Fibro Falling

“How did you break your ankle?”

I get asked that a lot: I’m still limping, 7 months later. I was walking in Bali and I fell. No motor bikes. No bicycles. No alcohol. No bumpy footpaths. No drugs. Just walking. I fell.

Gait and balance are severely impaired in women with fibromyalgia, according to “Altered Functional Performance in Patients with Fibromyalgia” published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Only women were included in this study as the vast majority (80%-90%) of people affected by fibromyalgia are women. The study showed that walking speed was significantly reduced in women with fibromyalgia, compared to women without pain, probably due to the reduction in stride length and frequency.

When the researchers analysed the association of gait and balance impairment with functional performance and the level of pain, they found that high levels of pain, depression, stiffness, anxiety, and fatigue (DUH!) were the main parameters associated with reduced gait and balance.

Finally, the researchers reported that they observed an abnormal pattern of body sways during balance tasks in fibromyalgia patients. They thought this could be associated with changes in the motor control system, and might explain why fibromyalgia patients experience a higher rate of falls.

Overall, the findings highlighted the relevant role of postural control and balance for daily activity functioning in fibromyalgia patients.

So, I’m doing hydrotherapy, pilates, deep-water running, recumbent cycling and indoor rowing.

Bring on the strong core muscles, a 6-pack and balance!

#Fibromyalgia, Fatigue and some (naughty) Fun

I know that some of you cannot even think of having sex without bringing on a flare – Me? I’d put up with a flare at the moment for a little loving!

With Valentine’s Day approaching, imagine this:

It’s 9pm. You’ve just put the kids to bed. It’s been a long, exhausting day. It feels like 4 in the morning and you’re ready to fall over. Suddenly your other half looks at you in that way, smiles and strokes your arm, and you know he/she wants to ‘make lurve.’

So, what’s your reaction?

Decreased sexual interest is not considered a common characteristic of FM. Nonetheless, a 2005 Turkish study demonstrates that female patients with FM have distinct sexual dysfunction compared with healthy controls.292.FM Lovesong

What is Normal Sexual Function?

For women, sex is a complex issue because it involves both physical and emotional reactions. Normal sexual functioning, however, may be divided into specific stages that include:

  • Desire
  • Arousal
  • Orgasm
  • Relaxation

They are all tied together with feelings of fulfillment, satisfaction and pleasure. For a woman, this is achieved not simply through physical touching. It involves psychological and emotional engagement. It may be difficult at times to remain sexually engaged when your body is in pain or fatigued or you are experiencing low self-esteem.

Types of Sexual Dysfunction in Women with Fibromyalgia

Sexual dysfunction refers to the inability to either engage in or enjoy the sexual act. It occurs for a number of different reasons that include illness, the impact of medications on the body, or emotional distress.

Women with fibromyalgia may suffer from one or more types of sexual dysfunction. The more common types include:

  1. Decreased sexual desire or drive
  2. Less arousal but maybe adequate sex drive
  3. Difficulty in achieving orgasm
  4. Increased pain with sexual intercourse or vaginal contact
  5. Failure of the body to co-operate with the desired position or movement

I am not even pretending that I know how to help with the first three types. I feel I can offer some suggestion on the last two.

We already know that FM is more foe than friend.  While many of us are too tired for sex, it is the muscle pain that leads to pressure and a squeezing of the pelvic area and lower back that ultimately result in muscle cramping during sexual intercourse. This naturally causes a great deal of discomfort, making it difficult to engage in certain sexual behaviours.

Sex may eventually become something that is no longer pleasurable (I can’t believe I said that!), but a negative experience. One’s natural tendency is to avoid such physically intimate situations, especially given that one is too tired or sore for sex.

sexSo, who can be bothered? (Pick me! Pick me!)

Further, taking a toll on one’s sex life are FM medications that decrease libido and a man’s ability to attain or maintain erection. Anti-depressants can also take a toll on a person’s sexual functioning. A person living with FM may react negatively to bodily changes, like weight changes and the loss of muscle mass.

As lovers feel less connected in the boudoir, their sexual relationship takes a hit (ie: unless you take steps to stay mentally and spiritually connected while attempting to be physically intimate). It’s important to realise that the release of hormones and endorphins, natural opioids, during sex can help to relieve FM symptoms, like pain and depression, and boost well-being. This double-sided sword is that while sex can relieve symptoms of FM, FM itself may result in a decreased libido, and, definitely, fatigue and pain that hinder a person’s desire and ability to engage in sexual intercourse.

