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Life, Love and the Persuit of Happiness

I had nearly forgotten about my LJ, because things are moving at mind-bending speeds lately.  First things first!  Earlier this fall I had a continual 9 week migraine.  I was wearing a blindfold and keeping myself in the dark whenever possible.  I wore sunglasses and a hat to work so I could just keep myself from doubling over in agony.  I had an MRI of my brain, which was negative for anything malicious, discovered that I'm severely allergic to Maxalt (and all those good migraine meds), and that this is once again just my body structure working against me.  Here's what I did about it!

After seeing my PCP, a neurologist, and my chiro, it was determined that my migraines were NOT multiple sclerosis, they did not react well to the 3 uber scary medications I took, and only got better once I started seeing Jan Thrasher.   She is also, ironically, my yogi.  I used to teach bellydance classes at her yoga studio, and absolutely adore her.  But recently she's been training to start her own myofascial/trigger point therapy sessions.  And I am officially her guinea pig!  The migraines were gone after 3 sessions, after nothing else had worked and I thought I was going to lose my job.  But Jan was able to address the headache issues, and MUCH, MUCH MORE!  She could tell certain things just by looking at me, and measuring my range of motion.  She has a plan of action to try to heal me, and it's been a painful and grueling battle.  We are working on mis-alignments and improper muscle group usage all over my body.  We're talking decades of muscle stuff that's just now starting to emerge, and she's single-handedly trying to combat it!  I can't speak loudly and often enough about how life-altering my sessions with her have been.  If you want more information about her therapy, contact Jan Thrasher at one2yoga.com.  Seriousy, it's life changing.

Not only is she trying to fix my alignment, but we're also just talking about what makes our bodies get dysfunctional.  It's stress, it's sitting too much, or eating a poor diet, or things we hold onto from our negative encounters that we never fully flush out.  So I did a few things to make her job easier. lol

First things first, I do some home therapies between our bi-weekly sessions, so that has helped speed up the process with her.  But I also decided to take my whole life back. All of it.  I have now confronted the 2 people who molested me as a kid.  Because chances are I'm holding in all that anger and anxiety in my abdomen/pelvis, which is working against all the therapy she's doing.  So I needed to let it go. ASAP!  I confronted them both, they admitted guilt, and APOLOGIZED.  If you know anything about victims of abuse, you would know that THIS NEVER HAPPENS.  Most of the time the abused aren't believed.  Or they aren't able to get it out until after the abusers have died.  It's usually a tale of repression, pain, and sadness that follows you, like a childhood shadow, that you can never fully shake.  But I, against all odds, have been blessed by being able to talk to them.  Forgive them.  Accept their apologies.  Which is enormous.

I have also found a new psychotherapist, Becky Astarita.  I'm still not sure what to make of her.  She's an empath (a psychic psychiatrist!!), and her methods are....unorthodox, to say the least.  But I felt good after I left my appointment, and I have another appt with her after Christmas.  I'm optimistic that her more spiritual approach to mental health is actually more what I need than a dry, clinical approach that I've had in the past.  Because they didnt' work.

Meanwhile, I'm just trying to fix everything in my life that's fallen to the side the past several years.  I'm getting closer to my old self, but I really want to lay down the foundations of having a BETTER life than I did before the surgeries totally upheaved everything.  And I feel like I'm legitametly on my way.  Once the chronic pain is dealt with, it'll be on to fixing my neglected sex life.  I want my relationship to be rock solid.  He's stuck by me through all this crap, so I think the payoff is gonna be big!  If he can wait around a bit more for it...

I am stressed out, but not as much as I was.  My job is just my job.  I'm able to have family activities with my boyfriend and his son, I'm starting to play music again.  And my therapists (both of them!) have said that I will be able to dance again if I want to! That's sooo big!  I can hardly wait!! 

I am still processing a lot of this stuff, but I wanted to get some of the highlights down on paper at the very least.  I'm becoming well, and really that's from the inside out.  So I am confident that this time it'll stick!  I continue to have small setbacks, but in the big picture?  I'm getting myself into positions of strength, healing, and happiness.  And that's the biggest favor I have ever done myself. 

