Thursday, May 29, 2014

Post Surgery Update: The Swelling Has Finally Gone Down

I am officially 14 days/two weeks out of surgery.  My back is sore, achy, tender and bruised.  My wound is almost completely healed up.  My leg no longer burns constantly and rarely gives out on me anymore.  My wound itches something fierce and I want nothing more than to scratch at it like I'm some kind of a madman trying to filet my skin off with my own finger nails.

It's bad.  LOL

Three days after surgery I broke one of my teeth in half while eating homemade popcorn.  I hadn't even bitten into a crunchy or un-popped piece.  I was just chewing the light, fluffy, buttery, salty, slightly crunchy goodness of homemade popcorn and all of a sudden I bit down and my tooth cracked in half and part of it fell out.

At first, said tooth did not hurt, but as time has progressed and the wounded tooth has become worn down a bit on the inside from chewing on that side (I try SO HARD not to but sometimes it just happens) and the root is now exposed.  It hurts bad.  I have numbing medication with me everywhere I go.  I use it WHILE I'm eating.  I actually have to stop in between rounds of chewing to remove food from inside the tooth and apply numbing medication.

It sucks, it sucks major donkey balls.

I am lucky enough to have had a dear friend from out of state ask me if she could use this opportunity to pay it forward again, as someone had done for her husband when he needed emergency dental work.

I was thinking to myself how I wanted to deny her so badly at first.  How I wanted to tell her no, don't send me any money, I'll figure this out myself.  I always do.  I thought about how bad my tooth hurt and even tried to figure out how many days until I got paid again before I'd be able to pay for it on my own and then even went so far as to try and figure out my general budget for the month to see if I'd even be ABLE to pay for my own dental work.

All of this whipped through my head quickly before I answered...


Yes, I wanted her to send me money so I can get my tooth fixed sooner than three weeks from now.  Yes, I wanted her to pay it forward again, through me, and feel good about herself by helping me out and I even went so far as to promise to pay it forward again once I got the chance to and I think I got that chance the other day.  Now I just need to get all of the girls baby stuff together, load it into the van and bring it to my friend Sami's house so she can get it to a young lady who is in serious need as she is six months pregnant and has NOTHING for her baby girl yet because of some sad and unforeseen circumstances.

So my friend is sending me a check for the money I need to get my tooth fixed.  Thank the gods.  I just need it pulled.  It is so broken that it is beyond repair and my insurance won't cover getting it fixed with a cap or an implant anyway.  And I can't find a dentist in my area who takes my damn insurance either which is why I need the cash to get my tooth pulled.

This kind and gentle young woman has a heart of gold and I thank her profusely for helping me in my time of need.  And as I stated above I am going to pay it forward again once I get the chance and I believe my chance has shown itself so tomorrow I'm going to get everything I have of the girls together and get it all packed into the van and bring it to my friend Sami so she can get it to this young woman who has absolutely nothing for her baby girl.

No worries though because with how much clothing I have and how much stuff I have that I no longer need for either of my girls because they have either A) outgrown them or B) don't use them anymore there will be plenty to go around.  Not to mention the endless supply of baby clothing I have from ages 0 to 18 months.

So there is a young woman out there who will be receiving a shit ton, I kid you not, a metric FUCK TON of baby girl stuff.

I believe, wholeheartedly, that this is a great way for me to pay it forward in return for what my dear friend is doing for me.

My back is feeling a bit better.  The constant nagging, pinching pain that was in my low back on the
right hand side is gone, completely gone.  That sciatic nerve is still sore and tender and throbbing most of the time but the burning is gone.  

Would you believe it!?  The burning pain I had for well over 8 years is friggin GONE!  ^-^  OMG!

I just hope and pray it stays gone.  I still have a pain that feels like my nerve is snapping like a rubber band whenever I take too big of a step or lift my right leg wrong.  It's annoying but it's getting better.

I could barely stand from a sitting position without pain for the first few days after surgery.  It hurt like hell and I was sent home the same day.  I was walking around that same day, at home, up stairs, down stairs, through the kitchen a few times, I was up and walking around.  It amazes me still.

