confusing

Nov. 14th, 2014 01:18 pm
seventhe: (Edge/Rydia: no return)
It is probably a side effect of the drugs, the stress, or the combination of both, but for the last few weeks I've been living in a state where my dreams contain very real things to the point where I wake up and go about my day and find myself unable to remember or differentiate which things I dreamed and which actually happened.

It's stuff that rides the edge of real and possible: the costume-armor I put on to become a dragon, probably not; the confession that a semi-distant online friend had a crush on me, though: real or dream? Conversations at work, communication exchanges. These days, I dream in email, in text messages, in tumblr and phone calls.

It's a very strange feeling to be struck by a recollection or a deja-vu only to then be sidelined by the question of whether or not what I'm remembering is a dream-image or a real-one.
seventhe: (chocobo: hey bb)
I come home from work every day with the intention of working more. I realize this sounds dangerously pathetic or pathetically dangerous - choose one! - but it's the way I get myself out the door: go home, just bring this one thing, NOT EVERYTHING, just this one thing; working from home is much more comfortable and productive than being in the office anyway, you can have no pants on and cats get in your lap and there is always wine and music and more comfortable chairs and your wife the hot pad! don't you love your wife? DON'T YOU LOVE YOUR WIFE SEVENTHE DON'T YOU

it's a fine compromise that I am actually more than willing to make: the workload never stops, but it's much nicer working from home, PLUS it's much nicer to come home and be able to focus and do a much better job on something. it's nice to come home to an hour of catching up on email, or 45 minutes of pulling data into a report: I don't work all night; it's just small individual tasks I can get done in a low-key and helpful way.

But lately. BUT LATELY: lately, I come home and my brain just won't focus on the work. I have this report about all of the kerfuddlefuckery that has taken my plant down for four weeks already that the CEO asked me to write and I am all yes sir please let me hand-deliver this horrible news to your office, shall I seal it in my blood now or later like I actually do want to write this report and show what we are doing, what we are fixing, what we are facing - what the dumb godsbefucked people before me left to us, what I have sacrificed the last fucking six weeks to defeating which is like running a thousand goddamn marathons all at once on three hours of shitty sleep because I have been up at night worrying about my plant and my people because everything is goddamn fucked right now and -- and anyway, I want to write this report. But I get home and I open it and my brain gives this long-ass, horrible groan-sigh noise just like : reeeeeeeally, Sev, we are going to do this?

I am not going that way. No.


I'm trying, I want to, I'm in a comfy chair with the laptop on my lap right now. Come on, fucker. I just need an hour of your energy and we'll be ok.
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: (Tifa: bad)
My body's still busted up.

I've been fighting bronchitis for two weeks now. Some of it is my fault: I came down with it the week the Japanese Overlords were here, so I really didn't want to take sick time off of work and leave my discussions and presentations to someone else; I ended up just taking a lot of drugs and cough drops. I'm also dumb because I continued to run and work out for the first week because I don't like admitting defeat to my own body. When it didn't start to clear up on its own I went to a CVS MinuteClinic and got me some drugs for it, but I think working/working out through it has aggravated it and made it worse. That's mostly my own stupidity, and I probably deserve it, but the bronchitis just had particularly bad timing this year.

I haven't done any kind of cardio (running, swimming, or elliptical) in a week, and I haven't even done weights since last Friday. I've also been sleeping like a goddamned fiend - last Thursday I took the afternoon off sick, took a 4-hour nap, got up and ate and read a little, and basically went back to bed and slept for 10 hours - so it isn't like my body doesn't know something's wrong. I pretty much slept away the entire fucking weekend. At this point I'll probably just rest right on through to the Marathon Relay on Saturday, other than PT today. It's going to be a pretty horrible race for me. :/ I'm sure it will be fun hanging out with everyone, but I'm really just not looking forward to the running bit.

PT doesn't seem to be doing much yet. Every time I seem to think things are improving, it then gets worse. I know from experience that this unidentified friend in my neck works in horrible synergy with the rest of me - so when I'm sick, or when I have really bad insomnia, it's way worse - so for now I don't know whether my bronchitis is compounding the issue by way of general aches and pains, or if it's actually worsening. I just -- I thought PT was supposed to provide some kind of relief (as well as fixing what's broke)? Other than the traction machine (which I may actually propose to) it doesn't really seem to do much in terms of relief.

I just get really depressed when I constantly feel like shit. (surprise, feeling like shit makes you feel like shit?)

I'm really ready to not be coughing and dizzy all the time, and I'm super ready to not have constant pain in my neck/shoulders/back. :/

In marginally less whiny news:
  • I've contacted my advisor, I'm trying to pick up my literature search again, and I'll hopefully talk to her and go to some group meetings this month :/ (file under: other things I am not excited about)

  • This weekend I somehow managed to pull together a decently respectable Terra costume for NYCC. There's still plenty of things which can be done with it, but it's more or less going a lot better than I expected. It would be nice to have one 'constant' cosplay that I can wear wherever. (file under: upcoming nyc drunk vacation)

  • I'm almost finished with a stupid scarf I've been working on for like a year (I lost the pattern okay .___. ) and I have lots of epic plans for scarves and cowls and hats and fun things to knit for the winter. (file under: things i will not end up doing)

  • Work is somewhat in a lull right now, which is both nice and epically worrisome. No further developments there right now.



