Predictions

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I predict I will be visiting the hospital soon. This pain in my front right abdomen is agonizing. I feel like I’m on so much medication. But I’m not really ‘high’. In that Beavis and Butthead would be funny, kind of high. I feel like I’m  (shoot, I just made a mucromovement!) If I keep really still, but I’m trying to relax, anyway, I don’t have pain. If I move, though, something will sublux, and my pubic bone aches from my 2 pregnancies. Both of whom are teens. (Or will be in two weeks). I find it hard to think. I want to sleep. I’ve taken my sleeping pill, night marijuana oil, night meds, and breakthrough medication.

I’m extremely hungry, but my stomach is upset. I bought new clothes from Old Navy, I’m always spilling, in size XL. In regular people size! Not plus! I’m amazed! Thrilled! I essentially bought a new wardrobe! $3 tanks and sleep shorts, and the same dress 3 times. It’s a great dress, perfect for the doctor!

It’s what I’ve been doing to pass time. It’s the only attention span I have. Got to stop now.

Anyway. The pain is increasing, wrapping around my back, to the point it hurts to move often. Add this to the nausea and dizziness. Add in my neck and head pain and I just need to have a moment, perhaps.

It has occurred to me people have been treating my pain for the last few years, but not really looking after my other bits as well as they should have. We need to talk about that. I think my doctor finds girls icky, and avoids the tests he’s supposed to do. Not good. I will have to scold him. As if it will make a difference. Put that on the list of items to fix.

My husband has just come in from picking up a friend from England? South Africa? He lives both places, and just flew in, so picked him up and dropped him off, and now is at work downstairs in the dining room, because there was (is?) some sort of crisis.

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Do you love hospitals as much as I do? 

He did check on me first and felt there was a hospital visit coming. He doesn’t like that I’m still on the same amount of medication for a whole two days, (not a personal fault, a measure of pain) it doesn’t fit the pattern. I don’t remember, am in too much pain now, probably then, too. I think I will try to maintain as much as possible and go to the hospital at the most convenient time for our family. Also, I don’t want to scare the kids. When I told my daughter is might have to go, she burst into tears. She is under a lot of stress right now.  I’m feeling comfortable and sometimes I resolve cysts on my own. Plus, I might be catching the cold the kids had. Oh joy.

I love my kids. Is there some other way we could have gotten them? Pods? Amazon?

If you don’t hear from me for a couple of days, I am probably just very heavily medicated and trying to be very still. If something happens I will try and get a note somehow at some point.

My sincere apologies to Tylenol, you are much more useful than I thought.

To readers and commenters I’ve neglected, and well, everyone! I’m trying, but it shall continue for a time. I truly appreciate your patience – I will catch up! 😄.

The gentlest hugs to all of you. Have a wonderful whatever it is, wherever you be! 😘

Gobsmacked!

giphy2OK! First off, let me start by saying the weather here is icky pants. It is +10C today and will be -5C tomorrow, so I am very achy and very medicated. I’m a bit jumbled in my wording, but not inaccurate, if that makes sense. My husband warned me about the weather this morning and told me even his hips were aching. 😔

OK. So, the other day I had mentioned how I was disappointed with the treatment I had received from the customer service at my marijuana distributor. Just to be absolutely clear, I wasn’t so much upset with the delay in getting the paperwork done, because I happened to peek online, and it was finished on Sunday night. But by the time I remembered to check, I’d had my sleeping pill, and it was kicking in. The issue I was upset with was the seeming lack of care the person had when I was speaking with her. What became a problem is I didn’t receive an email letting me know my order was ready to go, because if it was there Sunday evening, it was likely there since sometime Saturday, and I would have been further up the queue, however… I didn’t get to order until Monday evening because I needed my husband’s help, since I have trouble remembering what I am supposed to buy. This really is probably moot since they are pretty fast, though.

