Finding my Way Through the Fog of Fibromyalgia

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Do you find it difficult to explain, “Fibro-Fog” to your friends or family. I would like to share my definition of fibro-fog. I hope it helps you to explain to your spouse, family or friends what it is like for many of us living with the challenges of fibromyalgia.  And for many cancer patients dealing with the same issues, after/during treatment.

Fibro Fog is like opening a file cabinet to locate information, only to find the folders not in any familiar order. You attempt to organize the folders alphabetically. After checking how you’ve done, you notice the folders are still in disarray. Repeatedly you try to reorganize until you’re tired of trying. If you’re disgusted with yourself you may stop and leave it for another day or try to continue. When opening the folders you find that many are missing the contents. The folders that have their contents seem to be in the wrong folder. Confused, you aimlessly search through folders and begin mixing their contents with other folders in an attempt to classify the contents in their proper folder. You do this over and over, back and forth to no avail. At some point you ask yourself, what was I looking for? No matter how hard you try, you just don’t remember.

When I’m in this Fog, it’s hard to communicate with others. Finding the proper words is difficult to say the least. And forming interesting conversation is practically unattainable. What I’ve learned is to set daily goals. Write them down starting with the easiest to the more challenging. The key is to keep your expectations pushing the edge just short of failure. Then as time goes on, I build on my successes. Eventually I find my way through the Fog.

How about you– Can you share ways you explain, “Fibro-Fog” to those in your life that just can’t seem to understand what it is like to live in the fog.

Signature - Sharon Ostalecki
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Pilates Program for Fibromyalgia & Breast Cancer Survivors

Pilates program for fibromyalgia, breast cancer survivors

The Community House in Birmingham, MI will be offering a very special class this fall.

Look and feel your very best with this gentle beginner Pilates class. This is a Pilates class with incredible health benefits: strengthen muscles and bones, stand taller with better posture and balance, support a healthy back with better core strength and stretch out to move with ease and freedom.

Instructors Sharon Ostalecki, PhD and Judy Polite will be using the basic principles of Pilates to encourage continued functional movement. The class is designed for those who are rebuilding their bodies. It works at the foundation of physical strength, concentration, flexibility and endurance. The class is safe for clients of all ages with a variety of issues, through modifications and support with props.

This is an excellent class for breast cancer survivors, fibromyalgia or chronic pain patients.

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Are There Precipitating Factors or Events Leading to the Onset of Fibromyalgia?

Many Fibromyalgia physicians believe there are precipitating factors that lead to the onset of fibromyalgia.

Primary fibromyalgia occurs spontaneously in individuals not suffering from any related or triggering condition. There is no clear cause for “primary fibromyalgia,” but over time the severity of primary fibromyalgia is affected by factors such as sleep deprivation, muscle atrophy, emotional stress, coping style, the weather, and of course, the pain itself. The course tends to be chronic, with unpredictable periods of greater and lesser severity.

Secondary fibromyalgia occurs in patients whose pain was preceded or triggered by another illness, such as arthritis, bursitis, or lupus, or from abnormal structural conditions such as disc tears and herniations, and nerve entrapments. The course and appearance of secondary fibromyalgia is very similar to primary fibromyalgia. The picture is complicated because the patient’s other illness or illnesses continue to cause symptoms and require treatment. It is often a difficult medical challenge to know when a triggering factor, such as a disc herniation, should be addressed surgically or whether other pain control methods should be pursued. A great many patients with fibromyalgia respond poorly to surgery, so it has been suggested by some experts that, for fibromyalgia patients, nonsurgical options should be the first course of action when conditions permit.

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My Thyroid Medication is Making Me Worse–Not Better!!

The Pursuit of a Thyroid Medication

A few years after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. I was now hypothyroid, for which the standard treatment is Synthroid. Synthroid ordinarily works like a charm. But not on me.

I was eager to start treatment; but, within five minutes of the first dose, I had a terrible reaction. My endocrinologist assumed I was having a reaction to the inert ingredients, fillers, or dyes in the medication. He suggested I try another synthetic thyroid medication. I followed his directions and experienced the same symptoms.

The doctor could not explain this, and informed me that, in his many years of practice, he had never had a patient experience this phenomenon.

I was now worse off, experiencing the symptoms of severe hypothyroidism without any prospect of treatment with accepted medication.

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Vision Problems…Part of Fibromyalgia??

If you have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, visual problems aren’t our primary concern. In fact, they aren’t a normal consequence of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. But they can arise as bothersome secondary problems that need special attention. I find my eye’s tend to bother me from:

  • stress and fatigue of the syndrome
  • complications of the various treatment options

Although no studies confirm a relationship between dry eye disease and fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, I experience dry-eye symptoms. I am finding this leads to cloudy & unhealthy eyes & poor vision.

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