Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Major Crash!

Sorry for the failure to post yesterday but I can explain, really I can!
You see, I stayed overnight at my daughter's place on Thursday -- which is always a delight. However, I only slept 2.5 hours in keeping with my pattern of lack of sleep for the three previous nights. My hips just wouldn't give me relief and there was no getting comfortable. Hence, by the time I left her place to go meet my sister, I was really dragging bottom.
In any event, I had a nice visit with my favourite sister, after which I headed home via a stop in Kanata to buy some goodies for a dinner party we're having on Sunday. As I left there, I received a call that a part that had been on order for my new car had arrived. Since I'm kind of an anxious sort about my new car, I made a U-turn and headed back into the city to have the part installed (a 15-minute job). Then I headed home again and I had a few stops to make en route. I only got home at about 11:30am. Now I had left my daughter's home at 6:30am. That means that I had been in my car, driving, for about 3.5 hours, and when I wasn't driving I was sitting in a restaurant or a car dealer's waiting room. Not a good idea for someone with my physical limitations! I kind of hit the wall big time once I did get home.
After sleeping most of the afternoon away, I was still unable to stay up past 8:30pm last night -- I actually missed seeing my beloved Blue Jays score their big 5-run inning to finally break their losing streak. And I finally slept through the night -- didn't wake 'til 5:00am! Now that fact can also be attributed to my once again following my physiotherapist's advice to add some egg-foam cushioning to my mattress. I don't know how long this will help but for now, it works so we'll go with it.
My doctor has also doubled my pain med dosage -- which I have started doing as of this morning so it will be interesting to see how this progresses. Hopefully, I won't have to endure the headaches again and I will simply enjoy increased pain relief. I'll keep you posted.
My bicycle regimen has been altered, on my physiotherapist's advice. Since it would appear that 17 minutes is too long for me, she has advised me to alternate my bicycle time with 15 minutes one day, and 10 minutes the next. She assured me that there is no shame in my not being able to do more than 15 minutes at a time. I figure that 15 minutes is far better than the zero minutes I was able to do a month ago! I hadn't yet incorporated the 10-minutes-on-alternate-days routine since I was waiting to hit 30 minutes per session before I did that. Since I won't be getting to that threshold, I will do my 15 minutes today as scheduled. On Monday, which would be my next scheduled day, I will again do 15 minutes and will do 10 minutes on Tuesday, thus starting the new regimen on the first day of a new month. I guess that makes it nice and neat.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Bit of a Setback.

Unfortunately, I guess I have to admit to having had a bit of a setback in my new fitness regime (and perhaps in my new pain med regime).
After boasting that I had managed 17 minutes on the exercise bicycle, I have just put in two days of extreme fatigue and extraordinary pain. I can only assume that my body isn't ready yet to exceed 15 minutes on that darned bike. My legs have been extremely sore, and both last night and the night before were spent in excruciating discomfort, all night long. Needless to say, I am very tired!
I also have to take back my qualified success rating for the new pain meds. Every evening, approaching supper time, I am hit with a severe case of nausea. So much so that it is all I can do to down my meal. Then I spend the rest of the evening in constant flux. It is not fun. The only thing I can attribute that to is the new pain meds. But I don't understand the phenomenon because these meds are prescribed as an anti-nauseant for cancer treatment! Leave it to me to experience the rarest of reactions.
In any event, I was going to increase the dosage to try to gain greater pain relief, but I think I will delay that move until I see my doctor and discuss this matter with him. I will be doing that next week so I will just continue as I am for now and hope that things don't get any worse.
Today's plan? I will limit myself to 15 minutes on the bicycle. This afternoon, I go into Ottawa for physio, after which I have a sleepover at my daughter's place (woo hoo I get to see my favourite boy again!) Tomorrow I will again have breakfast with my favourite sister before heading home in the morning.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I did it!

I did it! I managed 17 minutes on the exercise bicycle this morning! Of course, I was wearing the TENs machine but even with that, I sure felt it. By the 13 minute mark, I was really wondering how I'm going to make it to 30 minutes. But that is my goal -- 30 minutes straight through. Once I reach that threshold, I will gradually add walking to my regimen. That's when the real challenge starts!
So, not quite two weeks after starting on this new pain med, and I think I have to declare it a success. It is clearly allowing me to undertake this extra activity, which until now I had been unable to endure.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On Track to Successful Rehab

My having done 15 minutes of bicycle time certainly impressed my physiotherapist, let me tell you. So much so that she has given me a whole whack of exercises to do between sessions. Once I hit 30 minutes on the bike (which should take another two weeks), I plan to add walking to my regimen. My physiotherapist has already given me the go-ahead for that and has laid out the program for me. I am quite enjoying this new challenge in my life. Hopefully, once I start the walking program, John will join me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ooops, that was dumb!

