Sunday, January 11, 2015

What I Mean When I Say "I Hurt"

I don't think most people say "I hurt" as often as I say it.  And, to be honest, I don't think when most people say "I hurt" they mean the same thing I mean when I say "I hurt".

When I say "I hurt", I mean it.  I mean it with every fiber of my being.  Every atom that makes up my body is telling me it is in pain and I express that through two words, "I hurt".

When I say that I hurt, it means more than just, my body aches a little here and there from doing this that or the other.  It means my body is screaming out in waves of electric energy running up and down my nerve paths all day long, sending pulsing messages of pain throughout my body.  I have days where I literally hurt from head to toe. 

Fibromyalgia...that's what I have been diagnosed as having, is what causes this nonstop throbbing, aching, deep, agonizing pain. 

I can't stand it some days...can't stand the pain, the throbbing, the aching, the deeply bruised feeling in all of my muscles and joints.  My trigger points feel like they're on fire, my neck and shoulders are tight and sore...so very, very sore.

I have friends who wonder how I do it, how I push through the pain that I'm constantly complaining about and still go on with life.  I have some friends who have aches, pains, soreness and stiffness from everyday work, everyday life and they take some Ibuprofen or Tylenol and BAM!  They're fine 30 minutes later when the pills start to work.

I have a secret hate for those friends and very often find myself cursing them silently under my breath because I can take a 20 mg oxycodone and still not find relief from some of my pains.  I can take the Ibuprofen and Tylenol and Aleve and Aspirin and not feel any difference in my pain level.

I'm jealous, that's what it all boils down to.  I'm jealous that most of my friends my age can do pretty much whatever they want physically and not notice it the next day...I'll end up hurting that day and the day after that and the day after that and this goes on for a few days depending on the weather and what my own physical activity level is for the few days I need to recuperate.

How do I do it?  How do I keep going every day?  How do I push through the pain and keep going on with life?

I ask myself those same questions some days, on the bad days.   I ask myself those questions a lot on the bad days and find myself repeating my motherly mantra several times.

"You MUST get up and be a responsible adult".  That is my "Bad Day" mantra to myself when I'm lying on the bed and the girls are crying and in need of tending and I need to push past my pain and just push myself up off the bed, take a deep breathe and move.

Hah!  Move...you know how much I hate moving on bad days?  OMG!  I hate myself on those days!  They are frustrating!  SO FRUSTRATING!  I want to move, I want to get up and be a proper parent, I want to do these things and so much more!  

But on the bad days...I get nothing done but what is absolutely necessary from me for me and my daughters to survive.

Why is that?

I'll answer you honestly...because I'm human.  I falter.  My mental resolve sometimes fails and I just lay there and cry in pain and shame.

Fibromyalgia is a real bitch of a disease to have.  No one can see it.  No one knows you have it.  Why?  Because they can't SEE IT! 

They can only see the end results of the symptoms you suffer from daily.  The mental and physical exhaustion, the daily aches and pains, the constant stiff and soreness.  Very often the depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder and other mental health problems are playing off the fibromyalgia causing your day to feel absolutely FUCKED UP! 

You hurt, you hurt beyond words.  You can't describe how deep the bruised aching feeling goes.  And you're constantly stiff and sore in the joints.  My legs hurt for days when we had a cold snap for about a week.

I kid you not, it felt like and elephant had sat on me from the pelvis down for the entire time I slept...my legs hurt that bad.  I could barely walk.  NOTHING was taking away that pain.

It's been a few days of warmer weather now and guess what?! 

MY LEGS DON'T HURT!

Wow! It's a miracle!  (Says the more flighty and artistic side of my brain...the more whimsical and eccentric side). 

No it's fucking not (says the other half of my brain....the more rational and reasoning side of my brain), it's fucking fibromyalgia (that half of my brain has a very foul mouth).

We fucking know that you ASS!  We were being fucking funny!  Apparently, someone can't read sarcasm!  Do we need a gotdayum sign?!  (I guess both halves of my brain are foul mouthed.  That explains a lot). 

So I talk to myself...

Who doesn't?

LOL

Anyway, I started Lyrica.  I'm hoping it will relieve some of this constant pain I have every damn day. I can't stand it some days.  I really can't stand it!  I can't get away from the pain and then, when you can't find any kind of relief or any kind of escape through your usual coping methods...all that's left is to fall apart for a little while. 

