Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fibromyalgia, Medicine, And Weight Loss

This post is a difficult one for me to write. When I started my blog almost a year ago I decided that I would not mention anything about my medical history on here. I don't like pity and I didn't want to start pitying myself. So I kind of kept this a secret from all of you for the past year.

I'm sure by the title of this post you have already guessed my secret. I have a disease called Fibromyalgia. If you haven't ever heard of Fibromyalgia here is the definition from the Mayo Clinic "Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on your body where slight pressure causes pain.
Fibromyalgia occurs in about 2 percent of the population in the United States. Women are much more likely to develop the disorder than are men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. Fibromyalgia symptoms often begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there appears to be no triggering event. "

I was diagnosed in December or 2005 when I was 25 years old and have suffered with it ever since. It is a horrible, painful disease and I hate the fact that I have to live with it for the rest of my life. What I hate even more is that it not only effects me but it effects my whole family. My husband and children suffer because I can't do things that I should be able to because of my pain or fatigue. I try to prevent this from happening at all costs. That is why I seem to have so many flair ups. I am determined to not let my family suffer from this disease. I am going to fight it at all costs because my kids deserve to have a great childhood. Not one where they have to worry about how their Mother is feeling.

You are probably wondering why I would keep this a secret. Well, like I said earlier I don't want to pity myself. The second I start to pity myself and act like I have a disease I start to feel depressed and even more pain and fatigue. If I fight it and pretend that I am not any different I can function so much better. I know it sounds crazy but I have done both and pretending I am normal seems to work best. I can't stand being depressed and this disease causes me to fight every day to not fall into that path.

For months I have felt like I should share a little about my disease because I know that there are so many others that suffer from the same thing and maybe we can do this together.
Weight loss isn't easy and it definitely isn't easy when you have Fibromyalgia. I will give you a few reason why:

1. Sometimes it is so hard to move let alone exercise because of the pain.
2. Fatigue and lack of sleep from Fibromyalgia makes it so hard to not have a "tired binge".
3. Fighting the depression that comes along with Fibromyalgia makes it hard to not overeat. When I am depressed I want to eat. Because I am determined to not get depressed and not take meds for it I sometimes find myself falling into it and wanting to eat. Luckily I am able to pull myself out of it and get back to eating healthy but for some people it is a lot harder.
4. Medication: This is the one that I struggle with the most. I take the medication Lyrica. Unfortunately a side effect is weight gain from an increased appetite.

I have been on Lyrica for about 2 1/2 years (minus pregnancy and breast feeding time). When I first started taking Fibromyalgia I gained about 25 pounds very quickly. I was working a stressful job and love to eat so I didn't think much of it until my Rhuematoligist told me that I gained that weight to quickly for it to be normal weight gain. That is when she told me that a side effect of Lyrica is weight gain from an increase in appetite. I guess I should have read the label. After I had my daughter I decided to go back on the medicine because I couldn't handle the pain without it. I knew the side effects but I didn't know what else to do. At that time the only FDA Approved med was Lyrica. I ended up gaining about 15 pounds this time. This was before I started my weight loss journey.

About 4 months ago my Lyrica seemed to have stopped working. My Rheumatoligist decided to double my Lyrica dose. As you can see by my weight loss in the past few months this has been a major struggle for me. I just want to eat all of the time. It is awful. Something that I am still fighting.

My Rheumatologist has just decided to switch my medication to Cymbalta instead of Lyrica because the Lyrica seems to not be helping with the pain and Fatigue anymore. I am really excited to try something new. When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia we had no FDA Approved drugs to take for it. I started out taking a pain killer that was awesome at first and then I eventually got addicted to it. This is why I have sworn off pain killers for the rest of my life. I get addicted to easily and coming off something you are addicted to is the hardest thing to do. Now we have three FDA approved meds. Lyrica, Cymbalta and Salvella. The last two I think became approved sometime this year.

I will start the Cymbalta probably sometime next week and I can't wait to see if it helps with my pain and fatigue. That would be awesome! I don't remember what is like to live with out pain but I would love to experience it again. I can't say that I am not excited about the fact that Cymbalta does not have a side effect of increased appetite. It actually has a possible side effect of decreased appetite. I have never had a decreased appetite in my life. :) So it will be very interesting to see if I have that side effect. But most importantly I want to get rid of the pain.

I hope I didn't ramble on to much about this subject. I just wanted to share with all of you some of my struggles so you can understand my whole story. I hope I have helped some of you by sharing with my struggles with Fibromyalgia. If anyone has questions I would love to try to answer them and if anyone has any advice I would love to hear it.



Fat[free]Me said...

I have long-term health issues that I just don't blog about as well, probably for similar reasons. Luckily for me I have had 12 months of good health that also coincided with my determination to lose weight. I know how hard it is to diet while on meds that make you want to eat and cause the body to gain weight.

One thing that helped to motivate me was the thought of my body struggling enough without having to deal with excess weight as well.

Also a healthier diet helps our bodies cope with illness too.

Fibromyalgia is a painful and difficult illness and you have done so well to lose the weight that you have lost.

I hope the new meds help!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Losing weight is hard for everyone but someone who has health problems like yours and still loses is even more impressive. Hope the new meds help.

Susan said...

Oh, I am so sad to hear of your disease. Boy, but one thing is for sure and that is that I will be praying for the Lord to take it away! You are SO STRONG! Then to have additional challenges of meds that causes your appetite to increase makes you stronger. I am happy to hear of your new medication and how it could be the answer for you. I do hope that it works for your pain and on your weight loss journey as well. We are here for you and I respect you even more with now knowing about your challenges. I am hoping for a cure and for even better meds to be discovered to take this away from you!

