What happened in September of 2011 that kept you away from your blog for 10 years?
I got very sick and, sadly, I have not recovered. But I am learning to live with it to a point that I may be able to commit to writing this blog again. I think I can commit to 1 hour each day, (down from 4-6 hours per day pre-Fibromyalgia.)
Here’s what happened: In 2011, a couple of weeks after I switched antidepressants, from Welbutrin to Celexa, (see previous post) I woke up in too much pain to get out of bed. Overnight I went from being a pretty functional work-ahaulic to being a disabled person. I woke up that fateful morning:
- in a body painful and achy,
- with not enough energy to get out of bed and
- my relatively high-functioning brain reduced to foggy apathy and confusion.
First thing I did, naturally, was to switch back to the previous medication regime. But now Welbutrin made the pain worse! It made my sore body tense so badly my limbs felt like inanimate objects barely within my control.
I called my Doc on day 3. She asked if I had a fever. I did not. After a few more pertinent questions she decided I was in no immediate danger and reminded me most malaise pass with no intervention. We agreed to monitor it and, “if you need anything specific, Lane, let me know and I’ll call it in.” Doc had been my friend outside of the medical world for years. She knew me well and knew I KNEW ME even better. She was, therefore, a proponent of (whenever possible) letting me make my own diagnosis.
Whenever I could force myself past the pain and exhaustion enough to talk my body out of bed I was on my computer looking for the reason why I felt so shitty.
After a few more days I called Doc back. Very sadly I said, “It sounds to me like Fibromyalgia.” She said, “I agree. We treat that with Lyrica or Cymbalta.” We discussed the merits of both meds and landed on Cymbalta. We agreed I should stop taking Celexa and Doc called in a prescription for Cymbalta.
Cymbalta was a roller coaster. I got bursts of energy and reduced pain that lasted from 1-3 hours but was always followed by a sudden CRASH lasting 50-100% as long. If, when I was feeling good, I got excited about a project and pushed through longer than 3 hours, or (god-forbid) got caught away from home with no comfortable/safe time/space to rest, I ended up in bed for a couple of days.
I had been living with intermittent brain fog for years, same with exhaustion and localized pain but I had NEVER had this kind of all-over, totally-immobilizing PAIN before. It was torture.
It was also very bad timing. I had sold my corporation of 25 years in July, 2010. When my health insurance came due at the end of the year, my agent couldn’t renew our business policy because Watson’s consulting company was a sole proprietorship with no employees. And we couldn’t get individual health insurance policies because of “pre-existing conditions.”
At that time (end of 2010) I was mostly just annoyed. At my favorite AA meeting (a small, intimate group I had been attending for years) I railed at the prices and outraged at the injustice of our US healthcare system. But Doc ran a clinic in a rough, working-class neighborhood. She had real-world experience with what could go wrong with a body and how much it could cost, in dollars and in lives.
“I’ll take care of you,” she told me later, as we washed our hands in the ladies room of the Presbyterian church. “Don’t let lack of…anything, stand in the way of your health. I’ll do your well-woman checks and refill your scripts. And if you need ANYTHING, call me.”
She had made me promise. And when I did, finally, she left a lipstick kiss on my cheek and skipped out to the parking lot to smoke a cigarette.
So there I was, September 2011, truly sick for the first time in my life and with no health insurance.
To be continued . . .