Tags: 5HTP, arthritis, fatigue, fibromyalgia, insomnia, morning stiffness, RA, restlessness, Rheumatoid arthritis, sleep, stiffiness
Well I got my 5Htp (5-Hydroxytryptophan) in the post yesterday and gave it a try for the first time last night. 5HTP is a plant extract which is converted to serotonin in the liver, and serotonin, amongst other things, helps to sort out the balance of sleep – the lack of which is suspected to lead to fibromyalgia. It’s all a bit uncertain and unproven but my sister-in-law-to-be, who has had fibromyalgia for some time, reckons it does help her, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Well I certainly slept like a log yesterday and feel better for it today. Whether it was the 5Htp or the fact that I had an exhausting, though thoroughly enjoyable, weekend, I’m not sure! I shall keep using it through the week and see how I go.
One thing I did notice was that for the first time in a long time I woke up with quite a bit of morning stiffness. Luckily that was at 5.40am, so by the time I needed to get up at 7.00 it had worn off (and yes, I did have some sleep between 5.40 and 7.00!)
I do wonder if a more solid, deep and peaceful night’s sleep does lead to more morning stiffness, because my usual sleep is SO disturbed that my body isn’t resting in one place for long, so the joints don’t have the opportunity to get stiff. My consultant did one of those looks over his glasses when I suggested this a while back, but it seems logical to me!
Tags: aches, arthritis, car, fatigue, fibromyalgia, health, joint pain, one injection cure for RA, pain, RA, rhematoid arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), rheumatology, stress
I was just revisiting my first ever post, about reasons to be cheerful, and I was pleased to see that most of them still stand (the last one doesn’t and one other … if you read it, and if you’ve read some of my other posts, I’m sure you won’t have trouble guessing which one no longer stands! But the point is there’s obviously a lot to still be cheerful about!
While I was at it I thought I’d revisit the nearest post last year to today’s date, and guess what? The car broke down then too! Now that time it cost me an absolute fortune, so another reason to be cheerful is that it’s really not so bad this time. (Although to be honest the car really has got to the point where I should be thinking about replacing her.)
And a final reason to be cheerful is that I’m SO much better, health-wise, than I was this time last year! I was having a terrible time with the RA then – giant puffball knees, every joint aching (or at least it seemed that way) and probably as yet undiagnosed fibromyalgia on top of that! This year it seems that maybe they’ve finally got the medication dosage right (for now anyway) and I’m really doing very well indeed. If that’s not a reason to be cheerful then I don’t know what is! Here’s hoping it lasts – and wishing all my virtual and actual RA friends a similar and long-lasting outcome!
Now if only we could hear a bit more about that ‘one injection cure for RA’ that was being so hyped this time last year …
Tags: aches, fatigue, fibromyalgia, flare, hospital, pain, physio, RA
I can now claim to know the car park at the hospital where I have physio quite intimately. I know how many spaces there are, I know what sort of trees surround it, I know the view across the fence over the corn field, I know there are blue tits and great tits and some sort of finch foraging in the trees, I know that the oak tree has a few early common spangle galls on it.
No, I wasn’t doing some sort of strange nature survey of the hospital car park – I was waiting for the RAC! Yes, the car has broken down AGAIN! Having lost my marbles and my rag, I have now also lost my car! (Well, hopefully not permanently, but it’s in the garage.)
My wonderful hubby drove out to see if he could help and,although he couldn’t, he waited another hour with me until the RAC arrived. It was a 2.5 hour wait in total – not fun.
Fortunately the RAC guy (who was nowhere near as lovely as the adverts would like you to believe, but OK) got the car going – but I had to take it into the garage because it was still showing faults.
I was patting myself on the back last night thinking how well I was coping with all this … but when I got home it all finally hit me. I felt absolutely exhausted, headachy, aching all over, sore hands, sore feet … hmm, so looks like a fibromyalgia AND RA flare, I thought. Lovely …
But no – I made myself get an early night, convinced myself that the car would probably be OK,managed not to worry too much and … well, I’d like to say I feel a million dollars today but that would be rather overstating things, but AS YET I am flare free. Yippee!
