Tag Archives: HMS

A strenuous run, or a walk in the park?

… it depends on your perspective!

My husband joined me for the second run of Week 7 of my Couch to 5K programme. And has for each subsequent run! The programme and I have inspired him to start running again. He doesn’t need to use the podcasts as he has done a fair amount of running, (including the Great North Run – twice), just not in the past year or two.

It was great to have company, though a bit odd to be followed. He didn’t want to interfere with my pace, and he didn’t know the route so he decided to run behind me. He was very patient, plodding along behind. And as we neared the top of the uphill section of the route I’m sure he was walking – not a measure of his fitness, more an indication of my pace. I measured the uphill section; it is half a mile long!

I have now finished Week 7, and completed the first run of Week 8. We had to change the route this week. We had a lot of rain over the weekend so the path across the wheat field had become very muddy and boggy. Not pleasant or safe to run on. I have been using the route as a dog walk for years and know that as winter approaches the route will gradually get muddier and muddier, so we’ll use it less and less. Our alternative route, which I am going to call the Winter Route, is on a quiet lane. There is a hill, much shorter than the incline in the Summer Route, but steeper; and we run up it twice. It’s got to be good for my fitness, right?

I am now running for 28 minutes. With each session I have run a little bit further than the previous session, and felt more comfortable. At the beginning of last week, I ran 3.4K (2.08 miles) in 25 minutes at a pace of 7.33 min/K (12.5 min/mile). My first run of week 8 was 4.3K (2.7 miles) in 28 minutes at a pace of 6.51 min/K (11.05min/mile). I feel that I am progressing, and that 5K in 30 minutes may just be achievable – at some point.

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Monday Morning Ritual

Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability – William Osler

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I have just sorted my medication for the week. It’s a job I do every Monday, putting the tablets I will take each day into my pill organiser. Using this system has two benefits. The first is that I can see when I am going to run out of a particular tablet and order my repeat prescription in good time. The second is that I can be sure that I have taken my tablets each day, an important consideration when brain fog descends! I have on several occasions got part way through the day and not remembered whether I’ve taken my tablets that morning or not. If I have taken them, but believe I haven’t, I could take more unnecessarily. Doing so once or twice probably wouldn’t be a problem physiologically, however it is wasteful, adds to my expense and can be a source of anxiety.

It also means that when I travel I don’t have to carry lots of bottles and packets, just one small(ish) organised box.

I take some medication prescribed by my doctor’s and I take some supplements that have been recommended by my doctors and/or fellow suffers.

This is what I take:

Prescribed by my GP and Rheumatologist – Iron, Vitamin D, Amitriptyline.

Supplements recommended by my doctors and/or fellow sufferers and my own research – magnesium, aspirin, vitamin B12, psyllium husk capsules.

I take paracetamol and ibuprofen as needed to combat pain from inflammation and injury.

I have found that this regime helps me to maintain my energy levels and to cope with the pain and fatigue. I have considered each medicine/supplement in more detail below.

NOTE: I take these medicines/supplements after discussion with my doctor. This regime is personalised to me and helps with my symptoms. Other people may have different symptoms and different reaction to these medicines.

Iron.
I’ve been prescribed iron on and off for most of my life. I took it for the first time as a teenager, then with each pregnancy and several other times in between. I went to my GP (family doctor) about 6 years ago as my hair was falling out, I felt tired and unwell (again). Blood was taken and tested. My thyroxine levels were fine (hair loss and tiredness are symptoms of impaired thyroid function) but my haemoglobin levels were on the low side of normal and my ferritin levels were very low. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. Low levels are indicative of iron deficiency. I started on a course of iron tablets, and after several months my levels rose so I stopped taking them. A couple of years later I found myself in a similar predicament, ferritin levels were found to be very low again so iron tablets were prescribed. I’d never liked taking iron tablets. They can upset your stomach, make you constipated and turn your faeces black. Not pleasant!! So I have to admit to not taking them as regularly as I should but slowly my ferritin levels rose back to normal levels and with great relief I stopped taking the tablets. A little over two years ago, when my fatigue and pain levels reached an all-time low (or high!?) I went back to my doctor. My blood was checked and, yes, you’ve guessed it, my ferritin levels were low. Very, very low. I started back on the tablets.
My GP prescribes ferrous fumerate, which are kinder on the stomach than other forms. I now take them regularly and am now used to them! When I started taking them I took 1 325mg tablet 3 times a day with meals. My ferritin levels are now a healthy level, however going on our past experience my doctor and I agree that I should continue to take them to maintain my levels. I now take two a day, morning and night.

