Archive for the ‘Invisible illness’ Category

How I Got Approved for Disability

June 15, 2021

I first started having Endometriosis symptoms in my early teens. I started having CFSME symptoms in my mid-teen. My Fibromyalgia was triggered by a bout of of mononucleosis at age 19 which got slowly got worse…

Endometriosis was diagnosed when I was 26, Fibromyalgia at age 33, and CFSME at age 37. You’d think all these large diagnoses would qualify me easily for ODSP.

Nope.

My initial submission for ODSP, Ontario provincial disability benefits included documentation for endometriosis, fibromyalgia, edible syndrome, TMJ, asthma, IBS.. All of these diagnoses…No love..

From there I hired a lawyer you turned out to be a real dick and didn’t do squat. To keep my application current, I would request reconsideration based on regular bloodwork until I was able to get the needed documents.

When I requested a change of attorney I had to go into the tribunal, on the day of a huge snowstorm, with a broken foot.. The person who denied me didn’t even bother to show so the tribunal granted me the new legal representation – Durham Legal Clinic.

By this time, I’d seen Dr Alison Bested at the Environmental Health Clinic & had just become one of her patients in her private practice. I had another diagnosis of CFSME by her staff..

The legal clinic requested additional information from Dr Bested. They sent her a very specific document. This document basically outlined what I can and what I cannot do.

It covered the four broad areas of physical limitation. Mobility issues are those such as how far I can walk, do I need assistance devices for movement, how fast I can move – slow shuffle to jogging to an (ROTFL) out & out run. Upper body tasks include how much weight I can carry, how well I can push or pull heavy objects. Stair climbing functions are how many steps I can take, how fast I can climb. Activities of daily living include my abilities to eat, bathe, dress, sleep, administer my medications, preparing food & personal hygiene. She described me on my worst day.

My worst day, my pain is high. I can not walk more than to the bathroom – sometimes not even that far. This can cause issues with elimination. I am, at that point, unable to take any stairs, or carry anything heavier than a small plastic glass of water to take medication. I can not prepare my own food, let alone eat. Showering, brushing hair, cleaning my teeth would be beyond me at my worst..

Issues with Mobility, Stair climbing, , Upper-body tests & Activities of Daily Living like eating, showering and sleeping.

If you then you add my mental health health into the mix, especially as there were suicide attempts by this time, I was finally approved.

This same documentation, several months later, was used to successfully get approved by CPP-D, the disability program for Canadians.

It took several years for this process to complete.

30 Facts!!

May 24, 2021

Originally written for the 25th Anniversary with 25 facts,, this is a list of things you should know, from someone with Fibromyalgia. From someone who experiences it, not just studies it. I have taken the original, modified it and added to it from *my* perspective as my experiences with fibro are not the same as hers. OP info available at the bottom.