What a dufus I am!
After declaring the new meds a cautious success on Friday, I had a terrible night that night. I had wakened at 2:00am in terrible pain. And I could not get comfortable, no matter what I tried. Naturally, my first thought was that the new meds weren't so great after all. Just like all the other stuff, they worked to "mask" the discomfort during the day while I "did stuff" and then I paid the price all night long with non-stop pain. Imagine my surprise when I went to get yesterday morning's meds and saw that I hadn't taken my meds the night before! Big time OOOOOOPs! No wonder I was in such discomfort all night. Pain meds can't work if you don't take them!
Since the instructions are to take a missed dose as soon you realize it was missed, I took my Friday evening's bedtime meds yesterday morning, knowing full well that I would probably go to sleep. I also took my normal yesterday morning meds. Well, go to sleep I did -- from 9:30am until 1:00pm, when I got up and had breakfast. By 2:30pm, I was getting about my business for the day. I consider that I lost yesterday; I just sat around and did nothing all day.
I made sure I didn't forget to take my meds last night and had a marginally better night. At least I slept a little more soundly. I woke at 4:00am having to switch positions and had great difficulty getting comfortable again -- both hips were burning in pain! Eventually I got up at 5:30am so John would not be disturbed by my thrashing around. So the stuff isn't working yet in terms of enhancing my sleep to where I will call it a success in that department.
However, I did slap on the TENs machine and do my scheduled 15 minutes on the exercise bicycle this morning. So I am still right on schedule with that; all is not lost!

Friday, May 22, 2009

So I Guess it's Working

Looks like my body has adjusted to the new meds. I woke this morning feeling not bad -- almost "normal" dare I say. Sonny & Cher were no longer serenading me. My hips weren't even all that bad. I had wakened during the night, just as I usually do, and I was aware of discomfort in my hips but not enough to keep me awake.

So I will give these new meds a cautious "pass" to this point. How can I be so optimistic? Well, today, without any additional pain medication, I:

  • did my 13 minutes on the exercise bicycle (I did use the TENs machine);
  • drove to Ottawa to accompany John for his hearing test;
  • drove back from Ottawa following the appointment;
  • stopped and picked up groceries;
  • accompanied John to a local pub for a dinner meeting;
  • accompanied John to the local "Art in the Attic" show.

And only at the point of walking from dinner to the Art show did my hips decide to object to the activity level. Normally, they would have been screaming in agony by the time I had made the trip half way into Ottawa. This is definitely progress. So I would say things are very promising.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the beat goes on ...

... and the beat goes on. Can you hear Sonny and Cher? Neither can I. But I sure can feel the pounding in my head!
My eyes are almost shut from the pressure but this is clearly not a migraine or it would be gone by now because I used my super-duper migraine-b-gone medicine last night and it always works. I also don't have any of the other signs of typical migraine so I know this is not one. It is clearly as a result of the new pain med so I am taking Tylenol #3 to try to chase it away (not having much luck yet).
My hips certainly feel better so I am hopeful that my brain will adjust soon. I would hate to have to stop taking this since it is giving me the relief where I need it. Must we always trade one pain for another?
I woke during the night feeling quite groggy again. This stuff really does have to be "slept off" but I had great difficulty getting back to sleep. Mentally I was quite awake but physically I just couldn't do it. Eventually I did go back to sleep and when I woke for the day I felt quite wretched; it took me a while to join civilization and crawl out of bed. Of course, it didn't help that my head was still pounding. I can't really say that my energy level is very high on this stuff. While I don't have pain, I also don't have much of anything else. So that begs the question: is this cure worth it? If I can't (or don't want to) function while on this stuff, do I really want to take it? The goal is to be pain-free and functional.
Perhaps once my "brain adjusts" things will be different. It is, after all, only one week today since I started taking this new medication. I will let my jury stay out another week before passing judgement, unless circumstances change enough to induce a decision before then.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh my aching head ....

So, it would appear that this new pain medication is showing promise ... except that I have a headache that just won't quit.
Now having suffered with migraines for over over 45 years, I am no stranger to a headache. But I haven't had even a hint of a headache since January of 2008. So I'm not exactly enjoying the return to headache-land. My pharmacist has indicated that since the headache was coincidental with the increase to the dosage of the pain med, we can accept that the headache is a direct result of the pain med. So he suggested that I take Tylenol to deal with the headache "until my brain gets used to the new medication." I will see what I can do to deal with this headache, if anything, and will monitor its progress. If it worsens as time goes on (ie with each day of continued use of the new pain med), obviously I won't be able to continue with the new stuff. If, as my pharmacist says, my brain adjusts to the new meds, the headache should lessen with each passing day. Then perhaps we will be on our way to "living like normal people" or something close to it.
Today, I woke feeling a little more alert than I have the past few days. The dizziness was much less severe than the other mornings and my hips felt almost pain free. I slapped on the TENs unit and did my 11 minutes on the exercise bicycle, after which there was no need to ice my groin today! So I must be making progress in that department.
John and I went into Ottawa for my physio appointment and to run a few errands; we stopped for lunch before coming home. My hips are still not screaming. So I guess the news meds are working because prior to taking this stuff, my hips would be yelling in agony by now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Meds Update

