Follow up

I went to see the surgeon and the physician’s assistant.  Both were extremely kind, understanding, and I appreciated them so much (I’ve not always had good experiences with doctors, so this office has been amazing).

The doctor said that I have lost a lot of reflexes on that side.  Yeah, it was pretty obvious….. when he was testing my reflexes, that leg/foot combo wouldn’t move.

He did recommend surgery.  He said he doesn’t recommend surgery for everyone but he said it was really obvious that my disc is very very bad.   The surgery would be a discectomy.  He reassured me that I would get some relief, maybe not all relief, but it was hard to tell but the hope is 100% relief eventually.

As he was discussing surgery, I started to shake… and my scalp started to twitch, and I held back tears.  Of course.  Here comes that lovely anxiety again.  Both of them seemed startled by my reaction and they prescribed Valium…. a lot of it O_o.  I had never taken valium before.

I tried it that first night.  Wow…… that is good stuff.  It didn’t make me sick – that’s a miracle!  And it did relax me enough to have a normal life.    I started taking Valium every day, but only one and only in the evening.

In one week, I have lost 6 pounds.   I researched weight loss on valium and it appears that those with anxiety disorders can lose weight on it.  Well check THAT out…..who knew?

But then yesterday…… yesterday blew my mind.

I worked all day at the computer.  I went to take my daughter to the barn and I reached forward in my car without thinking to release the emergency brake.  Usually I do that and quick pull back and have to use my foot to release the brake.  I bent completely forward and did it – NO PAIN!

I don’t want to jinx this.

I didn’t limp last night.  I did have some pain when I stood up after sitting on the couch for a little bit late last night, but nothing that stopped me in my tracks and made me grown/yell out with pain.  I still had a numb foot.

I haven’t felt this good since December.  But I can’t get my hopes up.  When I thought I was cured in December, a month later, I sneezed and it all went to hell….. so now I am going to be extra careful….. and lose this other 14 pounds.  We’ll see how it goes.  I really hope I’m heading toward real relief.

My surgery was scheduled for May 3rd…. I had moved it to June 12th as I have a business to run and much to get done first….. just maybe… dare I say it?  Maybe I won’t need surgery?

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Side effects of epidural steroid injection

 

It’s Thursday.  I got my injection on Monday.  I now have the period from hell.  I’m surprised I haven’t passed out and needed a transfusion.  I know it is too much info, but seriously, I have heavy periods to begin with, this is downright crazy.  It’s not right at all.  My breasts are burning as well.  I don’t understand why this is going on.

 

 

Last night, I flipped out over a small cut on my finger, and about the fact that my puppy was hogging the blankets…. here we go again…. feels like a similar reaction like when I was on prednisone.  Awesome.

 

 

 

Pain relief?  Nope… nada… nothing.  I’m in just as much pain as before, only now it feels just a touch sharper.

 

To top everything off, I’m now getting sick on Lortab.  This is a weird one, but I have always had motion sickness my entire life, but it got worse several years ago when I went on a deep sea fishing trip.  I had to make the whole boat turn around… it was BAD.  Since then, if I get on a ride at an amusement park, I immediately am sick.  I can now even make myself motion sick when driving – which is very strange.  I did read later that you can trigger worse motion sickness for some strange reason.  Anyway, as I have said, I usually take Lortab in the evening before bed only, so I can still be a little productive during the day.  Well, as a family we last minute decided to go out, but I had already taken my Lortab.  In the car, I was soooooo sick.  It was almost immediate.  Now every time I take Lortab, I get nauseous, and if I take it at night, I have what feels like morning sickness when I wake up and it lasts for hours.  WTH is going on?

 

 

 

I see the surgeon again today.  I sure hope he listens and understands that this is no joke…. if I end up with the same reactions on this that I did on prednisone, they may as well commit me to a mental institution for a little “vacation” for a while….  cause no one can live with me, and I can’t live with myself going back into that “bad place” that was prednisone.  Oh, and let us not forget, if I don’t get all three of these injections done, my insurance company is probably going to deny anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First spinal injection

spinal

Well I did it.  I had my flouroscopically guided epidural injection today.   It sucked.

I apparently have deep-seeded issues most likely stemming from my childhood of getting anxiety in medical situations.  It’s not the pain or the needles at all…. it’s the idea of being left in a vulnerable position (in a little hospital gown), and having no way “out”.    Strangely, if I could go in fully clothed, lay down on a table, and have my shirt pulled up, and they stick me with a needle, I would be absolutely fine.   There is something that has been incorrectly manifested in my head somewhere that says you are humiliated, vulnerable, and are trapped….. RUN.  It’s some sort of self-preservation  — flight mode.

