facing the pain to pearl

Bravely Face Your Pain Until It Becomes a Pearl

I am so excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine. She has just published her own website sharing how her struggles in life including chronic illness are teaching her to allow her pain to become a pearl. Today I am featuring her on the blog. Come read her story and then Link-up your own legacy story.

Introducing Melissa

Melissa is a truth-seeker and a truth-teller who writes and speaks from life experience, testing and growing in the lab of great joys and deep sorrows. Through it all, she has found a closeness with the Father by both wrestling with Him and being still with Him. That has given her a compassion for others that is palpable.

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How Does Cool Weather Affect Pain?

Does a change in weather affect your pain levels?

This is a question often posed to the fibro warrior. In short, the answer is YES! After a long night of restless “sleeping”. I finally, got up and wrote about it.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Friends;

I’ve been tossing and turning all night because I just cannot find a comfortable position. The pain has been so troublesome since the change in weather back in October. I’m not sure if it’s fibro pain, RA pain, or “good ole Arthur” pain but it is definitely pain. Maybe all of these guys are culprits.

I’m one that has to get busy doing something in order to relieve pain so I decided I would get up and write to you about it. I’m already feeling some better just getting up and moving about.

The Arrival of Cool Weather is a Mixed Blessing.

I have always loved the Fall. It’s my favorite season of the year. Donning a sweater is so warm and cozy; like a big hug. But cool weather brings pain along with it. That part, I don’t especially care for. Yes, the cool weather can affect pain a great deal. The temptation is to curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and watch movies all day. But there is danger in that.

Avoiding the Temptation to Stay Still

It’s kind of an oxymoron-type thing for me – motion. You see, if I stay still for very long and then try to get up and move about, I have extreme stiffness and pain. It takes maybe 30 minutes of gentle moving to relieve the stiffness. But on the other hand, I must take care not to overdo it.

Too much walking and my knees suddenly swell up until it feels as if someone has tightened a belt just below my knee. After that, pain and achiness extend down my leg. (I was never an athlete but my guess is that it feels like shin splints.)

But wait, it doesn’t stop there. At this point, my ankles begin to hurt and then pain shoots down the tendons to my toes with every step. None of this pain subsides until I get home and off my feet for a while. A heating pad usually helps alleviate the pain as well.

But don’t stay there long.

Stiffness will return if I sit for more than 30 minutes.

So, there you have it. How cool weather affects pain from my point of view. Science doesn’t seem to really know why it happens, but if you want their opinion, you can check out what WebMD has to say about it.

Is there anything that helps or anything you can do for me?

hmmm.

Your prayers mean the world to me. Trust me, I feel the prayers of my friends and family. I really couldn’t make it without them.

I would love a swim in a warm saltwater pool. Water therapy is amazing. It lifts all the pressure off your body. But there doesn’t seem to be a pool around here.

So other than prayer or a vacation to the Carribean 🙂 …anything that will distract me:

  • Give me a call once in a while. (I get lonely sometimes)
  • Drop by for a visit. (I get lonely sometimes)
  • Come watch a movie with me. (They say, laughter is the best medicine and companionship is probably a good second.)
  • Buy my a new heating pad, blanket, good book, or CD (Music, I love music)
  • Foods that help or at least don’t worsen the pain: Smoothie, Dark chocolate at least 70% Cacoa (Here’s my favorite-no soy), green tea

Well, I have sat here writing too long and my knees are stiffening up. So I best close this letter. Be sure to ask me anything you would like to know about my pain journey. I’ll do my best to give you an answer.

Thanks for asking and caring,

Mandy Farmer

explain the pain

Explaining What Fibro Pain is Like

I’ve never really experienced pain. What is it like?

For me, it’s hard to imagine what NO PAIN is like. I have had pain most of my life. Some of it, I thought was just normal for everyone.. until I was diagnosed. Come to learn it’s fibro pain. I’ll try to explain below.

You've never experienced pain? Well, let me tell you about it. #fibro Click To Tweet
 #fibromyalgia a #pain in the butt and the neck and the...
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Dear Friend;

fibromyalgia is real real pain fibro pain
This post was updated and moved from Mandy previous webpage ggmandy

To really understand what is happening with Fibromyalgia, we need to understand how pain works. We have an amazing body. The whole system of how messages are sent through our body to the brain is remarkable to me. We have thousands, maybe millions of little tiny nerve endings that speak to each other and pass the message along. It’s mind-boggling how it works. But it’s a safety mechanism of sorts.

