Does Coastal Fog Torture anyone Besides Me?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Abednego, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Abednego

    Abednego New Member

    DOES COASTAL FOG TORTURE ANYONE BESIDES ME? I can't find any doctors or information who can help me IN THE LEAST. This problem has become so bad that I live in constant fear of the weather.
    I am a 55-year old man with severe fibromyalgia and hereditary osteoarthritis (the arthritis is no mystery--my body bears the effects of too many jumping events in track and field, several whiplash accidents, and a pretty nasty fall on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior twenty-three years ago, plus I had an extensive history in my younger years with mononucleosis and rubella--three times for the latter--which may have contributed to the fibromyalgia). I have been unable to work outside the home for ten years because I am almost always in pain, often quite severe, and am perennially sleep-deprived.
    I live in Marin County, California, up in the hills at about 500 feet elevation; whenever there is a fog bank present within a few miles of the coast, my pain levels go up dramatically and remain that way without relief until the fog dissipates, even if this takes weeks. When the wind starts to blow ahead of the fog, my pain levels shoot through the roof and I become utterly exhausted and depressed (in recent years this depression, which seems of physical origin, has intensified as it has become augmented by psychologically-based depression, due to the repeated frustration of renewed physical torture and involuntary down time--but the fog itself actually causes depression directly as well, I'm sure of that). When the wind blows hard I get "fluttering" pains in my feet, like someone is taking a demolition hammer to them. After the fog finally comes over and blankets the area I have unbelievable pains running up my hands and feet into my arms and legs, so bad I have to often awaken my wife and get her to VIOLENTLY massage, twist, turn, fold, spindle, and mutilate my feet and legs--she really has to get rough to have an effect. Can you feature "restless legs syndrome" over your entire body? That's what it's like--I can get some relief from Yoga or hot showers but it takes half an hour or more. When the fog is in, or when it's very cold and damp outside, as it is much of the winter and spring, I wake up 30 to 100 times per night if I sleep at all. I have obstructive sleep apnea as well, also hereditary, which further exacerbates the sleeplessness.
    The only doctor I've had who ventured an opinion, a pain specialist, said "changes in barometric pressure are destructive to joints". This is the most help I've gotten. I saw the only two rheumatologists to whom I have access; they were not helpful. One insisted I try a couple of antidepressants, which made me feel impaired, angry, and ill, so I refused to continue on them and he wouldn't have anything else to do with me. The other wouldn't give me enough time to even talk about my fog problems, in the least. Last week I found an article quoting a rheumatologist from Encinitas about fog affecting people with fibromyalgia, so I wrote him a most polite and clearly-worded letter telling him that I had not encountered anyone else who seemed to know anything about fog and fibromyalgia and did he know of anyone anyone in my area, from any medical specialty, who might have some information about this subject? I was very clear and emphasized that this situation is completely destroying my life. He was so compassionate and caring that he instucted his secretary to telephone me to say that he does not treat people who aren't under his care (which I certainly did not ask for--I was very careful to word my letter in a way that left no doubt that I was asking only about specialists, and not for referrals, and not for any other information); he also had his secretary tell me to contact "a rheumatologist in my area". Clearly he didn't even bother to read my letter through. I was so dissapointed I sat down and cried like a baby, although that's nothing new; I spend a lot of time in a darkened room, crying, because I don't know what else to do. I pray a lot, for myself and other people as well. My only relief comes from the drugs I take--Oxycontin, which helps with the more extreme fog pain, Vicodin HP around the clock--I have to dose myself repeatedly in the night--and medical cannabis, which is legal in my state (I carry an ID card from trhe Attorney General's office).
    This situation is very hard on my family; my wife is largely supporting us while being at the same time in treatment for something similar to Borderline Personality Disorder and I absorb a phenomenal amount of anger and verbal abuse on top of everything else I'm going through; I'm trying to help my family by writing novels and short stories to try to publish, but my wife doesn't seem to care much about my efforts. I feel very much alone except for my friends with whom I pray, my big lop rabbit,who loves me, and my two boys, whom I have stayed home with since they were born. I want so badly to move where it's warmer but my wife is attached to the area, having spent her whole life here, and part of her pathology involves perpetual procrastination regarding just about anything difficult, which makes the idea of selling and moving a nightmare. But when I'm away from the fog I feel so much better--when I visit Hawaii, all I have is arthritic pains when it rains; when go to the desert, I sleep all night and generally have to wake up to medicate, etc. only once. Storm winds and other kinds of winds don't affect me; similarly, the fog up in Vancouver, which doesn't move as fast as it does here, doesn't cause me anywhere near as much pain as the fog in Northern California; the fog in LA causes me quite a bit of pain but not as bad as at home, probably because it's warmer by at least seven or eight degrees.
    I am not kidding when I say that this problem with the fog is destroying my life. I used to be a pretty optimistic person, but I would say that, on a scale of 1 to 10, my satisfaction rating has dropped to a 2 or less. Most of my friends are mental health specialists, but there is little that any of them can say or do to help me; I am doing about as well as anyone less than a saint could do under the circumstances. If anyone can offer me any information that can help me I will be profoundly grateful, and I will ask God's blessings upon them in great abundance.
  2. Abednego