Anyway 😄 the impressive part is that one of the customer service team at Cannimed reached out to me after seeing my complaint on my blog and asked me about my experience, and I explained how I understand how professionals sometimes need to detach when dealing with chronic pain patients, but when we get that every day it feels like we are being blown off. That not receiving my email was a problem, I counted on that. He then returned my email and said he would follow up with the rep in a non disciplinary way (good!) and find out what their perspective is, which I think is awesome.

The reason this may sound innocuous as a customer service experience that I’m complaining about is because it’s not the standard I’m used to from them. Last week my husband needed the receipts for my expenditure for 2016, he didn’t even know if we could get them. I was sick, so he called. Boom! Less than 10 minutes, I had the email and a follow up call.

What other company Googles themselves so they can provide customer service? I received this email at 10 pm. EST. Maybe 7 or 8 their time? I can’t remember if they are…oh wait 9? They are in Saskatchewan, they shouldn’t have been in the office, anyway. I’m impressed all to heck. They have been super, so this, what seems normal from Walmart, is an aberration from them.

I think, if I can get it by Friday? I should have enough. But my doctor is saying vape at will! I don’t know how this will work.

Yesterday’s nap ended up being all that happened, but it was gorgeous and I loved it. Naps are only for very lucky people who deserve them very much. 😄😄😄

My husband has arranged with work to start at 9:00 instead of 7:30 so he can walk our son to school. At least he is getting there. Prayers welcome.

Let’s see what today brings…

Have a gorgeous day, Zebras! 😘

Worn Out

It’s been a long week. I don’t feel like I’ve had much time to myself. My kids have been needy. Which is fine, I just haven’t had any recovery time. I don’t feel like many of my interactions with the world have been all that pleasant, either. Every second person who contacts me on Facebook messenger is trying to sell me something. And these are brand new friends, not people I’ve had interaction with!

My lovely husband ran out and picked up new cable boxes for us last night. All last week they wouldn’t turn on, I couldn’t get any television at all..unless it would randomly decide to turn on, which it did occasionally. But mostly it would be pixillated garbage. The cable company would reset, but last night they finally said, yeah we have to replace those things, so he took them in. It’s great, because now I actually have room to record stuff. This has 400x the space or something. But the downside is I can’t read the guide. It’s on my tablet, but… blah.

We did our taxes. We spent $34,000 on out of pocket medical expenses last year. We are damn lucky to have that money, that’s my pension/Ltd money income right there. That went to medical marijuana, therapy for me and the kids, orthodontic work, likely, and my injection fees for Botox. I was mistaken about the tax situation. It turns out we get 3% of it back in our taxes. Whee. I don’t know what I could have done without that treatment. I’d probably be dead. I’d be in so much pain. Those are my two main sources of pain relief, Botox and mmj. Not to mention getting into the pain clinic which costs. There’s a huge fee. I’d have done myself in.

My neck is hurting so bad and I have such nausea today I am in tears. I had to help my son today with homework, and I snapped when he stabbed me with his pencil once too often. I feel awful.

I just need a break. I need a night out. With friends. Not a tall order at all!

Hope you’re having a great day, Zebras! 😘

 

 

Happy Surprise!

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What kind of portal have I entered? I think I will stay here! Or, alternatively, deal only with female doctors. No, that’s unnecessarily sexist. However, the past couple of days have borne some evidence this may bear some thought. Let me start at the beginning and tell you what happened.

You may remember yesterday I had to beg off my doctor appointment because I was in too much pain. My husband had a piggybacking appointment and spoke with her “for” me, strictly off the record, and let her know how I was doing. She assured him that my visit wasn’t a priority and to come in when I was able. My doctors trust my pain management doctor, Allan Gordon, a great deal.