Just for a couple of minutes, let yourself cry.  Let yourself dwell in it.  Let yourself feel that pain and be it, for a little while. 

Just a little while though.  Not too long.  Don't stay there.

Why? 

Because, you MUST get up and be a responsible adult.

Stupid fibromyalgia.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Camping In A Nutshell

Fourth of July weekend was fun times for me and my family.  That is....if you like camping.  Now I've always enjoyed camping but that was before I had to take a one and two year old on a camping trip with my husband and I.

That was the worst possible weekend of my life as a parent thus far and I should have considered leashes given the number of times I had to go running after my girls to keep them from harming themselves.

We went camping a bit west of where we live, by my aunt's camper, on a campground called Bark River Campground.  It's a quaint place, enormous in size, you can actually ride a golf cart around it and it'll take you a bit to get back to your starting point. 

They have a swimming pool, a rather large playground, a lodge where you can get pretty much whatever fried food you want.  LOL  They have fun games for all the kids and adults, alike.  It's a great place.  And my aunt's camper has all the amenities of home; flushing toilet, shower, hot running water, electricity, stove, microwave, pretty much everything and it has sleeping room for about nine or more people.

She has a small yard in front of her camper where she has a rather large fire pit, a couple of picnic tables, some chairs, a huge coniferous tree in the front yard, too.  It's a beautiful little place.

In front of the trailer is a narrow paved road for everyone to get around on that goes basically anywhere you need to get to around the campground.  And the little street gets pretty busy on a weekend like Fourth of July.

Do you think my girls would stay out of that damn road considering how many times I yelled at them not to?!   Of course not!

I spent half my time flying out of my chair and running after them into the street so they wouldn't get run over by a golf cart.  We even tried fencing the yard in a little bit with some rope and stakes but nooooo....no.  Not my girls.  They just went under/over/around them.

The rest of my day was spent keeping them out of the fire pit, off the front porch where they enjoyed racing back and forth and playing with the sliding glass door (I owe my aunt $20 for a new screen she had to buy because my girls destroyed the one that came with the camper) and basically keeping them as busy and occupied as possible so they wouldn't get into the street for the umpteenth time.

Then there was the tiring task of trying to get them to nap in a tent during the hot, bright daytime hours so they could stay up and watch fireworks...that never happened.

Who would have thought that bringing two toddlers camping would be such a chore!? 

LOL

I knew it was going to be bad when we had to pack up half of our belongings into our van before we could even leave the house.  My oldest with her blankets and pillows and my youngest needed her own blankets and pillows, then a pack n' play, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets for mom and dad, more clothing per child per two day stay than one would have thought you'd need but I ended up using all of them...add in food and beverages, two car seats, a rather large, green plastic wagon with attachable trailer for the girls to ride around in while mom and dad walk around the campground and you've got one packed minivan and two exhausted parents before the trip even started.

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the camping trip with my girls and my husband very much but it didn't seem like much of a "mini-vacation" to me, as my husband so poignantly put it when he was trying to convince me to take the hour drive west of our home with our two toddlers.

All in all, it wasn't a bad trip.  It was fun for us all, swimming in the pool,  playing on the playground, walking around the campsite and petting all the dogs we came across.  They loved to play outside in the open air all day and even enjoyed just sitting around the fire on mom and dad's laps when it started to get dark.

Would I do it all over again exactly the same way?

Honestly?  Probably not.  I would rethink sleeping arrangements, i.e. bring another pack n' play. 

I would most definitely not stay two nights and I'm thinking about investing in a cot or two instead of the damned air mattress we have that only stays partially inflated throughout the night.  So your ass end is on the hard ground and your feet and head are up in the air which in turn gives you the most uncomfortable crick in your neck and back.

I wouldn't do leashes, although the idea has crossed my mind several times in the last 2.5 years, especially since my girls are a lot faster than I am.

I wouldn't change much because the experience alone was good for all of us.  It taught me a lot of things about myself and I'm pretty sure it taught my girls a lot of things about nature, mom's patience level and dad's tolerance for mom's bitchiness when things stop following the plan.

I found out my oldest is deathly afraid of heights, just like her mommy.

I found out my youngest loves the water and particularly enjoys being thrown into it, as long as someone is there to catch her.