I did my nine minutes on the exercise bicycle again yesterday and managed with little difficulty. Of course, I had the TENs machine on and I iced my groin again when I finished.
Having doubled up the new meds on Sunday night, I woke during that night a couple of times aware of having to change position. When I woke for the day and got up, I was quite dizzy and had to return to bed for about 90 minutes before things settled down enough to allow me to manoeuvre around the house safely.
Last night, I again woke a few times to change position and when I woke for the day, again I was dizzy when I got up. But this time, I was very dizzy and had to return to bed for a good two hours before I felt I had my legs safely under me. I'm not sure what to make of my pain level. My hips certainly don't feel sore the same way they usually do; but I'm not moving about the same way either. I'm moving rather gingerly because I don't feel "quite right" -- not sure how to describe what I'm feeling but it's weird, to be sure. Perhaps I'm high, or "stoned" as my daughter says. Not having much experience with the sensation, I can't say for sure but I guess I could be stoned. That's as good a description as any; I am certainly mellow.
I was assured by both my doctor and the pharmacist that "getting stoned" was not a side-effect of this new drug. Guess they hadn't counted on my body's ability to experience the most unusual of effects. In any event, I'm hoping that the effect dissipates as my body gets used to the drug and that the lack of hip pain continues as I increase my activity level.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Difficult Night

Day three on these new meds and I'm really not sure what to think.
The first night I enjoyed a really good night's sleep. No noticeable improvement in the pain level but I did feel rested, albeit a tad groggy the following day. The second night wasn't so good -- I woke several times trying to get comfortable; my hips were really giving me a hard time. The following day I didn't feel particularly rested either. Last night, the third on this new medication, and I again had a horrible night, waking several times trying to get comfortable. My hips were screaming in pain. By now I have been without any other pain med since Wednesday evening (can't count Tylenol #3 because they don't work for anything more than a toothache anymore). I eventually gave in and took a Codeine Contin at about 3:00am -- I needed to get some sleep. I then slept until 6:00am.

So, is this new med working or isn't it? The question gets back to what am I supposed to expect? How do I measure its success?

  • Is it working if I have no fibro pain but continue to have hip pain? That's the same as I was prior to receiving the new prescription (Lyrica seems to be controlling the fibro pain).
  • Is it working if I have no fibro pain and slightly less hip pain? That would be very minor improvement.
  • Or how about no fibro pain and significantly less hip pain? Now we're talking.
  • No fibro pain and no hip pain. That, in my book, would be success, although my doctor has assured me that I will never be "totally free of pain."

It seems to me that if I also have to take Codeine Contin (or any other strong prescription pain reliever) to achieve hip pain relief, there seems little point in taking additional other pain meds. I was already taking Codeine Contin to achieve what relief I could get in conjunction with all my other pain management techniques. The whole impetus for this exercise was to get me OFF the codeine because of what it does to the system. I wonder if we will in fact achieve that goal?

My doctor's instructions when prescribing the new pain meds were, "If one doesn't work, take two; if two don't work, take three; if three don't work, take four; until you achieve pain relief." So tonight, I will take two of the new pain meds and will stay at that dose at least for a few days before deciding if I need to further increase it again. Then it will be back to the doctor's office to discuss this strategy yet again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 3 on the Exercise Bicycle

It's only day three on the bike and already I've gotten off track -- I should have consulted the schedule before I started. I methodically got ready:
  1. took two Tylenol #3 to head off the pain I was about to subject myself to
  2. put on the TENs machine
  3. found a program to watch while cycling
  4. climbed up on the bike (that should qualify as an exercise in itself!)
  5. set the timer
  6. started biking
I was merrily cycling to God-knows-where when I started calculating how soon I would reach the 15-minute mark in this undertaking. "Since I'm doing nine minutes today," I thought; and there I stopped. How could I possibly take two weeks to get to 15 minutes if I'm already at nine minutes? This is only day three; it clearly didn't compute. Then I realized that I was only supposed to be doing seven minutes today. OOOOPS! I have no idea why I set the timer to nine minutes but by the time I did the mental workout, I had already exceeded the seven minutes so I continued cycling until the timer rang (which really wasn't too onerous). Again, when I finished, I iced my groin.
So, to make up for the error, I will repeat the nine minutes on my next scheduled bicycle day -- Monday. That will get me back on track with the program my physiotherapist laid out for me and she will get yet another giggle out of my goof-ups.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rethinking this new drug strategy