Today I was to see my cannabis doctor. My husband has taken days off to make these appointments. This is how he uses his vacation days. My previous cannabis doctor has just retired, he wanted to research addiction. I am assigned a new doctor. My old doctor is very focused on goals. He wants me to go outside and go for a walk. I don’t think he can wrap his head around the concept that my knees have zero meniscus. Doctors won’t operate on me because of the complications involved. He wanted to lower my dosage, but my disease kept progressing. I think he was a caring doctor, who maybe couldn’t see the reality of chronic pain without it really affecting him. I don’t think he would accept it as being fact. He was also obsessed with what I did all day, where I spent my time. If I was in bed, I had to be asleep. No other choice. It took a year to convince him otherwise. Finally, my husband got through to him.

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Look! I’m wearing people clothes! 😃

When the new doctor walked in, I was hopeful. First of all, she has many Ehlers-Danlos patients. Second, she is on board with the idea of using marijuana in all its forms, oils, pills, green, instead of my other medication. Which conflicts with what the old doc’s priorities were. In fact, he said once he ‘didn’t want to give me anything stronger so I could sit around and play video games all day’. 🙄 I expressed to this doctor that I was still having a lot of pain, and I wished there was something I could take that would help. She reviewed my strain, we talked, she asked me some questions, she asked me if I needed to be alert for work, nope. I do not, so I have some things to try. All without being treated like a drug seeking non-person. One who could lie in bed if it’s more comfortable if she wants to!

This conversation led down an interesting path. She asked about my diagnosis of EDS. I was diagnosed by a geneticist. Asked about endometriosis.  Confirmed and diagnosed in 1989. Do I have a fibromyalgia diagnosis? Well…sort of. I was told they thought I had fibromyalgia, but I really have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Once a massage therapist told me I had fibromyalgia. Then my husband pipes up that Fibromyalgia is in my chart as my official diagnosis. The doctor mentioned I could have both. This is news to me. I will have to investigate this more. Maybe not Lupus, maybe fibromyalgia! Will definitely ask at my appointment in June.

We had to walk a bit to get a cab. This place is badly situated, as we approached the taxi lineup, the first taxi in line is a company we don’t use, and was a minivan I have trouble getting into. As we started walking closer to the second cab, the first cab in line started freaking out (we approached from the back, so we didn’t pass him) it’s freezing and icy, the other cab is closer, and I’m hobbling, very obviously. The cabbie is blasting his horn and yelling. As the cab we’re in drives past him, he’s flipping us off and yelling. So glad I’m not in that cab. Road rage? That’s a major reason we don’t use that company.

It was nice to get out. It’s always nice to be home. I don’t have an appointment for a few weeks now, I can relax.

I need to say before I close, I have had a fair share of uncaring and rude female doctors and nurses, too. Female staffers are the ones responsible for demanding to know what drug I was detoxing from, when she found out I was taking methadone. To telling me to lose weight and I’ll feel better (plenty of men have told me this, I don’t feel better). Telling me I MUST be diabetic because I’m SO FAT, I was 260 lbs at 5’8.5″ and had put on 20 lbs due to being sick and bedridden for 6 months waiting for surgery. The nurse who told me I better not have a c-section after I needed help getting up after having my side sliced open for an emergency appendectomy, which turned out to be my period starting. No grudges, just a long memory.

Hope you’re having a good day, Zebra amix! 😘

Rare Disease Day

wp-1488290747322.pngFor Rare Disease Day, I have asked many people to take the time to learn about my experience with my illness. I have written this post as if it were a one-time visit. Please indulge me.

Today is Rare Disease Day. On the last day of February every year, we celebrate the rare diseases. Why? Because February contains the rarest day of all, February 29th.

We ask people to wear their jeans in support of people in support of rare disease, because it’s in their genes.

I was diagnosed two years ago with Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Type 3 Syndrome. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a genetic condition which means your connective tissue is faulty. Hypermobility is a common feature of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, determined by the Beighton scale in patients aged 16 to 35. To learn more about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, please visit Ehlers-Danlos.com.

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This is me, Dana, pronounced DAH-nuh.  This is what I look like on an ordinary day.