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with fibro back in 2006. I am only 39 and I feel like 89 some days. I am lucky to have an understanding dh. We also have two teenage girls that have watched me deal with it. I am currently trying to lose weight but watching what I eat. I can't do much exercise because I have so much joint pain. I do walk everyday that I usually split into 3- 15 minute walks and that seems to be okay. I will keep you in my prayers because I know what you are going through. Clare

Tammy said...

I also have Fibro along with several other auto-immune diseases- lupus(sjogrens syndrome),RA, and a seizure disorder. I totally understand how you feel about keeping everything private. I, too don't like pity parties. I try to fool my body into thinking everything is ok. Sometimes that is a lot harder than others! Depression also plays a huge role in my weight. I have lost about the same amount of weight that you have now, and would like to lose 40 more pounds. I feel so much healthier without the extra weight, even if I do have to literally FORCE myself out of the house to take a walk. Maybe one day they will find a cure, and we will all be pain free.

KK @ Running Through Life said...

I could have written exactly what Fat[free]Me wrote. I too don't discuss my health issues. Do they make running, weight loss, and exercise extremely hard? Yep. But, I am tired of living behind them and am ready to live my life as a happy and healthy me. Congrats to you for all of your success and dealing with your health issues.

WWSuzi said...

I've had arthritis since i was 22 so i know what you mean by the pain and along with that came depression.
Luckily i'm on the right meds that work for me now but it took many years to get there!!
I'm so glad that at least you have other meds to try and i'm sure one of them will help you with the pain and the tiredness.
I'm sure the healthy eating that you do will help also.

MB said...

I really hope the new medication helps the pain. It is so difficult to lose weight and having a disease like fibromyalgia doesn't make it any easier but you have proven it is possible.

Cheri said...

I so understand what you wrote. I have RA, and it's a vicious cycle with the depression, pain, exercise, etc... Carrying extra weight makes my symptoms so much worse, but there's a VERY fine line between healthy exercise and pain for me, something my husband has a difficult time understanding.

Thank you so much for sharing. You are not alone.

Tricia said...

Hope the new meds work, and thanks for being brave and sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that you have Fibro but it also gives me hope that it IS possible to loose weight when you have an autoimmune disease. I have Lupus and have gained about 50 lbs from the medications as well. I struggle with loosing weight because artifical sweetners like aspartame cause flare ups that last for weeks. I try to avoid artifical sweetners and I feel soo much better and have even gone off my meds! However, I am now not able to loose the weight. I am going to try mostly fruits and veggies to eat healthier instead of boxed items such as 100 calorie snacks. Good luck to you and thank you for sharing your secret! Happy New Year!

Angie said...

Thank you for sharing your secret with us. I too suffer from Lupus which is also an autoimmune disesase. However, I am not quiet about it. I believe it telling everyone to make it more known. Very little is known about autoimmune diseases and people seem very afraid of them till they meet someone who has one. I believe getting information out there is very important.

I too suffered from weight gain from the disease. I gained about 50 lbs. I have a hard time dieting because I find that eating anything with artificial sweetners like aspartame cause bad flare ups that last for weeks. Since I have avoided artifical sweetners, I have been able to go off my meds and feel great. Unfortunately, it also is very hard to loose weight when you can't have anything fat free or low fat.

I am hoping to make some lifestyle changes in 2010 that include eating less boxed prepackaged items and more fruits and veggies.

Good luck to you and Happy New Year!!!

Jessica @ Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments.

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

I decided to search for friends that are suffering from pain and even fibro as well but still want to lose weight and regain some contol over their own body...I knew there must be someone out there to give me hope it was possible...thank you for sharing!!

Unknown said...

Nice post, thanks for sharing this wonderful and useful information with us.

Green Tea Weight Loss

Two of Me said...

Thanks for sharing. I love your blog. I am on a budget, yet on a diet (not easy) and I have fibromyalgia as well. I actually made a decision to go off lyrica (I have enough fatigue on my own and it was making it worse) and, cymbalta made me want to jump off a building!

I am back on celexa (helps with the depression but not the pain). I mostly deal with flares with a combo of Aleve and Tylenol, and when it is really bad, a stash percocet I have.

Working out is the hard part. I pay for it the next day. I am still trying to work up to things, but my Dr (PCP) is convinced that the only way to deal with FM is regular exercise (and BTW, he thinks I need to lose weight...). So, I am giving it ia try for that and many other reasons.

I hate the limitations it puts on me. I used to be such a "Type-A" person and used to get so much done. Now I feel like a slug.

Thanks for posting!
Follow my journey to lose half of me!

Anonymous said...

Lyrica Doesn't make you gain weight because of increased appetite. There is NO way I ate 25 gained pounds worth of food. For 2 months I have been on Lyrica….I was on a strict low carb diet during this time and gained weight… When I did Low carb before I lost 35 lbs in one month….I also made a very low carb low fat cabbage soup with leeks mushrooms and chicken broth ate this for a week 2 times a day THATS IT! I GAINED 4 pounds!…..I quit the Lyrica yesterday Morning… I LOST 7 Pounds in ONE! Day…This is NOT a food issue; It’s a Drug Issue. I can’t afford to gain weight get high blood pressure and diabetes to not be in pain. Go back to Old school medicines they cause NO Tissue damage and definitely don’t cause the horrendous Side affects these hybrids cause….

Anonymous said...

Since you have tried the Herbalife shakes to lose weight, I suggest and recommend you try their supplements as well. The supplements dont cure, but they do help to better your health. Try Niteworks, Joint Support Advanced, Xtra-Cal Advanced, Tang Kuei Plus. If you can't buy the Niteworks at least use Herbalifeline. You will definetely feel less pain and discomfort.

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