Adjusting

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This has been a tough week. I’m trying so hard to stay positive and happy, but I just feel so awful all the time. I don’t have much time where I can sit up before I need to lie down again to relieve the symptoms. I did end up sleeping from Friday evening -our whole family was in bed by 9 on Friday, until dinnertime. And then I slept this morning until 11. I hope it helps. My back is hurting like crazy, but it is probably related to the leaky spinal fluid.

I think I’m so upset because I am afraid. I am afraid things won’t get any better and I will be stuck not only in pain, but even more useless.  I am trying to not dwell on this, but I need to get a certain amount out of my system. I am trying to appreciate the benefits of the relaxed life. There is the grand possibility I could be fine. God, I hope so.

I get very lonely. I don’t have much capacity to reach out or to be a friend right now. Online is so tough, I am often misconstrued, rightly so, I am so tired or not thinking about how my words are interpreted. I don’t get back to people, I have to run sometimes if I have to vomit or stuff. It isn’t ideal. Phone sometimes works, but my husband will work from home, and no phone for me! 😆 or my face hurts so much. But that is a possibility. 😊

I’m trying to watch funny and positive programs on tv. There are so many things on tv I missed out on! Friends was so Great! Arrested Development was amazing! Bojack Horseman is hard for me to follow, and I need to decide on what’s next. I’m enjoying this.

I started reading again. Reading was tough for a while. I’m not certain if I was too jumpy or if I can only concentrate on short stories, but I just finished an excellent book. I will tell you when I can get the title. I can’t move just now. 😜

There are plans to change my medications, consult with this doctor,  that doctor. But this all takes time. I am trying so hard to be patient. But I’m uncomfortable.

But when I look forward to my future, do I have 35 years left? 83 is a ripe old age (okay, we generally live longer in my family, but please) what am I going to accomplish in this time? This disease has already derailed my (sad) career. I cannot start anything in this condition. This blog is a major effort (of love!) Thank God I was able to have the kids I was told I would never be able to have or I’d feel like I had passed through this earth leaving nothing (ymmv). Maybe I’m just having an existential crisis all on its own. I’m prone to those. I have way too much time to think. My sister told me to “just don’t think about it” which is brilliant advice, but yeah, when you’re lying here in pain, your brain goes to dark places. It sucks. I’m working on it.

I was thinking about my friend who had told me early in the year that I needed a new doctor and the way they were going to fix me was without pills. He was right, in a way. But I don’t think I will be making the miracle recovery he expects. It’s not q-ray bracelet technology. If the blood patch works first time (unlikely) I need physio of between 3 and 5 years to be up and walking to where I would be enjoying time with my family. Not to mention getting on proper medication, etc etc.

I will be so much happier when I can at least lie down and not be hurting, you know? It’s bad.

Sending my love!

 

I Don’t Want to be a Pirate!

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…and I don’t want to walk a marathon, either.

So, I went to my appointment at the brand new EDS Clinic last week. I managed to survive. It took me a while to not only recover physically from the appointment, but to process the appointment itself.

Overall, the appointment was a success, I think. I went into the appointment with a fairly open mind, free from expectations, just hoping for some benefit.

Now, it seems the purpose of this clinic is to gather specialists who have an interest in seeing patients who have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. They currently have a gastroenterologist, a psychiatrist or psychologist I can’t remember which, and are working on the physiotherapist.

They reviewed my case, and then did a physical examination. First there was one doctor, then another came to see me and did her review. This took over two hours. Nothing special, except they detected arthritis in my left knee, which would explain why it hurts so much, and probably why the pain wakes me up at night. This is fairly new.

Now, really, aside from pills, the only treatment for EDS is physiotherapy. We all know this. So it was no surprise this was the hard sell I was given. They told me I was severely deconditioned. I cannot argue with that at all. But it was presented as: the doctor would say it normally. Then he would say it slowly, providing a long explanation. Then he would reiterate it quickly. He tested me for POTS, but kept me standing up, in pain, as the machine kept erroring. Then, he made a note for my doctor to monitor my blood pressure because it was borderline. I was so annoyed. This was toward the end of the appointment, I was in so much pain, the room was spinning, and nobody was nearby to catch me. Gee, blood pressure high? 🙄

One thing I consistently find frustrating is when doctors hear I spend my day in bed, they shut down right there, end of story. I am a complete invalid, sickie. They do not listen to why I choose a bed over the sofa. Firstly, all of my stuff is handy in my room. Secondly, I can stretch out and work out whatever kinks I get when I have space. Essentially, every morning, I fold up the blankets so I have room to work. There is a reason my nickname is Hamster Girl!