My Personal History

I was not diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome until I was 44 years old. My childhood progressed normally, with a few peculiarities. My mom reports I used to eat every third day or so. This was mirrored in my teens, as I had severe disordered eating, but mostly because my stomach hurt.

My knees used to ache during ballet class in middle school. I was told it was growing pains. I used to walk everywhere. I was a free-range kid. And adult. As a person in my 20s, I worked three jobs, and loved it. But things started to wear on me. As I turned 25, I got one good-paying job. I worked eight hours, I would come home and sleep. Then I would need to sleep on Saturday. Then I would be sleeping most of the weekend. What was wrong with me?

I met my second husband in 1998, and we started talking about a family. We had an ectopic pregnancy in 2000, and a daughter in 2002. In 2003, the pain in my hip and pelvis from symphysis pubis was too much to bear, after three months, I couldn’t return, and was on short-term disability. Then long-term. In 2003, I fell pregnant with our son, and in 2004 our family was complete.

Not Much Has Changed

The only things that have changed since those days is how much more independent my kids have gotten and how much my pain has increased.

Pain

I am in pain every minute of every day. It’s not something I talk about much, because it’s boring, and I have been working with the best doctors in the world on treatments. Someone always has something negative to say or a better idea. The only input I entertain is from fellow pain sufferers who approach with respect. This sounds harsh, but you need to hear some of the stories I can tell!

My knees are without meniscus or cushioning, my hips are so sore they can’t be touched without me screaming in pain. I’m not exaggerating, either. My stomach muscles along the right lower quadrant have been spasming for two weeks. They go into a deep twinge where I can’t move or breathe. I’d scream if I could. It’s like being cut in half with a chainsaw. I get chronic migraines, they are pretty well controlled with Botox injections, but I still get them. My elbows are sore, I have killer carpal tunnel, trying to see a doctor about that. These things mostly keep me around the house and in bed.

Two of the worst ones, are the pubic bone pain, and the Proctalgia Fugax. The pubic bone pain is from the birth of my kids, the ones I’m so lucky to have at all, because my pubic bone separated and never went back together. So it feels like I’ve been kicked all the time. Walking is so incredibly painful. Proctalgia Fugax is a pain in my ass. Literally. This is so embarrassing, but it’s the worst thing ever. It’s when my anal sphincter cramps up. I get no warning, and I am in blinding pain, where I can’t see, think, or breathe. The first time it happened,  I was sleeping, I thought my first husband was violating me. Why he would, I don’t know, that’s just what it felt like.

My stomach pain and constipation and diarrhea are the most inconvenient. My stomach always hurts. I am currently on the FODMAP eating plan, which is gluten and Lactose free, garlic and onion free, and I still have wicked acid reflux. I eat about 800 kcals a day because that’s what my stomach will allow. I’m constantly nauseated. I’m always trying to force food down. There are maybe five things I’m eating right now. My constipation used to be so bad I used to get shots to make me go, shots that would counteract the opioids I am on. It was a horrible nightmare. Now I can go about once a week, but it’s always urgent diarrhea when I do! Fun times! This eating plan has helped with the bloating and gas pains, but I still have actual sharp stomach pain, and my last stomach biopsy last summer said my stomach had an ‘unusual texture’.

Money

Money is always a fun subject because people get pissed off. My husband and I have been damned lucky in our lives and I won’t deny that for a minute. I had a pretty good job when I got sick, so I have disability insurance and he is a genius, so he makes a good living, plus good benefits. We live in Canada, so that is a perk right there. We managed to buy single, detached house right on the edge of downtown Toronto right as the housing boom started. It’s tiny, sad and ready for destruction by the next person who buys it, but…

Some of our expenses include:

  • Medical, prescription marijuana
  • Botox injection fees
  • Therapy and counselling fees
  • Prescriptions not covered by our plans

In Canada, if your medical expenses exceed 4% of your income, I believe, you can write them off on your expenses. Likely we will get some of this money back. Considering we have two children with Aspergers, this medical expense amount can be high.

