Sunday, January 22, 2012

Side effects

So I am on a new drug that's supposed to help me manage my Fibromyalgia pain. For quite a long time I was terrified of getting pharmaceutical help for my condition, but after a resounding success with a sleep drug I started last year I thought what the hell, let's give this a shot too.

The drug, which I don't really want to call out by name--let's just say it's popular for FMS--is sort of helping with the pain, by means of inducing a state in which I feel my nerves are swaddled in cotton. An odd swimming sensation sometimes overcomes me and I hear "Across The Universe" on near-constant repeat. (last detail an exaggeration)

I am not sure I like the main effect of the drug, not to mention the side effects.
I'm having some side effects. Or at least I think I am. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's the drug and what's me being a hypochondriac freak.

First off, I think it's thrown off my equilibrium. I can't spin like I normally can without feeling dizzy, and I feel unstable on my toes. This might not sound so bad--how often do you have to spin around until you make yourself sick?--but spinning is a big part of what I do for fun and sometimes profit, i.e. bellydance. But is this really because of the drug or because I didn't practice much in December?

Doubt sets in.

My hunger impulses are out of whack. I don't feel particularly hungry at all, ever. But I always feel like I could eat. After eating a good meal I don't really feel full. Is this me or the drug?
So I try not to eat except at meals, knowing I can just keep eating mindlessly if I don't police myself. Then sometimes I start to feel lightheaded. Is this from hunger or is it another side effect?
I feel tired and forgetful. Often I'm not sure what I should be doing, but I feel I should be doing something. I have trouble with word recall and sometimes when faced with a complex problem my brain simply freezes up and throws a Blue Screen of Death. But, uh, welcome to being Sara. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. Is this me or the drug?
Sometimes I feel happy, like REALLY happy, for no goddamn reason. Less often I feel inexplicably sad. Me or the drug?

I could go on.

For years, my doctors placed my well being squarely in my hands. At the time there was no drug for Fibromyalgia. I was on my own. Eat right, sleep enough and on a regular schedule, and exercise enough (but not too much) and you will feel all right, they said.

Now, as a result, whenever I feel shitty I immediately want to blame myself. If I hadn't slept in 30 minutes, I'd feel okay. If I had exercised yesterday I'd have more energy. If I hadn't waited to eat breakfast I wouldn't have a headache.

And now, experiencing these symptoms, I'm not sure what is at fault: me or the drug. I'm awfully confused. I want to believe that in the end the drug will help, because I want to believe there is a solution. Somewhere deep in my shriveled heart I still want to believe that I can feel well most of the time. Not because health itself is that appealing to me, but because I feel like my condition gets in the way of my dreams. Sometimes I let myself think about what I could be like if I just had some energy.

I don't want to sound maudlin. My bad days are really not so bad. I'm never going to die from this and it probably isn't going to get worse unless I let myself go. But hope opens you up to this odd feeling: the idea that in returning back to normal something has been lost.

Should I put up with the side effects and hold on to that hope or should I give up?

1 comment:

  1. So... any updates? What happened? Did you stick it out?