Chronic Pain

A 51 year old female living and dealing with lumbar back pain and fibromyalgia. Sharing things I do for relief, reduce stress and control weight gain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's a start....

When my children were little and adolescent age I loved Christmas time.  I loved to shop and meet the challenge of finding everything on their list.  Over the years I found myself dreading Christmas and wondering why.  I had my share of "scrooge" title given to me.  

When my grandkids came along I thought maybe the excitement would return.  Their second Christmas December 2010 I had the worst Christmas ever.  It was during the time I had my nerves burned (radio frequency ablation) and I still think that was the worst time during this entire journey with my back pain.  Not just because of the holidays but I was still working. Being at work, especially when it's such a time of year when everyone is especially kind and giving, I was the most dismal person around.  I remember sending my daughter an email apologizing that I hadn't been around or in touch but I felt as if I would spoil everyones Christmas cheer.  Every week end that passed by in December  I spent in the bed wishing I could go out and shop like everyone else.  It was truly a gift card Christmas.  Those who know me know I'm anti gift card.  

I'm now realizing what happened to my "Christmas Joy".  It's such a busy time of the year.  Decorating for the holidays can be a big chore for any family.  Especially with little ones and your working.  A lot of work for a short time.  Then there is shopping, cooking and traveling. Over the last 6-8 years I've had to convince myself I can get this done. Don't get me wrong, when it's all said I done I step back and say I'm so glad I pushed myself to do it.   This year is no different.  I told my husband when he offered to go into the attic Sunday and pull some things down for me to get started that I wasn't sure if I even wanted to put up a tree.  Maybe I'll just decorate.  I definitely want some Christmas spirit around for my grandchildren.  I started to realize it's just as important for us.  How can I fight the blues if I don't even try to have Christmas cheer around.   

On Monday D pulled the tree down.  I decided to give my floors a good cleaning first.  I vacuumed then took a break.  Then came the mopping...ugh the absolute worst.  Think I'd rather bathe the dog.
Anyhow I was done for the day after that.  Yesterday (Tuesday) I put the tree together.  A little at a time.  Branches spread.  Breakfast.  Pieces put together. Lunch.  Finding a place to put the darn thing. Evening break.  Getting in the corner by myself.  Exhausted.  So the tree is up with lights but who knows when and what next?  

Our dryer broke a couple of weeks back.  It was a VERY OLD Maytag.  So believe what you hear about them.  Our dryer man said it would cost more to fix than to purchase a new one.  Merry Christmas to me. (notice I said "me")  Instead of getting down a few more things for me last evening my hubby was busy unloading and installing the new dryer.  It is bigger so a little complicated to make it work in the small space.  Now I wish I had a bigger machine since I can put a lot more clothes to dry at once.  So it was up to me if I want to accomplish something else today.  I made two trips in the attic and brought down the bulbs, wreath and tree skirt.  Sounds simple enough but I did a lot of shuffling of boxes to "pick around" and get particulars.  I definitely shouldn't be pulling the attic door down but being this is a week long process for me I felt like I had to get another step done today.  

It's noon, I'm still in my pj's and typing this blog during my rest time.  After lunch I plan to decorate the tree a little and make something for D's birthday.  I just talked to him.  In the field on his birthday but said he was overwhelmed by the number of birthday wishes he's received.  Keeping my fingers crossed for my meeting with Mr. R tomorrow.  Who knows maybe this will be the reprogramming that is successful and I will finish this decorating over a few more days.  I am pleased at the fact I have my grandkids taken care of and Christmas cards ordered.  Ahead of last year :-)

Take time to enjoy the reason for the season.  One thing I've learned over the years is that pushing myself to hard spoils what should be a wonderful season.  This year I'm doing what I can, when I can and not worry about what I don't get to.  Christmas will come and go not matter what I accomplish.  

So much talk of the Power ball tonight.  Did you get your ticket?  I've never purchased one since it started years ago.  My husband does but not on a regular basis.  The chances are so small that you have a better chance of winning a grammy award.  Good luck to you if play.

   The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

And the countdown begins

A week and four days since I've last written.  As I'm sure you've all been as well, I've been busy. Leading up to Thanksgiving I started feeling better and better as far as the gastritis.  The one time I failed to take the medication an hour before eating it reared it's ugly head and let me know I better make sure I get it done.   I now have an alarm to remind me am and pm.

On the Friday before Thanksgiving I had the honor of going to my grandson's first movie at the big theater.  Sorry, it didn't leave a good enough impression on me to tell you the name but watching P watch the movie was very entertaining.  Mommy got him some popcorn and even if he didn't just love the movie, he sure loved his popcorn.  He sat in his chair through 75% of the movie then he sat with mommy.  I did ok my self.  I made sure I took some pain medicine before we left and I brought along my back cushion.  ( I've had this particular one for at least 6 years I can remember)  I never took it out of my car so it would always be there.  In my joy of the movie ending, I took P's hand and we started down the steps.  Never once thought about my back cushion until being dropped off at my car.  Oh boo, this is not good.  My dear daughter got right on the phone to see if anyone found it or it was in lost and found.  No luck.  Oh well, you live and you learn.  I have others but this one was perfect for the car and bringing it restaurants.

