So Many Appointments!

I knew it was going to be a “busy week”! My main concern being how I was going to keep up with that hectic of a pace knowing I would need to make “accommodations” for each appointment to “look good” in front of so many different people. Because that is what I do… Make accommodations to “look good” even though it is not how I really feel.

The first appointment was with a “pain management” doctor. This was a relatively painless appointment, LOL! In fact, he wondered why I hadn’t been in to see him sooner? Uhm, because I didn’t want to be labeled as a “chronic pain” patient! This is now listed on my medical records; it is something I’ve tried really hard to avoid especially because of the medical climate we now live in. I would now be part of the “opioid crisis” with its skewed number of people who abuse heroin (opioid) as well as other people who abuse drugs making it that much more difficult for people who really need pain medications for documented reasons! The recent legistlation, insurance guidelines, and other regulatory agencies… well, I wonder how THEY might feel if they were the ones who actually had “chronic pain”!

In the past, I have done RF Ablations (radio frequency ablations); I’ve had this done three times; once per year for three consecutive years. It is a day-surgery operation where nerves are killed that cause my pain. They also inject steroids at the time of the surgery which guarantees at least 6 weeks of pain-free living. I had this done prior to my spine fusion even though this doctor said I would eventually need the spine fusion. I never asked for pain meds at those times; I didn’t need them (mainly because of that steroid injection!) I felt great after these procedures. I didn’t realize at the time that the clock was ticking towards a much bigger surgery/surgeries.

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My lower lumbar pain and lower extremity nerve pain is a direct effect of my spine fusion done January 2018. The neuro surgeon who did my spine fusion knows I still have pain from this surgery but he no longer wants to treat the pain I have from HIS surgery. So regardless of how I feel, they just cut me off! I knew this would happen! Or I at least suspected this might happen? Consequently, I generally under-dosed myself living with more pain than I should have to live with to make my prescriptions last longer. I am praying that once my spine fusion totally heals (it can take up to a year to fully heal), I will no longer have the lower lumbar pain? And I am also praying that my nerves will heal so they no longer trigger pain that I currently have. My nerve pain is actually positional; triggered in certain positions. If I avoid those positions, hopefully I can avoid the resulting nerve pain? Regardless, I now have medications to treat my pain when it becomes unbearable.

The second appointment was with a PMR doctor (physical medicine and rehabilitation) for my first acupuncture treatment. I am told it will take 3-4 treatments to know if acupuncture will help my lower lumbar pain? I find it totally ironic that I’ve had acupuncture done on my very athletic dogs when they have had a muscular problem but never thought to have it done on myself!

Besides inserting needles, they use infrared light to warm the lumbar area being treated. Electrical impulses are also used very similar to a TENS treatment. Stuck with about 17 needles, I lay there hoping for the best. NEXT TIME, I will have hubby in the room with me. The exam table was too narrow for me to log-roll to get up after the treatment so I did a controlled fall to get off the table then used my upper body to pull myself to a standing position by gripping the exam table and pulling myself up. The MA watched me do this without any offer to help me get up from the table.  I use my headboard at home to pull myself out of bed; just another accommodation I use to “get up”. This is something else most people just take for granted… Being able to get up and off an exam table without assistance. I plan it out knowing every time I go down, I am going to have problems getting back up again. This is something I’ve been doing for a long time hopefully hiding it from other people because of my own self-conscious concerns of my lack of mobility/abilities.

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The third appointment was with a “counselor” to discuss “life changes”. I think I’ve done a really good job of adjusting to my specific “life changes” but if someone has something else to offer, I would love to hear what she might have to say? Our first ‘session’ was mostly a “get acquainted” session. I covered my physical problems that has caused me to change many aspects of my life. The changes I’ve made have been very positive; I like the directions I’ve chosen. Going deeper, I talked about a specific heart ache; now this is something I really hope she can help with? But as I dredge up details, I wonder if this is beneficial? All it did was make my heartache resurface from a deep place I’ve buried the pain. Again, I will give this person a chance to see if they can offer any suggestions in how to deal with “life events”? Maybe she can help? I won’t know unless I try.

All in all, a very “busy” few days! The increase in activity did increase my pain levels but I’m really hopeful that by seeking out these other resources, I might eventually decrease my overall pain? That is the ultimate plan and hope.  Instead of making my own personal accommodations that hides my mobility problems, I’m hoping these other professionals can help me treat my problems? They say they can help; I really hope what they say is true!

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When all is said and done, I want my life back! I am working on each individual problem finding ways to make these problems better. Will I still make “accommodations” when out and about? Probably! I KNOW I won’t be able to fully do the things I once used to do and while that makes me sad, I’ve found a different direction I can go that I fully enjoy. And I have a wonderful, supportive family that is helping me achieve in this new direction. I feel truly blessed! THIS is my “real stuff”. I can bury my head in the ground and pretend this isn’t happening OR… I can “focus on the future” to regain my mobility as much as possible. That is my plan!

XOXO ~ Jennifer

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