Another issue, he seemed not able to grasp the concept my pain clinic was not fully looking after my needs. As of this point, I have only had one Botox Migraine treatment since June 2017, and no Botox in my body at all since June. Although controversial, the body injections helped me a lot, and I am hurting! (Side note: the pain clinic has sent out a note saying they will no longer be doing injections. I also remembered, in my last convo with my pain doc, he said he wanted to switch my pain pills as he felt they weren’t working, I agreed.) Anyway, as we were about to leave, I blurted out we needed a referral to a pain clinic. Any Pain Clinic! He obliged. (Oh! I didn’t receive the note yet, but was told about it because the old pain clinic manager called me, as they had a cancellation with the old pain clinic’s new neurologist for next week. I mentioned this to the EDS Clinic doctor with some of the symptoms and he was very concerned about my head situation.)

Another weird thing was, he asked me if I exercise, and I said I do stretches, which he said do not count. He only counts timed exercise. Well, I hate timed exercise. I told him I used to be very active, walking everywhere, and that doesn’t count either. He suggested I go for a brisk walk. I nearly made another suggestion, but we had moved on.

I always love it when I am told things that hurt ‘shouldn’t’. Like my Symphasis Pubis. I began laughing. He told me it especially shouldn’t hurt because my daughter is nearly 16. Great. I will tell it. WTF?

All in all, it was a valuable appointment. I completely agree that I am deconditioned and physio with someone competent would be amazing. I had a really good guy for a bit, but I was in too much pain to continue, and three times a week – I was too weak to even do that. I think this is even more gentle, more home-based. I’m slightly nervous, because the time before the good one, the physio was all “join a gym! Join a gym!” Not good.

I didn’t like that they were trying to goal-set for me. One doctor wants me to start pool walking by the summer, and the other doctor was “I want to see you run a marathon in five years! Ok walk.” I have no desire to do either of those things. Oh, and the male doc kept saying “you’re still a young woman!” Uh, more than 3 and my bullshit detector goes off. 😆

They were both really pressuring me to start physio now! Now! Now! I do understand momentum is important. But I am not certain they are understanding how messy my pain management situation is. Yes, it’s fear, too! I barely sleep because of pain. I am just hanging on managing my pain. It’s very complicated. I spent this weekend mostly horizontal, trying to stay home from the emergency room. That’s how much that appointment took out of me.

I can completely see they are right. I need their help. But I am scared to add on more without more pain support.

I have scored a gastroenterologist, a therapist, a physiotherapist, and pain management. Not to mention neurology. Here’s hoping that appointment answers some questions.

Thank you to everyone for all your love and support.

 

State of the Union

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This .gif is from Idiocracy if you don’t recognize it. I don’t know what I’m doing using American imagery, being Canadian, but this is one of my favourite movies. If you haven’t seen it, do and soon. Written and directed by Mike Judge, the guy who did Office Space and King of the Hill, it was released in 2006, he now says “I didn’t intend it to be a documentary”!

A lovely woman has been messaging me on Facebook messenger, and she has been sending me greetings such as ‘have a pain-free day!’ I appreciate the sentiment, but I finally had to ask her to please say something else, as having a pain-free day is so unlikely as to be impossible, and it is almost depressing! She was amiable and lovely, however, it made me think of all the things I take for granted that people know.

 

What is ‘wrong’ with me

At this point I have a few diagnosed illnesses.

Endometriosis

This was my first diagnosed illness. Endometriosis is where your uterine tissue grows outside your uterus. It can cause organs and tissues to bind together, and horrendous pain during periods. I was diagnosed at 19 by a gynecologist through a laparoscapy.  I have had five laparascopies to remove adhesions, tissue, etc. My bowel and bladder are most affected.