After my daughter dropped me off I had to go inside Albertson's to pick up an RX.  I needed to do a little shopping but between my back and some minor breathing/chest pain I headed right back to the car after paying for the RX.  I could feel a stomach ache coming on also.
Driving to the house I was day dreaming about the movie, P, my ailments and the thought of making it home with this stomach ache.  Not even a quarter of a mile from my house is a middle school that I just cruised through still day dreaming.  I hear this loud scream that I suddenly realize that it was directed at me.  OMG, I'm in front of the school between 2-4! Seriously, I'm so aware of the school and the hours of reduced speed.  I just had a moment, no excuse.  

There was no way to just turn around.  I turned down my street, backed out back on the main hwy and went back.  When I turned in where the state trooper was I apologized and told him I was feeling ill and just lost track of where I was.  I explained that I lived less   than a mile from where we were but before I could even finish he said, "YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THEN".  I mentioned that I could have kept going but I was honest and I came back but he had an answer for that also.  OH I HAD YOU HE SAID, I WOULD HAVE FOUND YOU ANYWAY.  Sitting there waiting seemed liked forever.  Finally he handed me the ugly ticket and I took it with tears in my eyes and headed home with head hanging down.   Darn, I lost my pillow AND I got a ticket.  This stinks!  Oh well, on to Thanksgiving.  I'll deal with it after.  I've yet to call and find out what I owe :-{

D and I did most of our cooking ahead of time.  On Wednesday I made my first pecan pie.  I've done a lot of baking in my day but a pie I had not.  It sure looked good after it cooled down and turned out it taste great too!  I also made some Nutella cookies.  Oh gosh they are so addicting.  Before going to bed I put the broccoli casserole together so it could just be pulled out and baked, then ready to go.   D took care of the turkey.  Started brining several days before and the poor bird was in the oven at 5am.  While it was cooking he made the stuffing.  We loaded the car and went to my daughters home in a small town 25 minutes away.

It was a small quite Thanksgiving.  My mom was with friends.  My brother with his wife's family and my husbands family was spread out visiting out of state relatives.  I've had Thanksgiving at my house for several years now for dinner.  It was nice to come home and my house like I left it and just a small amount of left overs.  Stating that day was the first temptation to go back to bad habits.  Snacking between meals and eating larger meal than my tummy is used to.  I've still been weighing every Monday and until two days after Thanksgiving was under my last weight posted by three pounds.  Now I've broke even so to speak.  Time to get serious again.  I kind of let Thanksgiving pour over into the week end.

My daughter and my wonderful son in law

Poppa carving the bird

P with his turkey shirt
On Friday I went to Lottie and picked up my granddaughter.  She was thrilled to be here.  Non stop talking.  D and I really enjoyed her company even though most of her time was spent taking care of her "babies".  On Saturday morning we met up with Aunt B and cousin P for beignet's at a coffee shop in a "Cajun Village"  It was a nice experience.  A got to spend some time with Aunt B taking pictures while P and I roamed through some stores.

Thanksgiving and Beignets weren't enough A and I had to make oatmeal cookies today.   I better watch it before I get in trouble.  I'm going to be a good girl this week and eat well and make sure I exercise no matter what.

Even though she was not ready to go home, A was happy to see her mommy and maw maw when we finally made it to meet them.  We ran into traffic we were not expecting.  As soon as I approached the interstate boom, dead still.  We crawled until we were over the bridge and reached Hwy 415. 

so tired!

Looking forward to Thursday coming around.  After my appointment with my therapist I'm meeting with Mr. R.  It's been a month since I last meet with him so I'm praying for some success this go around.  If not, well I guess it's time to sit down with the doctor and see what we can do.  I see no point in having this bionic woman implant for no reason.  I've barely used it since I saw Mr. R last. Oct 24.

This coming week full of special days.  Tomorrow my hubby and I's anniversary, Wednesday-Hubby's birthday, Friday-my mom's birthday.  I'll try not to wait so long to write again.  A dear friend checked in on me a week or so back.  She likes quotes like me and ran one by me I needed to hear.  I'll pass it along.

.  "When you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill.

You bet I will. 
Fighting back, Theresa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Feels good to breath again!

To follow up on this crazy condition I've been dealing with.....On Monday I had a better day.  50% better than any day since it started.  Some were so much worse than others.   So the wondering began.  Do I feel better because I stopped taking the Amitriptyline?  Or maybe because the Omeprezole started working finally?  Not a good idea to deal with two new medications a week a part.  Yesterday was hardly a judge.  Noting to eat or drink all day.  

I had called Monday morning first thing because Saturday and Sunday was so bad to see if they could move up my EGD.  I was really hoping for Monday but I don't control their schedule.  The best they could offer was Tuesday in the afternoon @3.  Hence, the thirst and empty stomach all day.  I won't put myself through that again.  The hunger wasn't so bad but I drink water all day long so that was torture. As far as they symptoms I'd been experiencing they were none to feel.  Again, questions....because second night of no Amitriptyline or because I haven't had any food all day?  It seemed that eating all ways made it worse.

