” The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it”, Helen Keller
A condition called paresthesia results in numbness, tingling and pins and needles in the limbs, due to disturbances in the nerve pathways. Those of us with fibromyalgia have what is also known as peripheral neuropathy, most particularly in the legs. For me it is much worse at night and in my arms, rather than the legs. However, I also have many twitching new sensations in my legs as well, but the arms right now are worse. The result is that I wake up several times during the night when an arm is ‘asleep’, numb with cold and actually hurting. When I am up for awhile, moving about the feeling comes back in my arm and I fall back asleep on the other side only to wake up an hour or two later with it on the other side. My sleep is very disturbed by this relatively new symptom. But, then I have developed pains in the knees this summer, another new symptom. Just as I think I have had them all, something new crops up. How discouraging. Like other sufferers of pain I live in fear that this new symptom will not disappear. While I am a great fan of Harriet Lerner it is this particular book which helps me the most.
It seems that peripheral neuropathy , that is pain mostly in legs, tingling of the extremities, pins and needles, numbness, “falling asleep” of legs or arms is quite common among those of us with fibromyalgia. The central nervous system, being always in a state of hyper-arousal is on high alert. Unlike others who are diabetic and have the same symptoms, those of us with FM do not have this constantly as do diabetics, and is usually associated with a flare-up. It is time to stop, take stock of what is happening in our minds and work with our pain rather than struggle against it. Not an easy job!
I am very sleep deprived of late yet I dread going to bed knowing that a few hours later I will awaken with hurting arms. I do all the suggested right things: I take cal/mag supplements, a B12 supplement under my tongue, and rub my arms with a camphor cream. I take an epsom salts bath before going to bed and apply heat to my neck during the day. I put a small pillow under my neck to support the area that is not on a pillow and I have the right pillow for my upper body. I try to discipline myself to meditate each day and I also do some gentle movements of my arms often during the day. One particular stretch which does help somewhat is standing against the wall with my arms outstretched against the wall and my head against the surface with a forward look, but not jutting my chin outward, for one minute. I try not to struggle against the pain. QiGong is supposed to be good for this condition. Yet, in spite of all my good intentions the demon often persists. It isn’t often I write a blog with such whining but to-day after very little sleep and cold, wet, snowy weather (gasp! it isn’t even officially winter yet!), I feel entitled. Forgive me folks! The women in my book speak often about feeling guilty about complaining, but since our symptoms are so diverse and frequent, it isn’t easy to ignore them. So this is a blog about my newest struggle!