Physical Therapy for Fibromyalgia

emily suess 5kI had physical therapy today. I didn’t die, but I did cry. I’d been dreading it since I made the appointment on Friday and spent most of yesterday futilely worrying about how it would go. 

The physical therapist was nice enough, but I got a little weepy describing my problems for what feels like the billionth time. Also, it’s hard to smile through the lines, “My muscles just quit working after I take a shower. Most of the time I have to use  shower chair.” 

She measured the strength of different muscle groups and walked me through about 15 different exercises. My job is to do 10 reps of each exercise Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, I can add 10 minutes at the FitDesk on exercise days. If that goes well, I progress to 5 days a week with the exercises. Then I can try 20 minutes on the FitDesk. If I can keep it all up for 4 weeks, then I can try to walk my dog.

“You need to start where you are,” she told me as we were wrapping up. “Don’t dwell on all the things you used to be able to do. That’s a bad headspace to be in.” 

I nodded my head in agreement, and she handed me a box of tissues.

The honest-to-God truth is that I don’t want to start where I am. I hate it here. I know I don’t have a choice; my life is what it is. But it’s impossible not to compare myself now to the person I was 2 or 3 years ago. I used to jog on the treadmill, run the occasional 5k, go out to eat when I felt like it, shower and do my hair and makeup every day. That’s the me I know.

I don’t know who the fuck this weak-ass, frumpy, obese, insecure person is, but I don’t like her.

Even typing this, I’m getting blurry eyed. So I’m going to go rest. Therapy and personal reflection are exhausting.

 

 

Read More

Positive ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test

ANA blood testThe past couple of days have been rough—bad enough for me to take two days of PTO, despite the option to work from home. Essentially, every time I try to move from a sedentary position like sitting or lying down, my muscles contract without my brain giving the go ahead. I find myself sleeping in the fetal position at night, because I just involuntarily draw up like that. (Picture the witch’s legs under the house in Wizard of Oz.)

I talked to my doctor again last week. That’s how you know it’s getting unbearable again; I’m willing to go another round with doctors and tests and junk to try and find a solution or at least some additional knowledge about what the problem is.

I asked for an adjustment to my thyroid medication to start things off. My TSH results weren’t out of range last time but they were high, indicating that my body’s all Yo! You need to make more of this thyroid hormone crap! The doctor wouldn’t try me out on a higher dosage, but she did put in another order for blood work to see if that number has crossed the threshold yet. I gave up that blood this morning.

My doctor wanted me to have a full physical at some point, so I got that on the books while I was donating. First available appointment for that is December 10!  She also suggested that I see a physical therapist for my muscle weakness. I got that scheduled for Monday. Finally, she wants me to move forward with the EMG test the neurologist said he was “99% sure would show nothing.”

I haven’t called to schedule that EMG yet, because a funny thing happened when I was digging through my medical records at Carle to get the name of the neurologist I saw in March. I clicked under “medical history: diagnosis” and found that back on 10/21/14 I had a positive ANA (antinuclear antibody) test.  It was the first I’d heard anything about it, so I went to Mayo Clinic to see what it’s for. Here’s what I found:

“In most cases, a positive ANA test indicates that your immune system has launched a misdirected attack on your own tissue — in other words, an autoimmune reaction. But some people have positive ANA tests even when they’re healthy.”

What. The. Fuck. I was still seeing doctors at Christie Clinic in October, so I dug up my lab records. That specific test isn’t in my patient history, but several other tests ordered on the same day are. So my conclusion is that Christie Clinic never told me about the test result. I don’t know if it was deemed irrelevant or it just slipped through the cracks, but damn. It could mean something, you know? Especially considering my ongoing complaints of fatigue and muscle weakness point to some kind of autoimmune something-or-other being the culprit.

I am assuming that my doctor at Carle has this information now because they finally received my patient records from Christie after two requests and a few months of waiting. So, naturally, I plan to ask my primary care doctor if this could be a clue as to what’s going on. I mean, I am not healthy. This much is pretty obvious.