Migraines

Migraines started monthly, soon after my periods started. As the years continued they became more frequent. By the time I was 40, they were up to two or three a week. I started on Botox injections shortly after. They were lifesaving.

EDS, Ehlers-Danlos H3 Syndrome

I was diagnosed with EDS at age 44 by a geneticist. She was not impressed until I put my leg over my head while standing. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is caused by a fault in a person’s connective tissue and collagen is made improperly. This results in myriad problems unique to each person. My stomach and digestion, as well as knees and neck seem hardest hit. And my wrist from years of computer work is very unhappy.

Fibromyalgia

I’ve heard this word tossed around a lot. I’m not certain it applied to me. For the longest time I actually didn’t believe in it. I thought it was something doctors used to fob off on whiners to get them to shut up. Now that it’s been explained, I understand a bit more. They suspect it’s been brought on by the continuous pain I’ve been in, my body is essentially misfiring pain signals constantly.

IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome 

They are definitely not in good humour, that’s for darn sure.

Hernia

I have a microscopic hernia in my stomach that people muse about whether is causing a problem or not.

Swan neck deformity 

This is more just interesting. My fingers are bent at the tips, so they look like a swan neck. It’s fairly common in EDSers.

 

What is being investigated

Carpal tunnel

I’m having massive wrist problems, my GP said this is what it was, but didn’t really examine me.

Complex regional pain syndrome

Something to do with my abdomen being so bloody sensitive to touch. You touch it and I jump sky high. It’s terrible.

Gastroparesis

I likely fit the definition for this, just no one has said the words.

 

Who is involved in my care

Right now, the people involved in my health care are:

My husband

All around point man, food getter, diet manager, cheerleader, favourite person.

GP – General Practitioner

He is really good at referring me to people. I have been with him for over 20 years now. Nice guy, no clout.

The Pharmacist

My hero. This guy is great. He extended us credit when we were poor, keeps me from dying prematurely. You know, regular stuff.

Pain Management Doctor

I love this man. He is impossible to get an appointment with at a decent time, but he looked after my pain when it was critical. I will always appreciate that.

My Therapist

She has had me do more work than anyone, but she is amazing! Adore her. Tough, but fair. Lucky to have found her.

My Dentist

Really good dentist, up on the latest pain management techniques, too bad he is on the second floor. Luckily they book me for same-day visits. I can go when I feel good.

My Cannabis Doctor 

My new doctor is so good! She listens! She cares! I adore her! I am so lucky!

My Gastroenterologist

Ugh. This guy. I need to go back, but I don’t even want to. I don’t think he knows what to do with me, and I’m not sure it interests him.

My Nutritionist

Still have not been able to set up an appointment, so I might have to contact the hospital liason.

My Gynecologist

She is a hoot! She told me one of her friends is a dentist and asked how she could look at vaginas all day. She responded with ‘how can you look at teeth all day?’ 😄😄😄

My Respiratory Specialist

I love her! She monitors my CPAP machine and my sleeping. I need to go and see her again, as I lost 100 lbs, we may need to adjust things.

 

People I need on my team

Carpal Tunnel Doctor

I have a name, I’m seeing my doctor in ten days, he may refer me to someone internally. He referred me to a hand specialist, but she retired.

Knee Specialist

You know how puppets ‘walk’? I feel like I have to kick my legs out to the side to make my legs work. It’s weird. And my knees are all wonky, like they are sliding around. It’s uncomfortable.

Physiotherapist

I know a great physiotherapist, I’m just in too much pain to get up, dressed, there and back by myself.

Pelvic Physiotherapist

I did this for a bit, but same as above. Too much pain to get up, dressed, there and back by myself.

 

That’s where things are as of right now. Unfortunately,  it looks like I’m going to have to sleep again today. 😔 I’m so annoyed.

Hope you’re having a great day!

Have a stripey day, Zebra friends!

 

 

 

 

The Daily Grind

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I was looking for baby photos of my daughter to post on Facebook to embarrass her, when I came across this one.  My daughter took this of me taking a Selfie,  because she thought my hands were hilarious. They do look pretty EDS-y. Is that a thing? You can see my index finger clearly showing swan neck deformity. This was taken October of 2015.