Quantum snippets: A novel

Well, I've certainly missed out on a bit of updating since life has been trucking right along. So here's evertying you missed while I was away!

First things first. I'm feeling FANTASTIC!!!  My abdominal pain is WAY better (dare I say non-existent?). I have been living a quasi-normal life lately, which is remarkably refreshing!  And thus begins the update from where I left off with my bizarro leg incident, etc:

The leg pain/vibration/numbness, etc. got worse. A LOT worse. And my back pain increased too. My chiro ordered an MRI for me, which came back perfectly normal (naturally).  So, without any further delays I was able to get my chiro adjustments back on schedule, used my TENS unit, and took my Naproxen until the pain stopped!  I have been essentially symptom free for a little over a week.  Good times!

But the biggest development by far is that I went to a place called the Advanced Science Wellness Center last Friday (http://www.advancedsciencewellness.com/).  The truth is, I only went because it was highly recommended by a friend of Don's.  His son was suffering from seizures, and was diagnosed with epilepsy.  Instead of putting him on super scary anti-seizure medications, they took him to this place as a last resort 3 days prior to his medication start date. Within 3-4 days he was asymptomatic!!  They opted out of the pharmaceutical therapy entirely!  He told Don that he thought of me immediately, which is why we're even talking about this place.  But here's where the voodoo begins. lol

This place was very odd from the beginning.  My call went straight to voicemail.  There is no receptionist. You have an option to leave a voice message, leave an email message, or schedule online using a website called Schedulicity.  I went ahead and scheduled, with very little information to go on.  I arrived and there weren't any signs on the building. I tried to call, but still got the voicemail. I left an email message too, as I was afraid I was in the wrong place.  I finally saw someone enter the building, and waited about 5 minutes before venturing inside myself.  It was a condo.. and stepping inside it looked like an empty house.  Apparently some are subletted for businesses.  Weird.  There was hardly anything on the first floor (a folding chair and an exercise bike), and when I went upstairs I found a woman sitting at a table.  She introduced herself, and I was reassured I was in the right place. Um...suuure.I asked what it was she offered, since I knew absolutely nothing about this place.  And she gave me some generic answer about Quantum Physics, and that this was completely cutting edge treatment...the future of medicine, blah blah blah.  I just sat and listened, because I was trying to figure out how I felt about this whole weirdo scenario.  She conducted a mid-level interview of my health issues after I completed my medical history form, and we only really discussed my IC and Endometriosis.  I didn't talk about anything else at that point.  The main reason I'm going here is A)because nobody else can figure out why my tissues hurt all the time and B) because if it can end seizure activity in a kid I was sure whatever it was is worth a shot, C) because I don't want to continue taking my medications for the rest of my life. 

Then she brought out a device called a Guardian (http://www.quantumbalancing.com/eagle_guardian.htm).  She placed 2 small vials of mystery liquid on the machine, and had me touch all fingertips of my right then left hands for about 10 seconds each.  She then said i was finished!  I was told that the 'therapies' are a combination of homeopathy (the idea that "like cures like", various energy concepts, and Quantum Physics. um...ok?  Could this be any more vague?  The practitioner is a P.A. who used to practice internal medicine.  She quit her practice to set up this voodoo business.  I'm still doubtful.  She charged me $175 for the initial consultation, which included the analysis of my Guardian reading and a follow-up where i would get my first bottle.  She said most people need between 2-4 treatments, but then they're finished.  Okay...? 

