When it rains, it pours…

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Image Credit: Edward Corbett

Well, November ended with a bang. As the title suggests I am having a run of bad luck right now. Eddie worked last night from 4 to 10 PM. I left about 9:20 to get him. It’s about a 15-minute drive. The first 5 minutes are on the old highway which we live on and then I went up the ramp onto Highway 101. As I got off the ramp and started picking up speed and heading down the hill to the bear river bridge when suddenly a deer jumped in front of me from the left.

I didn’t notice it until it was in my headlights. I braked hard but it was too late. I hit the deer with the right front of my car. It hit the guardrail, bounce off and slid across my car landed on its feet and took off… how I don’t know. It was a big one too. Male with antlers and I hit it fairly hard. It had to have been hurt. It did some damage to my car and smashed my front headlight and signal light, left a large hole in my bumper, damaged my hood and the corner panel.

Image Credit: Norm Van Tassel. The concrete bridge is the one I was headed onto on the far end of this bridge in this picture. The second bridge, the train trestle, is long gone. It was torn down years ago.

I pulled over to the side of the road up against the guardrail after and there was a car already on the 101 that I merged in front of moments before. He pulled over as well and got out to see if I was okay. He looked the car over good with his phone’s flashlight and said he thought it was likely still drivable. After ensuring I was okay he waited for me to pull away and followed me across the bridge and I pulled over at the exit right after it as I was shaky and also concerned because a caution light was on.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

The guy must have gotten off at the exit. I didn’t see where he went from there but I called my mom because I was starting to get sore and wasn’t sure if I should drive the car or not. It felt shaky but that could have just been me. I think I was in shock a bit. My parents came to get me. We drove into Digby and picked up Edward and by that time I had searing pain across my whole lower back and my hip and knee on my left side and my wrist was getting sore.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

I usually drive with my left foot in the footwell on the footrest most newer cars have. I won’t do that again. My husband and parents both thought I should go to the ER at this point to be checked out. So they drove us there, dropped us off and went back to the car and Dad drove it home with mom following behind and parked it in our driveway then came back to the hospital to wait for me.

The ER doc luckily was my favorite one (it’s a small town and he’s been contracted to work in the ER for a while along with Dr. Ron) who doesn’t fool around and is actually a really great doctor. He was concerned about my description of the accident and where my foot was placed and where my pain was and wanted to rule out a hip or pelvic fracture and x-ray my knee.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

There didn’t appear to be any and he said my pelvis alignment looked good. He figures the impact caused a shock wave up my leg because it was braced against the wheel well thingy and up through my leg and knee into my sacroiliac joint and lower back. My wrist and elbow and shoulder likely had a similar shock through them. I am pretty sure my stomach hit the steering wheel. I am experiencing a lot of pain there and am going to have to go back and get it checked I think as it’s been progressively increasing overnight and my head and shoulder hit the door.

Unfortunately, I had the previous injuries all on that side and in the same joints which I still have pain from. So this is just going to aggravate that. I imagine this is likely going to cause my fibromyalgia to flare and cause me even more issues. He put me off work till Thursday but said to come back if I need longer or am still in a lot of pain Thursday to be re-evaluated. He said it should start resolving in a week or so but he didn’t know how bad my previous injuries were or that I have Fibromyalgia. Probably should have mentioned that but even with him, I didn’t want that to overshadow it.

I am so pissed about the car. We have only had it a little over a month! At least it’s not badly damaged. I also feel bad for the poor deer since it wasn’t killed but its back end must have been injured. I called the non-emergency RCMP number this morning to see if I needed to report the deer and she said no unless it’s dead and needs to be moved off the road or is lying injured on the side of the road and can’t get up then the department of natural resources prefers to just let nature take its course and leave them alone. It was long gone anyways it ran for the woods. Hopefully, it’s not hurt too bad. Not even sure why it was crossing there or came from as the side it came from was steep coming down to the road and where it was going to had a guard rail and on the other side a steep drop off to either the sea or the road that runs alongside it like 100 ft below, its basically a cliff.

I also called my insurance and they said it would fall under comprehensive so it would not affect my premiums or anything and they started a claim and booked the car in at 11 am tomorrow in Smith’s Cove for an estimate and set up the rental car for when it is in the shop. They also started a benefit claim for the injuries and said they like to get you into a clinic to assess injuries and determine what’s needed for physio, etc.