Medication

I do take pain medication, but I don’t like taking more than I absolutely need to, or I get fuzzy headed. This is why I negotiate with my doctors to keep the dose as low as possible. On the other hand, what is the point, though, if you can’t do anything because you are in too much pain? I’ve been struggling with this lately, as my back pain has been flaring as well as my lower abdomen. If I take the breakthrough medication I’m prescribed, I’m drowsy. If I don’t,  I’m in agony. If I take sleeping pills, I sleep for two days, if I don’t,  I’m awake for two. Lower the dose? I’m at the lowest that works, unfortunately.

Friends

I can’t tell you the number of friends that have come and gone. It’s too painful. I’m like a girl in a rom-com repeating ‘don’t get attached’ every time someone is nice to me. It starts out fun, usually. Especially if I am mobile for a while! I’m having a good couple of weeks! But then it drops off. Always. I do have some friends who have stuck it through. They always have chronic illnesses themselves. The able bodies who do stick around for a while do imbue you with some kind of deficit, however. Whether it be intellectual, social, or your judgement, they will second guess you at something and educate you at every turn. It’s fun.

Family

My family is mostly accepting. My husband is a gem from heaven. I had him running off his feet last night, as he was performing myriad little tasks for me and I finally asked him to stop when it came to cutting my toenails, which I find difficult, since my back hurts. I told him it wasn’t fair for him to do this for me. He responded that he wanted to. I told him that it made me look like a demanding wife. He told me to forget about appearances and be my own woman! 😂 I love him. Even though his parents actively tried to have him leave me when we found out I had chronic pain. Just after the kids were born. They decided I was faking and just didn’t want to wash dishes or cook or do laundry.

Loss

I feel a lot of loss in my life. There is the life I wanted. I had wanted to be a photographer when I grew up. I never had the stamina to study. I wanted more than two children, but my husband was raising them, essentially alone. He couldn’t raise more than two. I wanted to be a gym bunny! I can hardly walk, not even a block, never mind a treadmill. I wanted a big career, a degree, an education. I know at this time, that is futile. This was supposed to be a starter home. I know the over $30,000 in medical bills we average per year has stood in the way of that. Our kids love this house, though, so that’s probably not that big a deal. At any rate, I did not want to spend my life in bed.

The Plus Side

On the plus side, I have met some many wonderful people because of this disease. It’s given me a chance to slow down. I was able to see my kids grow up. My children always know where I am. Teachers know where to reach me. My husband has had the opportunity to be an outstanding father. My kids have learned how to be compassionate caregivers. I did manage to also lose 100 lbs over the past two years, through incredible stomach pain and vomiting. There were days I would lie curled up in a ball and sip water because my stomach would hurt so much. The gastroenterologist hoped the FODMAP eating plan would help, and it has, slightly. I still have the sharp pains, but they aren’t constant anymore.

I hope this has given you some insight into what my life is like. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Stay stripey, my zebras and friends! 😘

Edited to add: I kind of thought this went without saying, but we haven’t had sex in ten months, and that isn’t going to change until a doctor finds a way for me to be touched without screaming. I bet you’re jealous now! I miss snuggling. Hugs. Holding hands lasts for five minutes before my hands get too sore. See how easy it is to forget about intimacy? 

My Life as a Spoonie

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I go through these periods where I am just exhausted all the time. It happened yesterday. I lay down for two hours. Slept right through my alarm, and my family woke me up at 7:00 to have cake. Mmmm cake! There is an illness called Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. I’ve often wondered if I have a variant of it.

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Cake!