I found out that most strangers think my girls are twins and are absolutely adorable even though they're about 11 months apart and look nothing like each other.  LOL

I guess, in the end, I would do it again.  It was a good experience for my girls and a great experience for me and dad.  I'm just happy that at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I can honestly tell people that I have gone camping with my children and we all enjoyed ourselves, despite the few hiccups and setbacks and nuances. 

But maybe next time I'll wait til they're three and four....and potty trained.  LOL



Friday, November 21, 2014

Surviving and Scared Turns Into Scarred Success

Some of you may or may not know but I had spinal surgery back in May of this year.   I had to have a cyst removed from my right sciatic nerve root in my lower lumbar spine that had been plaguing me with chronic low back pain for over ten years.

For ten years, I was just surviving, just making it through every day one step at a time.  One painful movement at a time, I made it through and survived but I was scared...my worst nightmare had always been surgery and I didn't want to do it.

I'm not gonna lie, I wanted nothing to do with putting a few sharp instruments near my spinal nerves, in my spine (yea they had to dig out part of the cyst from my spinal nerve root's home in my spinal column, it had grown that far in), and around my nerves that control my legs.

The first time surgery was talked about to fix the problems I was having, they had told me ten years ago that there was an 80% chance that I would lose most of the use of my right leg.

When I heard that percentage rate, I said no.  I said, hell no, to be exact.  LOL

So I decided at the time that I could try to live a normal life with the pain by controlling it with pain medication...which slowly but surely increased in dosage and brought on another problem.

My body became addicted to the codeine....and I noticed it.  The twinge in my shoulder blades when I tried to wait longer and take fewer of my pills.  The twitches and muscle spasms that you can't control when you go through withdrawal from a medication that my body has been used to for about 8 years. 

My pills....what a mess that became.

Oxycodone 20 mg every four hours round the clock and Morphine Sulfate extended release 30 mg every 12 hours was where I was at when I decided things needed to change.  I couldn't take it anymore.  The pharmacy staff were starting to look at me like some kind of a drug addict, a "pill popper" if you will.  I had to wake up in the middle of the night to take a pill, wait for it to work and then finally get back to sleep just to wake up four hours later and repeat the process only this time...I don't get to go back to sleep....I have to be up for the day. 

The amount of paperwork and checks they have to do is astounding, all just to dish out a few pills.  A few man-made chemicals "derived" from plants.  I put that in quotations because lets be honest here, few plants were harmed in the making of those pills, especially with today's chemical technology.

But I digress, I was tired of the withdrawal symptoms, the constant checking what time it is, waking up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and having no choice but to pop a pill in your mouth and swallow and wait for things to feel better in about 20 minutes.

"Screw this!" I said to myself after the umpteenth time my meds were talked about being changed and the pharmacy talked about the pills becoming less and less available because of the DEA.  I had had enough!  

The drug screens to check what all you're taking to make sure nothing interferes and you're following the program properly.  No extracurricular drug activity for me!  LOL

I always loved the green but anyway...moving on.

I sat down and had a long talk with my husband.  I asked him what his thoughts were and if he was capable of being there for me if that 80% chance of losing the use of my right leg was still a possibility.  I also asked him if he would be able to handle me not being able to pick up our two young daughters for at least 6 months.  Our girls are ages 1 and 2 years old.  I wanted to make sure he would be capable of taking care of our girls needs since I would be basically bedridden for about 2 months. 

He said yes and I was elated.  I had my support and my backbone behind me.  So I went to my doctor and asked him what the hell could be done about my back pain and if surgery was still a possibility.

He also said yes and sent me for an MRI.  That's when my life changed forever.

You see, up until about this time last year, I had no idea that a cyst pressing on my nerve root had been the cause of most, if not all, of my pain.   And it could be removed.  The nerves could be decompressed and the pain could be mostly relieved if everything went right during surgery. 

I had always been told my pain was due to a twist in my spine from a car accident I was in many many years ago.  Turns out, they were wrong.  I still have a weird twist in my spine that causes some mild discomfort on the daily, the nerve pain was constant though, just terrible and constant.  And my right big toe was constantly numb (I can now feel it fully).

So not only was it not from a twist in my spine but from an actual cyst, I also found out that I have what is known as a pars defect.  You can find out more info on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spondylolysis

I was scared...so scared.  And I needed to sit down.

