One Year Anniversary

image

Today is my one year anniversary with WordPress…and what a year it has been! I started this blog as a way to vent about my medical issues and hopefully help other chronic pain patients at the same time. I believe that I have accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote a lot more towards the beginning of my time with WordPress, but I just had so much to say back then. There was a lot of catching everyone up on my issues and informing you guys about adhesions. Since doing that, my writing has slowed down quite a bit, but most of you have stuck it out with me. Also, welcome to all of my new followers. I have met some truly amazing people and made some very good friends…all in all a complete success if I do say so myself ūüôā

This week has been great. I am still feeling better from the increase in the corticosteroids. Not quite as well as I did those first three days, but much better than I have these past few years. Just to show you how much better I have been feeling, I will use cleaning as an example. Since my adhesion symptoms worsened a few years ago (but especially since the start of the Fibro fatigue), mopping and vacuuming have been pretty much impossible. I could sweep on occasion, but definitely not as much as one should…especially being a fur-parent. The other day I found a small, lightweight vacuum cleaner and a steam mop (both for $30 if you can believe that!) and I have been able to vacuum the carpet in my bedroom. Today I vacuumed the hardwood floors in the living room/dining room and steam mopped them! I am exhausted at the moment, but it feels so good to have been able to get it done. The steam mop ended up being heavier than I expected (harder to push and pull) but I was still able to get it done. For the first time in a long time I feel as if I have accomplished something big…and I suppose I have.

Physical therapy started this week. I will be going once a week to a new physical therapist. So far, I think that she and I will work a lot better together than the therapist I used after mine moved to a new clinic. She is more “hands on” like the first therapist was and even uses a technique I’ve never seen before. I believe that I might start to see results soon, and that’s great since the second therapist I used never really helped much at all. She would just watch me do my “at home” exercises…what’s the point in that?

The last past of my great week was winning a contest! Michael Fernandez at MigraineDiscussions.com had a contest in June for Migraine Awareness Month. There were two grand prizes for two winners…a pair of Axon Optics sunglasses. Axon Optics specializes in glasses for migraine sufferers. I entered the contest with a post I wrote for Migraine Awareness Month entitled My Migraine Story. Michael announced the two grand prize winners with a You Tube video and it shocked me to hear him say my name! He had two pairs to give away. One was a pair of “cats eye” women’s sunglasses and the other was a unisex pair that can be worn over prescription eyeglasses. Guess which one I won…yes, I won the pair that can be worn over my own eyeglasses! They came in the mail on Friday and I wore them all day yesterday as I was doing a bit of running around (the all day long kind of running around). I was amazed at how lightweight they were. They didn’t make the bridge of my nose start to hurt until the afternoon. The pair I was wearing before would start to hurt after only about an hour at which point I would have to take them off. These new ones I was able to simply reposition and keep going. I will write a review of them after I’ve had a few weeks to wear them, but so far so good! Here are pictures of me with and without the new sunglasses:

Without Axon Optics

Without Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

So, I rounded out a not-so-great year with a wonderful week! I will try to get back to writing more often again. I just wanted to thank all of my followers, new and old, who have stuck by me throughout this year and more often than not have been my support when I had none. Thank you for listening to my rants, my tears, and my triumphs, and for being my shoulder to lean on. Here’s to another year of blogging and many more new friends to be made!

Sitting ’round The Kitchen Table

Image credit: eBay.com

Image credit: eBay.com

 

I was reading some of my older posts yesterday and realized that the way I write has changed. The change wasn’t intentional. Instead I guess it just goes to show how you evolve with time. I suppose another reason that I don’t write as many “what I’ve been up to” posts is that since I have made so many good friends here, I have been discussing these day-to-day things with them. The blog was originally utilized as an ad hoc support system (it still is- I love all you guys) a way of getting all of those thoughts and feelings out that you would tell a friend sitting at the kitchen table over coffee or tea. I don’t have any doctors appointment stories to tell y’all since I rescheduled all of my appointments this past week because of the weather. But I can tell you basically what I’ve been up to.

