It seems...

...I created a disproportionate amount of suspense by announcing the loss of the last entry. Believe me, people, it was nothing grand. I think the whole first half of it was whining about my health as the last month has been particularly trying for me with my fibromyalgia and its treatment, coupled with an uncooperative thyroid. All of it conspired to keep me pretty much exhuasted for weeks on end and even simple tasks seemed monumental. Someone asked me what fibromyalgia feels like. It's hard to explain because there are system-wide symptoms ranging from total exhaustion accompanied by insomnia (a nice dichotomy indeed), a lot of muscle pain, headaches, the delightful irritible bowel syndrome (just like on the commercials!) and a crippling loss of memory and concentration.

The treatment that I'm on (the mysterious sounding and rather controversial alternative treatment, the guaifenesin protocol) operates on the theory that people with FMS (that's fibromyalgia syndrome) cannot flush calcium phosphate out of our kidneys. The phosphate builds up in our bodies in lesions, causing all sorts of system-wide problems.

Guaifenesin, which is a harmless ingredient found mostly in cough medicine, somehow helps the body flush out the build-up of phosphates in cycles. However, as the phosphates move through the system, you get much sicker; all the symptoms are magnified. Generally, my neck and shoulders burn or ache all the time anyway. When I'm cycling, as they say, it's much worse. I'm completely exhausted and the pain in other areas -- mostly my quads, arms and hips -- gets pretty bad. My arm muscles burn to move glasses from the dishwasher to the cabinets and I have to pause every couple of glasses. My leg muscles burn after four or five steps to the point that I have to stop and blink back tears.

Not pleasant.

But...the idea is that once you cycle out all the built-up phosphates, which could take a coupe of years, you'll feel much better. And you'll have decent days in between the cycles. What's the alternative? Well, there isn't one. The standard medical response to FMS is that there is no treatment or cure, that it's debilitating and you just have to learn to manage the symptoms, which get worse over time. So I might as well try it, right?

The only other catch is that, for some reason, salicylates applied topically block the efficacy of the guaifenesin. What does that mean? Well, salicylates are found in plant oils and extracts, so you can't use any topical products -- makeup, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, etc. -- that contain those or take aspirin or any medicine that contains aspirin (which is, after all, salycilic acid.) It makes for some complicated shopping, let me tell you. Plant essences seem to have been the marketing buzzwords of the last decade and while it probably wasn't that hard once to find products that are almost entirely synthetic, it is now. Let me tell you, Aveda is suffering a big financial hit from my doing this protocol.

So, there. Now you know. Not that you were wondering, although maybe you did wonder why I can't seem to get stuff done sometimes. Or why I start a sentence and can't remember the end of it. Or why I look perfectly fine but claim not to have enough energy to get up and take a walk. It's the FMS, people. And it's mine, all mine!