I have to take a drug called Flexeril, a muscle relaxant, for the next six months to ensure I don't get any muscle spasms in my back since they didn't cut the muscles they just moved them out of the way to do the surgery.

Wow, right?!  Wicked cool! Also, scary as hell.  My incision is a mere 3 inches long.  There are no more steri-strips on it, it's all closed up and healed together with a nice scab over it.

The bruising has lightened up immensely.  It's that yellowish brown color bruises get when they are old.  It's looking and feeling a lot better than it did before.

I'm feeling a lot better than I did before and despite my weight restriction which does not allow me to pick up my daughters for the next three months, I'm doing well. 

Oh and the's finally gone. LOL 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Happy Birthday....Month?

There is a strange set of occurrences that goes on in my household during the month of May.  Not only do we have the regular holidays of May Day (a big one in my house as we're Pagan), Mother's Day and Memorial Day, we also have four birthdays to shop for.  That's right, I said four birthdays.

The first birthday of the month happens on the 3rd, it's my younger sister's birthday.  She turned 27 years old this year.  And oh geez, does hearing that number make me feel old.  My younger sister, whom we shall lovingly refer to as Chibi (it's my special nickname for her), has Asperger's, a form of autism and according to her psychiatrist she will never mature past the age of 14, mentally.  It's a tough pill to swallow, knowing my sister will always be a teenager in her mind, but I don't love her any less because of it.  It makes me more cautious of her, I worry about her more, much more than I'm sure I would if she were mentally mature to her actual age but it goes with the territory I guess.

Second birthday of the month goes to my dear baby girl who just turned 1 year old yesterday, May 10th.  We'll lovingly call her, Tigga (it's a nickname her dad and I came up with a while back). We had a combined party for my girls, my oldest was born in June, she'll be 2 this year, we'll call her Ari for short.  It was an Art Party, we had crafts and painting, good food and friends, and so much fun. 

I let each of the kids attending paint a canvas however they wanted to with tempera paint and then I sealed them all with high gloss clear coat so they wouldn't run or chip or flake off.   I let them decorate their own cupcakes, it just all around loads of fun.

Let's not forget Mother's Day, that holiday is in there between my daughter's birthday and my birthday, which is next on the list of birthdays.  And Mother's Day is pretty important to my family 

The third birthday of the month belongs to me, May 21st.  I will be 31 years old this year and that scares me.  To be honest, that scares me a lot.  I have two beautiful babes who are growing by leaps and bounds every day, a loving husband who cares for me and pampers me constantly and I don't really notice the days passing anymore.  It all happens so fast and before I know it my youngest turned 1, my oldest will be 2 and all of my nieces and nephews are much older than I last remembered them to be. 

Anyway, continuing on.  There is Memorial Day in there to celebrate and last but not least is my lovely mother's birthday on May 29th.  She will be a whopping 59 years old this year and is beyond grateful I gave her two beautiful granddaughters before she turned 60 years old. LOL 

I guess what I'm getting at is the month of May is always my "go broke" month.  I am always broke in May, doesn't matter what time of the month you catch me, I will be broke regardless.  With so many holidays and birthdays in this month I just don't make enough money to cover them all and have some extra cash on hand. 

If you're into zodiac signs and their definitions or meaning in any fashion then this will interest you a bit.  My sister and my youngest daughter are both full Taurus'.  Myself am a Taurus/Gemini combo because I was born on the cusp/ the edge, the time when one sign starts and another begins.  My oldest daughter is a full Gemini.  And last but not least is my husband.  The odd ball out he is, because he's a Cancer/Leo.  LOL 

Basically, the summer months are my go broke months.  I hate it and love it at the same time. 

So there you have it, happy birthday month to me and the rest of my family members.  LOL 

BTW, I got a gorgeous new loop scarf, a brand spanking new leather watch, another knitted ivory scarf, a pair of mukluks, a sweet new pipe that turns green and pink when heated up and some other great stuff for mother's day and my birthday.  ;)

Post Surgery Update

On 05/13/2013 I underwent minimally invasive surgery to remove a synovial cyst that was wrapping around and pressing against my right sciatic nerve root.  The doctor was able to remove all of the cyst, thankfully, because this means less chance of it coming back.  He was also able to decompress most of my nerves that were already compressed because of the cyst.  Surgery lasted a little over 2 hours and I was sent home the same day.

