Friday, February 05, 2010

I Didn't Know

I didn't know that I needed an antidepressant. I have had joint pain and fatigue for years. It started around ten years ago when I was working full-time retail and on my feet all day. I would have pain in my hips and lower back and was just so damn tired all of the time. The doctor I had at the time chalked it up to arthritis and being on my feet too much and acted like it was no big deal. About eight years ago I quit my job (for other reasons but didn't look for a new one) and started spending more time sitting at my computer and scrapbooking. I started having pain in my shoulders and hands and again it was chalked up to arthritis and poor posture. In the past couple of years the pain and fatigue have gotten worse. I wasn't sleeping well because the the pain in my hips and shoulders would wake me up during the night. I turned into a hermit because being out in the cold made things worse (and it's cold nine months of the year here in Michigan). I avoided driving or riding in the car for any length of time because I would get too uncomfortable. Same thing with movie theaters. One busy day out and about would be followed by two or three days of rest and recovery because I would be exhausted and achy. I love to read but hadn't read a book in about a year becauuse I just couldn't concentrate. I would have a couple of days each month when every joint in my body from my jaw to my toes would hurt so much that all I could do was curl up in a ball in my bed and wait for it to go away. Anti-inflammatory meds didn't do a thing for me. Prednisone helped a little when my new doctor would let me have it which wasn't often because the side effects are ... joint pain and inflammation! Four weeks ago something happened that changed everything. First I noticed that the ring and pinky fingers of my right hand were numb but I wasn't overly concerned because I figured the inflammation in my shoulder had probably caused a pinched nerve. Then I woke up one morning and freaked out because the right side of my face was numb! Of course that prompted a visit to my doctor where we discussed how much pain I was in and how I felt like I was losing my mind. In addition to scheduling me for an MRI (which didn't show anything abnormal) and referring me to a neurologist for nerve testing (still a couple of weeks off) she suggested that I try taking Cymbalta. If you haven't seen the tv ads Cymbalta is one of the new antidepressants that increases seratonin and norepinephrine levels and has been successful in treating the pain of fibromyalgia and neuropathy. I started taking the Cymbalta three weeks ago. For the first week or so I did have some nausea and a weird "woozy" tingly skin crawling feeling but that passed. I just have to say that, even though we still don't know what was causing the pain and I still have the nerve testing coming up, I feel sooooooo much better than I have in years!!! The numbness in my face disappeared after a couple of days (but the fingers are still numb), the joint pain is virtually gone, I am sleeping, and I can concentrate and no longer feel like my brain is fried! I can't even explain how wonderful it is to feel like I have my life back! I didn't know taking an antidepressant could do that for me.