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. 🙂

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anxiety, art, bipolar, chronic illness, chronic pain, comics, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, illness, medical marijuana, medicine, mental illness, Movies, spinal stenosis, writing

the state of my mind this week 2

i think it’s been longer than a week since i wrote about the state of my mind. as usual, no one mood can last for long. bipolar is a bitch. if there’s a theme, like in this case, it was the procedure, i moaned and groaned , as you who read this blog will know..

i stayed up most of the night before the because i was so anxious. the middle of the night is the worst.

i woke peter up an hour before he had to take me to the doctor for the injections. i thought he should hang out with me because i was so worried. good grief! who wants to hang out with someone in that state! peter took good care of me the all through the aftermath.. he brought me everything i needed, cooked foods i love and often came down from where he was gaming, and later was sleeping, to it visit me on the couch.

for this set of injections i decided to use the newish Synvisk One. the reaction to injections is the kind of pain i’ve been going through. since it is too horrible to go through it 3 weeks (it takes quite a while to recover from one) i was so worried the pain would be the with 6ml, the whole dose from the small shots, at once. would it it be 3 worse? would the recover be 3x as badly. i couldn’t imagine that.

the shots were bad, though not 3x as bad! the needle getting to the joint with the needle was the same, really effing bad. the difference was that there was so much medicine and it was so thick she had to push it slowly into the center of the joint. she got me talking about me losing a lot of weight which is a great way to distract me. i did a lot of deep breathing while i was waiting because there were two giant needles full of something that looked solid.

long story short, all of that went ok. huzzy took me home and i ate a 200mg THC medical marijuana edible. it did exactly what i wanted to happen. i was asleep all day, until the huz woke me up for dinner, but i didn’t eat (unless you call eating another pot snack) and was in and out til bedtime. i slept on the couch for two days because getting upstairs to the bedroom was impossible.and i needed to be able to be near music and tv , art supplies and comic books and medical marijuana thing i could possibly want, down stairs!

i continued with the edibles. the pain was so powerful that i never got remotely high. i took some cannabis oil, a oral dose, and then i smoked a joint. i got through it without screaming or going to the hospital or making my husband want to divorce me! i took more edibles and then some capsules that act like an edible. that’s pretty amazing! the large doses of edibles, etc, kept the pain low enough to avoid the fentenyl and dilaudid i got at the hospital. the last three times scared badly. this time when the pain was at it’s worst i cried out loud and held my husbands hand hard.

i got these shots for years and never had much pain, some, but nothing like
this time. the last 2 times the terrible pain happened again but i had no idea why. later i asked the surgeon and she was very cavalier about it, and said different people had them like i was before the medicine started making me want to die during the recovery period.

before i scheduled these injections, one in each knee, i wanted to find out more, like if i got something nobody else got, or is there a quickfix?
i checked out a couple of arthritis forums. when i looked for “Synvisk side effects” bingo! there were pages of people saying they got my same horrible reactions i did. many of the people who posted said a few days of helll, then no arthris pain for a year.

i think i’m doing pretty well today, because…..!!!!!!

!!!!!!!…….because i got to see Wonder Woman. i’ve been waiting and waiting. it kicked ass! the heroine was fantastic. so were the other actors and actresses. this one was well done enough that it was easy to lose all track of reality. it depends entirely on the director to make this work. they did it right this time. diana is the kind of warrior who cares so much so that ….oops i almost gave something away! better stop there!

i’ve been very into painting with watercolors. i paint a couple times a day and a doodle all the time. i’m wearing gloves to preserve my manicure. vanity!
of a gel medicine that acts as a cushion between the bones where cartilage used to be (it’s gone or part way gone when you have pain).

for this set of injections i decided to use the newish Synvisk One. the reaction to it is too horrible to go through it 3 weeks (it takes quite a while to recover from one) i was so worried the pain would be the with 6ml, the whole dose from the small shots, at once. would it it be 3 worse? would the recover be 3x as badly. i couldn’t imagine that. the shot

the shots were bad, though not 3x as bad! the needle getting to the joint with the needle was the same, really effing bad. the difference was that there was so much medicine and it was so thick she had to push it slowly into the center of the joint. she got me talking about me losing a lot of weight which is a great way to distract me. i did a lot of deep breathing while i was waiting because there were two giant needles full of something that looked solid.

long story short, all of that went ok. huzzy took me home and i ate a 200mg mmj edible. it did exactly what i wanted to happen. i was asleep all day, until the huz woke me up for dinner, but i didn’t eat (unless you call eating another pot snack and was in and out til bedtime. i slept on the couch for two days because getting upstairs to the bedroom was impossible. needed to be able to be near music and tv , art supplies and comic books and medical marijuana thing i could possibly want.

i continued with the edibles. the pain was so powerful that i never got remotely high. i took some cannabis oil, a oral dose, and then i smoked a joint. i got through it without screaming or going to the hospital or making my husband want to divorce me! i took more edibles and then some capsules that act like an edible. that’s pretty amazingz! the large doses of edibles, etc, kept the pain low enough to avoid the fentenyl and dilaudid the hospital. but i really needed it, i was scared.

i got these shots for years and never had much pain, some, but nothing like this, the last 2 times it happened i had no idea why. later i asked the surgeon and she was very cavalier about it, and said different people had them like i was before the medicine started making me want to die during the recovery period. i think i’m doing pretty well today, because…..!!!!!!