2 o'clock finally arrived and D and I decided to head out early hoping maybe they'd be ready for me then.  I packed a bottle of water and granola bar to inhale as soon as they let me out of there.  I don't know what it is with starting an IV with me but it as many times as I've had one you'd think one would go right but no such luck.  I still had bruising from the one from last Thursday in the ER.  Not to say this young lady wasn't super nice but as soon as she stuck my hand something didn't feel right.  She said, " I'm just going to go ahead and let you know your going to have some bruising."  Oh, if I didn't already know something was wrong.  

When I had my back surgery I had problems and when they finally agreed to take out on the second day and uncovered all the bandage they had over it they saw I wasn't just complaining.  When I had my deviated septum surgery minutes after they put it in I told them it wasn't right.  It burned the entire time and of course I had complications and had to stay overnight when most go home a few hours later so it stayed in over night.  Multiple times I mentioned to them and they would tell me, "honey if we take it out it won't be fun putting it back in either"   I didn't mind, but they never seemed to want to do it.  Oh well, I should be used to it.  That one was the worst, for months my hand was bruised, swollen and burned at random times.  The dentist I was working for told me what you call it when that happens but I can't remember the name.  Basically the big long word means they missed the vein and that"s why every time they gave me something though the IV it puffed up my hand and burned like heck.    Ok, I'm gonna get off this and on to results.  

As soon as I opened my eyes after procedure I felt a fat lip.  What's up with that?  The nurse brought me a ice pack.  It was on inside.  She said sometime when you bite down on mouth piece you can bite your lip and not realize it.  I was thinking great, it will be an ulcer tomorrow that will hang around a week.  They got the doc pretty quick because the anesthesia never really effects me after.  I open my eyes and that's it I'm awake.  D has to have this done every other year and he goes in and out for probably 30 minutes before he says anything sensible.  
So doc had some pictures to show us.  The esophageal dilatation was fine.  The end of stomach was fine.  The middle or body not so good.  There was moderate hemorrhagic erosive Gastritis. The hemorrhage was old blood, not new.  Normal procedure, they took several biopsies.  He said it was mostly likely all the years I took NSAIDS before my back surgery.  I always knew that they would cause problems somewhere down the road but I had no choice,I  had to take them.  He said the Omeprazole would start to heal some and help the inflammation that was present.   Here was my recommendations:

1) Anti-reflus regimen 2) Avoid NSAIDS indefinitely. 3) await biopsy results 4) see him in 3 months to follow up and let him know how I'm doing.

He didn't really seem to think any of this was causing my chest pain.  Neither did he think the Amitriptyline was causing it, but you never know.  He said I should experiment with it.  Even though it was not given to me for that but he said it can actually help with spasms in esophagus especially if you have inflammation.  I'm going to lay off since I'm feeling better.  I may try on week end again to see if it comes back.  I'd really like to find out it didn't cause symptoms because I finally have something to help me sleep that works.  It's just crazy how it started day after I started taking and then 2 days after I stopped it's completely gone.  Who knows?  I'm just happy to be breathing normal again.  Besides the fat lip and swollen and tender hand I'm good. 

Now that this ordeal is hopefully over I'd like to meet with Mr. R again and give some reprogramming a try.  It's been 3 weeks so maybe they'll be some change?  Can't hurt that's for sure.  It would be nice to have some help to do some cooking for Thanksgiving.  

Thanks for all your emails and texts of concern.  I appreciate them.  You'll never hear me say this again but I'm looking forward to getting out to the store.  I was supposed to go the night of emergency room ordeal.  Haven't been out of house since then.  I've been putting off to feel better then it was time for test.  Waiting for it to warm up a little outside.  

Have a great hump day!

The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A trip to the ER

Wow, I can't believe I'm at 5000 page views in 7 months.  Thank you to all my readers.  Your support has made every day struggles a little easier.  I"m happy you continue to stop by.

On my way home Thursday evening around 4:50 I pulled over on the side of the road and just sat for a few minutes.  Then I called my daughter and she called 911.  I had tried my husband but couldn't reach him.  The ambulance came and B, D and myself were in the ER until 11:45 that night.  Here is what happened.

I was with baby C on Thursday.  I had started taking the medicine the gastroenterologist prescribed the day before.  It seemed to help for a few hours but the chest pains would come back a few hours after each dose.  That particular day I had taken it at 5:30am so I could eat breakfast before leaving. ( your supposed to take one hour before meal on empty stomach)  The morning went well but around 2pm the symptoms started.  I text my husband and told him.  He said it will last longer when you've been taking awhile.  Ok, so what do I do meanwhile?  The more time passed the worse it got.  It's really scary to not be able to seem to catch your breath.  It made me think about my son when he was young with his asthma.  I could hear him trying to breath down the hall into my bedroom.  I realize how difficult it is for people with breathing problems.  I was a day away from it being a week dealing with this.

Baby C's mom was home early and she was worried about me.  She didn't want me to drive. She offered to bring me home.  I assured her I'd be fine.  I told her I've been driving like this for days.  I assured her the medicine would kick in soon and I'd be fine.  I was trying to wait til 5 but I couldn't take chest pain and breathing problems any longer.  I took it around 4:30.  I left and promised her I'd text her when I made it home.  Unfortunately I never made it there.