The minute I walked into the surgical center, I started breaking down.  Again, I hate this kind of thing.  I generally think of myself as a strong independent person.  But I broke down immediately.  As I was being led back to the prep area, I was told I would have to give a urine sample.  WHY?  to see if you are pregnant – but I have my tubes tied.  Doesn’t matter.  Right off the bat, that kind of thing sets me off.  The “procedures” that make zero sense.   Knowing my insurance company, they will probably not pay for that urine test because my tubes are tied – they did that before.  :/  But I had no choice, had to do it.

The next thing that bothers me is the total disregard to your dignity that most places have, and I’m sorry, there are some really great nurses out there but many of them, because this is their job, they lose touch with the idea that some people don’t like being stripped of all of their dignity.  I’m one of THOSE patients.  I’ve had hand surgery that they made me take everything off, even my underwear.  Why does that bother me?  It does.  It totally bothers me.    I do have to say, this surgical center allowed me to keep my bra and underwear on.  That was nice.

The nurse looked at me like I was weird for being upset.  I hadn’t even met this doctor yet, I have no idea who he is or exactly what we are doing.  She said, “we don’t sedate for lumbar injections.”  Wait, what?  My doctor’s office said I was going to be sedated.   I looked at the nurse and said look – if you guys would have let me eat this morning, I would have taken two Lortabs and been absolutely without a care and wouldn’t be freaking out right now.  She did talk to someone and they agreed to give me some Versed.  I said – I don’t care to be put to sleep because I really can’t stand that, but just something to take the edge off… that’s all I want.  So she gets the idea that it was because of pain, and she said “we are going to have to start an IV” like that would upset me.

Nope, I didn’t even flinch.  I don’t care about IVs….. what I care about is being trapped, humiliated, and vulnerable.

Well, to top things off, they got backed up because one of their procedure rooms was unusable….. I then got to sit there, in tears, for two hours.  TWO HOURS, while they took everyone else, and I was last one, AND the only one that was completely freakishly anxiety ridden……. I dunno, I would think maybe you want to get the freaker-outer out faster, wouldn’t you?

I really have a problem when my feelings are not acknowledged (one of my young “medical” memories was of being taken by my grandmother to get blood tests and her lying to the doctor and telling them I was 4 when I was 2 years old – my grandmother was trying to get my mother for “neglect” by lying about my age so the doctor thought I was malnourished…. I cried and cried and even made my brother cry.  Another memory was of this doctor I hated.  I was 5.  I was going in for my Kindergarten checkup, and I was made to strip down to my underwear, and I panicked and cried, and everyone treated me like I was stupid for being upset, and the doctor got shitty with me. – I don’t know, I’m not psychiatrist, but maybe that is where this all comes from, who knows?)

So back to the procedure.  They had me walk into the room and made me lie face down on the table.  I couldn’t wait to get my Versed…. I have to say, they gave me just enough.  I wasn’t totally out of it, it just took the edge off.  I will not do this again without it.  It took that edge of anxiety off, I still felt all the pain.  Oh the pain… yes, they fail to tell you how much pain you will feel.  Haha.  Oh we will numb you really well.  No they don’t.  They numb the surface so you can’t feel the stick, but oh you feel them hit the nerve and I felt it all the way down to my foot.  OUCH.  It was excruciating, but I prefer that feeling over the feeling of being humiliated, vulnerable, and trapped…. go figure.

The rest of the day went without incident.

Do I feel any relief?  Not a bit.  Hurts just as bad as it always has.  They said it could take a few days to work.  Okay.  I hope so.  I’m scheduled for two more of these awful things.

Update – injections, and MRI….

Well, my appointment to see the specialist again is on the 18th…. Yesterday I called their office to ask at what point is this bad, like really bad….. cause I will continue to put up with the pain but now when I stand up, I lose feeling in my right foot.

The physician’s assistant called back and she was FANTASTIC.   She listened to everything and said she wants some stuff done before next week.  She wants another MRI (oh that will be a fun battle with the insurance company) to see if I did more damage which is suspected.  She started to say she wanted me on oral prednisone again but I told her what that did to me last time.  She immediately said nevermind, don’t want me going back down that road.  She also is having me set up with two injections.  She wants one ASAP an the other scheduled a few weeks later.

Her biggest concern is losing function of my foot.  She suspects nerve damage that may or may not come back.  She asked if I find myself tripping or unable to move that foot.  I said, yeah, I trip on it all the time or drag it…. but the thing is, is that from the entire limp I have right now due to pain or is that because I have nerve damage?  I really don’t know.

So I should hear from her today about when all this is scheduled.  I’m soooooo done with this pain.

Kinda angry with myself……

 

They say hindsight is 20/20, it sure is.

 

In 1994, I decided to go to college to become an accountant.  I’m a weird one – my brain works strangely.  I’m split down the middle art on one side math and business on the other.  I hear that’s rare.  It makes total sense to me because even my art is not “creative”…. I’m very much about lines and simplicity and realism, not elaborate free-thinking creations.