Maintaining your sex life is vital to your health and well-being. Consider adopting this plan on Tuesday:

  • Plan ahead to make this the night for sexual relations. Practice acceptance. Adapt. Make peace with the fact that you need to deal with this condition, and then allow yourself to reclaim your life in every way. This means ensuring you do not wear yourself out earlier during the day. You need to be well-rested so pace yourself.
  • If you have stiffness of your muscles or joints, consider ways to reduce the stiffness. Do some stretching to relax the muscles and make them limber.
  • Practice reducing stress. You can do breathing exercises. You can also combine exercise with stress reduction by playing soothing music while you do yoga. For some, a guided meditation or visualization will produce the desired result.
  • Take a warm bath or shower. A bath is excellent because it means you can pamper yourself. Play soft, romantic or sensual music and indulge in an sumptuous bubble bath
  • Prepare the room so it is relaxing, comfortable and reignites your passion. Clean, fresh, fragrant sheets can help. Pillows you can place to make positions easier are good tools to have handy. Soft lights and even softer music can also be effective in setting the right mood.
  • When it comes to the actual sex act, talk to your partner. Consider some positions that do not cause any discomfort but result in pleasure for both of you. Allow your partner to be more active during sex if possible (Absolutely nothing bad about THAT!) Talk it through.
  • Experiment with different sexual positions. There are plenty of activities and positions that are ideal for fatigue; and many ways to avoid painful sex. And have fun trying them ALL out! (see the attachment)
  • Enjoy each other despite flare ups. Part of this is not being so goal-oriented during a love-making session. Allow things to happen as they can.
  • Stay physically connected by just cuddling (unless such is not made possible by allondynia, where the brain misinterprets neutral or pleasant stimuli for pain).

The important thing is to learn what has produced your sexual dysfunction and to make an effort to maintain interest in sex. You can discuss any concerns you have with your doctor and your partner or spouse. Being honest with your intimate partner will help you maintain an active sex life.

Finally?

Don’t give up. It might feel like you’re never going to want to have sex ever again – but that’s the fibro talking, not you. Lust strikes at the oddest moment, and people can have sex in a myriad of ways. So have fun exploring what works best for you. and you’ll feel IT again.

And when you do, take advantage of it, and enjoy it!

lrg_Ornamental_Divider__Englische_Linie

For those grown-ups among us (and those NOT easily offended), please check out these recommended sexual positions that require less physical exertion. This is adult content –  By clicking “I Agree” below, you are agreeing to the following:

  1. You are an adult, at least 18 years of age, you are familiar with and understand the standards and laws of your local community regarding sexually oriented media. You represent that, based on your familiarity with the standards and laws of your local community, you will not be violating any applicable standards or laws by requesting, receiving, downloading or possessing any of the video, audio, graphics, images or text (“Adult Material”) available on this Website.
  2. You hereby acknowledge that any use of this Website is at your sole risk. You understand that by accepting the terms of this Agreement, you are agreeing to hold the Publisher of this Web Site harmless from any responsibilities or liabilities related to your use of this Web Site and the Adult Material contained herein.
  3. You will not permit any person(s) under 18 years of age to have access to any of the Adult Materials contained in this Web Site.
  4. You are voluntarily choosing to access this Web Site, because you want to view, read or hear the various Adult Materials that are available. You agree to immediately exit from this Web Site if you are in any way offended by the sexual nature of any Adult Material.
  5. If you use this Web Site in violation of these Terms, or use this Web Site where such use is illegal, you may be in violation of local and/or federal laws. You agree that you are solely responsible for your use of this Web Site and agree to indemnify Publisher against any claims arising out of such use.

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Fear Factor

I was reading an article from The Mighty about guilt and chronic illness. You know what I mean…that niggling feeling you have about being sick. No, I’m not going to write about guilt, too (I’ve looked at those thoughts previously, here and here): I’m writing about fear.

Firstly, you need to know a little about my background, so the abridged version:

  • I was 40 before I heard about fibromyalgia.
  • Previously, I had worked in hotels, on cruise ships and in casinos.
  • At 34yo, I started a Bachelor of Laws while working, at the casino, full-time.
  • I was able to ‘practice’ law for one whole month before the debilitating purple wave took over my life – FIBROMYALGIA!

I have just celebrated the 25th anniversary of my 21st birthday (yes, I’m 46 now) and, as my ankle and leg get better, I feel like I have a little more control (understanding?) over my illness.

119-fibro-fogSo, what am I going to do?

I have been sick (and not working) for 72 times longer than I was actually practicing law. I can truly say that I have forgotten more law than most of you will ever know (you know what I mean!) but I am scared $#!%less – anyone else feel the same? How are you dealing with it?