So I arrived back the following Wednesday.  The 'treatment' is still not explained. She said it doesn't contain any chemistry, so there isn't an ingredients list. Based on what I can interpret from web resources and her sketchy explanation, the bottle contains my body's frequency to tell my cells how to heal themselves and begin functioning at full capacity.  She informed me I'll need 3 bottles total, at $95 each (2 more after the initial one which i had already paid for). Um...ok?  I asked lots of questions. I mean, I TOTALLY played the skeptic/devil's advocate.  I also asked for any reading material like her own published articles (she's working on them. they're not available yet), a bibliography, authors who i could read to help understand the treatments, her favorite Quantum Physicist, etc.  I was basically looking for any information that would support her claims that this was NOT metaphysical/spiritual/placebo and/or bullshit, but actually steeped in science.  So far she hasn't been able to come up with much. She told me to familiarize myself with quantum physics (she claims it's not "that hard" to understand.  I keep thinking of the Princess Bride..."I do not think that word means what you think it means"!), I immediately went online and started looking into some of the key concepts she mentioned (more on that below), and am finding it to be less than helpful. lol  Also, it isn't proving her theories to be science based, but more hoodoo voodoo quackery. 

Regardless of my recluctance, I feel it's not a bad idea to teach myself some basics of Quantum Physics anyway.  Who knows...it might open up new pathways for me! lol  I now have 2 books from the library on hold right now.  She also recommended reading Vibrational Medicine material written by Richard Gerber.  The fact that his books are dated to the 1950's isn't helping my skepticism either.  Science has changed an awful lot in 60+ years. She encouraged me to explore medical technology of MRI, EEG and EKG (which all work on energy reading technology), as well as Kirlian photography.  So far she's throwing around a lot of techno mumbo-jumbo crap that sounds like she is just trying to talk over people's heads. I'm going to do a crash course in Quantum Physics before I'm supposed to see her again in 4 weeks.  However, I am going to continue with the 'therapy' anyway, because I figure it's probably just saline and won't hurt me if i continue. Plus, I already paid for it, so I'd better try it! lol  All in all, I remain EXTREMELY skeptical.  There isn't a name for what she does. She couldn't really explain what the process was, other than "retraining my energy pathways to function properly". She claims my data analysis shows I was exposed to chemicals (possibly in a skincare product) that is inhibiting thyroid function, and that there are signs I was exposed to a serious intestinal virus that is also causing problems.  Again, this didn't convince me of anything.  While I have suspected thyroid dysfunction in spite of normal lab results in the past, and my intestines are crazy, I don't think this is unusual.  I bet 80-90% of all women would fall into these 2 categories. My dad is absolutely convinced it's placebo.  I am going to continue to educate myself and will hopefully be able to call her bluff if needed.  I would hope it's not some big medical scam preying on those who have desperately been seeking healthcare alternatives.  But I know sometimes people just suck.  i guess time (and lots of brainiac science reading) will tell!

general update. i lost track...

Alright, so after the last two abismal health posts, I have yet more awesome failures to report.   On the Friday after my acupuncture and trigger point injection, I started to have this weird vibrating feeling in my left heel.  It didn't hurt, but it was pulsating.  It was odd and frequent enough that it actually kept me awake that first night.  It got a bit better as I decreased my activity on Saturday, but it was still there.  Sunday there appeared to be some calf and foot numbness/heaviness/tingling, and i developed some pretty substantial back pain.  It was actually tender to the touch.  However, in my brain, I thought perhaps the injection or the horribel acupuncture somehow hit a nerve and/or damaged my left leg nerves.  I called both my chiro and the pain clinic, who were unwavering in their belief that this was totally unrelated. Awesome. 

I toughed it out for the weekend.  By monday I started getting sharp pains behind my left knee.  So, I made an appointment with Dr. Hamby, primary care doctor.

