The continuation of The Many Triggers of Fibromyalgia. “Life was good. But then my Fibromyalgia got superpowers! Dunt, dunt, duhn!!! To be continued…”
Can Fibromyalgia have superpowers, or does it only feel that way? I am not sure, but on the morning of September 27, 2006, my Fibromyalgia intensified to a level I did not think was possible.
I was driving to one of my sales accounts that was nearly two hours away. It was one of my least favorite accounts because of the distance, and because they were very high maintenance but very low volume. So I was already in a mood when the traffic on the freeway slowed suddenly from a comfortable 70 MPH to an irritating 20 MPH – you know, one of those congestions in traffic that occur for no apparent reason, and let up again as quickly as they began. After years of driving San Diego County to call on my accounts I had become a very conscientious driver. I am convinced you see the worst of human nature on the roads. People get ugly when they get behind the wheel. On this morning I began slowing with the traffic and kept a good distance between me and the car ahead of me. I was going 20 MPH max, probably less, when I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a giant green beast flying up behind me. I didn’t even have time to think “Oh shit!” before the truck slammed into the back of me and sent my car flying off into the center median. Fortunately the median between the north and south lanes of traffic was big and grassy, and my car ended up there instead of in the back end of the vehicle in front of me.
I sat stunned, with my eyes closed and my head spinning. It felt like someone had injected a gallon of nauseous fluid into my brain and if I moved or opened my mouth it would all come spilling out. I think I was holding my breath because all of a sudden my body forced me to take a huge gulp of air which quieted the nausea a little. I could hear the young boy who hit me standing at the driver’s side window, knocking and asking me if I was okay. He kept saying “ma’am, ma’am, ma’am,” and I could hear the anxiety in his voice. I finally opened my eyes and turned to him just to put his mind at ease, but my brain still felt like it was swimming in that nauseous liquid.
I ended up in emergency again, this time with severe whiplash and a concussion. Again I was looking at another long road to recovery. I kept thinking how lucky and grateful I was that I had not suffered any broken bones or more serious injuries, but I had no idea the extent of the injuries to my brain and how this accident would change my Fibromyalgia from a relatively mild and livable case into an extreme superpower! So what does Fibromyalgia with superpowers look like you ask? Putting the brain trauma aside for now, I will just describe to you the changes in my FM.
Pain! Oh I thought I knew pain. I thought the pain and flare-ups I had experienced over the 10 years I had been living with FM was the most my body and mind could ever possibly manage, but I was wrong. You know that scale the doctors have, when they ask you to rate your pain from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most pain you have ever been in? Well I had not so infrequently expressed my pain as severe as an 8 or a 9 in reference to one of my many recurring flare-ups. But what was an 8 or a 9 before the accident was now a 5 or 6. My new 8-9 kicked the old 8-9’s butt. My new pain scale was re-calibrated to the kind of intense, burning, stabbing, aching, nauseating, unrelenting pain that makes you think if it doesn’t let up soon you will surely lose your mind or do something drastic to make it stop. It was the kind of pain that found me curled up on the bathroom floor in misery while my husband looked on unable to even touch me to help me get up. It was not a nice pain!
But my FM superpowers did not stop at my ability to feel pain at an unimaginable level. They also awakened my senses to sounds, smells and bold-vibrant colors. I have excellent hearing – superb is how my ENT described it – which should be an asset right? Well with my FM superpowers, my previously enjoyable ability to hear the many nuances in the world around me, became a detriment in that now I felt like I was constantly being yelled out. The TV, radio, if my dogs barked, when the alarm went off – any loud abrupt noise was like a full-fisted slug to the back of my head and a green light for my pain to shoot up on the pain scale. Intense smells and bold colors had the same physical affect on me. Sensory overload with a punch to the face for good measure!
And lets talk about the weather shall we. Before the accident I had heat sensitivity, but only to extreme heat, and no sensitivity to the cold. But with my new FM superpowers, my body responded to changes in temperature like a delicate flower. Anything above 85 degrees and my pain left me wilted and useless, and anything below 65 degrees my body was tense and knotted with pain. So now I am equipped with a handy dandy, built-in weather device. I can sense the slightest change in temperature and tell you the degree based on my pain level. How handy is that!
I could go on and talk about the fatigue and the sleep deprivation and my complete inability to formulate an intelligent sentence, but I think you get my point. So that is how my Fibromyalgia got its superpowers, and this is my new and current reality. My Fibromyalgia is everything it had been to the power of ten – with several new symptoms thrown in for variety and superpower affect. They do not come with a cape, or an invisible airplane, or any of the cool accessories you might expect for a superpower. But if I were to narrate and chronicle them into a comic book, they would look something like this –
Just a glimpse into my internal fight club if I were to illustrate my Fibromyalgia symptoms. I am currently taking bets that I am eventually going to kick all their butts if anyone is interested.