Weird, I know.  Spinal surgery done and sent home the very same day only mere hours after having someone cut you open and dig around inside your spinal area to remove a cyst and decompress nerves is a scary a degree.  It also gives me a sense of wonder and amazement of how far we've come in medical science over the past 30 years or so.  

I say that because 30 years ago, I would still be in the hospital with a probably near foot long incision instead of a mere 2 inch incision along my spine, and I'd probably have lost use of my legs, at least temporarily until all the swelling went down.

But that's not how things happened.  I have a very small incision to worry about healing up properly, along with a whole lot of swelling and I can feel, literally FEEL how swollen my poor decompressed nerves are.  They hurt, they burn, they tingle, with every movement they are irritated.  I can't even sit up straight or lean forward like I used to, I'm in this constant half upright, half leaned forward position because that's what's most comfortable for me right now.

And my bedroom is on the second level of our home.  Stairs are assholes at this point.  You wanna know why?  Because with every step, every shift of my hips, every movement of my leg in any manner causes extreme shooting pains down my right leg.

That right sciatic nerve is beyond irritated, it's friggin angry at this point.  I can't move my neck too much, was told not to since it may cause undue irritation to my nerves in my low back and may even cause permanent nerve damage if I do too much repetitive motion with my head. 

I am not allowed to lift or carry anything over 5 lbs, this would include both my children because they both weigh over 20 lbs a piece.  A gallon of milk is almost out of the question, I tried, it hurt but I did it.  I won't be doing it again anytime soon, that's for sure. 

I went on my first outing out of the house today to run some errands for my girls, they needed their WIC stuff and I needed my anti-anxiety meds so my mother took me and my oldest daughter out.  Walking around the store was slow going and painful with every step.  Reaching for things was completely out of the question so I needed help there and I couldn't even try to lift the two gallons of milk to put them in the cart because I had already done too much and my nerves hurt bad. 

We then ventured to the pharmacy where I had to go inside and walk to the back of the store so I could get my prescription since their drive-thru was backed up and I really needed to get home.  That was also a mistake, walking through yet another store was not something I should have done but I did it anyway. 

And now I'm regretting it.  All of it.  I got home and helped carry groceries in (stupid idea), went upstairs to help my husband clean our room up a bit (another stupid idea), started laundry by myself (really stupid idea) and then I picked up my daughter by her arm and lifted her to my mother so she could get her butt changed (really really stupid idea).  

So now I'm sitting here, in regret, hurting quite a bit from things that could have been avoided but I'm not one of those people who can just sit back idly and do nothing while there are things that need to be done around me.  I have to help.  I feel compelled to help.  It's like I have no choice in the matter.  And I feel terrible when I can't help.  Really terrible.  Like a useless lump that is just sitting in the chair doing nothing being lazy even though that's not the case at all, that's how I feel. 

So aside from not following my discharge instructions to an exact "T", I've been pretty much lounging around in my pajamas since Tuesday evening, in excruciating pain, trying to find a comfortable position (which is a joke because there isn't one) and basically doing nothing. 

Then my body and Mother Nature throw me a curve ball to add to my misery.  I started my monthly cycle the same day of surgery and then while eating some of my famous homemade popcorn last night, half of my left front molar broke off.  *sigh*  I just can't win. 

Surprisingly, my tooth isn't painful.  This means that either A) My nerve died off ages ago which is a likely possibility considering the amount of trouble I've had with it in the past or B) It will become painful eventually and then it's going to hurt like a mofo til I get it pulled or capped. 

I have no money right now to get my tooth pulled.  I have no dentist in the area who will take my state insurance.  So I just have to live with a broken tooth for a while. 

All of this going on and there are still other things that need to be done and I can't do them yet because I can't drive myself and I can't pick up my kids and I can't ask my mother to drive me all over gods creation, I can't bend in the middle without excruciating pain in my hips and leg, can't twist, can't pick things up off the floor, can't stand to do dishes.  I even needed help taking a shower last night because it hurt too much to put my arms over my head to wash my hair. 

