A reader posted these questions in my comment section. I'll do my best.
1. How do you check to see that your costo is still around? Is there a certain movement that you do or can you just feel it regularly without movement? Is it only on one side?
I feel it constantly, on the left side. Occasionally, on the right as well.
2. Is your chest tender? Can you feel it underneath your clothes?
Yes, tender to the touch and Yes. Always
3. What methods of pain alleviation help you? Have you ever seen any kind of improvement or is it too hard to tell?
That's a loaded question that I'm walking through and working through. The biggest change I've seen is while keeping a calender of my pain, it's gone down a couple of notches as I've figured out what makes it worse. This way, I can nail the sources of aggravation. As you read through the blog, you can see has worked and what has not. And I blog about what I've tried HERE.
4. What kinds of natural anti-inflammatories are there? I'm worried that I am taking too many Ibuprofen and needing to get my kidneys flushed.
Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in this area. I stopped taking anti-inflamms because they didn't help me. I did at one point take natural willow bark. I'd go to your local health food store and chat it up with them. I think it's a balance of taking the edge off...and trying not to mask the pain, but digging to find out why we have it in the first place.
5. How often would you say you check for pain and if so, how do you check for it? Do you think this leads to increased inflammation?
I don't have to check for it, it never goes away. If a costo sufferer has to check for it, that's a great sign. I feel it just standing and breathing. It's not a matter of if it's there or not, it's a matter of if it escalates to where it's stabbing-heart attack feeling-can't catch my breathe pain, or moderate pressure- in- my- chest-I can't -think -about- anything- else -but- THIS- pain. And yes, if a costo sufferer is constantly checking for the pain, I do think it will get more aggravated.
6.a. Has you ever felt this kind of pain in your back?
Yes, when I was diagnosed, I felt I was walking around with a spear sticking through my heart to my back. The massage therapist has saved the day with my back. I still have to be very aware of my posture and stretching so that my back doesn't pain the for the sins of my ribs.
6.b. Is yours only on one side and if so, which side?
Left side, sometimes on the right. But always on the left.
7. What would you say is your daily schedule (Heating, diet, exercise) relating to costo and what methods you think have helped?
It changes depending on what is helping and what's not. I'm always on the hunt for the formula that works best for me. Currently, almost daily, I ice, walk, rest, medical massage therapy, skilled relaxation, keep a calender, journal, pray, read, sauna, eat organic, now trying gluten free. It's all trial and error.
8. Do you believe in the possibility that costo needs to be inflamed in order to get blood flow to the area in order to be healed?
No. I think circulation is key, not inflammation. This is why light exercise, sauna and massage therapy can be helpful in the healing process.
9. What did you in the two years where you were not diagnosed with costo? Did you just continue to work out regularly?
I was terrified every day, not knowing why I couldn't breathe without pain. I continued to work out. Hard. Very Dumb. Very driven, but very dumb. But I had no clue that I was making it worse. At that time the pain was so bad- I couldn't tell the difference between the pain of breathing or picking up a 20 lb weight- it all killed me. I did, however, stay away from the beach press- both a regular bench press and an overhead bench press. I ended up in the ER every time I tried one. Then slowly, I became more debilitated, and stopped it all together. The bouncing from just walking would take my breathe away.
10. What was the exact exercise that led to you having costo?
I was driving down the road to work when I had my first attack. I was just....driving. I do not believe mine is trauma alone. I believe it's auto-immune, emotional, and food related as well. I was training physically VERY hard at the time. I had just changed my diet, my physical routine, and had just had my heart shattered into pieces by my 7 year on and off again cheating man who got another girl pregnant. Ladies, if he shows you who he is the first time? Believe him.
Alright, so there you have it. Ladies and gents, I'm no pro and my answers may or may not help anyone. But if you have learned just one little helpful hint from this blog, I am BEGGING you to put your story out there for others to read or listen to. I don't care if it's on this blog, or an e-mail to a friend, a FB page, or in support group, or a forum, or sharing with all your co-workers. Share your condition. Pay it forward.
You can help others with their condition by taking just a few minutes to talk about yours. Share your story. We gotta tear down the fear and stigma that comes with invisible illnesses. And by sharing with just one person your story, so can they learn from you, it becomes a little less invisible.