Random New Pains: Costochondritis 

The issue with fibromyalgia is everything you feel you are getting it under control you have a flare up or the dreaded new symptom 😫😲

Then you are there wondering is this still FMS? Should I call my doctor? As I mentioned before I have a 3 day rule. I monitor the symptom and see how it progresses.  If it does not improve within 3 days I make an appointment or if it is severe I go to urgent care.

About 3 years ago I started getting a sharp pain in my ribs.  So painful I couldn’t breathe.  I had experienced chest pain in the past but this was different. After 3 days of the pain coming and going without improvement I finally went to urgent care.  It turns out that I had costochondritis. Which did turn up on Dr. Google 😉

According to the Mayo Clinic,
Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Costochondritis is sometimes known as chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia. Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome).

Muscle relaxers were the treatment. I followed up with my rheumatologist.  Good news was that the diagnosis lead me to a muscle relaxer that actually works for me without causing extreme tiredness the next morning.

Oddly enough I had a colleague who had experienced costochondritis as well.  Our bodies find such interesting ways to get inflamed.  I still get a flare up every now and then but as with #fmlife you just get on with it.

Pregnancy: 3rd Trimester and The End

By the third trimester I was spent. I could barely walk due to excruciating pelvic pain.  it would take me 20 minutes to walk the same distance it took me 5 minutes to do pre-pregnancy.  The vomiting decreased in frequency but I still had issues up until a week before C was born.  My poor husband had to put on my socks and shoes each morning.

The worst part was preparing for labor, delivery, and motherhood.  I would stress about changing diapers for no good reason. But I had not done it before and it seemed like something I would be doing often.

Anyhow I busied myself with prepping for baby.  Making a birth plan and setting up the nursery. Anything to keep my mind off of the reality the labor.  I was certain she would come early…

Fast forward a few days after my due date and this child still had not made her appearance.  I had already went on maternity leave and was so anxious I probably should have been sedated.  I had been having regular contractions getting closer together and spotting but it all suddenly stopped and almost a week later still no baby.

After what seemed like a daily visit to the doctor it was decided that I would be induced.  The baby wasn’t tracing well and my super experienced doctor thought it was safer to get her out.  So I went and got my already packed bag and headed to the hospital.  I remember sitting in the delivery waiting for the induction,  turning to B and saying I change my mind.  I had zero interest in birthing a baby.

But 24 hours later we welcomed Kikka.  After a failed induction and many hours of labor with oxygen, I had an emergency C-section.  Turns out Kikka had the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck, was slowly being strangled and was in distress.

I can’t say this enough folks- Get a doctor you trust!  I trusted my doctor with my life and my baby’s life.  She saved my babies life with just her instincts. I have a wonderful thriving baby girl because of her.

Managing Work

Support system.

Ask for help.  Accept help.  Do not attempt to do this alone unless it is your only option. Even if you have  a smooth pregnancy low on pregnancy symptoms and illnesses you will be exhausted. My family would drive me around to wherever I needed to be.  Granted I had hyperemesis and severe pelvic pain but still they were there to make things are easy as possible for me.

Reasonable accommodations.
Legally employers are supposed to make reasonable accommodations for employees.  The level of accommodation will vary based on your specific company, but see what systems are in place to make sure you’re not suffering undue hardship.  This could be shifting your work hours or changing your duties.  Also review pregnancy rights for your state and federally.  There are certain provisions set around safety and even breastfeeding.  Know your rights and hold them to it.

Using days off wisely

I like to be preventative so I tend to take a day off before I’m at my worst thus preventing me from even getting there.  Prior to becoming pregnant and in the beginning of my pregnancy I worked a lot of overtime. I relied heavily on my accrued comp time to tide me over when I was low on sick time.  I wasn’t able to be preventative but I tried very hard to go to work even if it meat doing a half day.

If you decide to return to work the days off as chronically ill parent will require some more managing of the days off.  You will need to keep days in the bank for baby’s sick days.  Roberto and I take turns taking baby sick days.  More of them fall on him because I don’t have many days accrued.

Adjusting schedule
This is twofold.  I adjusted my actual work schedule and also my personal life schedule.  With the hyperemesis I would feel so poorly in the morning and it took me forever to get ready.  If I didn’t eat as soon as I woke up my symptoms were noticeably worse. I am fortunate to have flex time at work where I could arrive anytime between 8am-10am.  I usually arrived around 9am.  During pregnancy I would arrive around 10am.  I started taking a shower at night so in the morning i could just get brush my teeth and eat then get ready and go.

Being realistic.
Even if you have few pregnancy symptoms and are fortunate for pregnancy to decrease your chronic pain flare ups- you are still pregnant and it is rough on the body for all women. That is the reality. Do not set lofty goals for yourself that will only make you feel bad and add unnecessary stress to your day. Give yourself ample time to gather supplies for the baby.  Start off any exercise plans nice and slow.  Give yourself extra time to get to places. Do not take on too many projects- personally or professionally.  Only focus on staying well and keeping things low stress.

Acceptance
This is key.  Accept that your body is on a new journey and changes – many unpleasant- are happening to you. And you will mostly become aware of a change as it is happening.  Accept you can do even less than before.  Accept that others might not be able to accept these changes. Repeat to yourself – this too shall pass.  Accept that this is a difficult process. Accept it all and do not judge yourself or worry about who is judging you.  Accept that this process of growing a tiny human will forever change you. Accept yourself and your ever-changing reality. Inhale and acknowledge it – exhale and accept it.