anxiety, chronic illness, chronic pain, disabled, drugs, health, illness, medical marijuana, surgery

epidural steroid injection

on thursday i am going to have my sixth epidural  steroid injection. the injection helps control the pain from the problems in my back. i have spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the spinal column which causes some if the discs to get squashed (like my technical term?) and pinch nerves.

i have problems at L4 and L5 as well as the sacroiliac joint. my pain doctor performs the procedure.

they say “procedure” but to me it seems a lot like surgery! i have to fast, stop taking NSAIDS several days before, etc.  i go to the surgery center and change into a hospital gown, a icky  papery shower cap sort of thing to gather up my hair. they give you cool socks with treads on the bottom. i love them. i’ve quite a collection now.

two nurses come in and put you under a blanket from a warmer, oh jeez that feels good. no matter how hot it outside, it’s freezing cold in the surgery center, plus it’s just reassuring to have a warm blanket over you. they put in an iv and ask me a million questions. even though i’ve done this many times, i still feel a little scared each time.

the nurses are so very very nice. when the doctor finishes her previous case she comes in and talks to me and then they roll me into the OR which is incredibly cold. i have to roll over onto the operating table and lay on my tummy. there is a head rest, like they use during massages. they start giving me fentynal and versed–conscious sedation. you are high as a kite, so it’s almost fun. lol

i hate laying there for 45 minutes with basically nothing on, my butt just hanging out, uncovered. joy. luckily the drugs make you not care too much because i find it extremely discomforting to be nude in a room full of people. there are lots of nurses. the doctor wears a lead apron because they use a giant x-ray  machine that is mounted  on the ceiling and tilts around as they need it to. that’s how they know exactly where  to inject the cortisone…pretty important since they’re putting it in my spine. the injections hurt some going in, but after that it’s not too bad.

when they’re done i get back on the gurney, more embarrassment because the hospital gown is totally open and practically flapping around as you move. then everybody gets to see everything!  i’m sure they don’t give a shit, seen it a million times. but i do! once you’re on the gurney they immediately drown you in warm blankets. the feeling is so good, like the drugs, it’s almost worth it just for that. lol

in the recovery room they put ice packs on your back, keep you awhile for making sure your vitals are good and you’re not going to have a bad reaction or flip out or whatever.

omg i have to pee once i get out of the operating room, so that’s a priority! another time i had this surgery, the surgeon was an hour an half late so i feel asleep. i woke up  and they were rolling me into the OR and i had to pee bad, i mean really really bad. but we were practically there so i couldn’t say anything. it was horrible!  i was pretty sure i would wet myself on the table. that’s not so good for a sterile environment. thank goodness the drugs made it so i didn’t feel like i had to pee. when i got out of surgery, i didn’t have to pee badly, go figure!

you don’t stay in the recovery long and your ride comes and takes you home. you have to have someone stay with you for 24 hours. then the back pain kicks in. it’s pretty unfun for a few days. i’ve got quite a bit of various medical marijuana edibles for that time.

after that, you wait. sometimes the injections work and sometimes they don’t. it’s a crap shoot. last one keep my pain low for about 9 months! most of the others did nothing. but i’ll try anything time after and after.  the pain is very motivating.

so now i get to worry about it until 8am on thursday. 😦

i’ll be ok though, i always am. 🙂

anxiety, bipolar, chronic illness, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, driving, drugs, fatigue, fibromyalgia, health, mental illness, oakland california, spinal stenosis, stress relief

Last night I didn’t sleep at all. My knee and leg pain are coming back strong. I don’t know why Monday and Tuesday weren’t too bad, but yesterday and today, my-oh-my! The pain and painsomnia spurred me to go back to the dispensary for more edibles. Ahhh…

It rained here this morning! Rain in  California virtually unheard of between April and October. Crazy! The drive up to Oakland was pretty rainy. I felt more novelty than the fear I usually get when I drive on the Freeway. I’m so used to that drive that nothing about it freaks me out. there are​ parts with 8 narrow lanes, no shoulder and a line of merging trucks.

I got capsules full of ground up cannabis which is toasted sesame oil. They work like edibles but aren’t high sugar/ high calorie. That keeps me from eating the edibles just cause they taste good! I’ve been known to do that!

The pain is already improving!I’m tired! Maybe I’ll watch TV or draw. Damn, my eyes hurt!