After much deliberation, and discussing all my strange symptoms, she hesitantly guessed that I have a ruptured disc.  According to her, these types of injuries can and do heal themselves over time in 60%+ cases.  Normally she would prescribe physical therapy, but in my case she really felt it was contraindicated.  She didn't want to send me into some other kind of flare-up, which I wholeheartedly appreciate.  So she gave me a prescription for Naproxen with Nexium in it (to help avoid GI bleeds which would ALSO be awesome).  I am supposed to do this for 2-3 weeks and see how I feel.  Then we'll schedule an MRI to see if there is deeper damage and to go from there.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am still in pain.  I had a chiropractic appointment with Dr. Totty scheduled this morning, and I decided to keep it since I figured it might take some of the pressure off my spine to get it adjusted.  Don's chiro did this, and it made him feel better when he had his disc issues.  I gave her the rundown on all that happened since the fiasco with the acupuncture, and I thought she was going to blow her lid when I told her about my visit with Dr. Hamby.  She was FURIOUS that anyone let a ruptured disc go without an MRI stating that the fluids that would leak are harmful to my spine, it would be affecting my bowels, and I would be unable to move at all.  Um...ok?  Now I'm freaking out.  She says she is scheduling an MRI immediately, and cursed Dr. Hamby.  Great. Now I'm thinking this is something SUPER huge.  DR. Totty stated that you need to have an mri 24-48 hours within the time of onset of symptoms, and this is generally followed by an emergency surgery consult.  She ranted about how Dr. Hamby is a terrible doctor, and I need to find a new one.  Oh great. I finally find someone I like, who actually LISTENS to me, and this happens. Now I"m freaking out about THAT because I don't know who else I could possibly see that's any better.

I am now scheduled for an MRI Lumbar w/o contrast tomorrow morning. 

Freaked out that this means a third surgery in as many years, I decided to hit up the internet.  This can sometimes be a bad idea, but I figured I had nothing to lose.  It turns out that Dr. Hamby wasn't being a bad doctor.  A ruptured disc is also known as a bulging or herniated disc.  It happens to people all the time.  It hurts, and can cause compression of nerves...and if your symptoms become permanent, surgery is sometimes necessary to correct it.  However, in most cases the tissues are reabsorbed into the body and things continue to heal...and eventually (usually 6 months to a year) without any treatment, you will resume your normal life.  You may have weakening of the back, but otherwise you'll be ok. 

This is a far different picture than Dr. Totty painted.  I have stopped freaking out about Dr. Hamby being a bad doctor. I think she's still doing the right thing.  Now I wonder where I'm at with my chiro.  I like Dr. Totty's adjustment technique. I feel better after I see her.  But there is something seriously wrong with her freaking me out with threats of surgery, when in fact that is fairly rare treatment.  Also, I didn't like the way she was quick to judge another physician, when it turns out that Dr. Totty's information was the only suspicious part of this whole ordeal.  Overall, I'm still a mess. And I'm about to need a new chiro, I guess.

My back is still killing me.  My legs are tingly, and tired, and now my abdomen is starting to hurt in compensation for the weak back.  I'm just all kinds of screwed up.

I'll post more as I get my MRI results.  As for now I'm lounging, resting, and about to take my nightly dose of Naproxen.  Hopefully that'll take the edge off so I can get some sleep.

forgot to update from 5/2/12

Okay. I totally forgot to post this important update from Monday.  I went to my Chiropractor, who also does acupuncture.  I was a bit nervous, but excited to finally give it a whirl.  Plus, I figured if it helped I wouldn't have to do the trigger point injection on Friday.  Plus, more and more people have asked if I have tried this yet, and I finally gave in after trying just about everything else I can think of to end this abdominal pain.

First of all, this is Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture (TCM).  I have nothing to compare to, so I'm just going to walk through my experience.

Dr. Totty said the needling sites might hurt during the initial stick, but that shouldn't last more than a minute.  She did my feet first, traditionally the most tender spots, and I didn't feel much pain after the first few seconds after she placed them.  Good to go.  When she got to my left hand (just above the webbing between thumb and forefinger) it hurt quite a bit.  I figured it would also go away like the feet. It didn't.  She had left me with a 30 minute timer.  I didn't know if I could get up, and nobody came in to check on me.  So I laid there, uncomfortable and cold (the AC unit turned on about 10 minutes into my session and I didn't have a blanket), and I was unable to relax.  When she finally came back to remove the needles, I told her my hand had been uncomfortable.  She asked how I was feeling otherwise, and I was ok really.  She then took a little wand, which apparently sends a faint electrical current into your ear cartiledge.  Then she taped what she called a pellet onto my ear at that location and told me to rub it counter-clockwise 3x daily for 10-15 seconds. Um...ok.