!!!!!!!…….because i got to see Wonder Woman. i’ve been waiting and waiting. it kicked ass! the heroine was fantastic. so were the other actors and actresses. this one was well done enough that it was easy to lose all track of reality. that’s one of my personally are movies and tv that are unreal, meant to be unreal, but everything else is realistic. it depends entirely on the director to make this work. they did it right this time. diana is the kind of warrior who cares so much so that ….oops i almost gave something away! better stop there!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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up down and all around

it’s been so long! hello blog friends!

i’ve been fighting health problems for a couple of months or more. the pinched nerves are most of my problem. this has been tougher than i expected, one of the more difficult things i’ve dealt with in my life. pain is always with me. i have good days, but those are only good compared to how bad the bad days are.

i’m trying really  hard to stop worrying about the future, cause, who knows what my life will be like in a month.

i want to be strong about this. i haven’t tried to be strong about much of anything in a long time. i’m accepting this challenge and i’m not going to give up!

i’ve connected with a lot of great people on twitter. they’ve become my chronic pain support system. find me on twitter,

@verycrazyruthie

i had another epidural steroid injection, this time on the right side of L4. that was yesterday. i had an incredibly painful day after that. my left leg, from knee to food felt like it was swollen triple size (it wasn’t, but that’s nerve pain for you!) and in a vice.  i had to check in with my husband at one point and to get help to decide if i needed to got to the ER. we decided no. when i woke up this morning i was feeling lots better! that leg pain was gone! most of me still hurts but any relief is a beautiful thing.

i’ve spent these last couple of months on the couch reading comic books, listening to music, smoking medical marijuana, writing in my journal, hanging  out with people on twitter…my spoonie friends.

as you can imagine, this is wreaking havoc on my bipolar and diabetes. so much to deal with!

i got 8″ cut off my hair, since it’s summer. it will have all grown back by winter.

i’ve done very little painting or drawing because it hurts to sit up in a chair. sitting on the couch is ok, lying in bed is ok, but standing sucks. i had to get a cane to walk with because my legs hurt so much and felt so weak. it was a really hard decision; i had to get over my own reaction to the stigma of being disabled. i put it off until i couldn’t leave the house anymore, it was necessary. it helps immensely, so i’m over the feeling of having to give in. sometimes i feel like it makes me look dapper! hehe

my dog has been a delightful companion during this time, he always is, but he’s really been taking care of me.  luckily  he loves the couch anyway, so he’s been curled up next to me most of the time. walking him is impossible. i let him wander outside and sit on my front steps. in the afternoons we play ball. i’m on the stairs, and i throw the ball for him. he loves it and it tires him out so he won’t be a pest (sometimes he’s bloody annoying! lol), and keeps him fit.

i’m on a variety of pain meds  and am pretty foggy most of the time. i can’t drive because of that and because of the pain.

it gets really boring, sitting in one place and doing whatever i can still do, which isn’t much. sometimes i just stare at the wall. i bought a fab new heating pad which makes passing the time more enjoyable. my lower back hurts like hell so i almost always have the pad on.  i had the yucky usual kind that bunches up and has a nasty cover. this one is 12″x20.” and is flat and soft. lots of nifty features (pain makes you really obsess about the stuff that helps). i put ice packs on my knees and there i sit.

my computer and my tablet died in the space of one week. my husband fixed the computer and i bought a new tablet cause i knew i’d need something to entertain me and electronic gadgets are FUN!

if i continue to feel better, i’ll be writing more. we’ll see about that!

 mackie next to me on the couch

my fur baby!

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gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what a crappy friday!

what a shitty day i’ve had today!

i went to the orthopedic surgeon to get an injection in my hip for the bursitis. woo woo. it wasn’t too bad. it was about the same as the knees and a lot easier than in the fingers. it sucked, but it wasn’t scary. my silly doctor winked at me. wtf? she’s younger than me, i’m sure. what a dork. lol

when i came home i collapsed on the couch and stayed most of the day because my hip hurt so much. i usually have a lot of trouble with the needle trauma after injections into joints and have a really painful couple of days before it starts working. i hung out on the couch doodling in my journal.

i decided to treat myself and get delivery chinese food. when i was ordering it, i realized that my debit card wasn’t in my wallet. i looked everywhere, even went back to the doctor’s office limp limp limping. no luck. i think i remember when i might have dropped it and that was in the clinic. i had to cancel the mofo card.  what a lot of stress!

what is am i supposed to do during the FIVE  to TEN business days until the new one gets  here?!

gasp, maybe i’ll have to go to the actual bank and get cash? i haven’t been in a bank in years.

so now i have a painful hip and no money. gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh