These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unplanned medicine post

I was just watching an ad for a medication for fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS). It made me think of how good it is that there are now some medications available for it, although most of the meds for it have such awful potential side effects that I won't take them. I was also thinking that the diagnosis of FMS is so readily recognized now. In the 1980s I was almost debilitated with it, but no one knew what it was. I was finally diagnosed in the early 1990s, but not before several doctors just shook their heads at my complaints, because they didn't know what it was. Obviously I had a vivid imagination. Yeah, right. Or was crazy, because I was describing symptoms that didn't make sense.

Anyway, that isn't my point.

FMS is widely recognized today. I no longer feel like a freak. But I do wonder about how many people are prescribed multiples of medications to try to control the symptoms. In the mid- to late-90s, I was on a horrible regimen of medications for it. I was, at one time, taking around 40 pills a day. I asked my doctor to help me decrease the number of medications I was taking, because I felt like a zombie. I took pills to ease pain, to decrease inflammation, to relax muscles, and to help me sleep. I noticed I wasn't fully functioning until after noon, because all the meds hadn't worn off till then. It was a mess.

My doctor helped me to decrease the meds, slowly, wisely. Eventually, I got down to just a few pills, and many of them "natural" or "herbal." Nowadays I take an anti-inflammatory, an occasional pain reliever, and an occasional muscle relaxer. Add to that some "naturals" for support of joints and muscles. I do pretty well.

I realize there are others with FMS who have much more severe symptoms than I do at this time, but I wonder if people are being properly medicated. My doc here is very intuned to the more natural supplements. He works with me and the natural, homeopathic and herbal people to keep me as chemical-free as possible. I like it this way. And I pity folks who are being dosed with prescriptions without a second thought about alternatives.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not opposed to prescription medications. They have a purpose and are a godsend when they do the intended job. My point is that lots of people take whatever their doctors give them without a second thought and without understanding the medications, their uses and their side effects. Then don't get me started on how drugs interact with one another!

Sadly, I've encountered doctors to do pay attention to these points, either. We all need to read the inserts in the packages, and to read about the drugs elsewhere, as well. The inserts give a lot of legalese info, but I'm all for reading quite a bit before taking a med. I'll usually take a couple days before having a script filled to find out about it. Well, unless it is an urgently needed med, but even then, I question the doc and the pharmacist carefully about it.

I'm into as much of the natural stuff as possible. I hope this will continue to work for me. Yes, I realize some "naturals" can be dangerous and that some of them don't work as effectively as chemical drugs. But I'll continue with them as long as they seems to give me reasonable comfort. My doctor and I put our heads together for the best possible combinations, and so far I'm liking the result. The alternative of putting all sorts of chemicals in my body just scares me. I'll avoid those as far as possible.

You know what? This isn't even where I was going when I began this post, but it seemed to just keep taking its own path, so I guess it needed to be said. 

I'm going to go off and try to find the original message. Or another one that is fun, whatever comes first!


  1. Looking into anything medical can be sobering. It's an eye opener to look at studies about your illness, too, to find that things the doctor seems to take for granted are not necessarily true. I think some times busy doctors take a kind of a sledgehammer approach to an illness, theytreat the symptom, pill given problems solved for now. They can't look up all the research on everything and perhaps that is something patients can usefully do.

    1. Jenny, I think you're right on. Doctors are being pushed so hard by their "groups" that they sometimes just push through the day and are less aware than we would like them to be. Too bad the dollar is managing our care now.

  2. While I don't have Fibro I have had my share of medical issues over the years to be sure. I think your message here is being proactive in our own health is very important. Do the research. In the past I have been prescribed medications that after reading all of the side effects, I opted out of taking them. Just because a doctor says to try it, doesn't mean you have to.
    We do have a choice and there are many options. I have had very high B.P. for at least twenty years so not taking my pill isn't an option for me. It's dangerous. But I was once prescribed an anti-depressant after my hysterectomy to curb my hot flashes. Well I read the possible side effects and that you had to be weaned off of it so I decided to take a natural supplement instead. It worked great and only needed it for a few months.
    I'm not trying to advise anyone NOT to listen to their doctor but be pro-active, talk and ask questions. Sometimes there are other alternatives! Now I'm sorry for taking up so much of your comment space Lyn but this really is an important issue, you were right to post about it! Love Di ♥

    1. I don't mean to discourage people from following their doctor's advice, either, Di, but to take more personal responsibility in the care. It's hard for us, since we don't speak "medical," but I think we should be informed consumers at the same time. Together, we can remember these things and be responsible.

  3. I'd rather be a little uncomfortable than have side effects. And my preference is for natural rather than manufactured.

    I guess we need to figure this out as we get older and develop "aches and pains".

    1. Linda, it is certainly a process, aging and managing our "helps," whatever kind they are.

  4. I think you said just what you needed to say for yourself and others. I enjoyed reading your history and insights into a very misunderstood and poor diagnosed syndrome.

    I've have been diagnosed with FMS by some doctors and then others have said it is a condition that is over diagnosed and doesn't fit what I sometimes suffer from. Whether I truly have it or not, I appreciate what you have to say about the medications. I am so in agreement with you on this. I can't take anti-inflammatories. They cause havoc on my gut. I try to get rest, massage, and eat more carefully when I have flare-ups.

    1. RET, the diagnosing process for FMS is still not perfect, for sure. And I agree, it is probably over-diagnosed. In fact, I intended to say that in my post, but skipped over it. When I was diagnosed, I had every symptom in the syndrome, so there wasn't much doubt!

      May I suggest another intervention? Try Healing Touch. It is different from massage, but works well with it. Since the Healing Touch International headquarters are in your general are, I'm betting you can find a practitioner close by. I'm using the techniques on myself with very good results. Another thing that helped me a lot when it was available is water exercise. You might find a Y or health club that offers it. Sadly, there is not such here. Good luck!

  5. We all have to be our own advocate when it comes to medical issues. I have always had restless legs. I have taken a prescription med for it but learned it was very addicting. My legs were calmer for a long time, but this August I consulted a new doctor about some issues including difficulty in falling asleep. She suggested taking Melatonin.

    I did.

    It did not seem to help me fall asleep, but I was determined to give it time. At the same time my legs got increasingly restless at night. I had looked up Melatonin to see if there were any side effects I should know about and found nothing. Then one evening I noted my legs were quite calm at the beginning of the evening, but were going crazy shortly after taking the Melatonin. I Googled "restless legs caused by Melatonin?"

    There were several discussions about it and one small study linking the two. I have stopped taking it and my legs are calmer again. I'm sure the doctor doesn't know about it since it has not been extensively studied.

    We all have to be aware of our symptoms and do a little research on our own if we can.

  6. Merikay, I don't have "restless leg," per se, but with the FMS, I am constantly moving my legs for comfort. I also have leg cramps at night. My doc turned me onto a homeopathic compound (found in health food or natural food stores) called "Calms." It has helped me tremendously with the need to move, the cramps AND sleep. It's not expensive, and might be worth a try.

    I agree with you completely that we have to be proactive in our medical needs. Otherwise we end up over-medicated or under-treated. Either extreme is the pits.


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