I knew something was wrong by the time I got back to the front desk.  I paid my $50 (my insurance doesn't cover acupuncture yet), and my right foot was pretty tender.  I thought maybe it was normal to feel some soreness on areas that had been needled. I didn't know any better.  I drove home, and by this time my foot was KILLING me.  Throbbing, and I couldn't put weight on it. It was awful.  I called the office back, and Dr. Totty told me to get back to her office right away, since she had never had anyone react like that before.  However, I couldn't drive myself back....it was my right foot, and I'm a terrible left-footed driver. I convinced myself it would go away, and told her I would let her know if it persisted. 

I also called madrun who works at an acupuncture school and has had treatments herself. I didn't know anyone else who had personal experience.  She was mortified that the needles were left in that long, glad they didn't do any weird heating treatments, and seemed familiar with the "seed" that was taped to my ear. Mostly she agreed that something in the equation went awry and she still insists the 5 Elements school is better than TCM.  Naturally, I can't afford 5 Element treatments.  TCM is much more common, and cheaper.  Perhaps this is why.  *sigh*

At any rate, the pain did go away somewhere between 4-6 hours later. So weird. It was at the top of my foot...and felt like it had been deeply bruised. I'm not sure why it hurt to put pressure on the bottom of my foot with my shoes on, but with them off it was much more tolerable. The whole thing was weird. 

I took the pellet/seed off that night.  I had an uneasy feeling with it on...like my body was rejecting the whole concept of acupuncture, and I wanted no part of it to make me feel bad (or at least worse than I was).  That may have been hasty, but I did it.

I will have no way of knowing whether Dr. Totty is a bad acupuncturist, my body is too sensitive, the STYLE of acupuncture was wrong for my body, or what other ungodly reason it made me feel worse.  All I know is I can now add this to the "well, shit.  THAT sure didn't work" category.  Oh yay. Another item on that list.  How lovely.

May. 5th, 2012

This week sucked fiery donkey balls.  Here's the rundown.

After a tremendous ordeal trying to get my visit squared away at the Pain Clinic yesterday, I am thoroughly tired of seeing doctors.  When I arrived I was told that I had an outstanding balance.  I replied that I hadn't yet received a bill, and the administrator said he wasn't surprised...that apparently their billing company was not very reliable, and they have now brought billing back in-house.  He printed my bill, and said I wouldn't have to pay anything during that visit.  Cool. However, when I reviewed the bill I was shocked at what I saw.  First of all, the 'mandatory' drug test from day 1 was on there.  Not only had I tried to refuse to take it since I would not be getting any medications, but it was $300!!!!  For a URINE SAMPLE!  Along with this grotesque charge, it showed that my insurance was only covering 1/2 of my bill.  I thought the deductible had been met, so I was absolutely floored that I now owed this office over $300.  SoI got back into line to discuss this with the front desk when the nurse called for me to go back to the office.  When the nurse asked me if I was still going to get the injections, I told her I no longer knew since it appeared my insurance wasn't covering my visits.  Oh, and to see this Anesthesiologist for a 15 minute consultation costs $211.  $211!!!!!!!  I couldn't even afford to talk to him again!  On top of that, there is a $200 missed appointment fee if you don't give 24 hour notice.  So either way, I felt completely trapped.  The nurse said she didn't know anything about the billing, and left.  She just walked away, leaving me more anxious than ever.  I had been a complete mess all week trying to decide if the injections were truly the best thing for me anyway, and this wasn't helping. I feel alone in this battle.  I don't have anyone to offer me advice.  Not really, anyway.  My new physician I think will be able to help me down the road, but when I just need to ask an opinion, I have nobody to turn to.  Or it's extremely expensive and time consuming to do so.

