The Three Esses – Stiff, Sore, Swollen

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I noticed (after noting that I really didn’t want to wake up) was that my hands were stiff, sore, swollen.  The second thing I noticed was that I had a hard time raising my arms.  Driving to work was by thumb – hands resting on my lap.  Sitting at my desk on the computer all day didn’t do anything helpful for the situation.  By the end of the day, my hands were visibly swollen with small puffy patches. My elbows had joined in the fun. My biceps and shoulders weren’t pulling their weight. Now, if I hold still long enough, my hands go to sleep while it feels like nerves and muscles in my arms are getting pinched.  As my shoulders stiffen, my neck stiffens, and a headache is joining in the game.  My eyes are getting blurry as the headache gets worse.  It’s a typical on-the-bad-side day. I’ll write this, crawl into bed, and go to sleep.  Sleep will help.

Days like this, however, are the days that fibro patients should be tested. This is the day to check my thyroid levels, my mast cells, melatonin, insulin-like growth hormone, and all the other 30 some hormones/chemicals that are out of balance in fibro patients. Now is when MRIs of my brain should be taken. Now is when my balance and cognitive function should be tested. And then tomorrow when I’m feeling better, they should all be tested again and compared.

Before new techniques were developed, when cardiologists wanted to do ablations for atrial fibrillation (simplistic explanation: burning paths inside the heart to guide it into a regular rhythm), they had to wait until the patient went into atrial fibrillation and then rush the patient into the procedure room and do the ablation.  Ablations weren’t effective without targeting the right place at the right time.  I’d argue that studying fibromyalgia is the same.  I wonder if the conditions that cause fibro don’t wax and wane with the symptoms.  I’d love to see a study that looks at fibro that way.  Instead, conclusions are drawn without knowing that bit.  Maybe fluctuating hormone/chemical levels is the reason for fibro’s unpredictability?  I’ll have to look for studies that may have looked at this.  I haven’t accidentally tripped over any.

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