So it's only day one of the new drug regime and I'm having second thoughts.
I had a very good sleep last night. In fact, I went to bed last night dog tired, which is not unusual after having made a trip into Ottawa. Of course, my pain was at a higher level due to the fact that I had left home yesterday without having taken my pain med (I forgot!) so the trip was especially taxing. My hips were burning big-time by the time I got home. Since I was going to be starting the new prescription that evening, I chose not to take the other pain med when I got home. I didn't want to have too much of a mixture in my system (OK, so I'm a tad paranoid about over-medicating myself!).
Anyway, I woke at 5:30am this morning feeling super groggy. Went back to bed until 7:30am -- that is simply unheard of in my land! I don't feel especially sleepy today but I don't feel especially perky either. I don't really know what I feel. In any event, my right hip is just as sore as it usually is. My understanding from the doctor was that this new pain med was to control my pain.
Now that I have the name of this new pain med, I was able to look up information about it on the web this morning. It is beneficial as an adjunct treatment for fibromyalgia pain -- that might explain why both the rheumatologist and the pharmacist suggested that if this new med works well, I might eventually be able to reduce or stop the Lyrica. My family doctor said that he doesn't think stopping Lyrica will be an option, but I might at some point want to reduce the bedtime dose since the new medication enhances sleep.
This is all well and good. But the purpose of these latest medical appointments was not to find help to reduce my fibro pain (that has been fairly well controlled by the Lyrica right from the time I started using it last June). I was referred to the rheumatologist about my hip pain, not about the already confirmed fibromyalgia. The reason the rheumatologist could not help me was because he had nothing to offer with respect to my hip pain -- the bursitis. He knew that the fibromyalgia was already being managed, at least as well as it could be.
So the burning question remains: Will this new pain med do anything to address the ever-present burning pain in my hips? I'll let you know.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Medical Appointment

Today's medical appointment proved most interesting indeed.
I was ushered into the examination room a mere half hour past my appointment time and was greeted by someone other than my family physician. I was given no explanation and no introduction. Naturally, I was spooked. I've been seeing the same doctor for over 30 years and while his current office arrangement is relatively new, his staff knows that I am an "old" patient (in more ways than one). I am in fact one of his original patients, having started seeing him within weeks of his opening his practice.
This new person explained that he was training to be a family physician and my doctor would be in shortly; he just wanted to ask me a few questions before then. He asked many questions and reviewed what seemed like my entire file. I was just a tad concerned: Was I being pushed off to another doctor? Was my doctor about to retire and bringing in the new guard? This has been a concern of mine for some time since my doctor, is after all, not getting any younger. I was also more than a little annoyed at having to, yet again, explain my history to a doctor when I had made an appointment with my long-standing family doctor expressly to discuss an on-going treatment plan.
Anyway, my doctor finally joined us and I was able to explain to him that I had gone off that "good stuff" (he was not at all pleased with me!) and we discussed the pros and cons of the suggested replacement pain med. The decision was made to give it a try and he wrote a new prescription, which I will start tonight.
Apparently, this new stuff promotes sleep which in turn, if it works, will naturally help with pain relief.
Interestingly enough, the doctor mentioned that he has to attend a four-hour workshop on fibromyalgia with which he expects to be totally bored. I chastised him and told him that he must pay attention; he has patients suffering from the disorder. I then asked if they needed a lecturer (I think I am eminently qualified to lecture a roomful of doctors on the syndrome). He offered that I would actually make an excellent patient presentation in terms of what to do for pain management. He said that doctors usually roll their eyes at the hint of the topic but perhaps if presented with a patient like me, they might actually sit up and listen!

Day 2 on the Bike

I've done my second day on the exercise bicycle -- five minutes, with the TENs machine attached. I followed it up with ice on my groin, which was really necessary because my inner thighs were burning with pain by the time I finished. I must admit though, the five minutes didn't seem very long today. It's amazing how quickly one can "adjust" to these things.
I have to go into Ottawa again today -- doctor's appointment to discuss that new pain med that the rheumatologist suggested. My appointment is for 10:45am so if all goes to plan, I should see my doctor by about noon, if I'm lucky. It has always bothered me that the wait times are so long, guaranteed! Even when I have an early morning appointment (8:15am), it can easily be 9:30am before I actually see the doctor. How on earth can an office get so far behind so early in the day?
Anyway, that is what I have in store for today so now I have to finish getting ready -- don't want to head into the big city with bear naked ear balls again!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I've Made a Decision!