    Abednego New Member

    Thanks for your quick reply--it might be of interest to you that my mother (who just turned 80 and is in pretty good shape), who has osteoarthritis but not fibro, also can get headaches from the fog--she swears that molds and fungi can multiply in the fog, actually in the air, (an allergist told her that, and that allergies can aggravate osteoarthritis as well, but I sure as heck can't get any doctors outside of that specialty to send me to an allergist--"current medical knowledge does not support an allergy-fibromyalgia connection", and similar nonsense). She has suffered from severe allergies most of her life, and swears that she thinks allergies may be conditioning my reaction (I have lived in the Bay Area for 45 years so I've had plenty of time to get sensitized to whatever lives around here).

    If you and/or your son have access to a sympathetic allergist, and you haven't pursued this angle, it might help (I might add that my mother was a medical office manager until she retired, and would have likely have been a doctor had she not been born in the South in 1926; her opinions on medical issues are not without merit).

    Strange that the cold and fog neither one bother me as much up North, similar to your experience; the topography of Northern California seems to promote rapid barometric changes; I suspect the oscillation of layered air masses has something to do with my pain, since the Sacramento Valley "breathes" through Marin and Sonoma Counties. When I go inland the thunderstorms don't bother me too much. Hawaiian storms that come here cause me discomfort when they approach, but as soon as the rain arrives I feel pretty good, like the pressure is relieved and the warm rain is kind of fun. Probably I'm at my worst when we have "ice fogs" after cold rains; we were fortunately spared this last year! Good old global warming.

    Thanks for the tip about your friend who moved to Palm Springs. I love the desert weather--recently when it hit 107 degrees here, I was out happily pickaxing the back lawn (my next door neighbors' Guatemalan workers were sitting in the shade, staring at me in disbelief and discussing the state of my mental health, unaware that I know some Spanish). I have been checking out real estate in PS and Tucson for a couple of years and really wondering if I ought to just "spit ot the pits and do it"--boy, a house in the Bay Area can sure get some digs in Tucson,although I'm kind of reluctant to leave the state. Nonetheless, my fibromyalgia would sure love a house I didn't have to repair all the time, like our beloved 81-year old wreck, and I'd like to be a real father to my boys for their remaining years at home--plus, I might even be able to work outside,in one of the fields for which I'm trained (organizational development and parapsychological research)instead of relying on the publishing field to recognize my supposed talent. I keep reading quotes from doctors saying "moving is not the answer"--so I really value hearing about people who are glad they did!

    One last thought: My ancestors lived away from the coast for over 200 years--every single one--allowing plenty of time for any Scottish weather-resistance to be "bred out" in favor of those who can tolerate hot weather, such as in the deep South where they were living. I was born in Detroit and also lived in Tennessee. I sometimes wonder if I would be better if I moved where there are four clear-cut seasons; there may have been some biological triggers set in my childhood. Here we get our seasons jumbled up into a sort of unrecognizable salad that's never the same from year to year. Maybe some bodies prefer consistency! Were you born away from the Coast? I realize this last stuff is voodoo medicine, but one has to consider even the oddest angles to get a complete picture of anything.
  3. mrdad

    mrdad New Member


    I live just South of you in S.F. I live in the

    Bannana Belt with quite a bit of Sunshine most of the

    day but havn't noticed any effect relating to the Fog.

    Have you lived in other places void of fog by which you

    can make a comparison?? "A change of climate may be in

    order if you feel it is interfering with your health.

    Glad you found the Board. Was over your way Fri. Nite

    in Mill Valley and it was foggy then!