  1. Every morning is a tough morning.
  2. I can sleep all day and still feel like I just ran a marathon.
  3. If I went out last night, I need a day or two or three to recover — its okay, it was worth it.
  4. When i’m tired, let me sleep.
  5. Certain foods make me flare up, For me that’s items like Ice cream breaded food products (like fish sticks or chicken fingers), mayo & salad dressing, KD, etc.. Some I know why, others no clue.
  6. When I’m in a flare, leave me alone in a dark room but please check in, even if I don’t answer. It makes me feel cared for & loved .If I am flaring and I am responding, I’m likely asking for a ride to the ER.
  7. Yes, diet matters, but in flare mode, all bets are off.
  8. Yes, my face is swollen. No, I didn’t gain 5 pounds overnight… Well I could have gained, but not on my face.. So, Yes, that is a tell that I am in a flare.
  9. I have many different sizes of clothes in my closet to accommodate flare vs. non-flare days. I currently have clothing from a medium ( very generous medium) to 3x.. I’ve lost weight, so likely only a few items & eventually they will go too.
  10. Fibro Fog sucks. Ya know when you get absent-minded every once in a while? Misplaced your keys? Misread something? Forgot to water the plants? That’s Brain or Fibro Fog. While it happens to everyone at some point, it not the norm. For people with Fibromyalgia this is the norm. Every day. I have even lost my train of thought, mid-sentance. It happens enough that those close to me don’t bat an eyelash when it happens. Some even see it happening & will remind me of what I was saying. The worst, is fogging out when I drive & I love to drive, but have to be super careful to make sure I am clear minded.
  11. Ask before you touch. Some days, I can barely tolerate the feel of clothing or even my hair on my skin. When I’m ok, give gentle hugs please — my skin & muscles may still be tender. But if I give you a bear hug, you can give me one back!
  12. Bright lights, loud noise and too many smells can overload the senses and can cause nauseous (or worse) or kick in a migraine.
  13. Allergies play havoc on my body. Scented products like perfumes & body products are typical culprits Sometimes I don’t even know I’m allergic until I experience it, So it’s a bit of Russian Roulette when I go into public because I can’t control what scents other people wear. Food allergies/sensitivities do not make life any easier either, especially when eating out.
  14. I am a human barometer ( there’s a post around about that.. I can typically tell it’s gonna be too cold, too wet, too hot.
  15. Yes, i am on medications, sometimes even alot of them. I have a decent relationship with the pharmacy staff, and I know exactly what all my medications are, the dosage, and why I’m on it & how it helps.
  16. To me, car rides are joy rides cuz I really love to drive. I need to stop every hour or two to keep my legs from going numb or seizing up. It, for me, is so worth it! But so many with fibro feel differently than I do & equate it to a highly painful roller coaster ride.
  17. Some days it’s OK to let my Fibro win. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  18. I can get moody. You would be too if you were in pain all the time, be patient with me.
  19. Don’t be surprised if I can tell your mood as soon you walk in the room. My Fibro/spidey-senses are tingling.
  20. My day, week and month are carefully planned to accommodate my Fibro. Only important events & people like you are scheduled.
  21. If I cancel my plans with you, don’t be mad.. Remember, I made plans with you, because you are important to me. I am trying and obviously want to hang out with you, so please keep any nasty commentator yourself as I already feel guilty.
  22. Your friend with Fibro that says they have no pain doesn’t make me feel any better. Plus if they have no pain, they may not have fibro cuz *all* Fibromites have *some* level of pain at *all* times Alternatively they could simply lying either about having fibro or about being totally pain-free. Also, just cuz someone says they are “Good” that’s does not mean pain-free
  23. “You should exercise.” ROTFLMAO. Have you considered going to the gym while you are in the middle of the flu with body-wide aches & pain, fatigue? Didn’t think so, so how can you expect me to when I have body-wide aches & pain and fatigue? Yes, I do exercise, but I’m not a hypocrite. Do you know how long it took from me to go from bobbing in the water during aquafit to get to my current level of exercise? Years!! It helps, that I have lost weight. Before you use me as an example of of someone with fibro who is ‘fit’, remember that I started my journey to become healthier & to increase my fitness level in the winter of 2012, almost 9 years ago. And I would not consider myself ‘fit’
  24. Going to the doctor makes me sad & sometimes overwhelmed— it’s a reminder of my condition. And it doesn’t help that I have at minimum a half dozen medical appointments each month – GP, Pain Doc, RMT, Physio/Osteo therapy, Gyn, Neuro, Dental, Psych, mental health support groups, and one offs for tests like bloodwork, ultrasound, x-ray, MRI or CT.
  25. There are zero no-pain days, but my low-pain days are my happy days. So if I’m looking good and acting good and I’m social, I’m better, right? No, just a good *low* pain day. Fibromyalgia is chronic & will not go away
  26. Because of Fibro, the mandated downtime gives me the opportunity to write this blog, and I’m grateful. Unfortunately, some of that downtime does not even permit blog writing because the pain or fatigue is*too* intense, so I have missed posts.
  27. Because of Fibro, some Fibromites get to spend more time with their families than if they were healthy.
  28. if i am being a dick about my health, you will not change my mind. I have to figure it out myself. For those in my life who put up with that for years, I am sorry.
  29. Because of Fibro, I’ve become part of a strong, supportive community that reminds me I’m never alone.
  30. Yes, I have depression. No, it’s not because of my fibro. My depression started at age 16, but fibro, we believe, started from Mono when I was 19-20. So, obvs they started at different times plus I do know the triggering event that started my depression.

Original published by Puja Rios on May 11, 2007 at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/25-facts-for-fibromyalgia-awareness-day_b_59148663e4b01ad573dac1c2

Myth Debunked III of VI

May 16, 2021

IT’S NOT A REAL CONDITION

What makes a disease, disorder or illness real? The terms used for any condition have been coined by someone for the first time and added to medical manuals to account for certain diagnostic markers or symptoms.