I called my husband as soon as I got in my car.  I wanted to talk to him on the way home because I was really feeling strange.  Even if I had reached him I could hardly talk because I just couldn't catch my breath to save my live.  A few miles down the road and I started feeling tingling in my fingers and following that it moved up arms to my neck and into my face.  I really thought I was having a heart attack.  It got to the point that I had no control over my fingers and started having trouble holding the steering wheel.  Apparently I was going slow because people were blowing their horn at me.  Within minutes I pulled to side of road and called my daughter.  I don't know what I was thinking.  What could she do for me when she was 20-30 minutes away?  I guess I thought she could tell me what was wrong.  By this time, I now realize, I was hyperventilating.  I couldn't get anything out to tell my daughter.  It took her quite some time to understand where I was.  She called 911 and talked with them until someone came.  

I remember people passing by and just staring at me like I was crazy.  After what seemed like forever a police officer tapped on my window and asked me if everything was ok.  Before I could get out what was going on a nice lady in some sort of uniform who had just got off of work came to the door and took over.  I remember her giving me instructions on what to do and assuring me it was going to be ok help was on the way.  I managed to get across to her about my fingers arms and neck.  She told me until I got my breathing under control it was only going to get worse.  She gave me an oxygen mask but it didn't help.  I wasn't much help by the time the ambulance arrived I couldn't talk at all.  They asked about medications but my daughter wasn't sure about everything.  I managed to reach in my purse and feel around for my list.
After that I don't remember much.  I don't remember the ride or getting there.  What I remember first after leaving my car was being in the hall in the hospital and a nurse taking my temp another blood pressure then one came to draw blood.  My husband got there around that time.  My breathing was under control at that point but my entire body was shaking.  D kept grabbing my foot trying to help me.  I put up a fuss about the blood work because I had just been stuck the day before at gastroenterologist office.  She convinced me to do it then left the darn thing suck in there in case they needed it and they did. Then they wanted the sample in the cup.  Not so bad if your legs are working.  I got up to walk and almost fell.  I would have if D wouldn't have been there to catch me.   EKG, Chest x ray everything my GP had ordered on Monday.  Of course they were all negative.  I knew that because they were negative on Monday. 

He wanted one more test and if was negative I could go home.  Cat scan, with and without contrast.  At least they didn't have to stick me again for the contrast one.  It was negative also.  We left the hospital at 11:45.  Thanks to a dear friend and my daughter  my car was already home. They went back and got my car and brought it home for me.  It had been moved to the median, doors unlocked, flashers still on and a sticker on the back saying it will be towed if not moved by.....  it had a date on it.  I don't remember. 

I haven't left my house since then.  Everyday it starts at the same time and continues until I go to bed.  It's been a long and wasteful week end.  I'm not any better after 4 days of the medication and the ER doctor upped the dose to 40mg instead of 20.  I'm just dealing with it. A few times over last three days I've lost it.  It really starts to get to you gasping for air continually for days.  

 I've been working on this post all day long.  I started this morning.  I realized today that the same day this all started I had started a new medication for sleep the night before. I did some searching today on and off when I felt well enough to be on the computer.   I found on the drug site and patients who had the same problem who were taking this medicine.  The drug company even lists trouble breathing and chest pain as a side effect.  I've lost my voice and can't clear my throat no matter how hard I try.  I'm stopping the medication until after the scope on Wednesday to see if there is any change without it.  

Thanks again for all your support in my journey.  
God Bless, Theresa

Every day is a new battle, you can either fight on, or put up your hands and admit defeat.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's new today....

After I came home from voting I was feeling so bad that I just couldn't see me making it to next Wednesday to see the gastroenterologist.  It was getting harder and harder to breath.  As soon as 8 o'clock rolled around I called the Digestive Health Center to see if there was any way they could see me sooner it was becoming an emergency.  The scheduler said she had just hung up with someone who canceled for the next morning @ 8.  Great, I'll take it.  I had an appointment with my rheumatologist @ 10:30 so that worked out perfect.

As we were watching the election coverage last night and I was so miserable I just kept thinking how thankful I was for the person who cancelled.  I just didn't see how I'd have waited the rest of the week, over the week end then 3 more days.  I'd have went to the ER for sure.  Last night and the night before I just skipped super all together,  It wasn't worth it.  Even not eating it was bad but if I ate it was unbearable. 

I woke up this morning with a very horse voice and scratchy throat.  I had none of those symptoms before I went to bed.  Just another sign of reflux I guess.  The good news was I was feeling decent as far as the elephant on my chest.  So I decided to have some breakfast.  It would be past lunch before I made it back home so I had to have something.  By the time I fought traffic and made it to the clinic I couldn't breath and the sharp pain in my ribs/abdomen was back. Everyone asked, are you ok?  The greeter at the door, the person who checked me in and took my money and the PA who asked a million questions before the doctor came in.  Yes, that's why I'm here.  When Dr. Rao came in he'd had the scoop from the PA so he got right to it.  He immediately wanted to know why hadn't I been taking any medication for my reflux.   Because I didn't have any symptoms.  I asked him when the last time I was there because I knew it had been a long time, before my 1st back surgery. In '06.  Wow I didn't think it had been that long.