OK, I have come to a very serious decision. I figure since all the medical tests have proven beyond a doubt that there is NOTHING wrong with me (other than fibromyalgia and bursitis) and all my blood work indicates that there are no deficiencies, I have to take charge of things now.
I used to be much smaller than I am now. My doctor has explained numerous times that the weight gain I have experienced over the past several years can be attributed to the numerous and various drugs that have become part of my life (along with the inability to do anything that engages the hips). Since the drugs cannot be eliminated any time soon, and nothing sinister is wrong with my hips, other than that they hurt big time, it is time for me to take serious action toward losing weight and getting back to the "smaller me" that I am more accustomed to being.
I have discussed my thoughts with my physiotherapist and she has approved my plan, with guidelines. I want to return to using the stationary bicycle (which I used to do routinely while watching my beloved Blue Jays -- I would cycle for one full inning every game!) My physiotherapist has advised me that I can do that, but I must start VERY slowly. Here's the program:
  • I can cycle for only three minutes on the first day, with no resistance, adding two minutes each successive session, with one day off in between.
  • I did my first three minutes on the bike yesterday and believe it or not, I had difficulty maintaining three minutes! I wore the TENs machine yesterday to allow me to endure the manipulation of my hips and even so, I still had to rest for a considerable amount of time after exerting myself that way. I have to take a day off today, so I will try five minutes tomorrow, again with the TENs machine attached to me.
  • Given the one on, one off schedule, it will take me two weeks to build up to 15 minutes on the bike.
  • Once I have reached the 15 minute mark, I am then allowed to use the bike every day, continuing to increase the time by two minute intervals, but never exceeding ten minutes on the in-between day (what would have been my "off" day).
  • I should not exceed 30 minutes in one session, a timeline I should reach in one month's time, but I must limit myself to ten minutes on the alternate day (ie I must not ever do two consecutive days of more than ten minutes on the bike).
Of course, I will still be doing my daily stretches and other exercises that I always do. I'm going to start being a little more diligent about using the exercise ball too. Once I have conditioned my hips to this onslaught -- always wearing the TENs machine you realize -- I will slowly add daily walks to my regime (under my physiotherapist's guidance). Hopefully, John will join me on these walks and he too will benefit from my new resolve (one can dream, can't one?).
In the fall, I hope to be able to rejoin the warm water exercise program at Dovercourt Pool. I can't use the services during the summer months because they don't heat the pool in the summer. Their clientele want to be "refreshed" with cooler water. My lungs and muscles simply cannot handle the unheated water so I will try the program again in the fall and see if I can tolerate it.
Bottom line is: I am committed to losing weight and I am going to do it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

So I Like My New Car

I am enjoying my new car -- so I guess I made a good choice.
It is just smaller enough than my Pacifica to satisfy that flaw and it definitely takes care of the visibility issues that the Pacifica had. And a major plus that the new car has is the comfort of the driver's seat -- it is absolutely fabulous! I could never, no matter what I did, adjust the Pacifica seat to my satisfaction. While it was a very comfortable, easy vehicle to drive, the seat continued to be an issue. No more!
It will take me about a year to learn all the buttons (OK, I'm exaggerating just a little -- but it will be a while). For instance, I still don't know how to make a call to my home but I plan to figure that out today. Apparently, I can program all my important phone numbers into the system and, by voice activation, I can tell my car to phone anyone by giving commands. Of course, since I'm on "pay and talk" with my cell service, I'm not likely to be phoning people just for the sake of making a call, but the point is, the capability is there if I need to make a call.
The navigation system is quite different from the Garmin unit that I was using but I'm sure, like everything else, I will get used to it. It too is voice activated, so I can just tell it, by a series of specific commands, to take me to a specific address, or to look for a specific location (gas station, restaurant, shopping mall, etc). There are lots of settings I still need to learn and again, I plan to try to figure out more of it today. It too, can be programmed with my "favourite" addresses so I guess I have a fair bit of work to do.
And the back-up camera is really wonderful! Especially going out my long laneway -- really makes that easy.
So, once again, I'm sure my fanbase will understand the absence of posts -- I'll be busy for the next couple of days programming my new toys.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Various Updates

