your doc” Dr. I am in fact exhibiting symptoms of hormonal wackiness. I don’t tolerate THE PILL. And I am desperate to feel better. She suggests Estrogel, low dose bio-identical Estrogen in gel form. I walk out with a tube of gel in a pretty package. And, to be honest, some shock.

I am only 39. This wasn’t supposed to happen for another 10 years. And it wasn’t supposed to render me useless, just make me hot and moody. Nobody tells you the pre-menopause years (peri-menopause) can be this bad. Nobody tells you that your hormones shifting can make you so tired you can’t stay awake past 8. They don’t tell you that you can feel like flu with no fever. Or that you can get so depressed, it is as bad as when you were at your lowest low. And they don’t tell you that these beautiful bio-identical hormones will do more for your mood than any of the multiple anti-depressants you have been tried on over the years. So much so, I wonder if my levels have been off, well, always. Perhaps normal range is deceptive. Although normal, maybe not optimal for me.

So, with some antibiotics and bio-identicals under my belt, I have some answers. I am returning to myself, although it will be awhile till I really recover. And I find that my fibro bad, wasn’t, in fact, so bad after all. It still stinks, but I have a good life even with it. I desperately need sleep, but that’s ok. That is my normal.

And I tested negative for any new chronic illnesses. Just in case you were wondering.

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