So feeling alone, overwhelmed, scared and broke, I just cried.  And cried some more.  I called Don immediately to see if he had any advice, but our conversation was cut short by the nurse.  She said she was going to get their billing manager to come talk to me.  OMG! HOORAY!  OK! So, Dr. Miller reviewed the charges while I waited for billing to arrive.  I explained to him that the urine drug test charge was ridiculous, and I was not given an option to refuse, in spite of the fact that it was never actually used.  He said he would work with administration to get that charge removed.  HOORAY!  Ok...now billing was in the room.  She claimed my insurance told them 3 days prior that I had met $422 of my $900 deductible.  I don't know who called to verify, because no less than 3 weeks earlier my chiropractor had told me I was met for the year.  Blargh.  So I called Cigna, and I was correct. The office was just being stupid.  Billing came back in and said she called Cigna once again and that I was right.  So now I just have to see how much injections cost, and if it's a good idea to get them accomplished after the 30 minute fiasco with the admin issues.  I was given a reasonable estimate for my out of pocket, and decided to go forward with the injection.  Before I had arrived and was met with all the drama, I had decided to discuss the possibility of ACNES and see how well a litocaine injection would work as opposed to steroids.  But after everything that happened, I just wanted it over with . So Dr. Miller with a very patient and kind hand administered the injection directly into the right side of my abdomen where all the pain stems from.  Holy crap did that hurt!  I mean, the burning pain that causes you to get a little dizzy. It was rough. I knew it would be. But with a numbing agent in place, the pain soon wore off.  But I knew once the anesthetic was gone I would be really, really hurting.  And that's exactly what happened.  I became so uncomfortable that I couldn't flex my abdominal muscles at all without some level of pain.  Sitting, laying down, lifting, standing...even turning caused me pain.  I tried to remain in one position as long as I could stand, moving only when necessary.  But by the end of the evening I was about to jump out of my own skin with boredom.  I didn't know what to do with myself. I'm reading a book that isn't holding my attention.  Our World of Warcraft account has been interrupted temporarily. I had nothing to do that didn't require moving.  I am depressed, and tired, and frustrated....and very, very bored.  Apparently the injection site should only hurt for 2-3 days. I am very hopeful that Monday morning I will be able to return to work.  Full time. And keep my job.  Missing 4 days last week without FMLA coverage is a very, very risky thing to do.  Don is worried. I'm worried.  I am just a big, hot, soupy mess right now.  And I'm stuck in a body that can't keep up with the activity my mind wants to do.  I am stuck in a place that leaves me nowhere to turn....no way to leave.  I am at the mercy of doctors who either lack the compassion I need, or the expediency my employers expect.  All in all, this is still a tremdous trial which I can't see the end of yet.  And things are crumbling the longer it goes on. 

big weekend makes me feel better

my parents arrived in town Thursday evening.  And...GO!

My dad painted M's, so it is now a burnt orange and white! Very nice.  It still needs trim paint, new closet doors, carpet, new blinds and window treatments, but it's WAY better than it was!  Don, M, and I brought in better furniture for the space that we had in storage, got it laid out better for what he needs, put up some photos and some artwork he did at school, and man. It's a FAR cry from the bare room he had been living in.  I hope he likes it as much as I do! :)

I made a great work week. Which is AMAZING!

My abdominal pain has been less. I think maybe because I'm not tensing up my abdominal muscles as much, now that I know that may be where the pain stems from. Perhaps this won't be so hard to overcome anyway! There have been a few twinges, but it's much more manageable. It may also be part of a natural downswing, since they also happen. We'll soon see.

The house is cleaned!!! Dinner was made at home on Thursday night, Friday we went to Cheddar's for the first time, and M's birthday cake was completed, Saturday was birthday party buffet, and leftovers after that. :) 

Saturday we had 6 teenagers in the house, a TON of food for them to snack on, and no parents.  So our adults in the family watched hockey, toted the kids to the skate park and let them run around.  I ate more food than I should have, but it was a success all around. M was happy with his gifts, the kids that came, and that his girlfriend got to be here too.

On top of birthday and parents being here, a lot got accomplished around the house.  As I said, it's been cleaned (HOORAY!!), M's room is now decorated, but we also took down a small stand of trees so there is more brush waiting for pickup.  The front porch has been caulked/waterproofed, and our beautiful wood door is almost fitted.  A last minute adjustment kept it from being installed.  My dad has worked many, many days on our 'free' door trying to get it to look lovely. He totally rocks.  I got M's bedding washed and his bed made properly for the first time in weeks (this kid sleeps CRAZY!).  We also now have a cheap tv and stand outside so we can watch movies on the covered deck. AWESOME!  I did a lot more physical labor than usual, plus 5 minutes on my stationary bike last night.