This week was a wonderful reprieve from my normally busy schedule of doctors appointments and physical therapy. I spent most of my days resting, and reading and writing blog posts. I bought a big, cushy Lazy Boy recliner so that I would be able to get out of bed a little, and thanks to a recent medication change I have spent the majority of my days in said recliner other than lying down. That alone is a major improvement since the one position that most aggravates my pain the most is sitting up. Granted, I wouldn’t have¬†been able to do that in a regular chair, but my new one is perfect. It’s big enough that I can cross my legs while sitting in it, which helps to relieve some of the pressure from being in a regular, seated position. I have also recently noticed that I can go longer without taking my break-through pain medication while resting, but I still need it to do any sort of house work. Small victories, but I’ll take what I can get.

I have been working on crocheting my first lap blanket. I got quite a bit done when I realized that I might run out of yarn because I had made it WAY too big. I bet you’re thinking, ok so just buy more yarn. Nope. This yarn was given to me by my sister and there is no telling how long ago she bought it. I have looked to see if I could find the same yarn at the store and NADA. So, I sucked it up and unraveled two skeins worth of work. Today while sitting in my chair (that’s what I wanted the blanket for anyway) I will make sure that the width is what I want it to be before proceeding with starting ALL. OVER. AGAIN. Argh! It’s ok, though, because it was good experience and I will know next time to measure better.

As an update, my dog Bailey who had surgery a while back is doing great! She has completely recovered from her surgery and is finished with her special food, meaning that she has been able to go back to a regular diet and eat with her brother and sister again. I know that she is glad about that. I also finally finished paying off the vet bill for said surgery. Even though the vet I use charges fairly and allows payments, it was still a big bill and the three payments they allow were a lot bigger than I would have liked. However, my babies are worth it to me. Next to go to the doctor will be Molly. She has recently gained a lot of weight even though she eats the same amount as her sister. She also has a hard time getting around. I don’t know if the weight gain is the reason for her mobility issues or if the mobility issues are the reason for the weight gain. It kind of reminds me of the chicken and the egg. Once the underlying issue is dealt with, I am assuming that she will be put on a special diet as well. I’m not too excited about that because the prescription dog food is EXPENSIVE, but like I said before, my babies are worth it. They keep me laughing and like they say, laughter is the best medicine.

So which posts do you like better? The ‘sitting round the kitchen table’ kind or the more informative kind?

Patches and Gloves

So it turns out that the steroid patch that I was given yesterday by my physical therapist did not do the trick on my hip(s). I guess that means that it might not have bursitis. I suppose that is a good thing, but now I’m in the dark again as to what could be wrong with my hips. They hurt from my bottom to my lower back and down the outside of the leg. I would go to my GP, but I still don’t trust him at this point. I may have to get a referral for a new GP. That sounds so weird to say, because usually they are the ones giving the referral to go to a specialist, not the other way around. I know, I know…I’m just backwards ūüėú.

On another note, I have 3 dogs that love me, a roof over my head, a vehicle to drive, and clothes to wear. I know from weeks past that things could be much worse, so I am grateful for all that I have and that the pain has subsided some. Some is better than none and I will take every one point off that scale of 10 that I can get! Also, Jenn @ myfibrotasticlife.com just made me the cutest pair of crocheted fingerless gloves! She even let me pick out my own color. They will be in the mail and on my hands before the end of the week. I’m so excited! So, if you get a chance, check out her blog and there is a link at the top for her online shop.

It’s Time to Battle the Dragon

I have been doubly nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. The nominations came from two wonderful ladies: Julie, The Nocturnal Laundress
and Jenn @ My Fibrotastic Life. ¬†Both are excellent blogs about Fibromyalgia and how it affects their lives. I highly recommend these blogs, even if you don’t suffer from Fibromyalgia.