I explained to him that after the scope the Dr. I was seeing at that time (he is retired now) saw no reason to put me on any medication being I had no symptoms.  Fine by me.  At that time I didn't take any RX medications.  He said just because they found a hiatal hernia doesn't mean I would have reflux symptoms.  A lot of people have a hiatal hernia and never experience any symptoms.  (I've read this also)  This didn't sit well with my ENT.  SHe is the one who referred me there to see a gastroenterologist.  She asked me to see a different Dr. for second opinion because she did see symptoms....chronic sore throat, redness and hoarseness. I'd been seeing her for years and respected her opinion so that is how I saw Dr. Rao the first time.

 He ordered that test where you drink the nasty chalk stuff and they turn you upside down and see what happens.  Fine, I passed.  No reflux.  He just couldn't stop there, I had to do this text where they put tubes through your nose down through your throat into your esophagus.  They hook you up to this monitor that becomes your best friend, like my remote for my stim now.  I had to register every time I ate and anytime I was in a supine position.  Overnight until the next morning and then you can get rid of it.  The worst part of the entire thing was taking those dumb little tubes out.  I was never so glad for something to be over. This text also proved I had no reflux problems.  So my ENT was finally satisfied.  As far as any gasto problems or reflux symptoms I've been fine since then until now. 

So here I am today with not one but multiple symptoms.  He like my GP wasn't quite sure the pain in my abdomen was part of it but he was quite concerned about my heavy chest and trouble breathing.  I told him my GP did a EKG and it was fine but he wasn't convinced with just that.  He was hearing me at my worst.   After the scope he wants me to have a echocardiogram with a heart doctor not the GP.  Great, believe or not, a have a heart doctor on my long list of doctors because my irregular EKG before spine surgery caused me to have to see one.

I filled my RX for reflux along with the new medicine my psychologist prescribed.  Take an hour before breakfast and hour before dinner.  Not working yet but hoping for a miracle so I can get through tomorrow.  I'm going to do my best to follow his other recommendations he asked of me.  Until the scope next Wednesday to lay of the coffee and no carbonated drinks.

The other at bedtime, supposed to help me sleep.  Even though I've tried many different ones with no luck, we'll see.  I'm at least hopeful.  My rheumatologist said it is used for nerve pain also so maybe if it doesn't help me sleep it will help for nerve pain!  Meanwhile I just have to deal with the side pain until the scope is done.  If that doesn't give us any answers I have to see my PM doctor to see if possibly my stimulator is causing it.  Speaking of the stimulator, I tried it today, on really low.  Keeping it low I don't really feel it in my back but it doesn't fire off the unwanted nerves and cause unwanted pain.  That's my only option until I'm willing to work with Mr. R one more time before seeing Dr. Graham for options.  (I already heard them and I don't like either)  It did seem to help a little.  It could just be the chest pain has over come my back pain.  Either way, I hope to get answers for both.

That's all for this weeks doctor visits!  Yeah, no more until next Wednesday.  Looking forward to Friday morning.  P is coming to visit me while momma gets her teeth cleaned. 

GNA, sweet dreams....its what I'm hoping for
a pain free's what I'm praying for

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.
Peter Drucker


Before I get into my ongoing health ordeals I want to share with you my experience when my husband and I went to vote.  According to the news we vote at one of the busiest polling stations.  Woodlawn High School.  When we set out to vote at 7am my first thought was we'd get stuck in a lot of school traffic getting in and out of their.  Leaving home it dawned on me that school was closed.  Upon arriving at the school the parking lot was completely full and I doubted my belief of school being out.  I saw all the cars and thought oh darn they are having school.  Then I started seeing all the signs for voting in the gym. (not building we normally use)  Then I started seeing everyone coming in and out of gymnasium.

As we got closer someone going in asked some one coming out how long did it take.  He said he'd come 10 minutes before opened at 6 and there was already a line  It was 7:15.  I was feeling terrible.  I don't know what was worse; my back, my heavy can't breath feeling in my chest, or the pain in my abdomen.  When I saw the line I told D, no way.  I can't do this.  He asked me to stay until we at least figured out what line we'd be in.  There were several different ones.  A nice lady greeted us and asked where we lived and looked on her map and told us what line to get in.  There were different Zones and within the different zones the lines were broken up into groups of the alphabet.  Of course ours L-W was the longest.  Seriously, it looped around like a line at a ride at an amusement park.  

I waited 20 minutes and I thought I was going to fall on the floor.  My husband is pretty sympathetic to my ailments but for whatever reason he was determined to get me to stay.  He kept telling me, "we're moving".  Yeah, a little. We rounded the end of curve and made it to the straight line.  Then we figured out that this line is to check in and get your name called out for everyone to hear.  The line on the side of ours was to actually vote.  OH MY way.  I told my husband I love you but I can't do this.  I kissed him and promised I'd come back at 3.  That sounded like a slower time to me.  