I'm trying to at least enjoy the weather. Autumn is my favorite season, and I love that it's colder out. I love the way the air smells, and I love the colors that are coming out. I just wish I felt better to enjoy it. :/

[edit] also I dyed my hair red. and that's really about it.
seventhe: (Internet: I know exactly what it is)
So it's shutdown week at work. This means the steam's down, and they turn everything off for once-a-year maintenance and upkeep and fixing. It means it's a pretty boring week, so usually I try to schedule some doctor's appointments and stuff.

I went in for an eye exam today, and to get evaluated for corrective laser surgery. For those of you who may not be aware, I toe the line of legally blind (ie, non-correctable (not actively blind)). I needed to get my glasses looked at anyway, but I have been thinking about the laser surgery for years. My script is -11. Even if all they can do is cut it in half, down to a -6, that makes my life a lot easier: less expensive lenses, opens up more lines of contacts I can try for added comfort, has the possibility of being 100% correctable rather than the 80-90% I'm getting right now. (There is only one line of contacts that offers lenses in my correct -11 prescription and at my level of astigmatism. Only one.)

The first thing the doctor told me is that - how ironic! - my eyesight is actually too bad for a standard LASIK clinic. That's right, my eyes are so bad a clinic won't accept me - I'm past their cutoff point. Ironic bitter laughter goes here.

There are individual doctors who can make the yes/no call on nonstandard patients, though - and my eye doctor (Dr F) said there was only one in the area who would take someone like me, but that he was one of the top 5 laser eye surgeons in the eastern US, and he'd done over 37,000 surgeries in his career. Dr D. So there was potential enough there to go through the evaluation, so we did.

And it turns out that - probably because my eyesight is such crap - my corneas are just barely thick enough for the least recommended thickness level of LASIK. As in, they're like 425 [units] thick and the requirement is 415. There is not a lot of leeway there. Dr F said that while sometimes Dr D will still be able to work on patients who are that close, it would be entirely Dr D's call, and it was a very narrow comfort zone.

What I am eligible for, however, is PRK surgery.

[potential TW: eye grossness?]

LASIK shapes your cornea by lifting the upper layers and peeling them back, and then reshaping the layers underneath and laying the cornea 'flap' over it. PRK is more like a grinding and shaving of the upper layers, and then the use of a reconstructive contact lens bandage as the very top layer grows back.

[/grossness I think]

From what I have (very very incompletely) found from research so far, PRK actually has a lower complication(/fuckup) rate because it isn't as invasive into your eye. However, it has a MUCH LONGER RECOVERY TIME than LASIK. With LASIK, you can walk in, zap zap, maybe a day or two and you're good. With PRK, you literally and legally cannot drive your car or go to your job for 7-10 days afterwards. You may be in large amounts of pain, on Vicodin. It takes a few days for your eyes to grow back into their new shape, so your vision may not hit even 20/40 for up to 2 weeks. It's a much bigger deal.

I have an evaluation with Dr D on 23 August, so that he can look at my situation *hand gesture* here and make his professional decision as to what to recommend: traditional LASIK, PRK, or "You do not want to do either of these with those eyes." I am open to hearing any of them.

But it's hard to get a surgery time because Dr D is so good. And there's an opening on 26 August. That the secretary at Dr F's office had them tentatively pencil me in for, pending Dr D's evaluation.

So I've got a chance here, if I'm approved, to jump on something that could really improve the quality of my life. I am also holyfuck terrified of this surgery. I am ALSO thinking that maybe this is NOT A GREAT TIME IN MY LIFE TO HAVE A SURGERY THAT COULD LAY ME OUT FOR UP TO A MONTH WITH ALL OF THE CRAPS I HAVE GOING ON - but I'd have Becky AND my local friends to help me through it, too, and when WOULD there be a 'good time', really?

So, yeah, there's that.
seventhe: (Auron: I'd hit that)
So I injured my left calf (inner lower leg and inner ankle area, to be both specific and general) while training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I realized sometime the week of 25 April; the week of 3 May I made the decision to stop training in order to make it to the Half. I ran twice after that decision: once on 8 May when I raced a 5K, and once on 15 May when I ran the actual half. Since then, I haven't run at all. Not only have I been too busy with life and kittens, but I also really just wanted to heal up whatever had hurt itself during my training.

This week Tuesday I decided to go out for a nice easy run to get back into things. And I could immediately feel the injury. I ran ~3 miles, and it was brutal for a lot of reasons - heat, allergies, asthma - but underneath all of it was the growing concern that this injury hasn't gone away. That's 6 weeks off of training, and almost 4 off of running entirely. That's enough that I got worries about it. So today I went to my doctor to talk about it.

He thinks I might have a stress fracture! Or tendonitis. Or a stress fracture with tendonitis.

I had to go get x-rays! That was fun. And expensive. :/

I am on anti-inflammatory drugs! For at least a month if not two! I can't drink on them! Balls.

I will seriously kick my own ass if I ran a half marathon on a stress fracture without knowing. I will kick my own ass with my good leg.

GDI.

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