Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Seeing the Rheumatologist

I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The rheumatologist asked a whole heap of questions then pressed me in 18 places which hurt so much I cried, she nodded and said "fibromyalgia". I was surprised to learn that skin is not supposed to hurt when touched. I always assumed I was just a bit weak and pathetic. Turns out this is not normal after all. I am dumb....

She suspects that I have always had Fibro and that the diagnosis of ME never really cut it and was made by an ignorant and/or lazy doctor. To be fair on my previous doctors, Fibro has not been recognised in this country for very long; the US accepted it long before we did and most things that couldn't be diagnosed any other way were diagnosed as ME or hypochondria, depending on where your GP's sympathies lay.

The rheumatolgist was very impressed by the yoga and swimming and the organic diet and how well I looked after myself. We talked about that and my scoliosis for a while and she took some bloods just to rule out Connective Tissue Disease. I was pretty impressed with her. Until....

She prescribed me something called Amitriptyline. I, like a fool, didn't think anything of it assuming they would be a painkiller or muscle relaxant. It wasn't until the pharmicist gave them to me that I discovered they are in fact tricyclic antidepressants. Now I am a strong believer in the total obliteration of antidepressants from the face of the earth. Both my father and Himself suffer from clinical depression and have never got anywhere on antidepressants and tricyclics are the very worst of this hideous creation. The side effects are horrific and the withdrawal symptoms equally so. OK so it's a very low dose, and a very low dose is proven in clinical trials to help some people with the pain and the sleep deprivation. Note *some* people. And what am I meant to do? Take them every day for the rest of my life? Masking the symptoms and living in a cloud of fug forevermore? No thank you. I would be the worst sort of hypocrite if I even considered taking them.

I believe in learning to live with long term chronic conditions, not masking them. Fibro is non-degenerative and non-progressive. I need to change my outlook rather than change the chemical make up of my body.

I affirm to work towards a day when I am not my illness, when I accept myself for who I am, when I have fun no matter what and when start to put myself first. This is my wake up call. Listen to it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fly By Update

Firstly, to introduce a new member of the family. Please meet Aurora! She is 10 months old and we picked her up from the Rescue centre on Monday. She's been spayed and is off for her injections later on today. She is a little angel, good as gold and happily sleeps under the bed when I am teaching a class or have a private yoga client at the house. She loves yoga too -- every morning she gets on my mat with me, twirling through my legs as I hold Down Dog, showing me how a Cat stretch should be done, gently nibbling my toes in Savasana. A great lesson in Pratyahara; withdrawing my senses so the kitty just becomes another part of my practice, not a distraction. A great lesson in not giving a damn as well!

Secondly, I have two bits of exciting news:- (1) I have been accepted (subject to references and CRB checks) as a volunteer yoga teacher at The Mulberry Centre -- a drop-in centre in West London for people with cancer, their primary carers and those who have lost someone to cancer. A wonderful and life enhancing opportunity for me. (2) I am going to work on a yoga retreat for people with ME and CFS in Turkey with Fiona Agombar in October. Again an amazing opportunity to share those things that I have found in yoga that have helped my recovery process to those who are just beginning. An opportunity to help those who are intent on changing their lives around with the help of yoga. Some of the people on the retreat are very ill, much more so than I have ever been, and yet they are willing to fly to Turkey to begin or enhance their recovery for the opportunity of working with someone as wonderful as Fiona. Such courage. And such a privelege for me to be able to join them.

Thirdly, I have had my article on Yoga and Scoliosis published in Yoga and Health magazine. Sometimes my array of health problems does have an advantage!!