 

 

That said, I was a straight A type of person in high school, and now even going back to college, I’ve had people pretty shocked about a 4.0 average and the placement testing scores being high.   Have I been insulting my intelligence all this time?

 

 

Yes, I think I have.

 

Let me explain……. when Dean asked me to marry him, I dropped my college courses and ran to him.  I wanted to be a wife and mommy.  How cute.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret having my awesome kids, but now that they are teens, I’m looking back and kicking myself wondering why I didn’t finish my degree in my younger years.  What was I thinking?  I could have done both.   I mean, right now I’m juggling life/family, schoolwork, and running a business…..  it’s not impossible.

 

So I feel almost like I was dumbing myself down playing mommy only….. I lost myself.  Part of me is meant to be a mom, but there are other facets that I should have paid attention to.

 

When I went into business transcribing medical records, I did it to make ends meet.  It was cool running my own business, I liked that aspect, but I put my everything into it, only for it to start becoming a dead-end field….. doctors started sending their transcription to Pakistan and all the stay-at-home-moms were undercutting each other trying to get whatever was left.

 

So I left that and opened a photography studio.  Why would that ever be a problem?  You have to be a real artist to create beautiful images.  Yeah, that won’t ever end….. I can always create beautiful images and people will buy them.

 

 

WRONG….. I find myself again in the situation where the stay-at-home moms are eating each other alive trying to get all the clients – and they are competing on price… whoever can be the cheapest…….. UGH!

 

 

I know this is conceited, and I’m sorry for saying it but I have to – I’m too smart for this.  WTF?  I do NOT want to be sitting in the trenches with these women, battling this out for what?  for what, really?

And the crazy part is, some of these women have degrees in desirable fields, and have no idea what they are holding and what they can be doing, because working for less than minimum wage (as many of them are doing) is an insult to everyone who has worked hard for anything.

 

So I’m kicking myself…. I should have gotten my degree years and years ago and made something of it.

There’s nothing I can do about the past now… I can only move forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pills pills pills….

I called Dr. T’s office….. I asked for pain meds to hold me over….. I’ve kinda been in a pain med stupor this week.   It’s so hard to focus….  I’m not taking many, just taking them at night….. and it feels like I’m in a fog every day even without taking them all day.

Good news is, they gave me 60 pills.  I’ve never in my life had 60 pain pills staring at me.  That’s a lot…. but they say you can take up to 8 a day so technically, that’s not really a lot I guess… but I don’t take pills very often at all, and up until this year, never took narcotics (except the trial on occasion that made me vomit, etc.).

Pills……

Yoga… squatting, straight back…..

In researching the back, and the core, and proper posture, etc., I had an epiphany….  While it may not be new to others, the idea is something I never thought about.  You know how a child squats down and has a straight back, well that is proper “bending over”… that is what your body is designed to do.  You are not supposed to bend over and round your back.  I get that completely, but why don’t we bend like that anymore?  Why don’t we “squat” when we do stuff?

Well for me, I was told by a pro trainer when I was riding my horse that my legs (although I have big legs) are completely weak.  When I ride my horse, my legs are like pendulums, they move too much.  I don’t have the strength that I should have in my legs.

Well think about what actually is your “core”.  Your core is your back muscles, your abdominal muscles, but also the hips/thighs play a part.  The motion of “squatting” is a huge deal.  You need strength in your “lower half” to support your spine.  Never thought about it that way.

So yesterday, during my “trying to pick myself up out of the bad places in my head”, I decided I was going to try my yoga DVD that I love.  This DVD is my absolute favorite.  I have lost weight with it.  It does help your core quite a bit.  After a few weeks of doing this DVD, it “zips you up” in your abdominal area.  I like that.

yoga

I started it up, but had to make modifications.  Anywhere that you are to round your back, I did not…. for some of the positions I chose more of a squat-with-back-flat.  I also couldn’t lift my legs with table pose… but that’s okay.  Boat pose is iffy but today I managed it a little, with knees bent.  Downward facing dog is really difficult.  There are definitely areas I modified but I was really surprised I managed through it for 40 minutes.  I was frankly shocked.  The idea that I can barely walk in the evenings, and yet being able to perform yoga in the mornings, is AMAZING.  I get way more of a workout doing this than on the treadmill, and it keeps me trying to perfect everything, which keeps me from being bored.  My abs and hips/thighs feel this big time today.  That makes me happy.

Strangely, after doing that yesterday, for the first hour afterwards, I felt so rejuvenated…. like tingling up and down the muscles of my back and hips.  It was a really good feeling.  I did it again today, same thing.  I like this.  Now, yes, did I still hurt?  Of course….  but something got accomplished, and that’s what I need to stay focused on.