On my way out the door, that same nice lady we spoke to on the way ins stopped me.  "Honey, are you ok?" she asked me.  No, I told her I'm feeling really bad and I really can't make it through the line.  I'll be back later. "Come with me", she said.  It will be like this all day I'm afraid.  Holding my arm she started guiding me towards the front of the line.  Oh no, I told her, I can't do this.  I heard the crowd complaining about a poor old man who could hardly walk,he had a cane,when they brought him to front of line.  The people around me and I could hear some up front griping.  What would they say about me?  I tried to stop her on the way up there.  I told her it would make me very uncomfortable.  She assured me it would be fine.  Just ignore them.  She informed me that they are instructed to let anyone with any sickness, problem standing or whatever they deemed necessary to move to the front of line.  Of course I did hear it the minute I got up there.  The lady that was next in a very serious mean tone said, "are you kidding me, how many people are you going to keep letting cut in line".  The poll worker just ignored her.  When they asked for my id the lady said again, your really doing this, that's why this line isn't moving.  I turned around with tears in my eyes and told her I really didn't want to do this but the lady insisted I do.  

So I get all checked in and they they had to cut me again into the line of people waiting to vote.  Oh gosh, I thought I was going to throw up.  The lady she put me in front of told me not to worry.  She said one day that lady will need help or be feeling bad standing in a line and she'll remember how rude she was to you.  Thank you, I told her.  I really feel bad about this.  She said, "not to offend you but it's obvious you don't feel good."  After I voted I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I left at 7:50.  So I'd been there 35 minutes.  No telling how long if I'd have stuck it out.

When I watched the noon news I heard them say the lines there were averaging hour and a half to two hours.  I've never experienced anything like that in all my years of voting.  I also know that there were other places in the United States that had much worse conditions. Especially int the northeast.  I can't believe there were still people waiting in line as the final results were coming in and even after the election was called for President Obama.  This morning before I left for my 2 appointments I saw on the Today show that they reopened the polls in FL to let people finish voting.  Unheard of!!

In this long post I really just wanted to point out how important a small kind act is.  She didn't have to do that for me.  In my eyes for her it took a lot of courage to bring me up there knowing she'd hear more griping.  I need to make a point at the next election to see if I see her and thank her again.  Maybe bring something nice for her.  It's a long day for the people who work the elections.  A friend of mine has done it in the past.

Sorry, this was way to long....I'm going to start over about my findings today with my two appointments.  Thanks for still coming back just to hear my whining.  I'll be back later on tonight.

Fighting back, Theresa

Monday, November 5, 2012

Always something....

First and foremost please go and exercise your right to vote tomorrow.  This is such an important election.  Not just the Presidential ! 

For the last three weeks I've had this stabbing pain in my stomach on the right side right under my ribs.  It started out mild. I was just noticing it on and off during the day but nothing to even mention.  Week two I said something to my husband and he guessed maybe a pulled muscle.  It's worse when I try to sit or recline.  Lying flat or standing it goes away to where I hardly feel it.  No, it's not gall stones I had that out at age 21.  While they were in there they took out my appendix so it's not that either.  

Last Monday I realized it had been three weeks and maybe I should have it checked.  By Thursday evening it was so intense I emailed my GP my symptoms and asked if I should see her or maybe my gastroenterologist?  She said to come and see her to rule out some other things first then if she didn't have an answer I'd go there.  I knew in the back of my mind she would tell me to come in and see her.  So I got on the web site and made myself an appointment for Monday (today) morning.  I couldn't wait it's making me miserable along with my back.

For some reason my back was particularly worse this week end.  I spent a lot of time in bed.  Between back and the pain in my ribs I didn't even feel like getting on computer or reading.  On Friday night I started having shortness of breath.  I told myself it was just anxiety about the abdominal pain.  I didn't mention to my husband because he thinks I torment myself with worry already.  When we went to bed he could tell that I couldn't catch a good breath.  It was if someone was sitting on my chest.  This added condition just agitated me more.  

Both symptoms continued all week end.  A couple of times to the point that I thought I'd ask my husband to take me to ER.  Especially at night.  It's so much worse at night.  I could just scream right now it's so intense.  I was so confused if one had anything to do with the other.  Of course I got on the internet putting in my symptoms only to add to the apprehension of waiting to find an answer. I found on a medical site that some studies showed a SCS causing gastrointestinal effects severe enough to warrant the discontinuation of stimulator.  The side effects seemed to be due to an autonomic nervous system imbalance created by the stimulation of the spinal cord.  I tried to forget that I read that.

So I saw the GP this am.  I was there an hour and 45 minutes and left with an EKG, Chest x ray and my flu shot.  ( I wanted to add sore arm to my list of complaints).  All ok, so she had two conclusions.  In 08 I had to see a gastroenterologist by request of my ENT because she said she saw signs of reflux in the back of my throat.  So after the visit he ordered a scope and it showed I had a mild hiatal hernia.  Since I had no symptoms he told me he didn't see any reason for me to take medications.  If you start to have symptoms come back and see me and we'll start you on some medications.  With that said, my GP wanted me to make an appointment with him. (that's where I should have went first). 