I have to pay a $250 deductible which fortunately I just changed last month when we got the car, it was previously $500 with the Nissan Altima. There goes our winter tire money. Kinda pissed about that too. Took me a few months to save it up. Going to have to deal with all seasons for the winter or see if there is anything left over to at least buy used for this year.

Also, it’s a good thing I know not to swerve as that guard rail would not have stopped me going over the edge either

How fibromyalgia affects other illnesses and injuries

Image Credit: Vargazs from Pixabay.

Fibromyalgia & Oseoarthritis

One thing I have noticed over the years since being diagnosed in my early 20’s with fibromyalgia is that it tends to intensify everything else that is going on. Whether it is a psych issue such as anxiety or depression, a physical issue such as osteoarthritis or a disease such as type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia seems to make dealing with them so much harder. I have learned a lot over the years about my chronic illnesses but there are times when they still take me by surprise and times when I wish things could go back to the days before any of this started affecting me. If there ever really was such days. Honestly, I can’t really remember a time that I didn’t get sick easily or injured easily. Even as a child I had strep throat and ear infections constantly. I caught everything going around from rubella as a baby to chickenpox to scarlet fever mumps, measles, and hand, foot, and mouth among others. I’m surprised I didn’t have the plague to be absolutely honest.

I am very prone to injury. I am not sure if this is just because I am clumsy or if it is more related to the fact that people with fibromyalgia seem to be more prone to falls. One study mentioned on WebMD suggests that this is because people with fibromyalgia tend to have balance issues. We apparently score worse on balance tests than people who don’t have fibromyalgia. It also mentions that the number of medications had no relationship with the scores but as we take more medications typically it can’t be ruled out. Not sure how they came up with that one…

In the early years of my diagnosis, my balance seemed to be pretty good. I really didn’t have many issues. Over the years, however, my balance has really declined. I started suffering about 10 years ago with severe bouts of vertigo that would render me immobile. This seems to come and go. Remittent and recurring it seems.

When I am injured either due to a fall or impact or something else I tend to heal a lot slower them most healthy people. Even long before the type 2 diabetes diagnosis, this has been something I have noticed a lot I seem to take two to three times as long as most people I know who are relatively healthy. Sometimes I even start to get better and then easily re-injure myself or if it’s an illness then I seem to get better only to then start getting worse, sometimes even worse than the first time.

Image Credit: Kirsten Corbett

This was the case with my leg the summer before last. One fall caused me to injure my knee and ankle and it took forever to heal. When I was finally starting to feel better I fell again and the second time through the fall was less of an impact (falling in the tub vs a fall downstairs) I was hurt even worse. Then the time I spent on crutches causes a shoulder and wrist injury that took forever to heal and I ended up having to forgo the crutches for a rented wheelchair for over a month. I’m actually still not fully healed. I still have tons of pain from all the injuries almost a year and a half ago. I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in my left hip and knee during all this and was sent to a specialist.

It would take both my fingers and toes to count the number of sprains, strains, pulls, tears and even breaks I have had over the years. Even when I was a child actually. They put it down to be being clumsy but honestly looking back I really wasn’t. I have always been careful and paid attention and gone slow. I was never one to rush anything just ask my husband and parents

 

Dermatographia & Rosacea

Image Credit: WikiMedia

I also have two skin conditions known as dermatographia and rosacea. Both are quite common in people with fibromyalgia, comorbid conditions (oddly enough they are not listed in that list) that are often present in people with fibromyalgia. Rosacea primarily affects the face but can affect your chest and neck as well. It causes inflammation and swelling on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. The skin typically looks red and inflamed. Facial flushing is common with rosacea as well as a bumpy look. One of the main causes for me is stress or just being overtired or sick. Any sort of stress causes a flare. With rosacea itself, I do not experience and pain or itchiness typically.

Then there is the second condition dermatographia aka skin writing. This comes and goes for me as well in flares and is usually worse when sick, overtired or stressed. This one causes me a lot of annoyance. My skin is always itchy and dry no matter how much I moisturize it or what moisturizer I use. Most moisturizers actually aggravate it. Anything with feverfew is a no go for me. Typically suggested for rosacea it just makes me miserable. I found this out with Aveeno Ultra Calming lotion. It made my skin crawl for days after using just a little. I was tested for an allergy to it and I do not have one. My dermatologist at the time thought it might be from the dermatographia but was not really sure.