    MRDAD
  4. kirschbaum26

    kirschbaum26 New Member

    Dear Abednego:

    Not sure about this, but I have also heard that changes in barometric pressure can bring about pain with osteo-arthritis and RA. Kinda funny about your comment about LA fog not being as bad. I live south of LA, on the water, and actually LOVE the fog. I cannot tolerate the heat or the sun...so an overcast, foggy day is something I love. I have had the a/c on since May. We have a very good air purifier built into our new system, so it is better for me to be inside anywhay.

    I have had RA for 10+ years, and FMS for probably 35+. I have lived in CT, WI, IL and CA. I have had trouble sleeping all of my life...just got worse about 10 years ago, when I could only sleep for 40 minutes at a time. Flexeril and soma have helped with the sleep. I do not have apnea, but have a terrible time staying asleep...pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms often wake me up. I have gone the vicodin route...took it for about 5 years, and I continued to work full time, play sports, etc. Got off vicodin about 5 years ago, and do not really want to get back on it.

    Currently I am in a terrible flare of RA. Have tried ENBREL and now am on HUMIRA which is not only not working, but I have had a respiratory problem since I started in May. I also have some liver problems, most likely from taking more than the max daily dose of advil for the past 10 years. That limits the meds I can take for the RA. I am currently on STD from my employer (large aerospace company where I have worked for 17 years). Next month, I will start my LTD through UNUM PRovident. Fortunately, I was able to sign up through my employer for LTD at 70% of my current income, or I would be in big trouble.

    About moving. I think you should do it. Not sure if Tuscon is where I would send you...it is really a very different (less tolerant) place from the SF area. You might like Palm Springs more. The real estate there is still through the roof, but you can still find affordable homes. Not sure what ages your sons are, so school might be an important issue for you. Have you thought about spending some time in the CA desert or Arizona before you move. The summer here is the "off" season, and most palm springs area condos are rented by the month or by the season to Canadians who are called snowbirds. You might be surprised at the reasonable cost of renting for a month or two.

    Good luck to you, and hope that you can find something that works for you.

    The other poster is correct. You need to be responsible for your own health. I can understand your hesitancy about your wife. My mom is a rapid cycling bi-polar, who has recently refused a new dx of borderline personality disorder. In my humble opinion, you are never going to please her, so you need to please yourself, and take care of yourself.

    Just one more thought...can you move away from the coast? I thought that there were areas of the bay that have completely different weather...east of the city? Just an idea.

    Ingrid

    [This Message was Edited on 08/20/2006]
  5. Abednego

    Abednego New Member

    Thanks for your response--there are a number of reasons that make it difficult to move; either my family comes with me or I go alone, and we haven't sufficient income to finance two households at present, until and unless I can start producing serious income again. Also, my Father-in-Law, who is a wonderful person that has always been kind, and loving, and accepting towards me, is dying of cancer and my wife is his only surviving child and loves him very much. I may be in intolerable pain but I don't think God wants me to try and force the issue at this time; I want my father-in-law to be with us as long as he can, and my mother-in-law will likely be in rotten shape when it's all over, and any attempt of mine to move my family out of this area would hurt others and probably result in the permanent destruction of my family. I do not think I could survive this, unless I planned to go into a monastery for the rest of my life; I have been through too many things that would kill an ordinary person deader than a doornail and I am tired.
    So whether or not I have a choice is a loaded issue. In an extreme sense, yes, I do; it would benefit me to move and would indirectly benefit my family, but it would cause tremendous strife and suffering to try to do it at any point in the near future. If I had a lot of money and could afford to travel with impunity it might work, but I don't. My kids don't need to be subjected to a separation or divorce, either, for myriad reasons.
    I appreciate your response, especially having heard so much advice NOT to move.
  6. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Hi,
    This is a tough one for you.

    I'm a San Francisco native. On top of that, we used to go to Capitla or Carmel for two weeks every summer, - hence - fog.

    I soon realized that the fog, and the accompanying change in baromatric pressure, caused a lot of pain, because of my arthritis. My Dr. told me to get high and dry. So , as soon as I could, I did.

    I moved to Paradise, a mining town 2,000 feet in the Cascade/Sierra ranges. We occassionally have fog, and humidity, but only for a few days a year. I'm a lot more comfortable.

    This, combined with taking MSM and drinking Aloe Vera Juice, have really helped me. I still feel my arthritis, but it is ever so much better, and I'm not so depressed. In fact, I'm not depressed at all, except for occasional times when something dire happens.

    Good luck to you.
    Terry
  7. MsE

    MsE New Member

    We are all so different! For me the Coastal fog is a blessing; it's the hot days I can't bear.