I can’t promise that’ll still be the case if there’s real car disasters on the horizon, but I’m OK for now!
Could be that having just had physio helped too!
Tags: fatigue, fibromyalgia, Loudon Wainright II, RA, rhematoid arthritis, rheumatoid, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), sleep, tiredness
I love the song Dreaming by Loudon Wainright III, although he must have written in it one of his more depressed moments and it usually makes me cry, but I realise that I definitely can’t agree with the sentiments (which is no bad thing!), and in particular the last verse, so here’s his last verse and my fibromyalgia and RA-induced response!
Given that last night I dreamed I was a vampire with amnesia who had no idea why a friend of mine had vanished, because I’d forgotten I’d had her for breakfast, you can see why I’d rather have a good bit of deep sleep!!
Part of Dreaming by Loudon Wainright III
I’d rather be dreaming than sleeping
Just sleeping you’re just as well dead
In dreams I can fly
In dreams I don’t die
That’s why I lie here in this bed
Just sleeping you’re just as well dead
Sleeping by Pollyanna Penguin I
I’d rather be sleeping than dreaming
I think about dreaming with dread
In sleep I can heal
In sleep I can’t feel
That’s why I lie here in this bed
No sleep and you’re just as well dead
Tags: arthritis, fatigue, fibromyalgia, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tiredness
One really important positive I forgot to add to my last past was that because I already have RA I’ve been through so much of the crap that other people have to deal with when they first get their fibromyalgia diagnosis! I already know ALL about pacing myself (OK, so I don’t do it so well, but I know all about it), I’ve already learnt to deal with the guilt that comes of telling friends I don’t feel well enough to visit or whatever, and I’ve already learnt to live with the, ‘You can’t be ill – you look fine,’ attitude of people that don’t know me well. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned to tell my loved ones when I feel like death warmed up, and not to expect them to know as if by magic. Recently the importance of actually telling them when I felt pretty good also dawned on me – after weeks of feeling lousy, if I have a good day it cheers me up enormously, so it’s important to share some of that cheer with hubby, my mum etc!
Tags: 5 HTP, aches, aerobic exercise, amitriptyline, arthritis, consultant, deep sleep, exercise, fatigue, fibromyalgia, griffonia simplicifolia, lack of sleep, methotrexate, NHS, pain, RA, REM sleep, rest, rhematoid arthritis, rheumatoid, Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), sleep, tiredness, weight gain
Well, I had my consultant appointment on Wednesday – saw one of the registrars who was really nice, listened, sympathetic, examined properly, no sarcastic comments or comments about how lucky I was to have RA mildly. (I figure no one’s lucky to have RA – full stop!)
She did drop a bit of a bomb-shell though, or so I felt at the time – that my symptoms indicated fibromyalgia as well as RA. Fibromyalgia symptoms are aches and pains in the muscles around some joints, serious fatigue and a feeling of general unwellness … sounds quite simliar to RA in many ways, only muscle based, and one of its old names was in fact muscular rheumatism.
Having got over the initial shock and feeling of oh hell, something ELSE to contend with, I can see some reasons to be cheerful though!
1. My sister-in-law has had fibromyalgia for quite some time now – grim for her, but it’s handy for me to have someone I can talk to who really understands what it’s like.
2. It’s not like having RA twice over – which was my initial feeling. Fibromyalgia (which makes you feel generally crap and all over achey, and actually affects muscles) is not progressive and not (if you can crack it) permanent.
3. The current most popular theory about fibromyalgia is that it’s fundamentally caused by a lack of deep sleep. People with fibromyalgia may be insomniacs, but just as often they’re people who seem to get plenty of sleep, but it’s REM sleep (dreaming sleep) rather than deep sleep, and that’s not good enough. And the good news is there ARE things I can do that can improve my sleep.