What makes that condition real? The lack of a specific test to definitively conclude the presence of fibromyalgia does not make it any less real than the many conditions that likewise lack a particular test for diagnosis. Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is challenging and often involves a process of elimination. Nonetheless, there are specific diagnostic criteria to be used in a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is also an invisible illness. Just because someone may look ‘fine’ does not mean that they are. Many Fibromites and those with chronic pain have become skilled at downplaying just how poorly they’re feeling and how bad their pain and other symptoms really are. “I’m fine” is probably our most common lie.

There are several different version of this all of which are accurate.

Just because a condition cannot be seen from simply looking at a person does not mean the illness does not exist.

Myth Debunked II of VI

May 9, 2021

IT’S AN UMBRELLA TERM

Yes and No.. Referred to as both a ‘wastebasket disease’ and ‘umbrella term’, fibromyalgia is often seen as a catch-all for symptoms that don’t fit other conditions and can’t be easily explained. Seeing fibromyalgia as a trashcan diagnosis links with the assumption its not a real condition in and of itself.

Yes

Fibromyalgia encompasses a myriad of symptoms, though many people also have additional diagnoses to account for other problems they’re experiencing. I don’t experience fibromyalgia in a vacuum; I also have CFS/ME, Osteoarthritis, Joint arthritis, Depression Hypothyroidism Endometriosis, IBS and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. and so on. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2006 by a rheumatologist who said I had “Symptoms consistent with Fibromyalgia” was further confirmed with the trigger point test. I even had to correct a doctor who didn’t know exactly when the points are. As a patient of Dr Bested at the Environment Health Clinic and eventually her private practice, she had me running tests out of the wazzo. The results just confirmed yes I have fibromyalgia. I was also ‘diagnosed’ with CFS at that point, but I know if been dealing with even longer than fibro.

No.

Because fibromyalgia can’t be objectively tested and measured, it’s a challenging diagnosis for many doctors to accurately reach and it’s made harder still when healthcare professionals are either sceptical, unsupportive or totally disbelieving of either fibromyalgia itself or the symptoms you’rel presenting them with.

Although it can involve various symptoms, the current list I’m aware of for possible symptoms is over 300 long. Any of these can be experienced differently by each person.

Fibromyalgia is a distinct condition. It may overlap with other illnesses but classic symptoms are still typically prevalent.

A Letter from Fibromyalgia

May 6, 2021
A Letter from Fibromyalgia

Hii!! My Name is Fibromyalgia, and I’m an Invisible Chronic Illness.

I am now velcroed to you for life.

Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.

I can attack you anywhere and anyhow I please.

I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun?

I took Energy from you, and gave you Exhaustion. Try to have fun now! I also took Good Sleep from you and, in its place, gave you Brain Fog.

I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.

Oh, yeah, I can make you feel anxious or depressed, too.

If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away, too.

You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus you had that you never recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma. Well, anyway, I’m here to stay!

I hear you’re going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. I’m rolling on the floor, laughing. Just try. 

You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.

Pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, anti-anxiety pills

You will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, anti-anxiety pills, antidepressants, anti-epileptic or anti-convulsant pills. You will be told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given a TENs unit, get massaged. You will be told that if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away, told to think positively. You will be poked and prodded. MOST OF ALL, you will not taken as seriously as you feel when you cry to the doctor how debilitating it is to live your life, every single day.

Your family, friends will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and that I’m a debilitating disease.

Some of they will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or”Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago. Some will just start talking behind your back, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially when you are in the middle of a conversation with a “Normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next!

In closing, (I was hoping that I kept this part a secret), but I guess you already found out… the ONLY place you will get any support and understanding in dealing with me is with Other People With Fibromyalgia.

Some Disabilities Can’t be Seen

March 19, 2021

Not all disabilities are visible! In fact, the majority are invisible.. Here is a ist of many of the conditions that are not readily apparent & are ‘invisible’. This list is by no means exhaustive

  • Chronic Pain
  • Arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteo.
  • CFSME or MECFS
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Mental Health including but not limited to depression, anxiety, PTSD,, bi-polar, & schizophrenia…
  • Sleep disorders including sleep apnea RLS and TMJ
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Digestive issues such as Crohn’s, Celiac, Colitis, & IBS,
  • Endometriosis
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Chronic migraines
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • Multiple sclerosis or MS,
  • Severe Food & Chemical Allergies including Gluten.
  • Renal failure & heart failure
  • Brain injury including concussions, stroke & meningitis
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,
  • Narcolepsy,
  • Repetitive stress injuries like tendonitis & carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia & Processing Deficits
  • , Ehlers-Danlos syndrome,
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Deafness, Blindness, Hearing loss, Speech impairments
  • Autism

Temporary Invisible Disabilities include:

  • Surgery
  • Severe Muscle Strain/Sprain
  • Pregnancy
  • Episodal mental health conditions
  • Severe infections

It’s OK To Not Be OK

December 14, 2020

My sleep schedule is screwed up again, not a surprise. So my intention was to get up early, relatively speaking, today.. That did not happen.