I have an appointment next week.  She also recommended I discuss the abdominal pain with my back doctor being that I've been having complications with my stimulator.  It's so hard to get in to see him in a decent time frame so I called and talked to his nurse.  She said she'd check with him and ask him if the stimulator could be causing this type of pain and he said yes it could, to come in.  After getting a second opinion with Mr. R I decided I'd wait until I see gastro doctor next week and see what he says.  I don't find the abdominal pain as a symptom on any of sites I read about hernia's on.  I did however read just what the gastroenterologist told me that many people have the condition with no symptoms at all.  I just hope I can stick it out until next Wednesday :-(

He looks so grown up

Isn't he just the cutest grandson ever? I can't believe my grandchildren are three already.  I miss the baby stage.  You don't feel so needed anymore.  They can do most anything on their own now.  

Hanging in there....Theresa

The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A little encouragement goes a long way....

The comment below was left on post "partial answers" I read it and thought how does she know my thoughts and say the same things I say.  A perfect example, not being able to do simple stuff.  I'm grateful somedays I can do more than others but it seems to me that when I really need to have a good day, those are the worst.  

Hi... My name is Alicia I had my stimulator put in 8 weeks ago. I dont know how to feel!! It is not helping in my upper back. It helps to get rid of some of the pain in lumbar and lower back. What really gets me is not being able to do simple stuff.... when I do little stuff around house;Im quickly reminded by my body sit down. Im in pain all the time.... now Im second guessing my decsion to get stimulator..... please email any suggestions..

Those little things around the house have to be broken down for me.  I am stubborn and for a long time continued to just knock it out and get it over with.  After that the next day I was useless.  Now I try do at least one thing a day.  By the time I'm done I need to start over but at least it gets done.  My husband has heard so many times I was going to......blah blah blah but by the time I finished Wal Mart and another errand I had to come home.  When I was working I know it really got old for him to come home every day and find me in the bed.  I always felt like he just couldn't know what I was going through.  Am I sounding familiar?

I replied to Alicia's comment and told her I'd communicate with her via email so I wouldn't just be repeating myself for all my readers or have a comment a page long.  I gave her an email address to contact me and little did I know I heard right back from her.  While reading her email the tears began to flow.  For the first time in the last month I felt a flutter of hope and relief that I'm not crazy.  That others are assuring me they are dealing with some of the same struggles I have.  We're not determining who has it worse just that we're there for each other and no matter the level or time of pain you're in, ITS REAL and YOUR LIVING with it.  Here is what she said to me.....

Hi, Theresa!
 Thank you for responding. I have been following your blog since August 30th when I had my surgery. It has been 8 long weeks! I was on my morning walk last november, and I was hit by a car while walking across the street. Since then I have had neck fusion surgery to repair the c4-c5 disks that were rubbing in my neck. This left me with a metal plate and four screws. I have disks that are also rubbing in my lumbar... I did spinal decompression, therapy nothing helped. I'm allergic to the steroids, they caused me to bleed internally... To keep from having surgery on my back I decided to have the stimulator put in.  When I first got it I found that it worked pretty good to help me out with my daily pain. I felt a little relief in the lumbar and legs... Im noticing now that the pain Im having in my upper back is horrible... The stimulator does nothing for this area... When I told the Doc, about this he said it may not be able to reach this area, due to the spinal fliud in that area being thick. I'm trying to give the stimulator a chance... But I can't even sit at the kitchen table for long periods of time, because of the pain in my upper back. Im a freelance graphic designer and can no longer work... What gets me is not being able to do the stuff I love to do. I'm really depressed... I see a therapist every week. My life has changed so much in the last few months. I't seems like no one understands!!! I have gotten to the point where I dont want to explain anymore, I do ALOT of journaling!!! When you tell people your in pain on a daily basis,they don't know what to say to you. I have a appointment on Monday to see my Doctor and the St. jude rep. I hope that she can do some fine tuning (as you put it ; )  and make me feel a lil better. I have a torn rotator cuff that , I will be having surgery on in December. I thought that getting the stimulator would help me move forward, but it feels like I'm going back. Your blog has helped me alot. It helps to know that someone else is going through the samething......

I'm sure if you've been following my blog for long a lot of her words sound familiar.  When she said " I've gotten to the point where I don't want to explain anymore"  It it home for me.  One of the biggest reasons I've become a hermit and stay home any chance I get.  This doesn't sit well with my therapist, she wants me out spending time with friends and talking about other things.  She always says, your friends will understand that some subjects I just don't want to talk about.  I'm ok with that, but it's obvious I can't do some of the things they can and I just feel like a party pooper. 

My heart goes out to Alicia.  Her life was great one day and completely changed the next.  What a long hard journey to recover and she's not finished yet.  Kind of odd that she is getting coverage where I'm yearning to have it.  Doesn't seem fair that you go through this kind of procedure and it doesn't work.  I feel the same as her.  Relief in the beginning and then wham out of no where I totally lost what coverage I had.  Then dealing with all these nerves being effected that don't need to be that actually cause pain for me.  It was so much better earlier on which doesn't make sense.  Not even to the doctors.    I'm still hoping in a little more time maybe Mr. R or Lovely will be able to get it the right place for me.  If not, I have some big decisions to make. 

She has a grandson she longs to be able to care for and spend precious time with.  That went straight to the heart for me.   Something else we feel the same about and both said is if we feel this way now, what will it be like 10 years from now.  I've said so many times that when I first get up in the morning I feel like a 47 year old trapped in a 90 year old body.  It's slow moving and wait for the drugs to kick in.