4. There IS a drug that’s often successful in curing fibromyalgia if given in small doses (amitriptyline) but it has some unpleasent side effects including weight gain, the last thing I need! But before I try that there are also things I can do to try to balance my own sleep pattern. These are getting aerobic exercise (kinda tricky with RA but I’m working on it), having a regular routine and going to bed at similar times each night, reducing tea and coffee (a real challenge for me, but as most of it is instant and decaf I don’t think it’s much of an issue really) and possibly trying a supplement derived from griffonia (griffonia simplicifolia) seeds, called 5 htp, which increases seratonin in the brain and may help to improve sleep.
5. Because there are things I can actually do to help myself, however challenging they may be, I actually feel empowered – I feel I have a chance to kick this latest thing right back, whereas with the RA I feel, I suppose, pretty disempowered; I just have to lie back and hope the meds work.
So … right now I’m feeling surprisingly positive about the whole fibromyalgia side of it. Let’s hope I can keep up the exercise, regular bed times etc. and that that actually does do the trick. As to the RA, I’m on an increased dose of methotrexate although the consultant was wondering if I was just one of those people it wasn’t going to be great for – but having had a very good response to it early on, she and I both think it’s worth a shot to give it another few months on a higher dose. After all, in the UK on the NHS with mild RA, there’s not much alternative!
Tags: aches, fatigue, flare, flare-up, pain, psychology, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis
I had a really good week last week – out three evenings during the week (OK, not exactly boogieing the night away, but still out and having fun), an exhibition and a carnival at the weekend, and some gorgeous walks in the local wood and heath with hubby.
I can’t say it was a pain-free week unfortunately, but it wasn’t TOO bad. I did worry, of course, that was overdoing it, and perhaps I did … I feel fairly rubbish this morning … but then again it’s Monday morning and I’m back at work, so that’s normal, isn’t it?
So while I absolutely KNOW that flares are a thing that happens and they are not ‘just in your head, dear’, I do wonder if I’ve kind of talked it up by thinking I was overdoing it and worrying that I’d have one.
Not that I’m sure I’m having one now – but you see, I’m still worrying about it … very silly really; why can’t I just get on with my life and put the worry to one side?
Maybe it’s because I’m for once NOT particularly stressed at work, not stressed about Tiny cat etc. etc., stopped stressing about someone I used to consider a friend and don’t anymore … I’ve run out of other things to get wound up about and I have to stress about my RA!
Hmm, I’m not really managing to say what I want to say here, but I’ll post anyway and perhaps someone can make sense of my ramblings. If so, please comment as I could od with some sense right now!
Tags: fatigue, feeling rotten, pacing myself, RA, rest, Rheumatoid arthritis
Well, I made my decision yesterday … eventually. I took the afternoon off. I continued to feel completely rotten, had to take Tiny Cat to the vet for an injection later in the afternoon (to get her a booster injection to try to put on weight – ironic really when Enormous Cat could easily spare some!), and felt rotten there. Had a rotten evening, went to bed feeling rotten and had a rotten night’s sleep … I’m sure you get the picture.
Well, I woke up this morning feeling absolutely fine, and I still feel fine at 4p.m. with almost no pain, and reasonably wide awake!
I wonder if it’s time to give up trying to second guess this benighted disease! Or maybe even if it didn’t feel yesterday as though ‘pacing myself’ was doing any good at all, it has really.
Tags: fatigue, lack of sleep, OT, RA, stress, tiredness, vicious circle
Well after my last ‘but feeling OK’ post, I came a-crashing down last Thursday. Just felt awful, dead tired, in lots of pain, the whole shebang. So instead of my usual ‘I’m busy, I must push through this’ approach, I said to myself, ‘you’re the boss Penguin, GO TO BED!’ That IS supposed to be the advantage of being the boss, after all, although usually it doesn’t seem to work out that way.
Anyway, I did that. I got a total of eleven hours’ sleep that afternoon and night, after having had three nights with less than five hours, and while I can’t say I felt like a new penguin on Friday, I felt a heck of a lot better than I had, and I ended up having a very enjoyable and active weekend.
So – I guess this suggests that the OT is right about the vicious spiral and all that, and that I broke the circle/spiral by stooping and resting. Then again … maybe it’s just coincidence. That’s the trouble with RA – it’s so hard to tell!
Oh well – I feel better; that’s what matters!