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. 🙂

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.









Life, Uncategorized

i’m a ramblin’ gal

here you go, ramblin’ ramblin’

thursday  was the first  of my two surgeries, nerve ablations on the right side,this past thursday and on the left side in two weeks.

i dreaded it a lot because i’d never had one before and the doctor said i’d be on the table for 45 mins to an hour. it’s conscious sedation, so that’s a loooong time. with the epidural steroid injections it was more like 15 minutes to do a couple of shots. this was nine needles that went in my spine which cauterized the nerves. hopefully when they fully die, i’ll feel a lot better. we’ll see. most of what they’ve done hasn’t helped much at all, but i’ll keep hoping.

i can’t wait to go to the movies again! it’s been a week since i last went. peter and i saw “the BFG,” which was awesome. this weekend it’s star trek. peter wants to see it too, so we’ll probably see it next weekend, but i’ll probably see it this week, too. there are just too many children’s movies out now! i saw zootopia and finding dory and of course the BFG. now we have the secret life of pets, no thanks! and the ice age (i’ve forgotten the whole title) double no thanks. there’s a horror film, which i’d normally choose right away, but it’s rated PG-13, so i hesitate. how can you have a good horror film that isn’t R rated??? i’m hoping Suicide Squad opens next weekend….oooooo!

i ate licorice for the first time in ages. i went to 7-11 to get my daily big gulp (always diet dr. pepper) and wanted candy. chocolate would melt in a moment because it’s so hot, so i got twizzlers, red ropes, of course. if you bite off both ends you can use it as a straw for your soda. it’s best with pepsi. that’s bizarre because i hate pepsi. i guess red licorice is the secret ingredient to making pepsi taste good.

we have the air conditioning on. i like to shut all the blinds and curtains to totally shut the world out. with the windows and doors shut i can’t hear anything from outside and vice versa! it gets dim and chilly. i put on long sleeve t-shirts and socks (i like the ones they give you from the surgery center) pj bottoms. i curl up on the couch and binge watch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. i could talk about it all day but i don’t know anyone else who watches it. i just watched the first episode of the 3rd season. i’m getting dangeriously close to the current season! i’ll have to start checking out a new show to get obsesses with in a week or two.

i finally worked up  to having peter dye my hair. it’s been dyed black for 15 years or so. lately, since i haven’t been feeling well, and my least concern is my appearance, it’s been waaaaay too long between taking care of it. i was, am still, a little shocked at how much tof the hair that’s grown out was gray! that’s taken care of. shwew!  my face looks super pale now, surrounded by all that super dark black hair.  i’m always pretty pale so it hardly matters. i think i’ll have him cut my hair, too. i think i’d like 4 or 5 inches off. it’s hot, has a tendency to get tangled. i have split ends and the last couple of inches are scraggly.

we had japanese for dinner. it was good. yum yum miso soup!

if you found that interesting, i worry about you. i just typed until i didn’t feel like typing anymore. btw, my feet are really, really cold…i wish those surgery center socks were clean! now i have to find a pair that matches! gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh




abstract, abstractexpressiomism, art, artist, fine art, painting, psychedelic, Uncategorized

“psychedelic cave formations”



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 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…


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!


physical therapy

yesterday was my first day of physical therapy. it wasn’t as bad as expected. i wasn’t worried about the pain, i was more concerned about logistics. my anxiety causes me to obsess and dread going to new places. i always feel sure that i’ll get lost or not be able to find a place to park, on and on. joy of joys! there was a huge parking spot on the street right in front of it!

the space was big enough that parallel parking wasn’t an issue (i failed parallel parking on my driving test back when i was 17). i was early for my appointment, but they started with me right away.  they were nice, no problems with insurance. i didn’t like being in a public place or having to talk to people,face to face, though, but i dealt ok.

first they had me put my hand in a machine that circulated hot air through sand! it was weird as hell, but felt really good.

they measured how far i could bend my fingers and how much pressure i could grip with. she was concerned about how swollen it was. they we shocked that i had all five fingers fixed. they kept asking me, but how did you get trigger finger in all five fingers?? i told them i was badass. lol.

she spent a lot of time using things like smooth stones that had been kept in the freezer and an ultra sound thingy that she rubbed on my palm. she massaged my hand a lot and dug at it with a small very smooth piece of plastic with some anti-scar lotion. all that stuff was extremely painful!

she told me that they were trying to break up the scar tissue so that i can bend my hand all the way and use my fingers properly. she told me somethings to do at home to help, as well.

we talked about indian food most of the time; she’d just been to lunch at my favorite indian restaurant. we laughed because they often have a chalkboard with the daily specials, one of which is brain curry!

i was pretty tense. social anxiety sure makes small talk difficult! i wondered, do my teeth have something stuck in them, do i have bad breath, was there paint on my face, was my hair looking frizzy, did i have a stain on my shirt that i didn’t notice?

i took one of my painkillers afterwords, so the work out didn’t leave me in too much pain.

i made it though. i’ll go again on tuesday.

yay for things turning out better than i dreaded they would be!! sounds like i should have a more optimistic point of view.



physical therapy

my left hand, the one that i had surgery on in january, has been getting worse over the last week. it’s very swollen, stiff, and painful now.

i saw the doctor this afternoon and she said the only way to get it to improve is with physical therapy.apparently, the woman she’s sending me to has no mercy. lol.  i’m nervous since my doctor prescribed norco to take throughout the four weeks of PT. it must be bad if she did that!

i’ve got an ice pack on it and i took a pill a couple of hours ago. it’s helping a’s so hard to ignore the pain or to find anything that really distracts me.  i want to paint, but i feel so uninspired.

from this perspective, a month seems like a very long time.