I was approached to do a bellydance photoshoot in the near future.  I now have to go on a major fitness/diet program to fit into my costumes.  It's a favor for a friend's portfolio, but I still want to look as good as I possibly can. We'll see how I can resist temptation, keep the pain at bay, and still get a significant amount of workout in.  I did 10 minutes on the bike this morning already.  Breakfast was Rice Krispies with 1% milk and fresh strawberries.  I also took my probiotic.  Now it's time to get ready for work! Hopefully I"ll have more positive progress to report this week!  :)  I'm VERY happy and relieved things are going well!!
I missed all day at work on Monday due to more abdominal pain.  I figure it was the drive back and the vibrations in the car that flared it up, and it just didn't settle for a long time.  However, some important things happened yesterday.

My FMLA has run out.  Yep. That's it. No more safe job.  So now the stress of trying to figure out how to get myself to work consistently, since my IC was covered under this particular FMLA, and I was forced to use it because of this undiagnosed pain instead.  *sigh*.

My CT results came back negative!  That means 2 things:  My organs looked normal, there weren't any obvious problems with my GI tract.  Also, adhesions and endometriosis don't always show up on CT scans, so that doesn't rule them out completely.

I had my first office visit with Dr. Mindi Hamby, Family Practitioner.  OMG...I LOVE her.  She asked all the right questions, she was knowledgable about IC treatments and all the things she offered as suggestions to rule out issues I had already done.  She had me lay on the table so she could feel where the abdomen was sore.  She also had me flex my abdominal muscles, and it was STILL sore.  She said that's a classic way to determine if the pain stems from the abdominal wall/muscles or intra-abdominally.  OMG!!!  Duh! lol  So, her theory is that a nerve may have been damaged during surgery.  Her suggestion?  Litocaine injections at the pain site.  This lines right up with what Dr. Miller had suggested.  But there's more!  My friend Sandy at work is a nurse, and when I told her about all this new information she found a fantastic article about Abdominal Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment Syndrome (ACNES).  It's basically when a nerve bundle slips into a part of the abdominal muscle it's not supposed to be in, and gets pinched and enflamed.  And the solution?  Litocaine and alcohol injection into a specific layer of abdominal tissues to instantly aleviate the pain and possibly cure it on the spot!!!!!  So, armed with the information about how to locate this layer, what medication is recommended, etc., I can take this to Dr. Miller to see if he's familiar with this.  Apparently it's the #1 mis-diagnosed source of abdominal pain in the world.  Patients are often given  diagnosis of IBS, gastritis, psych problems such as depression and anxiety...all of which are just because the practitioner isn't familiar with ACNES or the possibility that it's nerve-based.  Amazing.

I have a renewed faith in finding a diagnosis and treating my pain, which is nothing short of a miracle.  So, yesterday was a good day.

And I got to work half a day too! :)

health update 4/18/12

I saw Dr. Miller yesterday to discuss the Neurontin and Robaxin trial period.  He was quite apologetic that I reacted badly to the Neurontin, and asked what else he could do for me.  He agreed to order an abdominal CT (FINALLY!!!) with and without oral and iv contrast, which I completed directly after my appointment yesterday morning.  I had never had a CT before, and the iv contrast was an unusual sensation to say the least (it makes you feel like you've peed your pants. Sooo weird).  So after the scan I came home and had breakfast, and tried to get rid of the light-headed feeling left from the CT experience.  I finally managed to get into work at 12:30 and stayed for the remainder of my shift. Not too shabby.

I also freaked myself out by researching surgical adhesions online yesterday. That was a bad decision.  If that IS what's going on with me, it's a grim prognosis at best.  Multiple surgeries and constant pain are the life of an adhesion sufferer.  Oh joy.  I now know I shouldn't research anything until I know for sure I have to deal with it. Now I'm just a big ball of worry and anxiety over what the results will show.  Although adhesions are very difficult to detect, even on a CT scan, and can usually only be diagnosed with exploratory surgery.  Which causes more adhesions. You see the dilemma here?

