seventhe: (Cats: I LIKE THEM)
This just in: still alive.

I'm not even going to get into work here because the things people have done to me and the things I have done to people in the last six weeks belong in a horror film. One about fire and brimstone and lots and lots of swears.

More importantly, I finally got in to see the rheumatologist. I'd delayed calling because I am a busy and forgetful fuck, and then when I called there was a 6-8 week lead time on appointments, but I've finally been in to see an expert. Diagnosis re-confirmed, it's fibromyalgia. There's also some general autoimmune-disease stuff going on in there, but Fibro is an absolute.

(With fibro, there are these "trigger tender points" that are part of the diagnosis process: for people with fibro there are certain points on the body where the nerves are hypersensitive, so a normal touch feels like someone punching you directly on a bruise. Things I wasn't prepared for. The doctor was doing his check-over and hit the one on the knee and I screamed. I've always just thought bodies were sensitive there. Things I wish I'd known years ago.)

So I'm being taken off the escitalopram (anxiety med) and put on Cymbalta. The Cymbalta should be able to take the place of the Lexapro with regards to anxiety, and additionally will help deal with the fibro pain and sensations. I do get to keep my trazodone -- you can pry that sleeping pill from my cold dead fingers.

I'm on a starter dose for now, which will be increased if/as needed, and if Cymbalta doesn't work Lyrica's next.

As part of the prescription, I've also been "prescribed" exercise. The doctor says that mild (no strenuous weightlifting or sprinting intervals) exercise will help the fibro and, even though it hurts, will also help the Cymbalta work -- basically adding some exercise activity will give the drug the best chance to be effective as time goes on. As I would really like (one of) these drugs to be successful, I'm going to go back to the gym and just be gentle with myself until/as the drugs start to work, and then go from there. I'm thinking of restarting yoga in addition to that.

I am sure it won't be easy, and adding something else to my to-do list and daily schedule is moving in the absolute wrong direction, but I'm at the point where I've needed a reminder that my health is important even though it's complicated to care for.
seventhe: (SAZH)
Yesterday I had an appointment for an evaluation at a Pain Management Clinic. This is the third doctor I've seen for the problem in my neck/back/shoulders: the first being my GP, who is the one that sent me for the X-Rays and MRI (and PT) and found the herniated disc; the second being the neurologist I went to see about the bulging/herniated disc and the MRI results, who was a super asshole that I actually flipped a proverbial table at and cussed out for being dismissive and spending too much time playing up his jokey mannerisms and not enough time listening to me; the third is this Pain Management Clinic specialist to which Doc #2 referred me to be evaluated for cortisone shots in my spine. (For the record, I will not be going back to Doc #2. I will eat nails first.) Keep in mind that there have been 2-3 week waiting periods to even get an appointment at these specialist places; my MRI was in October. The pain started in June. Just yesterday I actually spoke to a doctor who has an actual plan to help me.

Doc #3 was pretty great. He was a little slow - the whole clinic was - but it was the methodical, I'm-actually-thinking slow, which is okay when you're a doctor. But he listened to me, and actually evaluated me there (making me move around, looking at where the pain was, feeling around for trigger points) instead of just reading the notes from the nurse and the previous doctors. And we have a plan.

So, what Doc #3 told me was that basically, after listening to my descriptions/symptoms and feeling my actual neck/back/shoulders, he isn't sure if my muscles are jacked because my spine is fucked, or my spine is jacked because the muscles around it are fucked. He's taking me very seriously in terms of wanting significant pain relief: I'm scheduled for a cortisone epidural (steroid shots into my actual spine places) at the end of February. But since A) there's a long wait time for the epidurals anyway; B) shooting shit into one's spine is a fairly significant procedure; and C) there's a chance the muscles are the cause, not the disc; he suggested that we try something less invasive in the meantime to see whether it provides any level of relief. I have to say, I like this logic: I love a doctor who is cautious and tries the less dangerous stuff first, while I simultaneously love that he hasn't taken the more drastic option off the books (other doctors have done so, and I'm like no, dude, give me the big shit, I fucking need it). It's a good progression plan in my opinion.

So next week Tuesday morning I'm going in to have a steroid concoction injected into the trigger points in my muscles. At best, this will calm the inflamed muscles, relieving the stress on my spine and (maybe after multiple treatments, admittedly) solving the problem entirely. At worst, it will provide temporary relief until the end of February when I get the epidural injections.

I'm also on a sweet new cocktail of epic maintenance drugs to help me make it through the days on as little pain as possible:
- Super Advils (800mg; I have 90 of them) for general off-the-top relief
- a less-drowsy opiate for during the day that I can take at work, hopefully allowing me to not have stabbing pain while at my desk and on the job
- Vicodin to take at night, to help me actually sleep (Vicodin is at the top of the very short list of "things that actually help relieve this pain"), at a higher dosage than I had before
- a new muscle relaxer to take at night; previous ones didn't work well on me, but last night I was seriously in bed by 9:30pm so maybe there's hope for this one

I realize this is my first day on the new cocktail and it might just be a coincidental "good day" at random, but I do have to say the overall level of pain has already decreased. I don't feel like I'm being stabbed in the neck with a red-hot knitting needle at the moment, for once.

So I will get injections next Tuesday and then work with that and the new drug cocktail for ~2 weeks, at which point I go in for a check-up/eval with the doctor again to report back. From there we can do another round of the muscle injections, up/change the drugs, and/or reevaluate the need for the spinal injections. Thankfully, that checkup is before my next trip to the plant, so hopefully I'll be able to have some kind of relief before going back down to work those physically demanding 14-hour shifts.