When my alarm went off yesterday, I kept hitting snooze and hitting snooze and hitting snooze. My brain didn’t want to get up yet.

So when I finally did get coherent, I really did not want to get out of bed. I don’t feel like I’m in the mental space to do much. So I canceled all my plans for today which included pickups for items for my Cubs, a run around the dog park with my pup and a visit to a friend.. all I’ve done today is let my dog out and go to the bathroom.. I still need to grab a bite to eat though and that will be something quick and dirty.

But it’s okay. Some days it’s just hard mentally, emotionally. Some days it’s just more difficult to cope. And for me yesterday it was one of those days.

it’s OK to not be OK.

Just recognize it for what it is and be aware. If it’s just a one-off like mine tend to be, you could just bounce back and be yourself tomorrow. Sometimes it takes a while.. couple of days.. a week to get out of the funk. If it goes more than a week though, consider talking to someone. Even just virtually, it can help..

The Fibromyalgia Letter

December 8, 2020

The Fibromyalgia Letter
~Author unknown

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points – places on your body where slight pressure causes pain.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic form of muscle pain. The pain of Myofascial Pain Syndrome centers around sensitive points in your muscles called trigger points. The trigger points in your muscles can be painful when touched. And the pain can spread throughout the affected muscle.

I want to talk to you about Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). Many have never heard of these conditions and for those who have, many are misinformed. And because of this, judgments are made that may not be correct. So I ask you to keep an open mind as I try to explain who I am and how FM/MPS has assaulted not only my life but those whom I love as well.

I cannot show you a physically open wound to show how much pain I’m in. If I could you would take one look at that, tell me to sit right down, get me a pillow, offer me something to eat or drink and have that concerned and understanding look on your faces. However with Fibromyalgia, you will hear from many people that they would rather have a broken leg any day than suffer the kind of pain these disorders inflict. To me, a broken leg is even a poor example to compare suffering to these disorders and an insult to those of us with those disorders.
You see, I suffer from a disease that you cannot see; a disease that there is no cure for and that keeps the medical community baffled at how to treat and battle this demon, who’s attacks are relentless. My pain works silently, stealing my joy and replacing it with tears. On the outside we look alike you and I; you wont see my scars as you would a person who, say, had suffered a car accident. You won’t see my pain in the way you would a person undergoing chemo for cancer; however, my pain is just as real and just as debilitating. And in many ways my pain may be more destructive because people can’t see it and do not understand….

You must see with your ears and your heart what your eyes cannot see. You must listen carefully to what I am telling you. What I describe to you may not make much sense to you and may be difficult for you to understand. Sometimes it may seem to you to be a different universe that I discuss. Know that it probably is. You don’t have to fully understand my universe and you cannot possibly. However hear my pain, listen for red flags always of any danger signals where you may need to help with added assistance. I like to call it “sending in the troops.” Anytime I do not seem in touch with reality.
Please don’t get angry at my seemingly lack of interest in doing things; I punish myself enough I assure you. My tears are shed many times when no one is around. My embarrassment is covered by a joke or laughter, but inside I want to die. You will hear many things from me that to you seem as easily resolvable. You may wonder why I make the same “wrong” decisions over and over again. Why haven’t I learned by this time? Why can’t I see the senselessness of my behaviour? I may seem to be getting my life together and them bottom out all over again.
Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. I may be tired. I may be in pain. I may be sicker than ever. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!” I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy.

What is happening here? Am I lazy, stupid, etc? Nope. My physical brain and body is very different than yours. I experience life different than the way you do. I feel different than you do. Most of my “friends” are gone; even members of my own family have abandoned me. I have been accused of “playing games” for another’s sympathy. I have been called unreliable because I am forced to cancel plans I made at the last minute because of the burning and pain in my legs or arms and shoulders. The pain can be so intense that I cannot put my clothes on and I am left in my tears as I miss out on yet another activity I used to love and once participated in with enthusiasm. Do I experience mood swings? If I am hurting I may be angry, sad, depressed, or any of the hundred moods in the world. I’ll never know what mood I will wake up with? I may treat you cruelly and say horrible things to you; I may ignore you completely, or cry on your shoulder unstopping when I’m in Fibro Flare. You may wonder what you said or did that made me this way. Well you did nothing it’s the Fibromyalgia and all its underlining factors causing this.

