Post holiday pain

It’s very easy to blame everything on fibro, but it’s important to remember that when we age, we will get more aches and pains, we will feel more fatigued. With fibro those aches and pains WILL feel more painful, as that is what the condition does. You can more here about his fibro impacts ageing.

My husband has a good way of keeping me in check; he explains that are we had been on a day out, he sometimes feels achy and tired, which makes me feel better as it’s natural (especially when not exercising) to feel stiff and sore a lot, your muscles aren’t getting used as they should be. He also explains that if I don’t move much I will still hurt, so I might as well go out and at least do something.

The reasons why I hurt post holiday can be attributed to the following:-

  • Poor food choices; eating sugary, rich food.
  • Overeating and gaining weight; I gained 10 pounds in 14 days; most of this will be water retention from the food.
  • Drinking alcohol including cocktails (sugary).
  • Doing more activities.
  • Sitting in uncomfortable chairs for too long a period.
  • The sun and heat.
  • The cabins were cleaned twice a day; so I suspect exposure to chemicals in an enclosed area.
  • Flying – jetlag
  • Dehydration.

I am sure there are others. It takes me about 5-7 days to recover. Plus as I’m in so much pain and my fatigue and sleep is poor, I am not moving around much; this affects my back and neck pain, increases muscle stiffness and fibro type muscle pain. You can read more about the effect on fibro with holidays here.

I will not becoming immobile it stop having holidays, I just need to be sensible.

Bear these things in mind; these are what I have found that flare up my fibro:-

  • Flying over time zones of more than 2 hours time difference.
  • Flying anywhere as cannot queue, painful to sit, food is poor in airport and on planes.
  • Too much heat and sun.
  • Poor food and drink choices
  • Dehydration
  • Exposure to chemicals (cleaning products are the worst).
  • Not pacing activities. Doing too much.
  • Not going to bed and waking up at set times, sleeping less hours.
  • Carrying luggage and bags.

I could go on………

Cruising for me is ideal, you don’t have to fly or you can just fly home. Everything you need is onboard, you don’t have to go out on the stops if you feel ill. I also shaved up for premium seats which were brilliant.

I cannot ever see me doing a package holiday again, it just makes me too ill afterwards. I also cannot stand the heat anymore, sunburn with fibro is excruciating, it’s like scolding your skin with boiling water and makes you feel like you have the flu……….

So what can you do when you return…….

  • Increase water intake
  • Eat fresh as much as possible
  • Reduce or ditch caffeine
  • No drinking alcohol.
  • Rest
  • Increase daily walks or exercise by 5 minutes each day, after 2nd day of total rest.
  • Short term use of painkillers I.e. 3 days!!
  • Re-establish set times for going to bed and waking up.
  • Slowly unpack luggage and ask for help with washing and ironing.

It’s been 5 days since I returned home; I lost a nights sleep on the flight, am in agony from sitting too long on the plane. My fibro is bad due to exhaustion from walkingtoo much, heat and sun, plus poor choices in food and drinks. I am now back on a fresh diet, no alcohol, reduced caffeine intake. Rested for 4 days, now increasing movement. I am very positive as I know this will pass and it has been worth it to get the memories I now have. Fibro will not stop me from having a life, I just have to work with it and not against it. It will always be with me, my body needs a friend right now and I am going to look after it as much as I can.

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More pain and spasms 4 weeks post op

So here we are it’s been 4 weeks since surgery, time flies!! I am in a lot of pain, the most I’ve had since the surgery. I am however doing more………..which I pay for days later.

Good points are that the left hand side feels great, not had a twinge since surgery, obviously the left hand side of my neck is tender, but not the shoulders or upper back. I can actually turn my head and bend it towards my ear, further than before the surgery.

Bad points are that I am struggling to sleep as I cannot get my head comfy, it hurts to sleep on the left even though I had surgery on the right, but I did have my neck broken in 2 places on the left!! The muscle and nerve pain is much worse in my head, neck, shoulder, upper back, arm and hand. It hurts to type with my right hand, I cannot lift heavy things, I am also getting bad headaches at the back of my head.

I have took the decision to stop Oxycodone as I do not want to be on it long term, as it will be harder to come off. The doctors won’t give me any immediate release Oxy anymore and the slow release is only lasting about 6 out of 12 hour intervals. I’ve gone back onto morphine and Oramorph for breakthrough pain. I’m in agony, all my head, neck and jaw feels extremely tense and the muscle spasms and nerve pain is pretty bad. My fibro is flaring up a little bit it’s not unmanageable.