It's a long tough road of recovery ahead.  I was told between 6 and 9 weeks for full recovery.  I see my neurosurgeon next week Wednesday, the day after my birthday actually, to see if he'll finally clear me for driving and make sure my incision is healing well.

I'll keep you all updated on my progress and try to post more often.  I realize I've been slacking lately and I do apologize but I have had many many things on my mind as of late and my blog just got pushed to the back of my mind, is all.  Now that this surgery is all over with I hope to get back on track with all of my writing and blogging.  Thanks folks for sticking by me and being patient with me. 

I truly appreciate it.  You all are phenomenal people and I'm glad to count you as my fans.  :) 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Living With Chronic Pain Part 1: Does Surgery Always Have To Be Scary?

As some of you may or may not know, depending on if you follow me, I have had chronic low back pain for many years.  I recently found out that the supposed cause of all or most of my pain is a synovial or fluid filled cyst about 6 mm by 8 mm pressing and wrapped around my right sciatic nerve root in my lower lumbar spine.  This is supposed to be the cause of all of my low back aching, throbbing and stabbing and also the cause of the numbness, tingling, weakness and burning I have going on in my right leg.

I have also been informed that I have a pars defect. In laments terms this means I have a birth defect in one of my lumbar vertebra causing it to never fully fuse together.  It's a hereditary thing and both my mother and sister have it, as well.  I honestly never thought I would have it, too. 

Knowing what I know now, my life has changed forever.  I have to go in for surgery to have this cyst removed and hopefully reduce if not completely remove this pain that I have every day, regardless of weather or physical condition of the day, I am always in pain.  That's what chronic pain is.

Chronic pain is endless.  It never goes away.  It's always there.  You have your good days, where pain isn't so bad and you can function better than your bad days where you can barely move (today is one of the bad days, I woke up unable to sit forward) but no day is a day without pain.  I'm not even joking about that.

I have no days where I am feeling no pain. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being little to no pain and 10 being the pain of birth which is the greatest pain I've ever felt before in my life, I live, on average, with a pain level of 5-7.  Every. Single. Day.

That's chronic pain.  That's why some days I have no issues getting up and moving and other days it takes me hours, literally HOURS to go and do something that would take an average person only an hour or so.

What takes me so long, you wonder?  I have to motivate myself to want to move.  I am that uncomfortable some days.  So under the knife I go, to find out if getting this cyst removed will decrease my pain at all. 

I have to remember that I have other issues besides just this cyst causing me daily pain but the root of most of my pain is in my back and leg on the right hand side at the base of my spine.  I can't even press on that spot because of increased pain.  I can barely wear tight pants because if they press on that part of my spine in any way I am beyond uncomfortable.

Surgery is a scary thought, for me anyway.  I don't like the idea of being cut open and having someone dig around inside to fix a problem my body created due to extreme stress on that area no matter how skilled or qualified said person is.

I don't like the idea of being completely and totally out of it and having no control over a situation.  That's where the anxiety about surgery comes from.  I don't like not having control of my own life, my own body.

And the panic starts to set in.

Why does surgery always have to be scary?  Because it is.  It's a scary thing.  Your life and all things in it and about it are the hands of another human being.  And it matters to me that he's qualified, Dr. Max Lee, the neurosurgeon who is doing my surgery (whom I will shameless plug because he's the most qualified in his field in my area of the country) but at the same time, it doesn't.

I know this blog is all over the place.  And I'm sorry for that. I try to keep things organized but on bad pain days like today, I just can't.

The reason it matters to me is because I'm not going to let just anyone dig around near my spine with needles and sharp instruments.  I'm also not going to just let anyone with a qualification to do it dig around in their, either though.  I want to think and feel that the person doing this surgery actually cares about me and my well being.  I want to think that they have a heart and are actually worried about how I will fare during and after surgery.  I don't want them thinking I'm just another statistic, another body, another number, another surgery, another dollar sign, etc.

This means a lot to me and worries me at the same time.  I don't like it.  I don't like being scared.  I don't like thinking I may not make it through this with good results.  So I have to stay positive.

Try as I might, that is one of the hardest things for me to do because surgery is scary.  And it always will be.