While the most predominant symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread pain and persistent fatigue, the resulting cognitive impairment of this condition may be its most maddening. Commonly referred to as fibro fog, this symptom is a conglomeration of cognitive challenges. Fibro fog is understood to be a physical symptom of fibromyalgia, not a psychological one. Just as no two individuals experience fibromyalgia in the same way, fibro fog also has a varying range of indications, including: Mental confusion, Fuzzy thinking, Short-term memory loss, Inability to concentrate or pay attention, and Language lapses.

This is why I feel like a child at times. Just the other day I put the eggs I bought at the store in the pantry, on the shelf, instead of in the refrigerator. When I talk to people, many times I lose my train of thought in mid sentence or forget the simplest word needed to explain or describe something. Please try to understand how it feels to have another go behind me in my home to make sure the stove is off after I cook an occasional meal. Please try to understand how it feels to “lose” the keys, only to find them in the freezer. As I try to maintain my dignity the demon assaults me at every turn. I have a physical illness and it isn’t my fault and I didn’t ask for it I don’t want it and I don’t deserve it.

Occuring at the deepest level of the sleep cycle, individuals with fibromyalgia typically lack sufficient restorative sleep. We know that at the deeper levels of sleep, called delta wave sleep, a person’s mind conducts internal housekeeping. During delta wave sleep, newly acquired information is assimilated and integrated into the brain. The inability to get sufficient delta wave sleep impairs the ability to recall information and operate at a normal level of mental efficiency.

Sleep, when it happens or restless and unrestorative

Sleep, when I do get some, it is restless and I wake often because of the pain the sheets have on my legs or because I twitch uncontrollably. I walk through many of my days in a daze with the Fibro-fog laughing at me as I stumble and grasp for clarity.

Just because I can do a thing one day, that doesn’t mean I will be able to do the same thing the next day or next week. I may be able to take that walk after dinner on a warm July evening; the next day or even the in the next hour I may not be able to walk to the fridge to get a cold drink because my muscles have begun to cramp and lock up or spasm uncontrollably. There are those who say “but you did that yesterday!” “What is your problem today?” The hurt I experience at those words scars me so deeply that I have let my family and friends down again; and still they don’t understand.

On a brighter side I want you to know that I still have my sense of humour. If you take the time to spend with me you will see that. I love to tell that joke to make another’s face light up and smile at my wit. I am fun to be with if you will spend the time with me on my own playing field; is this too much to ask? I want nothing more than to be a part of your life. I have found that I can be a strong friend in many ways. I am your friend, your supporter and many times I will be the one to do the research for your latest project; many times I will be your biggest fan and the world will know how proud I am at your accomplishments and how honored I am to have you in my life.

All I ask is that you become educated about Fibromyalgia. I am someone in your life that suffers from Fibromyalgia. You may think you know everything there is to know about it, but there is more information out there than you think. It is more complicated then you think, and it is more life changing then you think.

Lend a helping hand. If you want to be helpful to someone with Fibromyalgia, just ask what you can do. Be flexible with invitations and plans that you have made. Understand that sometimes the pain of Fibromyalgia is overwhelming. Be active. Accompany them to a doctor’s appointment and take an active interest in their treatment. You can take notes at the doctor’s office and then review your notes together at home. Don’t take things personally. Some people with Fibromyalgia suffer from sudden mood changes. Try not to take these mood swings personally as they are part of the syndrome.

So you see, you and I are not that much different. I too have hopes, dreams, goals and this demon. Do you have an unseen demon that assaults you and no one else can see? Have you had to fight a fight that crushes you and brings you to your knees? I will be by your side, win or lose, I promise you that; I will be there in ways that I can. I will give all I can as I can, I promise you that. But I have to do this thing my way. Please understand that I am in such a fight myself and I know that I have little hope of a cure or effective treatments, at least right now.

Thank you for spending your time with me today. I hope we can work through this thing, you and me. Please understand that I am just like you.