I am taking short walks, I am increasing my targets on my Fitbit slightly each day. I am now managing 3 walks a day and take my cute little doggy with me (apart from noon as it’s too hot for him).

I have a PEMF pad that uses pulsed electrical magnetic therapy, I have been using this at the rear of my head, neck and shoulders. They use this technology in hospitals and it can aid the fusion of the spine too.

I have looked on a few sites at community posts and there are plenty of people still struggling with pain a double cervical fusion after weeks/months so I don’t feel so bad about it now. I need to be patient, take it steady and learn to relax more. I restarted my meditation yesterday and that should help me relax and focus. I always forget to do it anthem after a few weeks I feel stressed, when I meditate I feel less anxious and more, well normal.

One week post op

The last 48 hours have been hell. The pain in the right hand side of my body, neck, shoulders and head have been worse than the first fusion. The reasons for this is that the lower spine I could rest by just laying on the bed. When your neck has been cut open it hurts even to hold my head up, it hurts to swallow, indigestion hurts and I feel bruised inside. This is normal and I am under no illusions that the pain is going to get worse, as I try to undertake my physio exercises.

Ha ha I must have started this post the day before yesterday and then forgot, it was hurting me to text.

I am glad to say today that I feel much better. I think the Oxy is well and truly in my system now. I’m sleeping better than I have done in a long time. I’d never take this stuff for fibro, I can see that you could get in a cycle of constantly increasing your dosage. I can imagine wearing off it is like absolute hell, much worse than tramadol or morphine.

The little dog has been cuddling nonstop, under my sofa blanket and everything lol. He’s so cute and has kept me entertained whilst I am home alone.

Anyway so far so good. The first week has been hell, resting is important, no cleaning, keeping my right arm rested but also not just sitting on my backside all day long. This weekend I want to start walking, build up my strength.

Again I forgot to post this from earlier and now it’s 12.30 at night and I cannot sleep!!

I had pushed fibro to the back of my mind since the operation and today I’ve had a big reminder that it’s still there!! I ate some chocolate cake left over from my daughter which is full of gluten and sugar, the pain in my neck, shoulder, arms and hands is unbearable and I’m struggling to get comfortable. I know it’s my fibro as my lower back is hurting and I have this flu type feeling, a mini flare up. What an absolute tit, I have to stick to my plan, stay healthy. I have a sugar and gluten free cake I’ve been eating fine all week so I should have stuck that that. I’m sure my daughter will be telling me I told you so!! πŸ˜‚

I know some of you probably have not figured out just how much your diet impacts on fibro, I didn’t believe it myself until I went on the diagnostic diet. I could not believe the difference in how I felt once I’d figured out which food types made me illπŸ€’. Here are some good groups that CAN affect your condition and increase some symptoms here.

I know some of you will have tried ‘diets’ I fu@@ing hate that word! Diets don’t work, full-stop.

You have to change your eating and drinking habits and make it permanent. Trust me; cutting out a few foods is pointless if you are leaving several other ‘trigger’ foods in your meal planning. Also when you go onto a strict eating/drinking regime the flare ups are more severe but last hours not days/weeks; why? Because you figure out what you ate/drink to make you ill and stop, thus cutting off the intake of that trigger food/drink.

You are what you eat; eat shit and feel shit!! Eat more fresh food, cut out foods full of sugar; yes, even some fruits, mango makes me feel ill as it’s full of sugar.

I need to eat healthy even more right now, I’m trying to recover from one of the worst surgeries I’ve ever had and being silly is not going to help me. Tonight I will hardly sleep which means more pain tomorrow, no energy, negative thinking and more pain! All this for a piece of bloody cake!!

First week post op

Recovering well! My right arm is hurting pretty bad; it’s constantly aching, feels very weak and it’s hurting to text and use my right hand. But the right hand side of my neck has been cut open so it is to be expected.

I lost my Fitbit and broke my other one so I treat myself to a new one, the special edition new versa.

It will help me with my recovery.; as it tracks my sleep, or lack of!! Mobility too. I am just in the process of getting it set up to nudge me to stand up and move around more………..setting a minimum steps each hour.

I am taking 30mg of oral morphine twice a day, 10 mg Oramorph (liquid morphine) and paracetamol in between these doses, every 4 hours.

I’ll finish this off later as need to rest my hand, I am struggling to text………..

I’m back!! Been in quite a bit of pain all day, in fact a lot of pain. Obviously made worse when I am moving, but, also aching and throbbing really bad when I don’t move. The painkillers aren’t working as well as they were a few days ago. I am only sleeping 4 hours once every 2 days. Which is flaring up my fibro and just generally making me feel like absolute hell………. Trying to get comfy is proving very challenging.