How is your afternoon?

blogging, chronic illness, comics, depression, diabetes, disabled, drugs, fibromyalgia, h.r. giger, illness, medicine, Movies, spinal stenosis

update on the state of my mind

i heard an audioslave song, one of my favorites, on a grunge station and i choked up, got tears in my eyes. i keep wondering what chris cornell was thinking during that time between the show, alone in his hotel room, to hanging himself. what pushed him over the edge? all these years i’ve seen interviews with  him and he always seemed so thoughtful and intelligent. i have depression too (i’m bipolar), so i can imagine those feelings pretty clearly. i understand being able to play a show without anyone knowing that you’re feeling like you just can’t make it anymore. (not that i’ve ever played a rock show in front of thousands, but i have had to put an “i’m normal and happy” face when i had to. he had to a lot.  i know you can hide even the worst feelings.  i feel for him so bad. i wish i could have talked to him in that time between the show and his suicide. i don’t know if i could have helped at all, but it seems like if there had been someone there, who got how he felt, it might have gone differently. although, someone who wants to die enough to actually do it, will do it sometime, no matter what you do. i just wish and wish and wish it hadn’t happened. i try to hear it in his voice, when he sings, and i think i might.

i’ve had a lot of pain these past few days. it’s my back i think. that and my knees. the injections in my knees have worn off. you’re usually supposed to get the injections twice a year. you get them in your knee joint (or in this case knees).  you take them in three set sets, both knees each week for three consecutive weeks.

the last time i got them was a year and a half ago. i was having problems with my legs because of my spinal stenosis. at first they thought it was diabetic (yup, got that too) neuropathy, but then decided my symptoms didn’t fit. i was also seeing many doctors on the way to being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. in the middle of all of this, i got two sets of the arthritis injections (the medicine is called Synvisc) and each time my legs became incredibly painful. i figured it was the shots, since it happened each time i got them. i refused the third set (but it still worked for all that time!).  the pain was insane. the second time i ended up screaming and going to the hospital in an ambulance. the EMT gave me iv fentanyl . the pain was still intense, but it made me stop screaming. at the hospital they gave me a couple of shot of dilaudid and that did the trick. they sent me home and the pain went down a lot, but was still feeling too bad to function. it was like that for several days. i don’t know how i got up the stairs but i didn’t go down for 3 days. the staircase was impossible. sitting down on the toilet made me cry out from having to bend my legs.

so! it’s time for synvisc again and i’m fucking terrified. but the knee pain it too bad to live with forever, or even much longer now. i have to try sometime! eep. gasp. panic.

i’m doing something that might be smart, or it might be stupid as hell. i’m getting the one shot synvisc injection. you get all three sets in one injection. it’s 3x as much medicine as i’ve been getting spread over three weeks. the doctor says things like, there will be a great deal of pressure. and the nurse says, the reason not very many people get the synvisc one is because of the pain.

the medicine is thick and the surgeon puts a hypodermic needle that seems like it’s a foot long into the center of your knee joint. it hurts. a lot. but i could deal with it, i’ve been through a lot of pain over the years, so i was ok. but i’m scared about this one. will it be three times worse? i can’t imagine that. the only anesthetic they use is lidocane on the skin where the needle goes in. it doesn’t do shit and it hurts like hell when she puts it on, burning cold. beyond that, and more importantly, than that is the aftermath. will it be 3x worse? i can’t imagine that either.

i decided have the one time shot so that i wouldn’t have to go through the pain afterwards 3x. fear fear fear.  i have a lot of trouble with mental pain, but physical pain is usually something i feel very brave about. but this time is scary.

my tablet died. i finished orange is the new black and it was sooooooo super good. i can’t wait for the upcoming season. my new show is breaking bad. i missed it when it was so popular and i hear so many people say they loved it, i have to watch it. i want to watch better call saul, too, so i thought i’d better watch breaking bad first. i’m reading a superman comic called “secret identity.” it’s a little different than a superman comic we’re all familiar with. it starts with a kid whose parents’ last name was kent. they thought it would be a laugh riot to name him clark.  he’s the laughing stock of the town. but things change. i’ve only read the first couple of issues within the trade paperback. but already he’s developing superpowers that he keeps as a closely guarded secret, hence the title.

i saw Aliens: Covenant yesterday. a lot of the movies at my favorite theater play before noon. all of the movies before noon are half price! so i saw it at 11:30am. it wasn’t very  good. but that’s not to say i didn’t enjoy it. there were some jump out of your seat moments,  and some interesting new additions, but a lot of it was the same thing i’ve seen in all the aliens movies. people see pods and get right over them and look in, well surprise! an alien jumps out and plasters itself to their face. that never happens in an aliens movie! there were running down tunnels or hallways that are sealed and the person running gets locked in with the monster.  that’s an old aliens favorite. it was fun to watch, especially if you’re a die hard aliens fan, like me. one of the things that bothers me the most is that there isn’t any Giger art. i know why, he always battled makers of aliens, maybe ridley scott, or who knows else, used his art for almost nothing and i think they even used things of his after he left the job because they were screwing him over. (this might be quite flawed, but i saw a documentary about giger and that’s what i remember.) i know he was very bitter about it. in this film there were a couple of piles of drawings that you see that look or are giger’s work, but there are vast areas of things like columns with nothing on them when i can imagine them covered with carved giger art.

that’s about it for now, but i think that’s more than enough!

bye!