Gah! It’s so frustrating though. That’s like 9 months I’ve been in the dark about this test result. I am so unimpressed with Christie Clinic’s ability to provide medical care. The angry part of me wants them to pay for all the subsequent testing I’ve had that’s come back negative. The tired, sick part of me doesn’t have the fortitude to even bother to make a phone call to gripe to a patient liaison.

Fingers crossed more answers are in my future. My fibromyalgia diagnosis just isn’t sitting right with me.

Photo credit

Read More

Filed under Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia…though I have no idea if this is related to fibro or not; I’m just cramming all my health-related junk in in that category.

The weather here in Urbana is odd today. After temps in the 90s yesterday, we’ve got clouds, rain, and a chilly breeze. Our windows are open and the fresh air is nice, but the dampness is settling in to my muscles and bones. I whipped out the neck and shoulder wrap Dan got with our Walgreens points a few months ago. (Between the two of us, there have been LOTS of prescriptions filled at Walgreens.)

I’m working on day three of a pretty depressing health slump. Is it fibromyalgia? Maybe. Who the heck knows?

It started on Friday after I mowed most of the front yard with our reel mower. I asked Dan to walk me back to the garage so I could sit, because I could feel the muscles in my legs turning to Jello. Before I could plant my butt in the camp chair he set out for me, I lost my balance—and let me tell you that sucks when you have no muscle control and nothing substantial to hold onto.

I fell on my butt, trying to soften the blow of the landing with my left arm. No serious damage was done immediately. I scraped up my left elbow and got a pretty purple bruise.

Each subsequent day has been crappier than the next, though I try to keep moving. I did about 100 steps on the aerobic step Sunday, spread out throughout the day. Monday I spent 20 minutes on my FitDesk. I set the resistance to the lowest setting so my muscles would get warm, but I didn’t break a sweat.

Despite my best efforts to stay active but take it easy, I’m waking up in the morning with sore, stiff muscles that contract involuntarily. I can’t stretch out despite my best efforts. I stay hunched over and curled up until the wave of muscle convulsions subsides and I can continue extending the muscles. It’s frustrating. And all of this was kind of fading away—and I was feeling better—until I fell and set everything off again.

This blog supported by affiliate links.

Read More

Kitchen Aid Vanilla Ice Cream

kitchen aid vanilla ice creamI know a lot of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia have GI issues. Maybe it’s part of the condition for some people, but my food sensitivities showed up when I started Cymbalta. Might be a coincidence, or it might just be that Cymbalta is poison. I swear, people. That stuff messed. Me. Up.

Anyway, as a result of this internal turmoil, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what I eat. In addition to slowly losing weight, I’m also identifying trouble foods and reducing how much of them I consume. In most cases, I find it’s impossible to cut them out of my diet completely. However, reducing the quantity helps quite a bit. 

During this trial and error process, I remembered some sage advice I once received. I can’t remember where or when I heard this idea, but I do recall thinking it was brilliant: eat what you want as long as you make it yourself. In other words, make your own treats. The upside is that you don’t have to feel deprived of your favorite foods and you know exactly what’s in the food you eat. It’s also a lot harder to rifle in the junk food on a whim.

Guess what I wanted this weekend? Yup. Ice cream.

Kitchen Aid Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves 12
Homemade churned vanilla ice cream made with a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and ice cream attachment.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
8 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
8 hr
269 calories
25 g
173 g
17 g
4 g
10 g
114 g
38 g
22 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
114g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 269
Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
27%
Saturated Fat 10g
50%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 173mg
58%
Sodium 38mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 25g
8%
Dietary Fiber 0g
0%
Sugars 22g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
13%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
9%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups half-and-half
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 8 large egg yolks
  4. 9 ounces sugar
  5. 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan, bring cream and half and half to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. In a your Kitchen Aid stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks until they lighten in color. Slowly add sugar and continue whisking to combine.
  3. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding a ladle at a time, until about one third of the cream mixture has been incorporated.
  4. Pour in the remaining cream mixture and return to the saucepan over low heat. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. (Mixture will coat the back of a spoon.)
  5. Pour the mixture into a covered container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and replace cover.
  7. Allow mixture to continue cooling at room temperature for another hour.
  8. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours or overnight. (Overnight really is best.)
  9. Pour the mixture into the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment and churn approximately 30 minutes. Move to a freezer-safe container.
  10. Serve immediately for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours for hard ice cream.
Adapted from Good Eats
beta
calories
269
fat
17g
protein
4g
carbs
25g
more
Adapted from Good Eats
variable http://blog.emilysuess.com/

