My first visit to the pain clinic, post diagnosis, went so much better than I had expected. It was smack dab in the middle of the flare and I think my first words were something like “don’t judge by this, I think I just overdid things”. She took pity and gave me a shot of some relief before I left.. this helped me well through the day. Also, instead of monthly, I do not have to go back for four with the option to call if needed. I realized straight away how much I was in my own head that last visit and working in the automatic assumption that the world was plotting against me.. equipped with a list of questions in hand this time, I felt like I articulated my issues a lot better.
One thing I have really decided to set out on is to look at things as positively and productively as I can. I think making that list of concerns really helped any anxiety I was having about the visit and get things into movement. That’s not to say it will be all fluffy bunnies and rainbow unicorns, I am sure there will be days down, but I am going to make a valiant effort to dwell less and enjoy the moments I can.. mindfulness is my new goal.. that and trying everything I can to find workable solutions for coping where I can on those non bunny filled days.
“Side effects include nausea, constipation, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, etc, etc..” These are all the things I should have read before taking the Cymbalta. I didn’t. I resigned myself to my fate and I took the pill. I do wish someone had mentioned the withdrawal aspect to me ahead but then I probably wouldn’t have taken it. Thankfully, it was the lowest dosage available since my doctor was aware of my very vocal distaste for taking any type of medication if I don’t absolutely have to.. yes, doctors love me (insert sarcasm here).
I steer clear. My mother had a dependence on prescription drugs. Having grown up living that, well.. lets just say I have hang-ups. Add to that the fact that medicine almost always affects me adversely.. I steer doubly clear. This should give a hint to what level of pain we fibro sufferers feel.. let me say it again – I TOOK THE PILL.
Now, I am not going to lie and say it was magical. All of my symptoms didn’t disappear and I lived happily (and pain free) ever after. The first week or so was not fun. I was dizzy and woozy all the time.. and I drive an hour to work everyday. I had random sharp shooting pains. I had headaches. I was super queasy. I’d rather cut off my leg then be queasy. I was constipated (I know, I know.. but it’s important because I have diverticulosis). I would fall asleep for a couple of hours just to be restless all night as the slightest sound woke me. I was tired.. well, more tired. I would have just stopped it but by that time I had read of the horrifying withdrawal.. so I stuck with it.
Here’s the thing – for me it worked. Most of the earlier side effects subsided eventually and my pain went down considerably. I felt near normal on many days. I am glad that I didn’t read into the scary stuff and am most days better able to deal. I am aware it doesn’t work for everybody, but so far it has given me some of my life back and for that I am thankful.
“Did you get the message that was left for you?” This was the first thing said to me. “Yes”, I replied and then proceeded to explain that I was worried.. so many people who’s stories I read seemed to have lost a good deal of mobility. I already had days where I had to shuffle through. I was just in the garden that past weekend trying to plant under the tree and the pain in my hips was excruciating. There was a bit of commentary on how we tend to do too much as women and sometimes we give up and resign ourselves to the pain.
I wasn’t sure if this was meant to commiserate or as a hint to suck it up. I was in my head a lot and feeling very dismissed. I forgot all the questions that I had wanted to ask and my steadfast rule on not taking medications flew right out the window. I just wanted some relief. I just wanted to be normal. That day I drove around for hours, prescription in hand and crying. Then I went home and cried some more. Later that afternoon, I did suck it up.. and I trudged into the pharmacy.