I'm... I've been hopeful so many times and things haven't worked out. So this time I'm trying to be reasonably hopeful -- this is all new stuff we're trying, and so far I think the plan is good and the drugs are (as a VERY early judgment) working well.

We'll see.
seventhe: (Rydia: power)


The good news:
We actually did fairly well for how busted up our team was going into this (we had injuries, illnesses, training mishaps (or complete lack), or, in my case, all of the above). In fact, I'm honestly pretty proud of my teammates, more so than myself -- we were thinking that 4:00 would be a good time for us this year, and hitting 4:01 with my slow ass dragging us down is pretty impressive. *single crystalline tear* Thanks for being so awesome, team.

My own performance was, well, eh. I'm okay with it. I don't want to say "I'm happy with it" because I'm not, but seeing as I ran with bronchitis AND a pinched nerve, it's more that that's the part I'm unhappy about, not my performance. I'm not angry or beating myself up over anything, because there wasn't much I could have done differently. So, not happy, not mad: I'm okay with it. 7.5 miles in ~74 minutes (by my watch - the clock time above includes Hilldo and my relay handoff). Just under 10:00/mile pace. Not the best I've ever run, but I'll take it, given the circumstances.

And we're still in the top 35% of all the teams that ran this year. Not bad at all!

Also the good news:
Somehow it seems to appear that the shock of running 7.5 horribly hard miles in the freezing cold of morning has scared the bronchitis out of my system? I'm still coughing (and coughing up miracles of nature), but it's definitely receding at this point.

The bad news:
I'm in pain, yo

I've got tendonitis so bad I can barely put weight on either foot. It's Peroneal Tendonitis, from a self-diagnosis after some research in running forums and the like last night. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of a) my already weak and wussy ankles b) absolutely no training for 10 days because bronchitis, and inconsistent training before that because pinched nerve c) surprise!!hills, both UPHILL (which I trained for a little) and DOWNHILL (which I did not and I'm pretty sure did me in).

I'm at work, hobbling around like a total idiot, looking for the secret icepack and planning to basically stay seated at my desk all day long today screw you guys. It honestly feels like someone is stabbing both of my feet. It's horrible :(

The rest of me is pretty sore - my calves are screaming (part of the peroneal tendonitis) and my quads and hammys are very upset with me - but my feet definitely win the shit prize this time around.

The best news:
Despite all the pain, I'm totally done with running for this year.

From now on out, I only have to run when I want to run. I don't have to do any long runs. I don't have to do any tempo runs. I can just run an easy 3 when I feel like it, and if I don't, I won't. Maybe I'll heal? What is this healthy thing??

In fact, today I'm going to go to the pool and do an easy workout (I think the cold water and some stretching will actually help the tendonitis) because I can.

So yeah. Good work, J-Squad. Okay work, body. And now, to hobble to the coffee.
seventhe: (Internet)
After last weekend, I was determined to get me some things done! I was ready to go, planning out multiple weekends, factoring in family birthdays and prior commitments and school/homework and Big Bang projects that have sort of whirled out of control and balancing it all with moving, and then--

Monday morning I woke up with a stomach-ache. Not a big deal, I thought.

By the time I got to work it was so painful I couldn't move, couldn't sit, couldn't stand. And it wasn't just a stomach-ache like usual: it was accompanied by painful stabbing, fever sweats/chills, and definite nausea. My lower abdomen was painful to touch or press on, like a bruise.

I went to lie down in the backseat of my car and, after half an hour of absolute agony, called my doctor and pleaded for an appointment. The drive there was abysmally painful. I actually had to lie down in the waiting room because I was in so much pain.

The doctor looked me over and said he was pretty worried. I went in to give them a sample for a urine test, and apparently the trip from the bathroom back to my little examination room was too much. When I got back, I threw up all over the place - or it felt like all over the place; when I was done I noticed it was "mostly" in the sink.

The doctor immediately went, "Oh! You 'just' have a stomach bug! Okay!" and I walked out feeling irrationally better (I HATE how puking makes you feel better. It is somehow ridiculously unfair) with a script for some anti-nausea meds and orders to eat nothing but toast.

SO here it is, Tuesday, and I'm missing class again (already twice this semester, I am awesome) and I've missed another two days of work for this and of course I can't even feel bad yet because I am too busy feeling like shit and -- hahahaha, there goes all my motivation into lying in bed with kittens and feeling abysmally sorry for myself.

"A life in ruins with vomiting," indeed, Miles Vorkosigan.



I'm firing my immune system. I assume no one wants it, but it'll be up for grabs as soon as I figure out how to replace it with antifreeze.

ugh

May. 30th, 2007 03:11 pm
seventhe: (Quistis: looks like Sev!)
2:30pm yesterday: had horrible sore throat and fever, came home from work, slept.

6:30am: still had fever and sore throat; stayed home again and slept.
8:30am: felt slightly better due to Tylenol/Sudafed combination cocktail; felt mildly guilty about skipping work.
12:30pm: drugs wore off. felt absolutely shitty again. stopped feeling guilty and went back to bed.
3:00pm: woke up, took another Tylenol. turned on AC as apartment is over 80 degrees.

It's a sinus thing, I think - the back of my throat is scratched dry, and usually that happens when I get a really bad allergy day. The fever's a new thing. Not sure why my allergies to the little white puffy things floating around would give me a fever, but...

Yeah, definitely sick!

ETA: go ahead, LJ, believe my tags... IF YOU DARE!

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