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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“psychedelic cave formations”

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i’m on my own now….

i went to see my doctor, Dr Lu, a specialist in physical medicine, who has been treating my spinal stenosis. i was afraid that this would be the end of the help he could give me, but i was hoping against hope that it wasn’t true. wrong!

he referred me to a spine surgeon, which i am going to skip because there is no way i am having surgery on this until it lasts a lot longer and gets a lot worse. i think he was grasping at straws. he ordered knee xrays! i kept trying to tell him that i’ve had arthritis in my knees for many years and my orthopedic surgeon treats them with injections. so, another xray is really NOT useful.

the only good thing he did is order a TENS unit for me, that my insurance will pay for.

it seems i am left with taking my meds, resting, and using things at home that treat symptoms. things like, ice, heat, compression, diet, and patience.

he didn’t even thing it was necessary to make another appointment. as my husband said the doctor meant, you’re on your own now. i think he knew that this would be the case, but didn’t want to keep me from being hopeful.

i was incredibly anxious about this appointment, this morning was awful. this is the outcome i didn’t want. i want to scream, somebody help me! but what’s the point.

hopefully i’ll be able to get used to this idea, and just move on, doing my best. maybe it will go into remissions sometimes? i know there are good days and bad days.  live in the moment, in the moment, in the moment!

but if you do that, where does your time go? it just floats away. this makes me want to ask myself big giant questions like, who does this make me since i’m so different from i was before spinal stenosis? the ever popular  question, why me? the thing in the forefront of my mind when will it end? will it ever end? is there anything else i should be doing? is there anyone who can help me? where do i stand? is my life ruined? was my life much better than i thought before this? is there anything i could have done to prevent this? should i get a second opinion? on and on…

i don’t know anything and i feel a lot. where to go from here?

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spending my time wisely?

hellooooo!

i have no idea  where to begin, middle, or end. i guess i’ll just be.

i’ve been cycling through a zillion negative emotions. as soon as i start to write i start to feel fatigue. i’m going to push through it, i think, or at least try.

i haven’t been painting or writing nearly as often as i am used to. i’m not even keeping up the semblance of a journal. i start to write and all i can write about is what i haven’t been doing and that feels like criticism. i’m not nice to myself. self care is something that would help a lot in so many ways, but it doesn’t happen a lot of the time.

what i have been doing is hanging out on twitter, sitting on my couch in my living room, using my tablet, trying to keep myself from sitting around doing absolutely nothing. i’m in an awful lot of pain. it’s especially bad today, but it’s bad everyday. i take my meds and use my heating pad & ice packs. i throw mackie’s toys around for him to chase. he keeps me company, and i try  to keep him amused. he likes to sit on the couch with me, and i love to have him there.

i see my doctor tomorrow. i want to push for other options for treatment. nothing is happening but me carrying on taking pain meds waiting for something to happen.

there are a couple of other procedures i’ve read about that i’m going to see if he thinks might help. i am really going to try to push him to get a little more aggressive about treating me. maybe i said that months ago.

back to what i haven’t been doing.  crying. i think that’s a good thing, i’m not entirely sure. i’m worried that i’m repressing a lot of stuff. OR maybe i’m being strong? i’m trying not to fall apart all the time. i’m trying to feel like i’m trying. i bite back complaints to my husband. i try hard not to keep stepping back and getting dramatically philosophical. 😀

i have made some wonderful new friends on twitter. yay!

my father is moving to the UK permanently. they’re selling their house in wretched St.Louis and are going to live in brighton all the time. i think it’s high time!  i can’t imagine what was in st.louis for them. they were hanging on to friendships i guess, and familiarity. the flat in brighton is a lot more their size than their big house in the states.

it feels so strange to spend most of my time parked downstairs on the couch that peter bought me for our 20th anniversary, just about a year ago.  at that time, and for a couple of years before, i spent all my time in the “red room,” my computer/art room that i share with him. i used my pc all the time, didn’t even want a tablet. i painted a couple times a day. i hardly ever left this room. i’m up here because the cleaning people were here and Sophia made it soooo much nicer. i’m starting to get some twinges i can’t ignore, so i’m going to go back to my couch.

hopefully now that it’s so nice, i can come up, mabye…once a day? to paint or blog, or just enjoy using the pc.

hope you’re all doing well.

😀

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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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complaining updates! health going downhill

ok, so. i’ve got the sciatica is kicking my ass. still taking a variety of pain meds, still spending most of my time in bed or on the couch. i haven’t been making much art recently. i feel like i gave up on the big drawing. it’s still on the table and the supplies  are still there. maybe when/if i feel better or if i get so sick of laying on the couch that the pain of sitting in a chair is worth breaking the negative thoughts and self pity.

i’ve discovered the world of comic books/graphic novels. i’m reading mostly batman series and some suicide squad and neil gaimen. my husband says i’m turning into a middle aged nerd. doh! i’m really enjoying them. the art in the batman series i’m reading/looking at over and over, is fantastic. they’ve got composition way beyond anything i could ever do. they use a  lot of negative space, which i love. some are almost b&w  while others have the  colors of lowered pick up truck’s air brushing paintings. lol
this series has all the same artists and writer. pretty fab.check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Vol-Court-Owls-New/dp/1401235425/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431634409&sr=1-2&keywords=batman+comics

on monday i had a toothache that my dentist referred me to an oral surgeon about. there was a weird blister on my gum, that my dentist lanced. they gave me antibiotics. the surgeon said that, for various reasons, the bad tooth had to come out! i was terrified, i’d never had a tooth pulled. they promised me that it was super easy, only took 2-5 minutes! that chilled me out a little bit. it was the second worst dental experience i’ve had. they had to drill it into little pieces and wrench them out of my jaw. the dentist kept pinching my lips by holding his tools in places where my lips  were pressed against my teeth. i kept having to stop him for it. ugh. i now have a  giant hole in my mouth. he gave me painkillers and that was that. i managed not to cry until i got to my car.

tomorrow i have another procedure. i’m getting epidural injections  of cortisone in two spots on my spine. they use “conscious sedation,” twilight i think it’s usually called. it’s in a surgery center and i have to fast etc.  etc.  so i guess it’s pretty much a surgery. second one for 2015! it’s supposed to bring down the swelling in my spine, from those bulging discs. that will make it much less painful. it’s awesome for some people and doesn’t help at for others. i’ve had great responses to cortisone injections in my knees and hands. wish me luck! i really hope this will bring a bit of relief. it’s not a cure, but should help with the symptoms.