This blog supported by affiliate links.

Read More

Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Chia Seeds

lemon ricotta muffins with chia seeds

Dan and I aren’t really all about blind patriotism. So the whole sing-Lee-Greenwood-while-watching-fireworks thing isn’t happening for us this weekend. Instead, he’s out in the backyard recreating our first Fourth of July meal: barbecue bone-in pork chops with grilled pineapple rings.

That first Fourth together was pretty memorable. I went to see him in Milwaukee, and we decided to go for a hike along Lake Michigan. It was miserable-humid, and we went walking through a pretty heavily wooded area where the mosquitoes were thick.

The trail was narrow, so we walked single file. Dan at the front, Taubensee between us, and me playing caboose. I was beyond afflicted, slapping my face constantly because of the mosquitoes. “Are we almost done?” I whined. “I can’t take the mos…”

SLAP!

“GAAAAH! Let’s get out of here, please!”

Dan laughed at me in a way that conveyed he thought I was cute but prone to complaining. “Yeah, we’re almost back to the car,” he assured me.

By the time we pulled up to the house, my ten zillion mosquito bites had had just enough time to fester. There were white, raised welts covering the entirety of my face and a good chunk of my arms and legs. He put the car in park and looked over at me.

“My God, woman!”

“I freaking told you!”

“I have to get my camera.”

The pictures of my mosquito-bitten face actually exist. But I’m not sure where they are.

Anyway, Dan made my absolute favorite dinner to make it up to me. I had two pork chops and three pineapple rings while we watched old episodes of Batman on TV. (Yes, the ones with Adam West.) I ate so much I made myself sick.

Best. Fourth. Ever. Now it’s tradition for us—except for the part where I make myself sick.

Anyway, while Dan was grilling today, I decided to bake the best muffins on the planet for dessert. Because, hello! I have a real kitchen now.

These are like lemon poppy seed muffins, only presumably they won’t return a false positive if your employer decides to randomly drug test you the next day. The ricotta and olive oil make these sooooo good. The texture is dense, but somehow still fluffy. They are miracle muffins that defy science.

Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Chia Seeds
Serves 12
A dense yet fluffy standard muffin reminiscent of the beloved lemon poppy seed muffin.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
207 calories
31 g
23 g
8 g
4 g
2 g
72 g
70 g
16 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
72g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 207
Calories from Fat 66
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 2g
11%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 23mg
8%
Sodium 70mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 16g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
9%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1¾ cups flour
  2. ¾ cup baker's sugar
  3. 2½ tsp. baking powder
  4. ¼ tsp. salt
  5. ¾ cup ricotta cheese
  6. ½ cup water
  7. ¼ cup olive oil
  8. Zest of 2 lemons
  9. Juice of half a lemon
  10. 1 egg
  11. 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  12. 2 tbsp. honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12­ standard muffins cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients, except chia seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk wet ingredients, except honey.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry and combine with spoon. Fold in chia seeds.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin liners.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Seriously, use a toothpick. These muffins don't really get that golden brown color. So they may not look done, even though they are.)
  7. Let cool slightly and brush muffins with honey.
beta
calories
207
fat
8g
protein
4g
carbs
31g
more
variable http://blog.emilysuess.com/
I recommend eating these suckers when they’re still slightly warm. Pat yourself on the back if you can eat just one.

This blog supported by affiliate links.

Read More