Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My bra tried to kill me

My day started out as most mornings go. I begrudgingly got up to the alarm and I wake the kids; I help get breakfast for the boys and encourage the Olders to eat while they can. I remind them to pack their lunches in their backpacks and help search for missing shoes and then I send them on their way to school. After an hour (sometimes more), and definitely after a tea, I finally get around to getting dressed. It was as I was changing into my shirt and my bra that the pain arrived.

I love my new bra (and my Hunny who bought me a whole bunch of expensive under-things. I haven't spent that much money on these things in years--the joys of being a mom!) I love how it fits and makes me feel.  However, these feelings of typical comfort and sexiness was not to be today. Instead, my chest felt compressed, as if in a vice. Instead, it felt tight and bound.

Pain started in my sternum and I felt breathless within minutes of putting on that new and beautiful bra. So much so that I had to take it off.  I'd like to say that the pain left soon after, but that was only wishful thinking. The pain moved up my sternum and radiated to both sides of my chest, with a crushing grip. It felt as though I was in an incredibly tight bear hug.

I am thankful that I have a diagnosis of Tietze Syndrome and can see the symptoms and know how to deal with them, although I've never had my bra bring on a flare up. That sucked.

Actually, I disagree with the doctor on the Tietze diagnosis and feel it is more likely Costochondritis.  Tietze is painful inflamation of the ribs and cartilage in the upper chest, often effecting the second and third ribs, causing swelling. Costo is painful inflamation of the joints between the cartilages that joins the ribs. The pain can be felt all over the chest and into the shoulders, and is "sharp and stabbing in nature." (hmm...that sounds familiar)

And, yes, that picture (which I got off of a Costo support group on FB) really IS what it feels like.  Whenever I get a flare up, I often wish I could rip open my chest! It hurts. It hurts to move, and to breathe. It generally really really sucks.

Hopefully this pain will not last long. That would be nice.

I don't have a diagnosis of FM, but I did have a Rheumatologist tell me years ago (when I was suffering with a painful back) that I "most likely" have it, but it's too early to tell for sure. I'm not too sure if I do or do not, but I do have many of the trigger points, just not all. I'm not too worried about it, since, well, I have other health mysteries to figure out! But I wanted to add the picture above to show you the symptoms of Costo.

*just to clarify, costo and tietze are incredibly similar. A lot of doctors still think they are the same. But in Tietze, you have swelling along with the cartilege pain. You don't have that with Costo. I am still trying to see if there are other symptoms and if I do actually have swelling. (I haven't noticed yet)

The nice thing about both is that doctors (and the internet) wants you to believe that it only lasts for a few weeks. Okay, that's only nice if it were true. I think that it can be true, depending on what caused it. If you were given a diagnosis of it after a sports injury, then yes, there is a chance you can recover completely just fine. However, most of us with this, have it due to an autoimmune issue. (which is why many will also have other health concerns, such as FM or even Hypothyroidism, like me.) But the other other nice thing is that the severe pain comes and goes. You can have a flare up (like me), and you will be in a lot of chest pain, but it will eventually settle for a bit. But it will come back. But at least you have that break for a bit.

I'm waiting for that break again. It's been three days now.


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