Monthly Archives: October, 2012

To Medicate or Not To Medicate

It has been too long since I’ve posted here but I’ve had to work just to get through each day, so extras, like a philosophical musing on this blog, had been set aside.  But I’ve had some helpful comments from friends about my current health situation which have given me pause and I decided to write my thoughts.

I suffer from a few chronic illness, specifically chronic sinusitis, Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disorder and Fibromyalgia, which are tough to treat and tough to live with.  I have suffered with them for a long time, even though the Fibromyalgia was only diagnosed recently.  But I have lived with chronic pain for as long as I can remember, at least 20-25 years.  I have had constant headaches for much longer than that, since my college days over 45 years ago.

The result has been that I have learned to live with chronic pain.  It is just part of who I am and I have learned to adjust and work around it.  Some days that is much easier than others as the pain levels rise and fall, but I am never pain free.

And I was raised with a father who never allowed for any weaknesses, so I have, for better or worse, simply toughed my way through it all.  I take the occasional Tylenol or Advil, but for the most part I just get on with my life.

Living with constant pain does require a large expenditure of energy just to move.  And when I was younger, I had more energy (didn’t we all!), so it wasn’t such a big deal.  But now, especially with the thyroid auto-immune disorder, my energy levels are far from what they used to be.  So I am forced to learn to listen to my body, to find out where my limits are, to take care of myself and try not to overdo.  Some days this works better than others, but such is life.

Then earlier this week I managed to injure myself quilting (I know–this isn’t supposed to be a hazardous activity), developing costochondritis, a condition where I have ripped the cartilage which joins my ribs to my sternum.  It is very painful and my doctor said it was made more painful because of the fibromyalgia.  It will take time to heal and meanwhile I am trying not to laugh, cough, sneeze, breathe deeply, etc.

Once again, I have people suggesting various medicines which have worked for them or someone they know, etc.  And I appreciate the suggestions because you never know when something new will pop up.  But for the most part, I haven’t learn anything new, and what I have found is that my body does not react “typically” to medications in general, and I am apt to suffer unpleasant side effects.  One friend just broke her foot and she is on pain meds and offered (not seriously) to share.  But pain meds don’t agree with me.  I didn’t take them even with numerous foot surgeries.  I’m glad they work for others, but it isn’t my path.

I am also unwilling or very reluctant at best, to try something new, especially something that I would have to take for a significant period of time to find out a) if it works and b) what the right dosage should be.  I guess, having lived in pain for so long, that it is really a matter of the devil I know being better.  And my chronic illnesses don’t have any cures, so anything I did do would have to be for the long haul.

I am grateful on most levels that I live alone, so I can schedule things as I see fit and if I am too tired to heat up an Amy’s dinner in the oven and prefer having a sandwich for dinner, I can do that.  If I need to head for bed at 7PM, no one cares (although I will be so glad when the elections are over and people stop calling at 8 or 8:30, sometimes waking me for nothing).

So for those who find the medications helpful, I say wonderful!  I am happy they help.  But for me, I am content with the program my naturopath and I have worked out.  I do find homeopathic remedies very helpful.  And my sauna and my hot tub do help a lot with both my chronic sinusitis and my Fibromyalgia.  And when things flare up, it is usually a signal of too much stress in my life and I am working on recognizing that earlier and working to lessen stress.

There is no one answer obviously even for an individual.  One size doesn’t fit all and situations change. But for the moment, I shall continue to muddle along as I have been for so many years.  I still manage to do all the things which are most important to me, even though I have to take them at a slower pace.  But that’s ok.  I hope you, my readers, have found paths that work for you, for whatever situations you find yourselves in.  Have a great day!