 

I Have the Antidote!

daffyToday, 85% of patients don’t know about clinical trials. If they do, it’s very difficult to find the right trials because the information that’s available is complicated and confusing. And this means that 80% of clinical trials are delayed or closed due to difficulty finding patients to take part. Medical progress is slowed, and patients continue to wait for answers.

antidote

Antidote is leading a collaborative effort to speed up the development of breakthrough treatments and potential cures by making medical research accessible and transparent to all.

What this means is they’re making it easier for researchers to provide patients with information on their studies through Antidote Bridge, and they’re making it simple for patients to find easy-to-understand information on studies that are right for them through Antidote Match. Then, through Connect Network, the first online network of patient organizations, online health portals, and advocacy groups, they’re making sure that all patients know about opportunities to take part in medical research.

By facilitating this flow of information and making these connections, Antidote can accelerate medical research. This is an urgent and bold mission to improve the health of everyone, everywhere – but we can’t do it alone.

It’s Legal to Grow Cannabis in Australia!*

mj-fmgirlOh, so much excitement about medicinal cannabis in our fibromyalgia family!

BUT do you know what’s happening here (ie: Australia)?

It is legal to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia (Hold On! Keep reading!), which means people can apply for a licence to grow their own cannabis crop from the Office of Drug Control.

Since early November, through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, medicinal cannabis no longer falls under Australia’s most stringent of schedules, reserved for dangerous drugs. Instead, there are provisions in place to use it on medical grounds, with certain approvals but only for very ill people.

However, it will still be illegal to use or grow marijuana for recreational purposes.

It is up to the states to decide whether the drug will be allowed and who will be able to use it, dispense it, who will be able to approve it, and what dosage and form of medicinal cannabis is appropriate. And this is where things get murky (da,da, da, dum…)! Each state is trying to form or introduce its own legislation, while also considering the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.

single-convention

The convention is set in place by the United Nations, and outlines how medicinal cannabis should be approached.

So, how does it work state by state?

  • If you are in Queensland, from March 2017 a specialist should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for certain patients who have illnesses including MS, epilepsy, cancer and HIV/AIDS. There are no age restrictions, but approval will only be provided by a doctor who needs to show evidence that medicinal cannabis could help the patient.
  • In New South Wales, medicinal cannabis will be available for end of life illnesses, but only for adults.
  • In Victoria, children with severe epilepsy will be able to access medicinal cannabis from early 2017.
  • The ACT is currently working on legislation that will include education sources for doctors. The legislation is expected to come into effect next year .
  • Tasmania is developing a Controlled Access Scheme, to allow patients to access unregistered medical cannabis. It is expected to come into effect next year.
  • The WA Government has recently passed changes supporting the federal legislation. That means that doctors are able to prescribe medicinal cannabis under strict conditions.

Products will only be able to be dispensed by a pharmacist. However, there is still no legal product available in Australia.

There is little to no information available for what the situation in South Australia or the Northern Territory.

Patients who have been illegally using medicinal cannabis are applauding the changes, they fear it could be a decade before it is widely available to those who need it.

* With many restrictions

It’s a Very #Fibro Christmas Sing-a-Long

sing

84. maxine_stressOn the first day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
A bout of Anxiety

 

On the second day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the third day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
A bout of Anxiety

 

223. fibro

On the fourth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the fifth day of 86. crawl into bedChristmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the sixth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
74. prescriptionsSix Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

 

 

On the seventh day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
68. HatSeven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

 

 

On the eighth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
205. centredTotal Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
292.FM LovesongNine Painful Cuddles
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddles203. acupuncture
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Eleven ‘New Cures’ proffered
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddlesxmas
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, FIBRO gave to me:
Twelve Judgmental Relatives
Eleven ‘New Cures’ proffered
Paresthesia in my (ten) Fingers
Nine Painful Cuddles
Total Disequilibrium
Seven Tension Headaches
Six Medications124. indifferent friends
Five Sleepless Nights
Four Doctors’ Visits
Three Days of Heartburn
Two New Trigger Points
and A bout of Anxiety

Got #Fibromyalgia?

Previous studies have shown that fibromyalgia is associated with low level of physical activity and exercise, which may lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis. However, studies of bone mineral density (BMD) in fibromyalgia have shown conflicting results.

So… Sikarin Upala, Wai Chung Yong and Anawin Sanguankeo conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to better characterize the association between FM and BMD. A comprehensive search of the databases MEDLINE and EMBASE was performed from inception through May 2016. The inclusion criterion was the observational studies’ blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah; blah, blah blah blah! Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah; blah, blah blah blah!

When translated: Patients with FMS should be assessed for risk of osteoporosis.