I actually thought this recovery was going to be simple compared to the last operation. I felt much more mobile and in less pain in hospital than the last fusion. The pain is changing though. All the anaesthetic they ply you with has worn off completely and the what I only can only describe as,; internal bruising sensation (as this is how it feels) has comes into play. I’ve also had to resort to super strength laxatives after the general anaesthetic. I lost 7 lbs in weight in just over a day. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My daughter has had to do more chores as I now cannot clean downstairs either. My husband has had to run around like a headless chicken doing urgent items on my lists; he loves my lists I leave laying around πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Dave and I watched motoGP today and both wore our shirts!! Dave had to help me get dressed as I could not get a t shirt over my head!!

I look rough as hell in the picture above, no make up and not much sleep!! It took my mind off things but not the pain! You know you’ve got bad pain when something your passionate about doesn’t help!!

I have spent a little bit of time reading up on other people’s experiences recovering from an ACDF (double fusion). This has made me feel more positive. We all heal differently and some of us have multiple issues. I find it useful to go into surgeries with my eyes wide open as this reduces post op stress and anxiety. This site is amazing here.

This site has some really interesting myth buster information about neck collars. My consultant won’t use them as he said that they restrict movement too much and are counter effective in recovery. Trouble is sometimes I forget like today, looked up and oh dear the pain was excruciating for over an hour πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Click here

If this pain continues tomorrow I will have to ring the doctor as I need sleep and have lost 3 nights sleep in a week already, this means I am probably going to get germs!! That would not be a great idea right now…….,,

First week post op

Recovering well! My right arm is hurting pretty bad; it’s constantly aching, feels very weak and it’s hurting to text and use my right hand. But the right hand side of my neck has been cut open so it is to be expected.

I lost my Fitbit and broke my other one so I treat myself to a new one, the special edition new versa.

It will help me with my recovery.; as it tracks my sleep, or lack of!! Mobility too. I am just in the process of getting it set up to nudge me to stand up and move around more………..setting a minimum steps each hour.

I am taking 30mg of oral morphine twice a day, 10 mg Oramorph (liquid morphine) and paracetamol in between these doses, every 4 hours.

I’ll finish this off later as need to rest my hand, I am struggling to text………..

I’m back!! Been in quite a bit of pain all day, in fact a lot of pain. Obviously made worse when I am moving, but, also aching and throbbing really bad when I don’t move. The painkillers aren’t working as well as they were a few days ago. I am only sleeping 4 hours once every 2 days. Which is flaring up my fibro and just generally making me feel like absolute hell………. Trying to get comfy is proving very challenging.

I actually thought this recovery was going to be simple compared to the last operation. I felt much more mobile and in less pain in hospital than the last fusion. The pain is changing though. All the anaesthetic they ply you with has worn off completely and the what I only can only describe as,; internal bruising sensation (as this is how it feels) has comes into play. I’ve also had to resort to super strength laxatives after the general anaesthetic. I lost 7 lbs in weight in just over a day. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My daughter has had to do more chores as I now cannot clean downstairs either. My husband has had to run around like a headless chicken doing urgent items on my lists; he loves my lists I leave laying around πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Dave and I watched motoGP today and both wore our shirts!! Dave had to help me get dressed as I could not get a t shirt over my head!!

I look rough as hell in the picture above, no make up and not much sleep!! It took my mind off things but not the pain! You know you’ve got bad pain when something your passionate about doesn’t help!!

I have spent a little bit of time reading up on other people’s experiences recovering from an ACDF (double fusion). This has made me feel more positive. We all heal differently and some of us have multiple issues. I find it useful to go into surgeries with my eyes wide open as this reduces post op stress and anxiety. This site is amazing here.

This site has some really interesting myth buster information about neck collars. My consultant won’t use them as he said that they restrict movement too much and are counter effective in recovery. Trouble is sometimes I forget like today, looked up and oh dear the pain was excruciating for over an hour πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Click here

If this pain continues tomorrow I will have to ring the doctor as I need sleep and have lost 3 nights sleep in a week already, this means I am probably going to get germs!! That would not be a great idea right now…….,,

Processed food, poor food choices and fibro

I never expected foods to affect fibro as much as it does for me. We all know that fibro is all about how our nervous systems work. I like to think of it as a very sensitive short circuiting computer system. Our nervous system has its tentacles in everything in our bodies, whether it be physically or psychologically, read here for more in-depth details.

