Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Fibromyalgia Like Symptoms"

When you're a new mom, people tend to ask how you are doing a lot. More often, in fact, than they ever did when I got diagnosed with RA in the first place. The thing is, I feel like they're not really asking about me - they're actually asking about the baby. Is he sleeping? Eating? Thriving? Starting to sit up? Threatening to crawl? Is he a happy baby? And it is super easy for me to answer all of those questions by saying: yes! We're doing great! Because we are! OZL is doing awesome. He's happy, healthy, growing like a weed, almost sitting up on his own, starting to roll as a mode of transportation, starting to eat some solid foods, smiling, laughing, cooing, cuddling, loving... he's amazing and it makes me so very happy to be with him. 

But how am I doing? Because my life right now revolves so completely around taking care of OZL it has honestly been a bit difficult to separate out how I have been feeling lately. If he's doing great I feel like we're doing great. And swept up in busy days caring for OZL on my own, it actually took me a few weeks to realize that I haven't been feeling so hot.

I've been back on Enbrel for about two months now. I am certainly feeling better on it than I was off it. But it turns out I'm still not doing that awesome. It doesn't seem to be any particular joint or joints bothering me - instead I've been dealing with a lot of overall stiffness and soreness. I've been having a lot of trouble getting comfortable at night so I haven't been able to sleep through the night in weeks (even though OZL does!). Sometimes I am so sore in the morning that it's difficult for me to care for OZL on my own. I've also been having major cramping and aching in my feet, which makes it painful to walk. Which, of course, is not helping my quest to get some exercise. After quite a few nights in a row with very little sleep (where my tossing and turning also kept APL awake) I finally decided it was time to pay a visit to my rheumatologist.

He was not surprised to see me. He said it's not unusual to see symptoms get worse after the adrenaline of the first few months of motherhood wears off. Though he did agree that the pain/stiffness I have been dealing with lately is not how my RA usually presents (I usually have specific joints that are giving me trouble). He called what is happening now "fibromyalgia like symptoms." Instead of giving me something that would reduce my immune response more than the Enbrel already is, he suggested an anti-depressant used to treat fibromyalgia. In addition to treating depression, apparently this group of anti-depressants is also used to treat non-specific pain. I figured it was worth a try. And I really hope it works because I don't want to waste any time focusing on feeling crummy - I just want to enjoy this time with OZL!


KCFitch said...

I don't know what it's worth to you, but my RA usually *does* present exactly how you're describing... general pain, stiffness (especially in the morning)... hard to find a comfortable position to sleep. I only occasionally get the joint flares you do but more often than not, I am in a general state of tired/achy. Nana's curse again?

Melissa said...

For me and for my RA, I get the definite joint pain AND overall stiffness. Depending on the day, it can range from "not bad" to "holy crap".

Regardless, I hope the new meds help you. Good luck!

Unknown said...

I am the same as Melissa and Mom2LittleMiss, in that my RA does present with overall stiffness and aching. However, I DO have FMS in addition to RA. At least that is what they tell me. lol I was diagnosed with FMS first, and only after questioning the doctor about my joint swelling (which is NOT a symptom of FMS) did they check again for RA. However, I am one of the 20% whose RA does not show in blood tests, so that is where the confusion was. But I have all the physical symptoms of RA. But, I am not surprised that you feel the same symptoms as FMS patients, as RA and FMS can feel so similar at times, that the two can be "interchangeable", and often in my case at first.

I hope you feel better soon and that the medication the doctor added helps. I take Humira for my RA, but take Savella for my FMS. Some FMS patients take Lyrica, Neurontin and some take Cymbalta. However, I reacted to Lyrica, Cymbalta and Neurontin, therefore, the Savella.

Wishing you good luck with the new med and mostly with the baby :)