I can skin write. Sometimes very plainly and easily but I don’t because it really makes my symptoms worse and makes me miserable so anytime anyone who finds out I have it asks I refuse to show them typically. It just makes me so uncomfortable and itchy. My diagnosis with it was a weird one: about 3 years ago Eddie and I were trying to get pregnant and as part of the blood work etc, I was diagnosed officially (finally) with type 2 diabetes. During this time they decided it would be best for me to start on insulin right away.

I was put on the fast-acting insulin Humalog. I had a 15-minute appointment with a nurse who showed me how to inject the insulin in my stomach and was provided with a Novopen 3, a box of BD ultrafine pen needles and a script for Humalog and one for test strips. This was my pre-Freestyle Libre days. I was also given a 15 minute consultation with a nutritionist who said I should avoid eating sugar and sugary foods and eat some vegetables (no shit sherlock) and proceeded to provide me with a couple of recipies by email with turned out to be smoothies with a ton of sugar and some sort of protein pancake recipe which my best friend (who is a nutritionist) said was full of carbs and not so good for me.

Once home I started injecting myself at the next meal. Very little info was given on how to bolus for carbs etc. It was just “make your meals each a set number of carbs and use this much insulin at each meal” kind thing. I struggled with it. After about a week I noticed big welts each time I injected. I thought I was doing something wrong. Called them up went back was told I was likely not sticking the needle in far enough (I was, it was a 4mm needle and it was flush with my skin) and told to go to a 5mm needle. So I bought a new box. This did not help.

After injecting my skin around it would become really itchy, inflamed and welted. My dad injects insulin and said this should not be happening. Ocassionally yes if I actually did not get it in all the way and the insulin was too close to the surface but not each and every time. He watched me inject, gave me pointers and still it persisted.

They switched me about 4 times to different types of fast-acting insulin but it still happened. It sometimes would stick around long enough that the next time I would still have an old one. I took pictures and posted them on a facebook group for diabetics and was told no, this should not happen. So off to an allergist I went. She did allergy testing and said I was not allergic to insulin. Instead, she diagnosed me with dermatographia. I could always skin write but had no idea it was a “condition” or not normal.

Type 2 Diabetes & Neuropathy

Image Credit: Kirsten Corbett

As mentioned above I was diagnosed in 2016 with type 2 diabetes and later with associated neuropathy in my hands and feet. Obviously this is a totally unrelated disease but sometimes the two seem to feed off each other for me. Especially the neuropathy. Fibromyalgia seems to make it so much harder to bear at times as I am so sensitive to pain, especially nerve-related pain.

Diabetes itself is not really made worse by fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia in itself will not cause or make my sugars any higher. That’s mostly diet, lack of exercise and the fact that my body either does not produce enough insulin or can not use the insulin it does produce effectively. One really has nothing to do with the other.

My body must have had issues now for a while though utilizing or producing insulin though because I have been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy rather early in my diabetes diagnosis. It was only about 8 months before my diagnosis that my doctor suggesting I might be pre-diabetic.

Diabetic neuropathy is caused by high blood sugar injuring your nerves. It can cause a burning sensation (pain) and numbness (tingling) in your hands, legs, and feet. It can cause issues with your digestive tract and urinary tract and issues with your blood vessels and heart.

I have both peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is what causes the burning sensations, numbness or tingling, loss of sensation, reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes, muscle weakness, and sharp pains or cramps. loss of reflexes, balance and coordination, ulcers and other serious foot problems and infections. Mine is mild to moderate.

The autonomic nervous system is what controls your stomach and intestines, your heart, bladder, your sex organs, and your eyes. Autonomic neuropathy is when diabetes affects the nerves in these areas. The main symptom for me with this is a lack of awareness when my blood sugar goes low called hypoglycemia unawareness, something else I have been diagnosed with. For some reason, I find fibromyalgia really seems to play havoc with this. Instead of just not knowing when I am low I seem to get false symptoms, high symptoms when I am low and low when I am high, etc. I have no idea what the reasoning behind this is and I can find little to no information on it. However, when I am in a fibro flare this always seems to be much worse.

