Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Healing is a Bumpy Road... Part 2

When I began this blog as part of the April A-Z Challenge (see April 1), I was looking back on nearly four years of severe chronic pain. In January, my physical therapist and my pain management doctor agreed on a place to inject cortisone, and the results were magnificent. My pain level went from 7-8 (out of 10, see Pain Scale, right) to 0-2. It was awesome to be essentially out of pain!

In mid-April, I began to have severe pain in a new place (see April 18, "Oh no!"). After 3 weeks of investigating everything below the bellybutton (not a fun investigation), we began to treat this new pain as "referred back pain." The treatments began to work. However, just as I was breathing a sigh of relief, my back pain returned, as bad as ever. So, I've slipped back into the severe, chronic pain that I've experienced since May of 2007. UGH!

This time around, though, I remember what it was like to feel good. I know that it's possible for my pain to abate. I look forward to that time coming again. In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can think of to recreate the painrelief from January. Injection last week, and another scheduled for next week. Physical therapy, chiropractic, and massage (one of the perks of pain) on a regular basis. Eating well (I actually started South Beach last week), and sleeping well.

I'm hoping to have another breakthrough in July (or before, please). I'm trying to be "cautiously optimistic" without being unrealistic. Savvy but not crabby. Hopeful but not crazy. We'll see...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Healing is a Bumpy Road

It seems like every time I take a few steps forward (healing, feeling better, doing more), then I have to take a few steps backward (more pain, less energy, depression). Healing is not a straight highway, it's a bumpy, hilly, pot-holed road back to wellness.

My cramps that began on April 16 (not that I'm counting the days or anything), are finally beginning to dissipate. It's strange that a pain that started so suddenly would finish so gradually. Stretching, chiropractic, physical therapy on the back and the front - these seem to be the winning combination for whatever caused the abdominal pain. I'm glad to be making progress.

When my body began to feel a little bit better from the cramps, then my back pain resurfaced. Almost like it wanted more attention. Is that possible?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm Blue...

Not just Duke Blue (which I am always), but the kind of blue that makes me slump in my chair, and hug a pillow, and look longingly out the window (as if I couldn't just go outside).

After spending a couple of months feeling good (some days my pain was ZERO), and beginning to enjoy the "new normal" and my "coming back into life"... now, I feel like I've started all over again...

I have been having severe abdminal/pelvic cramps since Saturday, April 16. Almost three weeks now. Feels just like menstruating, except I'm not bleeding at all. But, I'm bloated, and irritable, and there is not enough chocolate in the world to satisfy my cravings.

Went to Dr. after one week. She checked for pregnancy, infection, etc. Sent me for an ultrasound (internal - agh). Today, heard that the results were "all normal." Next, on to an OB-GYN (which is where I should have started, but I don't normally see this type of specialist).

I've already been through trying to diagnose and heal from one severe pain. Couldn't my body wait until I was finished with that one before bringing on another? I am grateful that the pain is in another place on my body. If, for example, I had kidney stones that made my back hurt - I think I'd go insane from more pain in the same place. At least, this is different pain...

Thanks for letting me vent... I'll get back to my more hopeful self soon... I hope...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reflection on April's A-Z Blog

The hosts of April's A-Z Blog have asked each of the participants to reflect on a month's posting following the alphabet. I had never blogged before accepting my sister-in-law's invitation to "try it for a month." I used this time as a "backward-looking journal" about my last four years of chronic pain. Each day, I wrote about a topic related to chronic pain, and some of the questions, ideas, problems, and challenges I faced. I thought it would be cathartic for me, and it really was.

First, it was surprisingly easy to think about and write down my thoughts for each day. I found myself thinking a great deal, and then just "typing it in." Just a quick proofread, and I was (usually) done. Even though it took a commitment for every day, it was not overwhelming to accomplish.

Second, I'm surprised at how many people followed my blog. I got comments from strangers who are also dealing with chronic pain. I got comments from my friends and loved ones. But, I've also had a number of people tell me that they were following my blog (even though they never commented). My best friend even said "I had no idea that this ordeal had been so life-changing for you. I knew you were in pain, but you've really had to make some huge adjustments." All of your comments to me have encouraged me. Thank you!

Third, I'm so grateful to be on the "up" side of this era. It started in May of 2007, and I kept thinking that I would find something that would "fix" me soon. I had no idea that it would last for four years! I'm not sure that I could have handled knowing that. On the other hand, knowing that I would come out of it eventually... that would also have brought great hope. At one point (last year), I think I was losing my hope, or maybe I had already lost it. Finding hope again (see Y=Yet) was a great turning point. I think I could endure almost anything, if I know for sure that it will end. The not-being-sure part is the hardest...