Vitamin D

My rheumatologist also took copious amounts of blood to test and found that I was also very deficient in vitamin D. He prescribed vitamin D3 capsules (800iu) which I take twice a day.

My GP tests my blood regularly to monitor my ferritin, Vitamin D levels and calcium levels. (Vitamin D supplements can increase the amount of calcium in your blood.)

Amitriptyline

My GP prescribed this for me when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by my rheumatologist. Amitriptyline is often prescribed for neuropathic pain. It was originally used as an antidepressant with doses of 150mg and above, however it’s not a very well tolerated drug at high doses so isn’t often prescribed as an anti-depressant now. Lower doses of amitriptyline however have been found to be effective in treating neuropathic pain. I started taking 10mg of amitriptyline and slowly built up to 30mg over a few weeks. The tablets haven’t really had any effect on my pain levels, but what they have done is help significantly with my “irritable” bowel and gut issues and my migraines. Amitriptyline is used to help in a wide variety of chronic illnesses including migraines, irritable bowel disease, overactive bladder, poor sleep and pelvic pain. I did wean myself off them at one point (I did it very slowly over about three months) but found that my gut and migraine symptoms returned after a week or so. I now take 10mg in the evening which is enough to keep my digestive tract working and reduce my migraine attacks significantly, without making me too sleepy.

Magnesium.

I take a magnesium tablet twice a day. This hasn’t been prescribed by my doctor but I have discussed it with him. Shortly after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I went to a talk given by Dr Kevin White (which I document here). I sat next to a very nice Doctor who mentioned that magnesium had a very beneficial effect on muscle cramps and pain. During my subsequent research I came across a publication health for medical professionals in the US which recommended prescribing 300mg magnesium twice a day to prevent migraines. I thought it was worth a try. I am convinced they help.

Aspirin.

About three years ago my GP suggested that I take 75mg aspirin a day as a way of preventing headaches and migraines. I’m not sure how much they helped with those issues but I’m still taking them. There has been a good deal of press coverage about the benefits of taking aspirin that I may as well carry on.

Vitamin B complex with B12.

Following a discussion, on one of the many hypermobility syndrome support groups on Facebook, about fatigue I decided to try taking a vitamin B complex supplement morning and night. I think they are helping, I’ve been taking them for about four months now and my energy levels have been reasonably good.

Psyllium husk.

I have been using psyllium husk for years to help with irritable bowel symptoms. My GP prescribed fibogel (ispaghula husk) sachets but I struggled to drink them and they caused stomach cramps. My research about IBS suggested that psyllium husk might be a better option. I take a psyllium husk tablet (from Holland and Barrett) with breakfast and supper. They are helpful. I notice a difference if I don’t take them for a few days.

I’ve looked at other supplements such as co-enzyme Q10, zinc and garlic. Vitamin C often comes up on forum discussions. However I don’t want to overload my body (or my purse) with supplements and, at the moment at least, I appear to have found a regime that works for me.

I would be very interested to hear about your medicine/supplement regime. What works for you and what doesn’t?

I have been given a name for my pain!

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I have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I also have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Despite the fact that the diagnosis was given to me by a Consultant Rheumatologist, following a referral from my GP (who suspected I had fibromyalgia), I have been told that there is very little they can do for me. In fact, from my first cursory glance at the media and literature I got the distinct impression that my symptoms – the muscle and joint pain, severe headaches, balance issues, poor memory and impaired thinking – were all “in my head”.

Luckily I stumbled across the FibromyalgiaAssociationUK website  which inspired me to believe that it IS possible to manage this disease and convinced me that I needed to take personal control of the management process.

This blog is to be my record of discovery – about what fibromylagia (shortened to fibro or FM) is, possible ways in which it can be managed and which “treatments” help me. It is my way of remaining positive and active and taking control.