Donna; thanks for the nice comment.  It's readers like you and Alicia that lift my spirits.  I never like hearing someone else is dealing with this type of pain but knowing that you understand helps you cope a little better. Please fill me in on how you are doing.  One thing  you can count on is if you reach out to me, I'll be here.  I've contacted two SCS patients with a blog and the never answered. One I tried again because our cases seemed so similar I thought she could give me some answers.  She recovered and her life completely changed.  She went back to doing things she used to do.  So well that her blog isn't anything about SCS's its all about her career.  

Leaving you with a picture of an aloe vera plant I'v had since 2010.  It was started from my friend Betty's plant and has grown and been shared with some of my friends.  Odd thing it has this add bloom (?) in the middle that I've never seen before.  My husband things it may be one of those types of plants that bloom every 5 years or so.  Who knows but it's unusual.

Our pool is officially closed.  D put the cover on this week.  A sad day, I'm already wishing May was here. It looked so pretty outside today.  Sun was shining and Dallas wanted to just lay on the deck and sun bathe.  Didn't feel like winter coming at all.  If I had my way I'd sure keep it away.  Makes my condition so much more intense.  Have a safe and fun week end.  Here in Baton Rouge we are bombarded with Bama fans for the big game tomorrow night.  

Fighting back.....Theresa

The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's been awhile....

I don't think I've ever had this much time go by without writing.  Every since the news last Wednesday I've had a hard time excepting it.  I left there feeling like something else failed an here I go again searching for relief.  It's been a sad and blue week for me so I just didn't want to pour all my blues onto you.  Here is what's been going on since I last post.

Saturday I drove to Lottie to pick up my granddaughter.  We came back to my house to play awhile.  My husband had left earlier than me to help out at the church fair.  He came home two hours before P's party.  I'm sure my daughter would say it turned out just as she'd hoped.  P had a lot of guests and all of his gifts were things he really loved.  I was on my feet for a good while.  I struggled through but I was hurting.  Got home kind of late and I couldn't just jump in the bed like I normally would feeling the way I did.  I had to take care of getting A something to eat and ready for bed.  I was in tears by the time I finally was able to lie down.  Thank God that some relief came then.  Some fun pictures of P's day.  

Having fun with Poppa

Something fun for all the kids to do

One happy boy

The next day A had a visit with her daddy before going home. I went to the fair for a short time to make my husband happy.  He had been working there the entire week end.  I didn't make it long walking around and I was ready to go. I had an hour to rest before driving A to meet her mommy.   It was hard when we left.  He cried, she cried and I barely held it together but one of us had to.  Before I could reach the interstate she was fast asleep.  When I returned home at five I forced myself to walk a little while.  Even though it hurts the doctor says it's good to get some blood circulating as much as I can to help the inflammation in that area.  After that I hit the couch for TV and rest. The day was mostly over anyway.  

A playing with P's cousin on the other side of family

Monday I did my usual weigh in.  I gained a pound but that doesn't surprise me at all.  Last week was awful for exercise.  I had dinner out Wednesday night, a hot dog and birthday cake on Saturday.  This coming up week will be my last week before my membership expires.  I don't feel the need to continue.  I will continue to weigh every Monday to make sure the weight doesn't start to creep back in on me.  When you first get off of Weight Watchers it's kind of hard to stop eating some of the things you were eating and your still a little fearful of "the bad stuff".  Thats what it teaches you, portion control and eating healthy.  I feel good knowing if I have trouble I know what to do to take control.  This is my third time doing Weight Watchers and it worked for me every time.

Wednesday was tough.  I had an appointment with my therapist.  Everything I didn't want to hear she told me.  I know she is the professional and knows best but her advise is hard to follow as a parent.  Today was appointment with psychologist.  I see her once a month to monitor medications.  When she heard the story about my stimulator she couldn't believe that my doctor isn't more concerned or telling me what is going to happen now.  Not even any encouragement that things will get better.  I've tried it several times since last Wednesday.
No changes, so I just turn it back off.  Right now I'm doing better without it than with it on.

I haven't been sleeping at night so that just adds to the other aches and pains.  Sleep is so important. My psychologist wanted me to try another med to help me sleep.  The last one she gave me kept me up all night.  I hope this one doesn't.

Tomorrow I'm going to share with you a story of a fellow chronic pain patient. (She gave her permission) Our cases are both alike and quite different.  The big difference is a year ago her normal life was taken from her by an accident.  Since then her life has drastically changed and she deals with pain everyday.  For me it's been going on for more than 10 years but just slowly progressed.  It wasn't that bad in the beginning but I always knew in my heart where I was headed. 

She commented on a previous post about her stimulator. Her surgery was 8 weeks ago.  I replied back and gave her my email in case she wanted to ask or tell me anything that was personal or just to long to type on a comment.  When she emailed me back I cried the entire time reading her story.  Every thing she said was exactly how I feel and the way I think.  We have so much in common. It really helps knowing someone understands and doesn't think your crazy.   Knowing that I've reached some people lifts my spirits a little.  That was my purpose, to journal and to hopefully answer questions for someone else considering or has a SCS. 

Until tomorrow God Bless
Never giving up.....Theresa

The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.