Fibromyalgia is a strange syndrome, and I'm still not completely convinced that's what I have. But the flare-ups come on in a subtle wave of symptoms, beginning with a weird tingling in my upper front teeth. That's followed by a tightening in my joints that over the two days that a flare up usually lasts, builds to an almost unbearable aching in my elbows, knees and hips, with some stiffness in my hands. I've been told that fibromyalgia doesn't affect the joints at all; it's the pulling of the muscles that causes the joints to ache. When this all began, after another hip surgery in early 2005, I used to have terrible sleep problems, waking up every hour and feeling an uncontrollable urge to stretch, especially in my legs. But I was eventually sent to a rheumatologist who confirmed my diagnosis and started in with medication. Two anti-depressants -- Trazadone for sleep and Cymbalta for pain. And the FDA favorite, Lyrica, also for pain. These actually seem to get the Fibro symptoms under control, until something traumatic or stressful comes along (car accidents, surgery...) and then it seems to take a while to stabilize. After my car accident, my dosages of Lyrica and Cymbalta were increased, which eventually helped quell the symptoms.
I don't think there's much higher to go on the dosages of these, so I'm hoping that by resting a lot and not pushing myself the way I used to will help get this under control. Today is the first good day I've had since the attacks began. Sleep seems to be the best antidote, so I've been liberal with that.
I begin performing again this Friday with Telesma in Annapolis and then at a benefit for the Senator Theater in Baltimore on Sunday. These will be late nights of being on my feet and singing for hours, so it will surely test my stamina.
As far as recovery from the hip surgery on January 12, I'm doing pretty well. I'm still walking with the aid of one crutch until I'm given the go ahead to walk crutchless on February 19 by Dr. Mont. It hurts to walk, but I'm told I should do it anyway. Today was my biggest outing yet -- walking all around the townhouse community where I live. It's been beautiful outside, which really helps.
I've been doing well on the stairs, though everything is still slow-going. I've been doing more bending over than I should, but the physical therapist told me if I have to bend over, to extend my leg out behind me, so as not to break the "90 degree rule". It's just impossible to load or unload a dishwasher, put something in the oven, change the cat's water and food, put something in the dryer -- all the normal stuff of life that involves bending over. So far I have not dislocated my hip, so I consider what I'm doing to be acceptable.
I've started teaching voice again, and except for the fact that I can't do the stretches I usually do with my students, things have been going well. I get tired easily, so I'm not completely back yet, but every day I get closer to being myself again.