So, for the sake of my fanbase I guess I should post updates of various goings on in my life. I should apologize for my failure to post yesterday as I had promised to do but it will become clear why I missed.
  • John's appointment to receive the results of the biopsy on his gallbladder surgery was a resounding success: no cancer! So we were relieved to hear that news.
  • The car I'm driving now? A 2009 Dodge Journey RT -- complete with sunroof; voice activated navigation system (now I can talk back to her!); bluetooth u-connect (gotta have that hands-free cell phone capability!); Sirius Satellite radio for 1 year; rear back-up camera (what a treat that is!); DVD entertainment system (yes, those back-seat passengers will be able to watch videos, complete with wireless headset and remote, while they sit back there in comfort!); heated leather seats; auto dual-zone climate control; remote starter; power everything; under-seat storage (front passenger); under floor storage (rear seats); reclining rear seats (you got it, those passengers watching videos will actually be able to recline while doing so, just like in airplanes -- but don't expect food service!). I'm sure there's other stuff I'm forgetting, but those are the salient points. Most importantly, it is just smaller enough than my Pacifica to make me happy; and it doesn't have the visibility issues that the Pacifica had. I still think it will take me a while to "forget" how much I enjoyed driving the Pacifica because I really did love that car but this is a very comfortable one to drive and I must admit that having driven it for just a day and half, I do find the leather lumbar seat in this vehicle a great improvement over the Pacifica. So perhaps before long, I will love this one just as much I loved my Pacifica. Time will tell!
  • My visit with the new rheumatologist wasn't very productive. As I expected, all my tests showed "normal" -- which absolutely astounded him. He was convinced that the x-rays would show significant osteoartritis and he had hoped that the bloodwork would give him some clues of possible deficiencies; but nothing. His diagnosis? Fibromyalgia and bursitis. He was very disappointed to hear that I only received 10 days' relief from the cortisone injections. He said that he would recommend that I take the shots every 3 months until they worked; his reasoning being that my bursitis has been present for so long that the inflammation is too advanced to be relieved with just one injection. I told him that my family doctor's position is that cortisone simply "does not work" for me and I was going with my family doctor's assessment. I also told him that 10 days' relief every three months was not worth the extra pain that I would have to endure for having taken that shot. So he granted me that. We discussed water exercise so I explained the difficulties I've run into with those attempts. He suggested another pain med which my family doctor had also suggested and my pharmacist had also suggested as being a better choice than the one I've just taken me off. He agreed with my pharmacist's comments that it would be a much safer choice and might be much more effective, perhaps even allowing me to eliminate the Lyrica. So he wrote me a prescription for the new pain med but wants me to see my family doctor and discuss it with him before I fill it. He feels that my family doctor can provide my follow-up care for me from this point on. Message: he doesn't need to see me again since there is nothing more he can do for me. He did invite me to call for another appointment if this new pain med did not work for me. I can't imagine why if he has nothing else to offer? In any event, I now have an appointment to see my family doctor next Thursday, May 14th, to discuss my starting this new regimen. Until then, I will continue managing my own pain as I have been doing.
  • By the time I got home yesterday, it was late morning and I had to visit with John and show him my new car and sort out stuff at home (unpack from my overnight visit etc). John and I went for a drive in my new car over to Carleton Place yesterday afternoon since we had a bit of shopping to do and as we left to come home we got caught in what has to be the worst of hail storms I've ever seen. It was so heavy that cars were pulling off the road everywhere. I could not believe the pelting my new car was taking! I thought surely my new car would be dented beyond measure. I kept saying, "my new car, my new car!" Of course, John sat there constantly opening the window to take yet another picture and letting huge chunks of hail INTO MY NEW CAR all over the leather seats! Anyway, we eventually made it home safely and my new car is tucked into the garage, none the worse for wear. But that was the storm of all storms let me tell you. I have never before experienced one like it and hope to never again!

While I was at my daughter's place on Thursday evening, she gave me a Mothers' Day gift (we don't "do" Mothers' Day because I hate the crowds and we long ago realized that our relationship is so special that we don't really need to mark it with one special day -- every day is special between us). The gift? Jeffrey Archer's novel "A Prisoner of Birth" and frankly, I got my nose into it that very night and now I can't put it down! I am already half way through it and plan to finish it by tomorrow. If I didn't have things to do around here I'd already be finished it! I continue to be in awe of the talent displayed by Jeffrey Archer. There is not one of his novels that hasn't grabbed me with the opening paragraphs and kept me interested right through to the end. He is truly an amazingly gifted writer!

That is why I didn't post yesterday. Now I have to get back to my reading. I will post again whenever I come up for air.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About my new car

OK, let me explain the change in the take-delivery date of my new wheels, which was supposed to happen today following my physio appointment.
  • Once the appointment with my specialist was rescheduled to early this Friday morning, that involved rejigging everything else (you know, the domino effect).
  • Since I don't like driving into Ottawa early in the morning, I would have to go in late Thursday afternoon and stay overnight in order to make that early morning appointment.
  • If I'm going to go in on Thursday afternoon, I'm not also going to go in on Wednesday because I cannot make the trip into Ottawa on two consecutive days. Soooooo, I was fortunately able to reschedule my physiotherapy from Wednesday morning to Thursday afternoon. Which, as it turns out, was a good thing because it would seem that I needed today to continue my recovery from my "accidental overdose."
  • Since I wasn't going in today for physiotherapy, I changed the car pick-up time to Thursday, following my new physiotherapy session.