The rules to accept this award is as follows:

‚ÄúThe philosophy of the award is: The Dragon‚Äôs Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just someone who follows and comments regularly‚ÄĚ.

There are some rules that one must follow in order to fully accept the award and they are as follows:

1. Firstly, display the Award on your site. You earned it and you deserve it!

2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your acceptance post;

3. Nominate 15 well deserving bloggers for the Award and let them know the wonderful news by sending them a message on their site;

4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself‚ÄĚ

Ok, so here goes, 7 interesting facts about me:

1) I love to sing. I was in choir in Junior and Senior High School. At that time I could sing really well, but that was before the tracheotomy. I still love to sing and when I feel like singing I sing…if you don’t like it, don’t listen!

2) My first job was as a nail technician. I interned until I completed the necessary hours to get my license, then I worked doing nails. I got as far as Master Manicurist in my almost 8 years at this job.

3) one of my favorite channels is the Food Network Channel. I love cooking when I’m able to do so.

4) I rarely wear blue jeans anymore. I’m usually in Yoga, pajama, or sweat pants.

5) When I do dress up, my favorite pair of shoes is a pair of leopard-print heels. My second favorite pair are lime green heels.

6) My middle name is Elizabeth. I was named Elizabeth after my grandmother.

7) I married my first husband at 19. Yes…young and stupid…enough said. One positive thing I got out of my first marriage: Gastric Bypass surgery.

As far as nominees go, I don’t believe I can come up with 15, especially not counting these two beautiful ladies. I could only come up with 9.

1) Tammy : http://tlohuis.wordpress.com
2) Emily: http://painfulhilarity.wordpress.com
3) Richard: http://iamawakenowtvm.com
4) Tami: http://tjgypsyhippie.wordpress.com
5) Inga: http://ingaflaherty.wordpress.com
6) Dawn: http://dawnyhosking.wordpress.com
7) Leslie: http://justanotherfbomb.wordpress.com
8) Joy?: http://pricelessjoy.co
9) Eddie: http://bishoptatro.wordpress.com

image

 

It’s Getting Cold Outside

image
Unfortunately dear readers, I am still slightly uninspired, making posting difficult. I am more in the mood to read. Fortunately, I have new pictures of my babies in their new winter sweaters to brighten your day…because who can resist smiling when seeing cute dogs in clothes?

Miley and Bailey

Jefferson

Bad Days

image

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that all of us who suffer from some form of invisible illness have good days and bad days. ¬†I have had a bad couple of days. ¬†I don’t really want to talk about yesterday for one because it would probably be too much information anyway, and for two, well, I just don’t want to talk about it. ¬†Suffice it to say that it was a BAD day.

Today started out a little better, and I had PT this morning. ¬†Usually, I bounce back pretty quickly from the torture that is physical therapy, but today my body just isn’t agreeing to do so. ¬†I had a lot of trigger points on my stomach…partly around my incision scar, and the other two were right where they always are on my hip flexor muscle. ¬†I guess I should probably look it up to see what I can learn about it, but I don’t even feel like doing that right now. ¬†I am hurting so bad all I want to do is try to sleep…which is close to impossible and when I do sleep, I get a whole 2 or 3 hours at a time. At least for those two or three hours I don’t feel the pain. I believe that this is where a lot of depression comes from. Not only from the pain, but being unable to escape from it. Escapes are short-lived and if you spend all your time in bed, people think you’re depressed anyway.

I don’t know, but for some reason, I am having muscles spsms all over my body. This morning, my back was actually feeling better (because of the foam roller) and now, just after her trying to work out trigger points on my stomach, I have back muscles from my bottom all the way up to my shoulders trying to cramp. Not to mention the sensation that my stomach from right under my ribs all the way to my lower pelvis (hip flexor) is black and blue from PT this morning (which it is not…I’ve looked!)