So I Need You To Please Understand Me

My Types of Pain

November 7, 2020

With all the different medical conditions that I have, several of them are chronic pain conditions. Now you must think, because there are so many issues, that the pain would just bleed through, but it doesn’t. Each pain for each condition feels uniquely different from the others. Being able to differentiate between different types of pain and their causes is advantageous in that since I know what is causing the pain I know which treatment would work better

Fibromyalgia Pain – tTis is more muscular and joint pain. I have tropical rubs, muscle relaxation and pain medications to help deal with this

OsteoArthritis Pain – This pain is exclusively in my lower back as I have osteoarthritis in the entire lumbar and tailbone area of my back. Topicals will help this to a point, but anti-inflammatories tend to be the most productive treatment

Myofacial Pain Syndrome Pain- This one just sucks because it is hard to tell between what is the my official pain syndrome and what is just stress. And sometimes they’re both. Treatment for this type of pain is the nerve and trigger point injections that I get from my pain management clinic. Massage therapy also helps me with this .

Endometriosis Pain- Fortunately while I don’t experience this as much as I used to I still get shots from this . Currently I will feel the occasional shot down from my ovary to my leg. Other times is when Demetrio tissue adheres to the bowel and then the bowel moves as stool processes through causing the bowel structure to shift, causing years in the Endo tissue, causing pain. This is typically dealt with using anti-inflammatories and pain medications.

IBS Pain- initially because the endometriosis was located on my bowel I did not have problems differentiating initially between IBS pain and endometrial pain. Having dealt with this since my teen years I have been able to determine the difference between the two. And do a sharp whereas IBS is more crampy. The easiest way to resolve this is to have the bowel movement.

Arthritis Pain – I also have the normal form of arthritis in both my hands and in my knees. Anti-inflammatories typically help but support braces are also advantageous for both my wrists and my knees

Kidney Stone Pain- the first time I dealt with this pain it knocked me off my feet. From what I’ve read this is one of the most painful forms of pain that the human body experiences. It took three lithotripsies and several other false starts to get these treated. Drinking lots of fluid did help in that it would help float the stones away from the ducks so it was not impeding the function of the kidney.

I have experienced other forms of pain such as a pinched nerve, pulled or torn muscle, spring, bone break, concussions, etc. These forms of pain fortunately are short-term, typically less than 3 months unlike the chronic conditions above.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

October 26, 2020

What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system attacks your own healthy cells. . It commonly affects your eyes and salivary glands, but can also affect other parts of the body..

Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome

• Dry eyes, including a painful burning, itchy or gritty feeling
• Dry mouth, making it difficult to swallow, speak or eat dry foods
• Swelling of the glands in the face and neck areas.
• Eye and mouth dryness can also increase your risk for eye infections and dental problems.

• Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
• Dry skin
• Vaginal dryness
• Persistent dry cough
• Prolonged fatigue.

• A few people will have their liver and kidneys affected.

• A few people will also develop lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Symptoms of Sjogrens Syndrome

The cause of Sjögren’s Syndrome is unknown. It is more common in women, people over 40 and those who have rheumatic disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Diagnosing Sjögren’s Syndrome
Besides your symptoms, Sjögren’s Syndrome is diagnosed through tests, including:

• Schirmer’s test – to check whether your eyes are producing enough tears
• Blood tests – to check for antibodies common in Sjögren’s syndrome
• Imaging to test how your salivary glands are working
• Biopsy – a small sliver of tissue from your lip is checked for presence of inflammatory cells.
Sjögren’s syndrome treatment

Treating Sjögren’s Syndrome.
There is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome however, most people with Sjögren’s Syndrome are able to live normally, without any serious complications – especially if they take care to manage their symptoms.

Treatments to relieve symptoms can involve medications to increase the production of saliva, treat complications like arthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or meds that suppress the immune system.

There are also ways to manage symptoms yourself:

For dry eyes –

• Use artificial tears or an eye lubricant.

• Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist (eye specialist),

• wear protective eye-wear to avoid exposure to the wind or sun

For dry nose –

• Use a saline spray for a dry nose

For dry mouth –

• Drink frequent sips of water

• Avoid drinking alcohol

• Use artificial saliva, mouth rinses, sugarless gum or lozenges

• Keep your mouth very clean, limit sugar, regular check-ups with a dentist


For general dryness –

• Increase indoor humidity

• Use preservative-free moisturiser for skin

• Avoid drying conditions such as drafts from heaters and air conditioners,

• Avoid exposure to dusty or windy weather.


I’m sure you are wondering what this has to do with the price of tea in China.. Well.. I originally started this post a few months back when I first started have most of the above issues. After doing a bit of research this seemed the most likely culprit. Unfortunately, my blood test came back negative. So I’m still wondering why I’m having dryness problems. Anyone have any suggestions?