You already know that if you go on an alcohol and takeaway binge that you will feel tired and sluggish for a few days. With fibro it’s the same, only foods and drinks you never thought would affect you, will.

Diets don’t work with fibro either you must remove all potential food groups and stick to a basic diet of certain meats, all fish, green vegetables and seeds and berries plus no caffeine for 3 weeks. This is the purest basic paleo (caveman) diet there is.

You can only eat the pink foods above but as much as you want to for 3 weeks. For the first 3 days you feel absolutely dreadful as your body craves all the other stuff you have been eating and drinking. I had a bad migraine and had to take 2 days off work!! But then I felt fantastic!!

After 3 weeks you can try adding one food in a day for 2 meals; breakfast and lunch; if you feel well continue to eat it, if you gain weight the day after (water retention) don’t eat it again. If you feel ill; increased muscles pain or fatigue don’t eat it. If you only get a mild symptom that goes quickly then it’s an occasional food!!

These foods are what I started introducing first…….

The ones I crossed out I don’t eat anyway. The above foods have a high risk of you having a reaction.

I felt absolutely amazing on the diagnostic diet and lost 29 pounds in weight. But any food that causes a flare up, the reaction is so severe now it’s puts me in bed in agony, but it’s short lived as I don’t eat it again.

Foods I cannot eat without getting ill are:-

  • Anything containing large amounts of sugar
  • White rice or white pasta
  • Alcohol
  • White bread
  • Any processed foods
  • Eggs
  • Chicken unless it’s organic
  • Anything containing ‘E’ numbers
  • Anything containing gum
  • Anything containing MSG
  • High sugar fruit such as mango
  • No processed sauces, tins or jars

Foods I can eat rarely but never more than 2 days in a row:-

  • Anything containing potatoes
  • Indian takeaway
  • Brown bread
  • Brown rice or pasta
  • Nightshade foods
  • Crisps
  • Dark chocolate (above 85%)
  • Any diary
  • Plain vanilla ice cream

I can however eat any meat but not too much red, any fish, any vegetables and fruit that is not high in sugar. I can eat organic snacks such as fruit bars etc….. organic tins, jars and sauces.

I know some of you may think that you don’t have the energy to cook fresh all the time, but you have to get creative and overcook so you can save meals to warm up other nights, use a big slow cooker and let it cook itself. Or failing that get someone else to cook, my husband does all the cooking and when he’s away he over cooks foods and saves them into containers so I can warm them up to save my energy.

Symptoms that have reduced or in some instances disappeared:-

  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Monthly pains
  • Moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia

Etc

If I eat something my body does not like some of the symptoms above get so severe and come on within an hour of eating it, is very severe but lasts a shorter time.

What I did not realise is that due to me eating foods and drinking alcohol constantly this is why I always felt ill, could only sleep 0-3 hours a night and could not stop having bad flare ups, they were increasing and becoming more severe.

This is why diets or just cutting out one or two foods don’t work, you have to give yourself 3 weeks on the bland diet to clear out your system and remove all toxins. Then take another month to add one food in a day, not several at once. It’s not easy but I have had a better result from changing my diet than any pill I’ve tried and believe me I have tried them all.

Why don’t you try it? What’s stopping you? If you don’t do something different you’ll never change your symptoms or the severity of your fibro. You need to find what works for you and stick with it.

Am I a saint? No bloody way I drank gin this weekend, first time in 4 months and ate 2 takeaways but food I know I can eat such as lamb and fish. Yes I feel fatigued and have muscle pain but it will go……..

Why does this work? Because we absorb food into our immune system, glands and nervous system through our intestinal wall it’s that simple. Bad food makes you feel shit! Good food reduces symptoms.. …. read here for more info and try it out.

Emotions Impact Pain

I never understood the impact of emotions on pain until I studied for my hypnotherapy diploma back in 2013 and then took a pain management diploma last year.  I also didn’t realise how changeable pain is, it isn’t constant and it is controlled by our brain.

When people have a bad accident the emotional state of the patient is critical to recovery which is why medics often give high doses of medicines such as ketamine to relax the patient so that they don’t really know what is happening, reducing the chances of going into shock.

When I went for spinal surgery I was quite emotional knowing it was a 5 hour procedure with a high risk of paralysis or nerve damage, I was shaky and trying to be brave but my consultant and surgical team understood how I was feeling.  They gave me IV Ketamine as they were setting up my heart monitors and getting the operating table ready as I had to lay face down for my operation, I did not care what they were doing to me I laughed hysterically as the drug took effect then fell unconscious, meaning I was not stressed at all whilst they were putting me to sleep.