Each tiny nerve has a receptor on the end which “talks” to the connecting nerve receptor These messages move along the nerves until they reach the brain. Then the brain returns a message to tell your muscles how to handle it. It does this all with lightning-quick speed. Think about if you were to touch a hot stove, your hand quickly pulls away. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to do anything, your body just responds. And this is wonderful.

Fibromyalgia nerve receptors send the wrong message. #fibro Click To Tweet


However, with fibromyalgia, the nerve receptors are sending the wrong message.

Reminder:  I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.

I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.

Mandy
Explaining fibro pain with the phone game
Telephone Game – photo credit free at Pixabay.com

Remember when you were a kid and you played the telephone game? One would whisper a message to one person, then he whispers to the next one, and she whispers to the next, and so on. What happened by the end? The message was completely different.

Our bodies have nerves all over. Each nerve has a receptor on each end. These receptors pass the information along to the brain. Then the brain sends back a message on how to respond. Such as,

  • “No danger move on”
  • “That hurt a little”
  • “Good grief that hurt” Rub that spot a bit.
  • “severe pain” double over and scream
  • “You are in grave danger” “run, move quickly away”

This is how fibro pain works.

The nerve receptors are passing the message along, but then one receptor changes it up. And what was a small prick is now amplified.  Like the dial on your radio, the more you turn it up, the louder it becomes. By the time the message arrives at the brain, it is telling the brain, “This is a severe situation”. So the brain responds in kind and sends the message back that something must change to stop the pain. But the receptors keep sending that PAIN message back to the brain.

Here’s an example we were given at Mayo Pain Clinic. When you put your socks on in the morning, at first you can feel your sock, but your brain says this is ok, not a problem. And after that, you are hardly aware that you have socks on. However, with fibromyalgia, the brain keeps sending the DANGER message. “There’s a sock on your foot!” “There’s a sock on your foot”

www.mayoclinic.org

Reminds me of this movie clip

Monster’s Inc.

With fibro pain, the message may just keep coming back as “DANGER” or the message is greatly amplified. [The pain can be multiplied by up to 200 times]. The brain receives the amplified message and responds accordingly.

This is why just a touch, a poke, or a hug can be so painful.

Fibro Pain Fact #allodyna #fibropain #chroinpainmonth #fibroawareness
photo credit for all photos: Fibromyalgia and Lupus National Coalition Butterflies
#fibromyalgia pain can be multiplied, or turned up, 200 times the actual pain. Click To Tweet

Amplified Fibro Pain

This amplified sensation can affect not just the sense of feeling but also your sense of hearing, smelling, and taste. For myself, I have become less tolerant of noise, such as a roomful of children, or even a vacuüm cleaner running. And lately, I’ve even noticed that spicy food is spicier than usual. I recently wrote about some of the things I can no longer do in another post. Check out this diagram to see all the areas that can be affected by this amplified pain.

Areas of Fibro pain. Fibro pain photo credit #fibrocolors #fibro #sinsitivity
photo credit for all photos: FibroColors on Facebook

I hope this explains the pain for you. What’s really strange is that you never really know from day to day how the pain will be. Some days are quite normal. Others, not so much. Also, it depends on the person how much pain is involved. Different people respond differently to protocols for maintenance. Some are helped with medications, some with exercise, therapy, diet, etc. It’s all still pretty much a crapshoot.

Watch for more “letters” from me and my friends to learn more about this crazy invisible disease.

Mandy Farmer

Have More Questions About Fibromyalgia?

Letters to Friends ~ How Are You Doing Since Your Diagnosis?

Letters to Friends ~ Why Are You So Tired?

Letters to Friends – Where Does Fibro Pain Hurt?

What is Fibro Fog? Why are you Crashing?

What Were Your First Signs of Fibro?

Is There a Cure for Fibromyalgia?


SOURCES


Fibromyalgia National Coalition  – Background information

Mr Doctor dot Com  – Pain and How You Sense it