I started having nightmares about surgery going all wrong because my PTSD gets really bad when my anxiety gets out of control and OMG I WAS GOING IN FOR SURGERY!

I have BABIES NOW!

What the F@&K was I going to do if something went wrong?!

It's not just ME I have to worry about now!  It's me and my husband and my TWO daughters.

I about fainted.  I ain't gonna lie.  When it finally hit me that I was going to have someone cut me open and go digging around inside and near my spinal column to remove a long time cyst that had found it's way around my nerve root and into the facet joint....I was so dizzy I'm glad I was sitting already. 

They called me in for an appointment to meet the man that would change my life forever, Dr. Max Lee, a top notch neurosurgeon in my area, that my insurance covers.  Wow, I know, how lucky am I!?  RIGHT?!

He is amazing.  He's a bit shy, a bit geeky but what great doctors aren't a little odd?  Am I right?

He even noticed that I had a severe amount of back pain just from getting up and down off the examination table.  I wasn't even going in because of the back pain, I was going in to have him remove the cyst and get rid of the nerve pain.  The back pain I figured I'd always have to live with.

Boy was I wrong.  That cyst caused an awful lot of chronic pain that I no longer have. It changed my life drastically.   You see up until the removal of the cyst I couldn't even apply light pressure to the middle right lower part of my back without causing intense pain.  I mean INTENSE pain. 

But that all went away, I can even handle having my husband rub my low back again and massage out the knots  I could never have him do that before, it just hurt too much. 

The burning sensations and constant throbbing pain that was going down my right leg...gone.

Numbness in my big toe....gone.

Don't get me wrong, I have some residual burning every now and again down my right leg but it doesn't stay.  It isn't constant.   And it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be...nowhere near.

Recovery after surgery was beyond painful.  My back was so bloated and swollen and bruised it was disgusting to even think about, let alone look at in the mirror.  My incision, less than 2 inches long was glued together at the surface but had dissolving stitches deeper down. 

It was a long slow and painful few months, my nerves in my back were all out of whack because my surgeon moved them around to decompress them.They were painful and swollen, I could them, swollen and throbbing in the base of my spine and nothing would take that nerve pain away. 

I could literally feel my nerves settling back into place and had a nagging but yet somehow snapping feeling in my right sciatic nerve every time I stood up or sat down or moved positions...it was bad. 

Now I have had a couple of setbacks....I managed, somehow, to pull both of the long muscles in my low back that attach to my pelvis and hold me upright.  LOL

Even my own doctor didn't know how to explain how I did it but I did it and oh boy.  I pulled both of them but the one on the left is way more painful than the one on the right.

Then during one of my many visits with my physician, he asked me when the last time I had facet steroid injections.  It had been a while, over 9 months prior.  Then he nodded at me and said that he figured out how I pulled both of those muscles.....they've been weakened from the many steroid injections I have had in the past to try and get rid of the pain.  So they're more easily damaged, since they're weaker than they should be.  In laments terms, my back muscles are too weak to hold me upright and now I have to go through physical therapy. 

I hate physical therapy.  They always bitch at me about my posture.  The posture I adopted after having to hunch over for about 10 years to relieve pain in my low back is not good for keeping my muscles strong and flexible.  So there's that.

And then there's another problem.  I have a new pain, the pain in my left low back is from a pulled muscle, it's something I've never done before so I don't know how to cope with it.  I don't know how to ignore it and keep going. I have to relearn how to do that with this new pain.   It's very unlike my constant daily nagging pain in my right low back that surgery got rid of for me. 

It's new, it's different, it's something I've never dealt with so I don't cope with it very well and end up sounding whiny about my back hurting all day long.  (Insert sad face) LOL

I don't want to nor mean to sound whiny all day long when I complain about how my back is feeling terrible all day every day lately because I can't seem to just rest and relax it like my doctor told me I should be doing to it so it can heal better and faster.

Then I threw yet another monkey wrench into my cogs....I decided to come off all of my narcotics. 

Yes, you read that right.  I am no longer taking ANY narcotics.  I came off my last one, Oxycodone, this month.  The twitching and involuntary muscles spasms from the withdrawal were...well, they were terrible.  And they're hard to describe...