After surgery I began to notice that the more I fought (in my mind) not actually fighting anyone πŸ˜‚with the pain that came with developing fibromyalgia and recovering from surgery, the worse it got.

Fibromyalgia increases nervous system sensitivity as well as other other important roles it controls the messages that travel to and from our brain for pain management.  Have you noticed that when you’re sad, upset or in another ‘negative’ mood that pain feels worse, but if someone makes you laugh or you spot something that makes you smile inside the pain reduces, even if it’s a brief respite?  Have you noticed that when you wake up happy and the sun is shining that you wake up feeling less stiff and in less pain?  You might be saying to yourself ‘no’ but you do I assure you, it might not be for long but you will. 

I want you to try something for me, the next time you are feeling happy, are laughing, maybe you’re outside with your family having fun, just stop and do a mental scan of your body and compare it to when you have been in a ‘negative’ mood and I promise you your symptoms will feel much better, reduced, maybe give even forgotten about them!!

This does not mean it’s all in your head, pain is controlled through a complex system involving our nervous system which travels up to our brain through our spinal cord and how the pain is felt depends on the individual, emotions, past memories etc.  Some people can handle lots of pain.  Before my operation my twisting spine was very painful but I still went to work and the gym for 18 months and I had to have my painkillers increased to 20-25 a day until I begged the doctor to do something as none of them worked anymore and fentanyl was looking like the next option and no way was I quitting my job!! But now one little episode of pulling my back, a headache, banging my arm or whatever can quickly become so intense I can end up paralysed in pain or hysterical.

I had a very stressful weekend once dealing with some inappropriate behaviour of some I knew last year and the stress brought on a panic attack, something I’ve not had since I was 17.  I developed a migraine that was so painful I could not see, had to sit in the dark, my heart rate and blood pressure were off the chart.  No medication helped and the ambulance service rushed me to hospital for a potential brain scan.  I was horrified and embarrassed when we realised it was nothing more than a migraine.  Only the 3rd time I’ve ever had one and they had never been that painful, welcome to fibro.

Painkillers are a band aid for pain. Some are very effective but the brain gets used to them and more or stronger versions are needed, not a viable long term strategy for chronic pain.  My painful twisting spine was resolved with surgery but Fibromyalgia is in a league of its own as there is NO cure and not a pill that will keep the symptoms successfully under control long term.  

The nervous system is complex, feel free to read more about how it works here. I not only talk from being a qualified hypnotherapist and pain management therapist but someone who has Fibromyalgia.  I believe the messages/chemicals that are supposed to travel back from our brain to our nerves during pain do not work properly and no operation or pill is going to cure such a complex system.  Even if they did invent something to help at what cost would this be to our health.  All medications give side effects as they change our mind and bodies state.


I know some of you are desperate for a cure and hate having this condition and let me be honest I’d give a limb if I thought I could get rid of it but I can’t.  So I do the next best thing and accept it is part of me, fibro will never go away and me and my fibro (I’m thinking of giving it a pet name) have to coexist and get on.  Like you might have to with a naughty sibling or a demanding irritating boss at work.

Learn from your experiences; the most powerful skill you can learn is how to control pain, how to reduce the length of time a flare up lasts and how you react to both of these! 

My flare ups are rare and they don’t last longer than the same day they occur as I use my mind to help me get through it.  I can’t stop all flare ups as I want to live, I want to work, I want to go out with my family and I want to have holidays, but I can change how I feel about them.

My top tips for dealing with pain:-

  • Remember it will pass, pain changes and is not constant, it is like a volume control on a radio and you can change it in any direction you want.
  • Stay positive, if you are struggling then have a good cry and then do something to make you laugh.
  • Exercise helps and reduces pain long term whilst releasing endorphins like a natural anti depressant.
  • Stay away from fibromyalgia support pages that focus on negativity as this will NOT help you at all.  
  • Try yoga, not once but every day for just 5-10 minutes.  Have you ever met a miserable unhappy yoga teacher?  No of course not.  It’s relaxing and gives you focus and mental clarity.
  • Only temporarily increase painkillers then cut back asap.  Remember these are not the solution, they are a band aid.
  • Listen to music, meditate, undertake self hypnosis to lift your mood, clear your head, take you to your happy place 😊
  • This last one might sound crazy but I actually use my headspace app and focus my breathing through the area that hurts and it changes the pain.

One last thing do not sit and stew about the pain as this will feel increase the pain.  Talk to someone and if you haven’t got anyone you are more than welcome to talk to me 😁