 

anxiety, bipolar, child abuse, depression, drugs, mania, mental illness, substance abuse

no more wire hangers 3

is anyone getting the titles of the posts in this series?

my mother knew she had mental illness issues, but she refused to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. we convinced her to go to a couple therapists to find one she felt she could talk with. she went to meet two and her excuses for not going was that she was sure one had ulterior motives and the other had an office that made her anxious.

when i had panic attacks growing up (we didn’t know that’s what they were at the time) she got angry at me. in retrospect i think it was it was because she was scared when she saw me going through that. i’ve seen her have panic attacks and oh boy have i seen her anxious.she was afraid that somewhere inside her was me. she didn’t want to  go through what i went through with my depression and mania. two psychiatrists told me, after long talks about my mother, that she was bipolar, too. i’m not surprised, but having a doctor say it shed light on things and made me feel validated

she even self medicated, like i did. she was obsessed with this shitty white wine. she drank glass after glass all evening while she watched courtroom dramas and true crime shows. after i went to university she bought a new house that she has since defaulted on. the house was a gorgeous Victorian in downtown St. Louis. it was in a neighborhood that was transitioning from a gutted ghetto into lovely restored houses. good old gentrification. her house was already transformed when she bought it.  it was gorgeous but it had three stories. she usually watched tv and drank in a family room on the second floor and also in her bedroom on the third floor. guess who had to fetch the wine?

drinking was her second drug of choice, the first  was nicotine.  by now, she will have smoked almost 60 years, two or more packs a day. she was a professional smoker. she chain smoked 24/7. she drowned her sorrows in wine, cigarettes, and taking it all out on me.

i’ve already said i’m a recovering alcoholic, i’ve been clean for 15 years. when i went home to visit (my dad lived in St. Louis and i was tied to my mother by a mental bond i had to fight to break, so i still kept coming back. she encouraged me to drink. she prepared by laying in a supply of beer, gin (she had cocktails after work, too; gin and tonics…one or two) champagne and vodka plus a few bottles of decent wine for dinners. she encouraged me to drink. pushed me to drink. i  jumped back into the hole of drunkenness to avoid having to deal with her. i can’t  put it all off on my. i was thrilled to have time away from my husband so i could drink my fill. i had to be very honest with him to keep our relationship working well and i wanted both he and I to be happy. i made the decisions to drink the alcohol she bought, but it was damned hard, too hard. i embraced it.

hangovers were hell so my mother gave me a bottle of codeine to use to take them away. i took a few in the morning. went back to sleep, woke and puked, went back to sleep and got up feeling pretty good.

we went out drinking too. she liked to show off my tattoos and piercings when we were bar hopping, hoping to look cool. at home she hated the tattoos.

Mommy Dearest.

abstract, abstractexpressiomism, acrylic ink, art, contemporary art, drugs, fine art, mental illness, modern art, painting, watercolors, writing

slap and pick

when you go blueberry picking one person has to to slap the mosquitoes off of the person who’s picking. not worth it. malaria, that’s what mosquitoes are all about. i found out they cause many other diseases. foul beasts! itching, oh god, evil. some people think hurting is better than itching. i might have to agree.

ATC cool breeze

 

bee stings are even scarier. i’ve seen several people puff up and die. i’d rather shrink down and die. when in hawaii, never pass up a pina colada, or a lei. the bars you can swim up to seem so exotic. fake thatch roofs. makes me thing of wattle and daub.  why isn’t it daub and wattle?

ATC copperhead estuary

 

 

once we found a $20 bill on the sidewalk and she actually pushed me aside and took it for herself. would you call her greedy? most people would. she gave me codeine for hangovers. i threw up and then took them. went back to bed and woke up happy, if you can call my kind of glee happiness. more like successful escape.

ATC cork quartet 2

abstract, anxiety, art, batman, bipolar, chronic illness, chronic pain, comics, depression, dog, drawing, drugs, fibromyalgia, insomnia, mania, medical marijuana, mental illness, oakland california

still manic, still manic, still manic

i spent my day feeling too jumped up, a lot like being on meth. yes, i know a lot about being on meth. oh boy, i’ve never said that in public before. so yeah, i wish manic was like being on coke, but unfortunately it’s like being on meth.