It's as though your own body isn't your own anymore.  It's like your muscles and nerves have a mind of their own, you can't control them.  If your arm wants to spasm outward and then curl back up into a tight ball against your chest, there is only so much you can do to stop that from happening before it's going to happen.

And it gets violent, my husband has been slapped and elbowed and kicked and kneed all in the name of me coming off my narcotics which he is forever grateful for because he hated me taking them, too.  The damage done to my liver and the rest of my organs is unknown but it can't be good.

So I'm pain med free but not pain free.  But it's a start.  I figure if I can survive this without pain medication then maybe, just maybe, I'll have a better chance at living a long healthy life.  

So I consider my surgery a success and honestly, I'm still a little scared.  The pars defect I have means one day in the future, my surgeon said in the next 5-6 years, I will need surgery again for a spinal fusion to correct my pars defect. 

I'm not just surviving and scared anymore.  I'm a scarred success but a success nevertheless.  And even though I have more surgery in my future, I'm feeling good about it. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Living With Chronic Pain Part2: It's More Than Chronic Pain

I've been doing some research on chronic pain.  It's something I have to deal with so I mine as well know more about it.  Right?

Well, statistical evidence has proven that those individuals who are suffering from daily chronic pain are also individuals who have a host of other medical problems to deal with.  Some of the most common ones are a mental health/chemical imbalance issue, such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc., but also anemia, low vitamin D levels, and very often gastrointestinal issues occur, as well.  The list is long so I won't put them all down here but I hope you get the idea.

The point I'm trying to make is that with chronic pain it isn't ever just chronic pain.  You also end up with this huge list of other medical issues.  And dealing with all of these things on top of your chronic pain really tires you out on the day to day.  You get sick of it after a while.  All the pills, the doctors, the trips to the hospital, some have even had to deal with countless surgeries to try and correct chronic pain problems or even some other chronic issues that require surgery like osteoarthritis, gastric issues...really, the list is like a mile and a half long so I'm not going to write them all down.

And when chronic pain has you down all day long, depressed because you're in pain and you've taken all the pain medication you can possibly take and you're lying there in bed, wanting nothing more than to cry and become invisible, when just a few mere moments of non-existence is all you need to be normal, to feel normal again, only a few minutes of peace where your body doesn't hurt, where your mind can relax, where you aren't feeling an ounce of pain, it's hard to remain positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It's on those days, in those moments where you wish and hope and pray that someone or something would just take all the pain away from your body for even a minute, those days are the hardest to get by, to cope with, to make it through.  It's difficult for you to motivate yourself to even get out of bed, let alone take care of your children, change a diaper, make a cup, find something for them to eat, entertain them, clean up after them, do laundry, clean the house and then the doctor appointments and WIC appointments, and my own appointments for my own health care needs such as my psych doctor, my neurosurgeon, my regular physician, my chiropractor, my chronic pain specialist.

Then there are the appointments for my husband; eye doctor, urologist, regular physician and again, the chiropractor, the psych doctor, the pain management doctor...so many appointments to remember and keep scheduled properly and make sure there is gasoline to get to all of these appointments every month.

It's kind of like an artful ballet. We all dance around each other while trying not to step on each others toes in any fashion and yet, sometimes it happens and then you get an argument going and those are never good for me because my rage and anger are tough enough to cut through the fence of trees I put up to keep them at bay like a hot knife through butter.

These are things that normal parents worry about...what a normal parent usually doesn't have to worry about is whether or not they will actually feel like physically moving that day, will their body let them pick up their child without pain that day, will you even be able to function on a proper level that day or will your mind fail you and not allow you out of your pain induced haze to even properly answer a medical question for your child or husband.

It all depends on the day.  That's the sad part.  I plan my days just like most every other parent but sometimes things get left by the wayside because I physically or mentally can't tackle that task that particular day because I'm not feeling well.  

Not feeling well.  Saying, "I don't feel well today" is a common phrase I use.  So is, "I just don't feel right today, something's off".

On days where I'm not feeling well, I have a hard time getting anything done. 

Today, has been one of those days.  I just didn't feel like doing anything today.  I didn't want to get up at 6:30 am to take my best friend to work, I didn't want to clean, do laundry, make any kind of food item, change diapers, pick up my girls, just nothing!  

But I had to...I had no choice.  Life continues even when I don't feel like continuing. 

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.

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 swelling...it'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 thing...to 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.  :)