Therefore, my new schedule is:

  • Thursday 10:45am - Dr. appointment with John (follow-up to his gall bladder surgery)
  • Thursday 1:45pm -- physiotherapy
  • Thursday 3:15pm -- pick up my new car
  • Thursday evening and overnight -- visit with my daughter and her family (get to see my favourite boy again -- woo hoo!)
  • Friday 7:00am - 8:30 am -- breakfast with my favourite sister
  • Friday 9:00am -- Dr appointment (here's hoping he has a rabbit in his hat)
  • Friday ?????? -- take my car home so John finally gets to see it

So, unfortunately, it will be Friday before I post again but I'm sure my fanbase will understand!

Will I Ever Learn?

I have this problem. And I have had it all my adult life. I wonder if I will ever learn.
You see, once I feel "good" I "do things."
And today, I feel good, after three days of feeling really awful.
So, I'm trying to do things. Not much, you realize. Just pick up around the house, get ready to go into Ottawa tomorrow (I changed my pick up date for my car to tomorrow from today -- I will explain later).
It is only 10:45am and I am totally out of gas. Finished. Kaput. Done for. Gotta go lie down.
This business of chronic fatigue really sucks! If I am better, I should be able to "do things" -- not much, you realize, just little tiny things. All I want is to be like a normal person who can last beyond three hours in a day! Is that asking too much?
I know that I am supposed to pace myself -- I wonder if I will ever learn how to do that!

Out of the Woods!

No nausea -- yippeeee!!
While enduring another day of serious nausea, combined with sweats, I continued to deny my body what it was demanding yesterday. I managed to get through the day on just Tylenol #3 and Gravol (which put me to sleep for most of the afternoon). On my way to bed I took another Gravol but I absolutely refused to give in and take one of those pain meds.
Woke up this morning in pain, but without the nausea so I THINK I'VE BEATEN IT!
I never thought I'd see the day when waking in pain would be a welcome feeling but believe me, that was my response when I came to this moring and realized that I felt "normal" -- at least what has come to be normal for me. It's been a long three days but I do believe I have come out of the woods on this one. And I can assure you, whatever the doctor suggests next, we will have a very long, serious discussion about all the ramifications of its use before I decide to proceed. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the curse and I just don't think some remedies are worth it.
Pain has become so much a part of who I am that perhaps I should just continue popping Tylenol #3 as needed and forget about trying to find more relief than that gives me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I think it's Official

Well, I think I've fairly well proven beyond a doubt that my body was (is) addicted to those new pain meds. By 6:00pm last night, only 7.5 hours after taking the last dose, my pain level was severe and I had violent sweats/shivering. And the nausea was back with a vengeance. It was clear to me that my body wanted more of "that good stuff." It was not a pretty sight and I refused to give in.
I went to bed early again, taking another sleeping aid along with my routine bedtime meds but without the pain med. Admittedly, I didn't enjoy quite the restful sleep I had the night before but I did sleep reasonably well in spite of waking up several times. When I woke, I was in severe agony and the nausea was back. Again, I refused to give in. But the experience convinced me that I was on the right track. That is when I decided not to put any more of that new pain med into my body.
I made an executive decision regarding my health: I was stopping the new pain meds in spite of my doctor's advice to continue on them until I see the new rheumatologist at the end of May. It is, after all, my body and I have to protect it. My instincts tell me that should I continue on that stuff, it would only get worse and my body would start wanting it with increasing frequency between doses. And if nausea is the price I have to pay for not giving in, that simply isn't an option.
I popped a couple of Tylenol #3 and took a Gravol to combat the nausea. I will stick to the Tylenol #3 today as needed, IF NEEDED, and will switch back to the Codeine Contin tomorrow on a 12-hour schedule, or as needed -- just the way I was taking it prior to my doctor suggesting that we try this new pain med.
Having come to this new decision, my telephone rang not five minutes ago. It was the office of my new rheumatologist wanting to change my appointment to a week later than the 22 May visit. I whined that that was too far away; I had hoped to get in to see him sooner, not later. I will now be seeing him early this Friday morning. So in the end, I sort of followed my doctor's advice to stay on the new pain meds until I see the new specialist -- I just cut it short by a few days.
Here's hoping the specialist will have a rabbit in his hat and there will be light at the end of this tunnel.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My continuing "new meds" saga