I had some abdominal pain yesterday, but not nearly as bad as Tuesday (I missed an entire day of work, in spite of swearing that I had to make it in all week).  My abdomen was KILLING me, and I just couldn't get up and moving long enough to drive without a great deal of pain.  So, I'm feeling halfway normal again today trying to make it into work. Maybe I'll get most of a 4 day work week.  I'm still trying to save the remaining FMLA days to get to Mayo if needed. 

My diet is crazy right now. I'm not even keeping track, which is terrible.  I am hopeful that I'll be able to reign in my compulsive eating habits when my stress levels reduce...whenever that will be!  I really just want to get the CT results, but I know that may not happen until Monday.  *sigh*. I'm just a hot mess right now.  Oh, and my sinuses are caraaaaazy this morning, so that's lovely.  Time to add Flonase into my medication regimen again.  Stupid allergies.
I fired Dr. Yoo last night.  I was told that he wouldn't approve a CT scan, because he didn't feel my health conditions warranted the exposure to radiation.  He also had his nurse relay the message that since I refused to take the Cymbalta to rule out what I felt was a bogus diagnosis, he wouldn't agree to the test.  I made it very clear that I was just trying to be proactive, didn't feel comfortable with a medication used to treat a condition I don't think I have with VERY serious side effects, and if he wouldn't help determine any new theories, imaging, etc. that I would have to take my healthcare elsewhere.  Dr. Yoo's nurse said that's probably the best thing to do.  Unbelievable.  I paced the floor for a couple hours off and on last night trying to figure out what the hell to do next.  I'm still running out of time to save my job. 

I was able to make it through a VERY difficult 8 hours at work yesterday.  I almost gave up at 2 when the abdominal pain was at its worst, followed by increased frequency with urination, diarrhea, and gas pains.  But I jumped out of the phone queue long enough to get my guts back into some kind of reasonable state and stuck it out.  I was exhausted when I got home, still not feeling well, and then angry on top of it.  But I made it through a full day.  And that's something.

I now have the daunting task of finding a new primary doctor.  I think I may have a family practice option, and since the Internal Med doctors I've seen have been essentially useless, I don't think family medicine can be any worse.  I'll be calling their office today to see about getting a new patient consultation.  We'll go from there.

I have my pain management appointment tomorrow where I will refuse to leave without an order for a CT scan.  This is absolutely ridiculous at this point.  I will have to shadow the doctor until he signs it though, because apparently his office staff isn't able enough to relay a message, call me back with an answer, or communicate at all with each other.  Dr. Miller had better be amazing to make up for his idiotic staff.  Really, my patience is wearing quite thin.

Yesterday's progress report is as follows:

Chirpractor visit which helped my neck muscle tension and the associated decreased range of motion/pinch in my vertebrae.  So yay.  I finally had clear urine for the first time in weeks, meaning my fluid intake was satisfactory.  Hooray!  However, I ended up with multiple bowel movements, and some mild diarrhea.  Also, I was so bloated and gassy I honestly didn't know what to do about it.  I took 2 gas relievers, which didn't really do anything. 

Diet was 1 bowl cheerios with fresh strawberries and almond milk, 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 cup chai tea, 1 tiny twizzler candy, 1 Fiber Plus chocolate chip bar, 1 cup water, 1 can peach nectar, 1 small chocolate chip cookie, chicken/noodle casserole, 2 packs fruit snacks, 1 tiny twix bar, 2 tiny snickers bars, 2 small chicken/cheese/red pepper soft shell tacos.  This seems like a lot of food, even though it was spread out. Ugh. 

I took 1 probiotic, the 2 gas relievers, a multi-vitamin, 1 tri-sprintec, and 3 hydroxizine.

Better luck today...

100 things to do before I die

As promised in my last post, here is my current list!  It's not in any particular order.  I'm sure it will change several times over the years, but as for now it'll do. :)

The official list!Collapse )