I really should be (and sort of am) grateful that it has been a while since I have had bad days like this. However, for as much gratitude as I can muster, I have twice as much anger and frustration because I just want to feel better again. For a while I felt that things were getting better…and just like they always do, I am slapped in the face with another set of bad days. I truly hope that this doesn’t last long. With as much other stuff as I’ve been dealing with lately at home, I know that I don’t have the patience today to deal with anything. I am almost dreading him getting home from work, because he is going to expect me to be ok like I have been lately, and he doesn’t know how to deal with the bad days. He will either say the wrong thing, or even just insinuate something (like I’m just being lazy) and it’ll start a fight. Of course, as you know the circle of never-ending shit is that the pain causes the anxiety, the anxiety just causes more pain, and the two together make me a not so great person to be around. No wonder he says he gets tired of my shit. I would be tired of me too. I am tired of me…tired of this continuous roller-coaster of good and bad days. How am I supposed to learn to get used to this? To accept that this is my new “norm”? Well, I don’t want to accept it, I want to get better.

Note: as I am writing this I am crying, and the bigger of my three dogs (the one from the picture yesterday who was all covered up on the couch) kept trying to get to me. I put aside the tablet, and he started licking the tears off my face. How sweet is that? He has a habit of doing it, so I sort of knew what he wanted. I kept trying to tell him I was ok, but he had to make sure for himself before he would leave me alone. See why I love my “babies” so much?

Now, back to what I was saying…those of you who have been sick for a long time (i.e. Julie) how do you accept that this is your new life? At what point does it finally stick in that hard head of yours (mine, not yours) that life as you knew it is over and you are cursed to suffer for the rest of your life those bad days when even the good ones aren’t great? I have tried and tried and have not managed yet to accept this life I have been given. Any words of wisdom from any of you who accompany me in this suffering?

 

Graduation, Feeling Better, and Doggy Kisses

NaBloPoMo November 2013I have had a really busy, but very good past two days. The physical therapy is starting to help more and so is the medication.

Today I “graduated” from the physical therapy on my knee. Who knew that one could recover so quickly from a surgery like that. My leg has gotten stronger, enough so that I can now stand on it with my whole weight and it doesn’t hurt. ¬†I have also quit limping. They gave me a sheet full of exercises to continue to do to stretch and strengthen my leg muscles. Maybe that will help with the nightly cramps. You know, the “charley horses” you get at night and all you can do to make them stop is to get up and walk around. That’s one of the things that prevent me from sleeping well at night. ¬†Well, when you “graduate”, they ring this bell to let everyone in the gym know that you’ve graduated. ¬†It’s like a cow bell. It’s so embarrassing! ¬†Now that everyone has gotten to know me pretty good, not just the pelvic girls, they made me ring my own bell. ¬†Well, apparently my first ring was “weak” so I had to ring it again, loud and clear and with bravado…so I did. I do deserve it.

I saw the pain management specialist yesterday “my nurse practitioner”. ¬†Office visits go so much better when you don’t have to go through any history, but can go straight into discussing the treatment plan. That’s what we did. The extended release medication has helped the pain enough that I actually have a little extra energy to do things around the house (that was my goal- to be well enough to clean house). ¬†Don’t think that I will be scrubbing floors anytime soon like my friend Julie, or doing windows for that matter. ¬†Just as long as I’m able to wash dishes, wash clothes (it’s not the washing, but the folding that gets me) and cleaning the bathroom. Oh, and sweeping. ¬†I’m almost there. ¬†Since the extended release medication that they gave me at night to try has helped, they gave it to me every 12 hours. Granted, I have only begun the treatment since today, but today I had a lot of running around to do. ¬†I still came home and fell straight into bed, but I did PT and running around…I’m getting better.