So, it looks like addiction is settling in. But I'm going to do my darndest to resist it. Here's the scoop.
  • On Saturday, when I was out on my car-buying escapade, I forgot to take my pain med at the scheduled time. So, I took it when I thought of it -- at around noon, which was about three hours late.
  • That evening, I was heading to bed at around 7:30pm (yes, to bed, I was very tired and where else does one go when one's day is done?) I took my bedtime meds, including my pain med, without realizing that it was only seven hours since my last dose of pain med. Not a good idea.
  • I awoke at 1:30am and lay awake reading for some two hours. Still couldn't go back to sleep. Got up and checked my e-mail; that took about two minutes. Watched a taped program in my arsenal of not-yet-watched television shows. Couldn't really apply myself to it so stopped doing that. Then I realized: I was wired (high) from taking two doses of that damned stuff too close together.
  • I think I managed to doze off briefly between 5:00am and 6:00am when I got up for the day. I took my next pain med at what would have been the normal scheduled dosing time, 9:30am. By that time, I noticed that I was feeling mildly nauseous.
  • The nausea continued all day and worsened considerably as the day wore on. I attributed it to the lack of sleep. By 8:30pm, I was so serioulsy nauseated that I decided to just go to bed for the night, but I wanted to take a sleeping aid to ensure that I would stay asleep -- I needed the rest desperately. I took my bedtime meds, adding a sleep aid that I use on occasion, but left out the pain med. I didn't want to combine the pain med with the sleep aid -- enough is enough!
  • Got up this morning at around 6:00am, having slept through the night quite nicely. My pain level is really no worse than it usually is (with or without pain meds). Couldn't really partake of breakfast because of the nausea which continued until about a half hour after I took the pain med at 9:30am.
  • Obviously, the nausea was from NOT taking the pain med, I suspect, as well as the high I went into after the accidental overdose. I'll be sure not to let that happen again!

If this experience is what happens after only three weeks on this medication, what am I potentially doing to myself staying on it for another three weeks? Since my pharmacist assured me that it is OK to not take a dose and in fact it is better to do so since the less I take the better it is for me, that is what I'm going to do. I will skip a dose of the pain med whenever I can. I'll just choose my times carefully so that I don't subject myself to any more suffering than is necessary. And I will absolutely ensure that I NEVER again take two doses so close together as to cause an overdose high response which then causes withdrawal symptoms. I cannot for the life of me even begin to imagine why junkies think this is fun??????

Sunday, May 3, 2009

OH OH Watch Out Now!

I went into Ottawa yesterday to have breakfast with a good friend. That in and of itself is not particularly newsworthy; I do that with some degree of regularity. It is what we did AFTER breakfast that makes the day worthy of discussion.
I encouraged my friend to accompany me to the local car dealer because I've been wanting to check out a particular vehicle that has intrigued me for some time now. You see, the car I drive now, which I absolutely love, has two fundamental flaws: it is too large and cumbersome (read, it is a pain in the ass to park!) and it has serious visibility issues which oftentimes can put the driver at risk. So, I wanted to check out this new car I've been hearing about which is smaller than what I'm driving but apparently meets most of my other criteria.
Well, off we went to meet the dealer and see what we could see (we were just going "to look.") The car passed my back seat test (my back seat passengers must be comfortable so there must be adequate legroom back there for me to sit comfortably). It had all sorts of bells and whistles, some of which interested me, others which were of no concern to me. It drove like a charm; almost like the car I have now, but without the bulk and without the visibility issues.
After much haggling, we ended up with a deal. Now we know that they made a deal they're happy with; and I know that I made a deal that I'm happy with. I may or may not have made the best deal that I could have made. There is no way I can assess that; but the deal is done. And I don't have to exhaust my savings to pay for it (which was another of my criteria).
The one thing I didn't get with this vehicle that I swore my next car would have is memory seats; it's not an option for this car. I'm simply not prepared to pay the exhorbitant amounts of money that are being asked for the models of vehicles that do offer memory seats as an option; they do get you coming and going.
What will I be driving now? Check back here on Wednesday, May 6th, and I'll have a photo and details to share with you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Will My Brain Ever Return?

You might recall my post earlier this week in which I mentioned that I came home dog-tired from a day in the city and "forgot" to make an on-line financial transaction which ended up costing me a fee. And that rotted my socks big time!
The deal is, as long as I keep a minimum balance in my account every day of the month, the service charge is waived. I go to great lengths to ensure that I maintain that minimum balance each and every month because, well, I'm cheap. I don't want to pay that service charge. Well, because of that dog-tired day in April, my balance fell below the threshhold and I incurred the service charge for April. That was bad enough.
But the kicker is, today is the first day of May. And because I didn't think of it yesterday, I didn't transfer enough into my account to bring the balance over the threshhold. So, I've started the month with my balance below the minimum required and -- you guessed it, I will again be paying the service charge. Now that more than rots my socks -- that really pisses me off big time because I could have avoided this one. When I had a brain that worked properly, I never would have let something like this happen. I find it truly amazing how wide-spread the impact of fatigue and chronic pain can be on one's life.
Oh well, in August, I will officially become an "old fart" by my bank's definition and I will be entitled to free banking privileges; I won't ever have to worry about their service charges again. See, there IS a silver lining in every cloud, isn't there? Ha Ha