One of the things I am really looking forward to and really hoping my insurance will cover is the Freestyle Libre 2. Which has added Bluetooth and alarms that push to your phone or reader when you go below a certain blood sugar level. While not a full CGM like Dexcom because you still have to “scan” to get your actual glucose level it will at least alarm you when you are going low so that you can head off an extreme low. This will help with someone like me who doesn’t feel when they are going low or for peace of mind when your diabetic child is sleeping at night and goes low.

My insurance will not cover a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor unless you are type 1. Which I think is antiquated as for one, studies have shown there is actually 5 types of diabetes, something that is becoming widely more accepted.

This sums it up pretty well (source: LiveScience):

  • Cluster 1: Called “severe autoimmune diabetes,” this form is similar to type 1 diabetes. People in this cluster were relatively young when they were diagnosed, and they were not overweight. They had an immune system (autoimmune) disease that prevented them from producing inulin.
  • Cluster 2: Called “severe insulin-deficient diabetes,” this form was similar to cluster 1 — people were relatively young at diagnosis and were not overweight. They were also not producing much insulin. But, crucially, their immune system was not the cause of their disease. People in this cluster “looked for all the world like [they had] type 1” diabetes, but they didn’t have “autoantibodies” that indicate type 1, Wyne said. Researchers aren’t sure why this happens, but people in this group may have a deficiency in the cells that produce insulin.
  • Cluster 3: Called “severe insulin-resistant diabetes,” this form occurred in people who were overweight and had high insulin resistance, meaning their bodies were making insulin, but their cells were not responding to it.
  • Cluster 4: Called “mild obesity-related diabetes,” this form occurred in people who had a milder form of the disease, without as many metabolic problems as those in cluster 3, and they tended to be obese.
  • Cluster 5: Called “mild age-related diabetes,” this form was similar to cluster 4, but the people were older at their age of diagnosis. This was the most common form of diabetes, affecting about 40 percent of people in the study.

So I really hope that they will cover the Freestyle Libre 2 since they cover the original. If Health Canada ever approves it for sale in Canada. Anyway, end rant, so basically the neuropathies cause some major issues and combined with fibromyalgia as well it can be a bit of a nightmare. As with what I mentioned above about injuring my leg last year and then the whole thing with my Wisdom teeth and now what I have gone through the last month with a simple tooth extraction of a tooth with a failed root canal and infection, fibromyalgia can really exacerbate and make things that much worse.

Does it technically do this or does it just feel like it does? I really don’t know. All I know is tons of other people I have talked to with fibromyalgia agree that 1) they usually have multiple comorbid and not comorbid conditions along with it. It’s such a broad diagnosis anyways and 2) that they feel that it worsens their symptoms for other things such as depression and anxiety or other mental disorders as well as many other disorders, diseases, conditions, syndromes, etc.

If you made it to the end of this post I commend you and would offer you a lollipop but I don’t have any

Is it denial or living life to the fullest?

I have to sometimes wonder that. I decided recently that I refuse to give in to Fibromyalgia. I refuse to give up and stop doing things and going anywhere. I am determined to keep active and continue to do the things I love even if they are a struggle a lot of the time. Is that denial that I have a chronic condition that causes widespread pain, cognitive issues, fatigue and balance issues among other things? Or is it just refusing to give up and live life to the fullest?

I am determined that for as long as I can I am going to continue to walk, hike, drive (as long as it’s safe), and do all the things I took for granted before being diagnosed. I’ve done this for the last 15 years off an on. Sometimes I did let it get the best of me and I stopped working, stopped living and hid away. My life is much different now though. I have a job I can work from home at my own pace. I have a loving and supportive husband who though sometimes likely annoyed never lets it show.

Encouragement and determination are my friends. I refuse to slow down unless I need to. I understand sometimes my body is overwhelmed with pain and fatigue and I just need to rest. So I plan to rest and then get right back up and keep going. I am not letting Fibromyalgia stop me from accomplishing my dreams. I am not letting it stop my husband and I from accomplishing our dreams together. I am not letting it take control. I have control. I have options. I have support. I have everything I need to live life to the fullest and I fully plan to do so!