My day typically looks like this:

  • Wake up at 6:00 am, hit the snooze for half an hour.
  • 6:30, washroom
  • Answer any questions or comments on Instagram and post until 7:00.
  • 7:00 am take medication. 13 pills. One mouthful.
  • Post on my Beauty Blog usually until 9:00 am.
  • Between 7 and 9 am, have coffee and oatmeal delivered by husband and daughter, coax son into going to school, monitor progress by text, and monitor daughter’s progress by text.
  • 9:00 am vape marijuana. While perusing Facebook and catching up with friends. Talking on phone, reading email, texting husband. Online shopping.
  • 11:00 start thinking about the EDS Chronicles.
  • 12:00 lunch and blogging. Lunch has been left for me by my husband. 1 oz of Lactose free cheese and some gluten-free crackers. I hate eating. I have cookies, too.
  • 1:00 my post is usually up, lunch is done. Here is where I either nap for a couple of hours or do something else. If the pain is bad, I sleep. I try to play with stuff for Instagram or my Beauty Blog. I want to read, too. But my concentration has been awful.
  • 3:00 Dr. Phil. I watch the first five minutes, call him a quack and tune out. Time for pills.
  • 4:00 sometimes my boy comes up and watches the Simpsons with me.
  • 6:00 is pill time.
  • 6:30 Husband is usually home around now. I’m still stuck in bed. Daughter rules downstairs, she just feels like she needs her space, and it’s so uncomfortable for me, so tough to get down there, it’s not worth it.
  • Between 8:00 and 9:00 I get the pictures for the next day ready.
  • Husband comes to bed around 9:00 and we have time together. It’s also melatonin time and time for marijuana oil.
  • 10:00 last pills of the day. I usually read a few last articles and then put my arm brace, mouth guard, and CPAP on and by 10:30 I’m out.

It’s been good not sleeping as much. I used to sleep all day almost every day. I was afraid I would never get enough rest. But I was tired all the time, anyway. This is different, though. This morning, I woke up and I couldn’t uncurl. I couldn’t straighten up. My abdominal pain is just so bad. My back pain. Maybe I’m having a childbirth flashback? 😂 since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday!

I pause a lot for rest and breaks in everything I do. I have cramps, my hands hurt. Things work out if I work to my limit and go slowly, but all it takes is one day to mess it up. One day where I want to go out. Then I am in bed for a week. I can’t do anything. In fact, I’m feeling the strain of the other blog. I’m just having so much fun, though. Why can’t I keep anything?

I’m supposed to meet my friend tomorrow.  I hope she’s okay hanging here. I’m hurty. I’m still going to try to bathe. I have a sore on my hip. I find I get them even if I’m clean. It’s from skin rubbing together, right? They smell awful. I have cream. Ugh. I don’t have a lot of hanging skin from losing weight, but when stuck in bed, you get squished a lot.

My husband was super sweet the other day. I nearly had a conniption because Shoppers Drug Mart, a drugstore here in Canada, is now carrying Pixi Beauty! It’s a super high end drugstore, without high prices. It’s amazing. Anyway, we were having an ice storm here in Toronto, and they had stopped the streetcars, so he had walked partway from work, feeling terrible because he’s on steroids for his eyes, and he stops at the store whilst waiting for the bus and texts me asking what I want. So we settle on quite a few things,

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What darling husband bought for me $124 CDN

After the excursion, and he at first found the makeup, and he persevered and found the skincare, he just missed the bus and had to wait 30 minutes for another. What a sweetheart. He needs to do so much for me. Like cooking my dinner. Bringing it to me. Getting my clothes out for me when I go out. I don’t know what I would do without him. He’s also my very best friend. Imagine that!

I was too tired to eat dinner last night. I had just woken up from a nap, and I was still too tired. My back is killing me.

My husband had glaucoma and cataracts last year and needed surgery. He’s only 48. He’s had a bad infection that started before the surgery, they had it under control with steroids, but as soon as he went off them, it came back. Now he’s on super strong steroids and doesn’t feel well. He was complaining he didn’t like the general feeling of unwellness and achiness all the time. I just looked at him and he apologised! I laughed. It’s fine. It isn’t fun. Poor guy.

Be well, my zebras! 😘