Allodynia

Fibromyalgia: a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, tenderness, and stiffness of muscles and associated connective tissue structures that is typically accompanied by fatigue, headache, and sleep disturbances

Allodynia: pain resulting from a stimulus (as a light touch of the skin) which would not normally provoke pain.

My wife has fibromyalgia.  Sometimes, her pain sensitivity approaches allodynia levels.

I took her a glass of soda today, and my arm brushed hers.  She recoiled in pain and snapped at me.  Evidently, my touch shocked her.

I didn’t even feel it.

It’s very hard not to feel guilty or take it personally.

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My Amazing Wife

My wife is amazing.  She was forced out of work due to fibromyalgia.  She spent most of a year in bed, dealing with the fallout of missed commitments, eroding friendships, and guilt about not contributing to the household income.

Then she submitted an essay to the National Fibromyalgia Association and won a scholarship to their International Leaders Against Pain conference.  Empowered, she founded the Colorado Fibromyalgia Network, a grass-roots support group, which has now been chosen to host an educational event for several hundred people, one of only ten such events nationwide.

She’s found her calling, and she’s loving it.

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24th ComputorEdge article

My latest article for ComputorEdge hit the web on Friday. It’s entitled “The Dark Side of the Coin,” and is about Internet resources people can use for climbing out of debt. It was while researching this article that I truly found the usefulness of JD Roth’s GetRichSlowly site, as well as Leo Babauta’s ZenHabits site (which just won Best Overall Blog for the Performancing Blog Awards 2007. (I’m not sure I would make a verb out of “performance,” but then again, it does make a unique blog name.)

I’ve been dealing with debt in various degrees for at least the last twenty years. After losing my job in 2005 (during my honeymoon, I might add) and after Lannette’s diagnosis of fibromyalgia and resulting need to leave the corporate workspace, we found ourselves living on about a third of the income we had been bringing in while both of us were employed. The effect was catastrophic to our lives, resulting snowballing debt we couldn’t pay, a vehicle repossession and near eviction from our home.

Things are better now, but still somewhat tight. I’m working on creating multiple income streams that can help a little; my writing for ComputorEdge was one of those streams, but the magazine’s new Web-only business model (a.k.a., no more pay for articles) means that I need to find a replacement for that. Perhaps the replacement will come from computer consulting. Perhaps it will come from selling other articles. If I get really lucky, maybe it will come from writing short stories (but that means I need to actually submit some, and not squander the opportunities when I get them.)

At any rate, the blog resources mentioned above are very helpful and inspirational, and I recommend them to anyone who wants to get a handle on his or her finances (or life, for that matter.)

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Blowing the Dust Off

It looks like it’s time to blow the dust off this blog again. Was the last entry really in November 2005? That doesn’t seem that long ago, but according to my calendar, it was about eight months ago. My, how time flies.

A number of things have come to pass since then, including gainful employment with IBM. In addition, I have a few more ComputorEdge articles under my belt, Keith and Logan are out of school for the year, and I have another writing opportunity taking shape behind this curtain over here.

But the most significant thing to happen in the last few months involves my wife, Lannette. She has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), a recognized disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. FMS is an often misunderstood malady, and some doctors don’t even recognize it as a valid disorder. Personally, I think they would recognize its validity if they had to deal with it from day to day.

I don’t have FMS, but I am familiar with it. I recognize it from when my brother had Fibromyalgia as a corrollary to Sjogren’s Syndrome. Lannette’s situation is a bit different, because FMS is her primary diagnosis; it is the source of unpredictable pain that moves all over her body from day to day. Living with FMS is a crap shoot for her. She just returned from a trip to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, and even though it was supposed to be a relaxing, renewing trip, it wore her out. She was exhausted when she arrived at DIA, and is taking it easy for a few days.

I’m constantly amazed by my wife. She’s the strongest survivor I’ve ever known. She was two blocks away from the Murrah Buiding in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh blew it up on April 19th, 1995. She has been physically abused in ways that would stagger anyone, yet she still had the strength to fight back from all of that to start and administer an Internet newsgroup for women who have survived domestic violence.

I know that she will find her way through this challenge, find her “new normal.” She always has, always will.

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