i ate a big dinner which i am regretting because i haven’t been eating much so i feel bloated and gross. sometimes being really hungry for a couple of days makes me feel so clean inside. no, i’m not anorexic. my moods just throw me around a lot, and i’ve got that and all the meds i take and the fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis, and a nasty childhood all contribute to making me do, and feel, and act a little strange…a lot strange…  i do things that don’t make sense some of the time. i got hooked on meth because i was so depressed and it made me feel so much better, that i kept using it. untold energy, no appetite, no need for sleep, elevated mood, euphoria. sounds like being manic, too.  ahhh and delusions of grandeur, i hope i don’t get those, but maybe i’m not bill gates.LOL

i went to the comic book store today. alex the comic book guy was there, of course he was there, it’s his shop. hehehe actually, the only day i’m sure he is working in the shop is tuesdays, so i go about every other tuesday. he’s a cutie, deep, and really smart. not to mention he’s an incredible authority on comics! i bought two issues of batman all star, the rebirth reboot. i got an issue of jessica jones, but i really didn’t like the way it looked. bummer. i still don’t have money, so that’s all i got. i went to starbucks and only got an iced tea, but a cake pop was calling my name. but i averted my eyes and asked for no sweetener in my passion tea.

it was a gorgeous spring day, first one we’ve had this year. i actually drove around with the windows down in my car. a rare thing. i like to listen to music in the car, not wind noise. i am 100% out of mmj. i scraped up every bit, i used the kief in the bottom of the grinder. i am DRY. i hope it’s nice tomorrow because i’ll be driving up to Oakland to go to my dispensary. i call it “my dispensary” as though i owned it. it’s just mine cause it’s the one i’ve chosen to give all my business to.

i saw my psychiatrist today and she thought i might be manic partly because over the last couple days it got to be full blown and that when i had little or no marijuana. we adjusted the meds to, not take ritalin (that’s a no brainer), and to take less wellbutrin because it’s activating.

i saw a woman come home and greet her dog, who had been home alone all day, and they were both so happy to see each other. that’s the kind of thing that really makes me feel good.

Ant_Hills_by_merpagigglesnort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chronic illness, chronic pain, diagnosis, disabled, drugs, fatigue, fibromyalgia, illness, insulin, spinal stenosis

spinal stenosis, why haven’t i written about this before?

i’ve written about fibromyalgia and diabetes and psoriasis but i’ve never written about spinal stenosis. i’ve never really talked about it to anyone before. it’s a bit hard to explain, or at least it takes a little while and not nearly as many people have heard of it.

spinal stenosis causes me more pain than any of my other ailments. it’s a narrowing of the spinal column, caused by a few different things, it’s arthritis in my case. the problems occur at  L4 and L5. the column narrows enough to cause the discs to bulge and pinch nerves. i also have the same problem at the sacroiliac joints.

i have a very hard time walking, i’ve talked about that a lot. people don’t believe it when i tell them about how long i can stand up and how far i can walk. more about walking in another post. i walk with a cane most of the time. sometimes i wish for a walker or that i could collapse  into a wheel chair. like fibromyalgia, the spinal stenosis has flares.

when it’s bad i have to drag myself around with my cane. trying to go upstairs makes me cry. laying in bed is better than standing or walking, but it’s far from comfortable. there is intense pain in my low back. pain in my hips and butt, weird inside pain in my pelvis. that pelvic pain makes me nauseated. i felt pain like that from endometriosis, too. i should talk about that, too (endometriosis, that is). pain from internal organs is different than any other. awful. nerve pain is also different than any other. then there’s injury pain, like broken bones, and the pain from pain in muscles and ligaments is all it’s own too. ahhh and arthritis pain. argh! and stomach pain. lol, i have it all!

my legs are very weak. i trip and fall too often. it bothers me. i see stairs and i imagine falling down them  and just feel terrified. every once in awhile i wipe out at home and end up on the floor. it’s no fun! standing is very difficult. if i am in the kitchen and i want to use my phone to control my stereo, instead of being able to just stand there and do it, i have to sit down just to do that. i don’t go to stores very often because i can’t trust my legs to survive it without buckling, or getting a stab of pain down my leg or in my back and making a grunty ouch noise, lol, cause sometimes i just can’t help  it! leaning on things like shopping carts helps a little but not nearly enough.

the stenosis is bad enough that my huz has to do 99% of what needs doing to keep things going well in our lives and home and meals and shopping, laundry, etc. my  jobs are to make his lunch before he goes to work and taking the dog out to pee (he takes doggy out to poop 2x a day) 6 or 7 times a day. he’s getting older and i want to make sure he’s comfortable. i have to make sure i take all my meds and my injection and blood sugar, take care of myself (it can be a challenge because of the fibro fatigue.. we hire people to clean.

it didn’t take too terribly long to diagnose this. an MRI shows everything they need to see. it’s cool to be able to look at the MRI pictures with the doctor and have him show me exactly where the problem is and what’s going on.

there are drugs to take to make it easier. in general you don’t take narcotic pain relievers for it because it’s chronic. i take a prescription NSAID, use hot and cold packs, do stretching (i could be a lot better about doing that on a regular basis!) and unfortunately, bed rest.

i have degenerative disc disease, which means things will just get worse.

one day at a time!