I found the makeup palette I was looking for. It was in the drawer beside my bed. I don’t often wear my glasses at home, so I sometimes don’t see things in front of my face. I swear I looked there, though! With my glasses and everything! I also promised my husband I would call and confirm his appointment with a sleep specialist. Promptly forgot. Sigh. He remembered and did it, though.

My son didn’t make it to school all week due to anxiety. I feel for him. Grade 7 is horrible. Aspergers is horrible on the downslope. On the upside, it can be beautiful. I kind of want to blog about this journey, but three is too many. Beauty will have to go. Not ready yet.

I’m scheduled to see my friend tonight and she sent me an email saying she’s ready, but she understands if I can’t make it. Which means she loves me, but she loves her bed, too. 😁 I completely get it! I asked if she would mind coming over and ordering in. She gets to see my family, always a treat. But it’s a quiet night. I hope it’s okay, because I don’t know if I can go out. I’m getting frightened of going out without my husband. Part because of ice, and part because of pain. My back is so sore, still. I can’t even really sit up very well. My abdomen, holy moly! I am having the worst cramps. Everything from under my breasts to my pelvis is just one knot of pain. I don’t even know how I’m typing right now. Distraction.

I wanted a bath last night, but my husband was working from home and just sent me to bed at 1:00. Once again, woke up at 6:30. But this time my stupid cable box wasn’t working. He wasn’t home yet, as he took our son to physio, but he worked on the TV thing when he got home. We need a technician now. It’s just my room, too. Boo.

Of course, because I slept so long yesterday I missed a dose of medications, and that can’t be good. I’m probably long past it now. I still want to curl up and sleep. I know if I take extra medication, it will knock me out anyway.

I’d better do something, or I’m going to eat all the cookies in the world…Likely check my social media then nap again.

Stay bendy, my zebras!

 

This Wasn’t the Distraction I Wanted

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My husband has had a problem with a serious, painful, eye infection since October. Which, of course, is why I posted a photo of Marty Feldman from Young Frankenstein. Great movie. Anyway, this infection has been nasty, painful, and kind of gross. It turns his gorgeous deep blue eyes sort of icy, and then add the red…he looks like a serial killer in a horror movie

He also had cataract surgery in November. Or was it glaucoma surgery? He has both. He’s only 48, so it’s really unusual, but there’s a family history, plus he had this panic attack in August of 2015 that wasn’t..things weren’t right after. Because he is only 48 and still had vision, the Ontario government wouldn’t pay for it. So we could pay the  $9,500 for surgery, or use the drops for two years until he hit fifty.

In Canada, the health care is controlled provincially, so what happens in one province may not happen in another. Also, if you spend something like (approximately) 4% of your income on medical expenses, you can claim them on your taxes. Well, that ends up pretty simple for us. With my son’s physical and emotional therapy for Aspergers, my daughter’s Aspergers emotional therapy, my emotional therapy, injection fees, braces, equipment, medicine that we pay for…I believe there is a $1,000 deductible before we get to 100% of our medications covered by our employer plan. So we get there pretty easily.

When my husband sought treatment originally,  the doctor was alarmed. Husband had gone to our GP as our Eye Specialist was in Mexico volunteering, as he does every year. The GP remarked this was highly contagious and couldn’t believe nobody in the house had it. When the Eye Doctor returned 5 days later, husband was chastised for not going there first! 😄 We got some strong drops, the eyes cleared up and all was good.

The drops finished on Monday. Today at work, he texted me at 10:30 to let me know his eyes are bright red again. He called the doctor, the eye specialist, but can’t be seen until after 2:30. He waited and went straight there.

The doctor noticed he had swelling internal to his eyes, and gave him drops at 10x the strength. Husband has to go back on Friday after my appointment with my doctor. He explained the situation and is just going to get there when he gets there. I have some great community support here.

I was teasing my husband he was jealous of my infirmity and wanted to emulate it. He is so healthy and capable, this is a bit disconcerting. I hope this takes this time, I hate to see him in pain. He always hides it, but I know it’s bothering him.

Also, he’s been texting me all day, and I have been struggling to get something – anything! Done! 😋