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, 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 pain, medicine, surgery

my hands

my hands are ruined. i don’t talk about it nearly as much as i do with my other ailments, it’s kind of complicated, especially because it’s a bit weird. plus it’s an emotional pain that can be hard to talk about because, i said in the title, i feel as though 4 surgeries made my hands worse than they were before. they feel ruined because i think the surgeon wasn’t open with me, and i don’t think she even knew what it was going to be like. she was so casual about doing more surgeries. as things went downhill i listened to her because she was the surgeon and i felt so intimidated and out of control. i wish i had thought about it more. there was nothing to research because i really don’t think anybody has done this before. also, i had the problem so much worse than worse than most people ever get.

most people are familiar with trigger finger. it’s a problem when a ligament catches on  something as you bend your fingers the get stuck and you have to straighten out the joint with your other hand. it’s painful and makes it very hard to do normal tasks.

most people who get it have it in one finger  i had it in all ten. when i told my GP about it and she sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. the first step is is getting cortisone shots to diagnose the problem. the doctor shoots you up with the steroid in the joint that’s affected. i get injections in my knees, 12 per knee per year. they hurt, a lot. but try getting an injection in your hand! the first one i got was in my right thumb. i said (and i’m sorry but i have a terrible potty mouth) FUCK! when the needle went into the joint. later i got one in my pinkie and that was even worse.

it didn’t respond, so she decided i needed surgery. i was ok with that, it was a small surgery and i’ve had surgery before. it was really easy, i chose to do it with general anesthetic because i have a horror of waking up on the table and conscious sedation didn’t seem like enough.

to speed things up (it’s a long story!)  other fingers  in that hand started manifesting trigger finger symptoms. more cortisone shots. the surgeon decided the best thing to do was to fix the other four fingers because she didn’t want me to have several surgeries. ha! so it was four fingers at once. when i got my bandage changed the nurse couldn’t believe i had so many  fingers done at once. my hand was huge and black and blue there were four deep cuts on my palm. that one was not easy. the healing took a long time and the stitches were not ready to come out when they were supposed to. my fingers wouldn’t close all the way, so i went to a hand physical therapist. omg she was hardcore. lisa. she had no mercy!

that sort of healed. then the problem showed up in my left hand in several fingers, so she operated on all five fingers. the nurses at the surgery center kept asking me over and over, all five? all five? that surgery was scary and miserable to heal.

i was horrified when the trigger finger  showed up in the left hand again. it was in three fingers, so she decided to do all five AGAIN. i ask  myself why i did it, but i have to remember that there was actually a valid reason. the trigger finger that came back in those three fingers of my left hand. it hurt, just like before. i was unable to do much with that hand without my fingers caught and becoming useless.

i think the doctor was getting a bit horrified herself because she sent me back to lisa the *day after surgery.* she had me on a really high dose of percocet because the physical therapy was really tough. i was going three times a week from then til forever it seemed like. lisa told me to ice it and tape it up tight when it hurt in the future; she knew it would.

so four surgeries later, my hands, especially the left, hurt a lot and swell a lot on a regular basis. i’ll never be able to wear my wedding rings again.i have lots of ice packs, self adhesive bandages and compression bandages on hand. when it’s really bad, i wrap it up in sports tape. lisa  was really into taping things as tight as  possible.

i feel like my hands are ruined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

adventurers in trigger finger x10

yesterday I had my 7th surgery, the forth on my hands. I’ve had numerous procedures like spinal cortisone injections etc., too.i consider myself a pro! I didn’t even dread it or have a panic attack! this the second time I’ve had this same surgery. 2x this year! i had very similar surgeries on my right hand a few years ago.

so this time,on the left hand, she removed all of the sleeves that held the ligaments tight (i don’t exactly know what all of this means.). apparently it was what was supposed to be a very small, easy surgery into a huge big deal. the healing time went from a few days to a few weeks.

It’s in a cast for who knows how long.my surgeon gave me a prescription for 10mg percoset. she’s usually really stingy with painkillers, so you know it’s serious!

the pain!!!! it is what it is…

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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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Dr. Chang saves the day!

i remember the day i got my first period very clearly. i was 12. i had a babysitting job that night and a few hours before i was scheduled to arrive i got the most godawful pains in my abdomen. aches and cramps, sharp pains and dull pains, things i’d never felt before. i started bleeding. my mother made me go to the job regardless of the pain.

she had fully prepared me for what was going to happen, not fully prepared, actually. she didn’t tell me about the pain, but i don’t think she’d ever felt the pain i did, so i don’t blame her for that.

that was the beginning of my 25 year battle with endometriosis.  for many years i suffered with all the classic symptoms but never said anything. i thought that was just the way it was for everyone. the pain set in a week before my period and got worse during the week that i was bleeding. half the month, every month, left me twisted up in pain.

it was particularly bad when i was in university. i went to a doctor about the awful diarrhea i had for the whole 4 years. such pain! he said he needed a stool sample and i was so horrified and ashamed about collecting it that i never pursued it further.

when i got my first “real” job it continued and even got worse. i was missing days of work and i was working feeling like i could barely take it. at that point i’d been married for a couple of years. my husband convinced me it was time to take action. i went to see a gynecologist who specialized  in painful periods. he explained to me that periods weren’t supposed to be horribly painful and debilitating. he said if they were, then something was wrong. i went through many many exams, talked for a long time with his physician’s assistant. endometriosis is almost impossible to diagnose without opening you up, but i had all the symptoms and it was getting worse.

he performed a laproscopy and found that i did indeed have endometriosis. he removed a a lot of scar tissue with a laser and that was that. it was my first surgery and i was terrified. it seemed like all would be well after that. ha! a few years later, still having the same symptoms with the same severity, he did the operation again. guess what? it came back a few years later.

by the time i was in my 30s i was getting desperate for a solution. i started seeing a gynecologist who gave me medication to induce artificial menopause. i stopped having my period by the pain was even worse. the doctor said that was the extent of what they could do without surgery. he referred me to gynecological oncologist to perform a radical hysterectomy.(radical= remove every single bit of my reproductive system.)

i saw the surgeon. he asked me lots of questions and as an exam, much to my surprise, he stuck his finger up my butt! i screamed (literally!!!!). he said, ok, let’s schedule the surgery. when i came out of the exam room all the nurses patted me on the back and said nice calming things because they heard me yell. eep!

the surgeon, Dr. Chang, said we should do the surgery asap to spare me more pain. he was going on a Doctors Without Borders visit to the Philippines the following week. i saw him for the first time on tuesday. we scheduled the surgery for friday of the same week!!!!!!

it was a huge rush to get all the tests and insurance issues and surgery prep (bowel cleansing, oh kill me now! lol) etc. and then it was friday.

when i woke up after the surgery,  Dr. Chang was sitting in my hospital room wearing a cowboy shirt, jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. he was kicked back in a chair smiling at me. he said there was a huge amount of scar tissue in my body cavity which he removed along with my uterus, ovaries, etc. etc.

i was cured! it took me a year (yes! a year) to recover from the surgery, but i’ve been symptom free ever since!