I still haven’t decided on the new “pelvic pain” physical therapist. She’s good, don’t get me wrong, but my last PT therapist for the adhesions did a lot more manual manipulation where she would stretch out the adhesions that have grown into the muscle. ¬†I know that sounds painful (and oh boy is it ever!) but the next day my muscles were much more relaxed. If she would do more of that, I think I would improve even faster, but I don’t want to tell her how to do her job. ¬†She has specialized in pelvic pain for like 13 years…she’s good. ¬†It’s just that I know my body and i have so many trigger points that I’ve got the pelvic pain doctor doing trigger point injections to my pelvis and lower back, but now they are going to do more trigger point injections at the pain clinic on my upper back (like between my shoulder blades) because the muscles there have gotten so tight that I am having headaches from it. Those are scheduled in a couple of weeks, so hopefully they help. ¬†Otherwise, I will have to try a new muscle relaxer which, to be quite honest, scares the bejezus out of me. The last time I tried a new muscle relaxer, it did not help at all and landed me in bed for close to a week before they were able to get me back on the ones I take now. They have worked the best so far, but I am almost max dose on them, so I’m sure something new will be introduced. I don’t really like them messing with my “cocktail” of medication. Everything has side effects, but when taken with other meds…watch out! Hopefully the injections will help and that’s it.

Bailey is so happy to be home! I think the other dogs are glad, too. I have to tell you guys a story… I had to buy fast food for lunch while I was out, and I never end up eating all of it. So Jefferson smelled my leftovers and started begging M- for them. He was kissing all over his face to tell him that he loves him and “please, Daddy, give me Mommy’s food.” So I told Jefferson, I don’t know what you’re making a scene about to him when you know that they’re mine. So, I kid you not, he turns around and starts kissing on me to tell me that he loves me and he really wants my food. Isn’t that cute? He’s still not getting it! I don’t give in like M- does, but that’s a story for another day.

Another Friendship Lost…

I don’t know what feels worse today…me or my broken heart.

I have had a low-grade fever every day since Sunday. Yesterday I called to let the doctor know that I had forgotten to tell him about it at my appointment on Monday, but at the time it was high too. Just now when I checked it was 99.8. That is actually a little higher than it seems because my normal temp is 97.whatever instead of 98.whatever. I thought about driving to the doctor, but with my head spinning, that probably isn’t a good idea. I don’t know what is going on. All I know is that this is unusual for me.

I sent an email yesterday to an old friend of mine. Actually, she is the one that I got my two girl dogs from. A short time ago she made a leap of faith and took a job in Boston without knowing anyone there or having a place to stay. She has made stranger things happen, so I convinced her that it was a chance worth taking. She is now in a great job there and as far as I know doing well. She has texted me a couple of times, but never an email although I have pleaded for her to write me and let me know, well, how things have been for her since she moved. She is either too busy working or at one point even said to wait until she had internet at her new apartment because she didn’t want to write an email on the phone. So, yesterday, since Bailey is back home and healthy I figured it was time for us to catch up. Even if she didn’t have much to say to me, she could at least read the email. I put the subject line as “Bailey” but I told her about my two surgeries and how I was doing better. I told her about this blog (although to be completely honest I never figured she would take the time to read it, but I hoped she would).

She wrote me back today

“Not gonna lie. I’m having a difficult time even reading this. Due to the subject line. I can’t handle any more bad news so I’m gonna pretend I didn’t get it until another day. I love you.”

Really? ¬†The subject line? ¬†We haven’t spoke in like 6 months and she refuses to even read the email. I burst out in tears. I understand that for whatever reason she is going through a hard time (probably work) but who doesn’t read an email from a good friend. A friend who took your dogs when you decided to travel the world so that the shelter wouldn’t put them down. A friend who let you stay at their house for over two weeks wiping your tears because you were having family and job problems until you decided that it was time to spend 3 months in Brazil. A friend who is sick and at home and just might need you. That is the “friend”‘s email that you refuse to read? So, I wrote her back saying this:

“You know, H***, I guess with all your new friends there, you don’t care about the old, sick ones here. I have been needing to talk to you for a while, but you were busy or couldn’t write an email on your new phone…I get it. Bailey WAS sick but is FINE now. I’m the one who is STILL sick and friendless. Do me a favor and don’t read the email. I put that as the subject line hoping that you would take some time out of your busy schedule to read it…guess I was wrong. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.”

So, chalk another friendship lost to chronic illness. You would think that I would be used to it now, but I’ve never had anyone be so blunt. They just slowly stopped calling or visiting or writing. I guess it is my own fault, but you know, with friends like that who needs enemies? Oh, no, I had forgotten about one. When I finally got up the courage to write something on Facebook about being sick, I did get a few replies from some old friends. When I posted “The Spoon Theory” in Spanish for M-‘s family (who I call my family) do you know that not one person responded? A few asked him about it, but not one of my “family” had the decency to respond. I think I will stick with my WordPress family. You guys always understand and almost always comment. At least I don’t feel so alone.

 

Another Fibro Gal…

My baby Bailey finally came home today from the vet…along with an $800 vet bill. ¬†I really can’t complain, I mean, that is for surgery, boarding for a week, X-rays, medicine, and food. ¬†Not to mention I have the best veterinary clinic in the world and they let you make payments. ¬†Their first priority is the animal, not the money, and that’s how it’s supposed to be

I had to go to the doctor today also. ¬†I have this crazy rash across the knuckles on both hands, but the left hand is worse. ¬†It’s dry and cracked almost to the point of bleeding. ¬†This has happened before, but usually at the end of a very dry winter, not at the beginning of fall. ¬†Also, everything I have tried to put on it with the exception of vaseline causes it to burn like the dickens. ¬†So, the doc was able to get me in same day and during our discussion, I learned a couple of things, but I also forgot to tell him some things. I hope it’s not important.

The doc verified what we all had been thinking (well, I have been thinking…no, I KNEW) and I guess you, my loyal readers have just come along for the ride. ¬†I had way too many symptoms in common with my Fibromyalgia friends, not to mention a gut feeling telling me that that is probably why the fatigue has been so bad this past year. ¬†He did the trigger point test last time I saw him, but withheld comment until after I was seen by the psychiatrist (I still don’t understand that one). ¬†Anyway, so since I have now been to the psychiatrist, I reminded him that the topic had come up before. ¬†I told him that I knew that I was already on the best treatments that are available at the time, and also that I didn’t want him to think that I “wanted” another illness. ¬†However, when I am asked to fill out paperwork (like the tons that I did for my surgeries) and the paper says check next to symptoms/ syndromes/diseases ¬†and fibromyalgia is on that list, I said “all I want to know is if I need to be checking that box”. ¬†So he looked at me with these eyes…I can’t think of a better word to describe his eyes at that point other than ‘wise’ (maybe pitiful?) and he said as he looked at me with these wise eyes and strange (smile?) and said that I should probably go ahead and check the box.

Anytime you get a new diagnosis, it’s a very bittersweet moment. You have the moment of gratitude (for the recognition and validation of your ailments, but also, that moment when you think “SHIT…something else to worry about…something else to suck my energy and ruin my relationships.” ¬†The doc is supposed to order some occupational therapy to help make sure that what I do around the house (now that I’m feeling a bit better)won’t hurt me more than I already am and also to make sure that I don’t need any type of special accommodations (whatever that means).

What I forgot to tell him was about the low-grade fever night before. It got up to 99.3. It probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but after leaving the doctors office today I got another one. I don’t know what it got up to because by the time I got home it had gone back down. See, my temp runs low just like my blood pressure. 97 is my norm, not 98 just like 100-110/ 60-70 is my norm for blood pressure. At the doctors office, it was already up to 98.5 after leaving the doctors office I had an errand to run before going to the pharmacy. My face got bright red, I was hot and cold at the same, and I had chills. By the time I got home it was 99.8. I don’t know if that is important as far as the rash on my hands is concerned, but I think I’ll call him anyway. I hope that it’s nothing and will clear up soon.

Oh, and I have another appointment at the pain clinic on Thursday. That should be fun lol! I will be sure to let you know how it goes…Goodnight all!