Thursday, June 27, 2013

Synvisc Injection #3

Today, I'm going for injection #3.  This time, I won't forget to take a painkiller before I leave home.
I'm already feeling a benefit from the injections so presumably things can only get better from here.
These shots, besides being terribly painful to receive, are also very expensive (and not covered by my health insurance plan).  Apparently, some insurance plans do cover the treatment but not the federal government plan.
Anyway, I've been doing the series of three injections, administered in 2 ml each week at one week intervals. There is another version of the same drug, called SynviscOne, which administers the full 6 ml in one injection.  I can only assume that it is as effective as the three-shot version.
It would certainly reduce the number of times one would have to endure a painful injection.  And it would be much more convenient to one's calendar to only have one 48-hour period confined to "staying off one's feet."
So I was left wondering why my surgeon prescribed the three-shot version over the one-shot treatment?  Until I see him again, I can't find out the answer to that particular question.
But in the meantime, I've done some poking around on the WWW and have found numerous negative comments about the efficacy of SynviscOne.  And a rheumatologist posted that she had better results with the three shots over the single shot, so she preferred to prescribe the series of three.
Next, I inquired at my Pharmacy about the cost differential between the two options if doing both knees:  
  • Synvisc (2 ml x 3 per knee) costs $100.00 per injection for a total cost of $600.00;
  • SynviscOne (6 ml x 1 per knee) costs $500.00 per injection for a total cost of $1,000.00.

That would be an extra $400.00 out of pocket since my insurance doesn't cover it.  A clear and obvious reason to go with the three injections, I think.
Perhaps my surgeon was thinking of cost alone when he prescribed Synvisc rather than SynviscOne.
I'm still interested in finding out if in fact one treatment gives better results over the other because from my experience last year, I know absolutely that the three-shot version works very well for me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fibro mystery solved!

Apparently, researchers have solved the mystery that is fibromyalgia, revealing that the main source of pain stems from excess blood vessels in the hand.  I've printed the article and taken a copy to my physiotherapist; a copy will be given to my doctor tomorrow when I see her (for my third and final Synvisc injection); and I'll give my massage therapist a copy next week.

Fibromyalgia Pain Trigger Points

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed when pain is confirmed in at least eleven of the eighteen trigger points shown in the above photo.  I test positive for pain in all of the identified points (and the ankles too).

Amazing to think that so much pain can emanate from the hands, but if true, it surely explains a lot about the difficulty I've had with my hands over the years.  And it just might explain the more recent phenomenon of my "losing another finger" with each fibro flare-up.

Now that they've finally unlocked the mystery of fibro, no telling how much longer we'll have to wait for the "cure" to come.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to my "Other Daughter"

I revealed this secret a few years ago on this date.
Besides my little chickadee, there is an "other daughter" in my life.
And today, she is celebrating her 29th birthday.
My other daughter is the youngest of three children who were actually born to my good friend, LC (good way to "have your children" don't you think?).
From the time this child was born, she didn't much differentiate between her mother and me when it came to her care, so close were our families.
We lived just a few doors down from each other in the years leading up to her birth.  Her older brothers and my little chickadee conspired to bring their mothers together in friendship.
And it worked -- a little too well for their liking, as it turns out.
So by the time her only daughter was born, LC and I were already tight (the two older boys were in my care the night their baby sister arrived).
And that baby was having sleep-overs at my home well before her first birthday.
In fact, it was not unusual for her to fall asleep with her Mom, and wake up with me.
And it didn't faze her one bit.
Hence, I became known as her "other Mother" and she my "other daughter."
Suffice to say, she holds a very special place in my heart.
So, my other daughter, enjoy your day today.
Love you lots.

(PS:  Next year is the BIG 30!
You're welcome.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

So I'm "not allergic" huh?

It's been a busy week.
I was out of the house all day Tuesday.
Had to take the laptop into the shop.  (Which meant visiting with my favourite boys -- always a joy!)  They fixed the problem on the spot -- without charge! -- and sent me home a happy camper once again.  Love those guys to pieces!
Then I had my weekly physio session.  That's always a bright spot in my day.  I'll sooooo regret when she finally retires.  (She tells me that won't be any time soon, but she and her husband -- who are my age -- seem to be enjoying travel outside the country a little too much for my liking.)
From physio, I had to visit my audiologist for my annual hearing test.  No change.  (Well, that was a change!)    We discussed upgrade options, should I decide to go that route, since my current hearing aids are five years old this year and technology has come a long way in the intervening years.  I'll think on it.
Then I had to see my ENT doctor (same office, thank God!) for my routine vacuuming of the ears.  Only my left ear needed attention this visit, and he didn't need to resort to the vacuum.  Double phew!
Finally, at the height of rush-hour traffic, I headed home.  Got here just on time for our politics show, and John dutifully greeted me at the top of the stairs with my glass of wine.  So sweet.
Yesterday was my massage day, but at the clinic.  We've had to switch the schedule a bit because my Synvisc injections.  So instead of her coming to me on Thursdays, I've been going to her on Wednesdays.
Then late yesterday afternoon, I went into some kind of allergic response, reacting to something -- I know not what. 
Anyway, the sneezing, runny nose and watering eyes continued all evening.   In the middle of the night I woke up coughing.  Non-stop coughing.  Classic asthma attack.  Dug out the puffer, calmed my lungs down, and went back to sleep.
What the hell's up with that?????????
Clearly, I'm reacting to something.  But since the allergist told me last week that I am "not allergic," it makes the event -- or his findings -- all the more suspect. (The runny nose and watery eyes persist today.) 
I'll be seeing my doctor this afternoon for Round #2 of the Synvisc injections in my knees, and I'll tell her about last night while she's torturing me.  See what she has to offer about my "not being allergic."
Once again, I'm facing 48 hours of enforced "off my feet" time following those injections.  And this time, I don't have a good book in which to get lost.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I made it!

I survived round one of the Synvisc injections.
John claims that I didn't stay down nearly as much as I should have.
It is my contention that, from time to time, I have to move from point A to point B.  That's just life.  And whilst I'm moving between points, I might just as well do for myself en route.  So that's what I did.
I was never "up" for more than ten minutes at a time though.  My knees wouldn't allow it.  They announced loud and clear that I was approaching the time limit too.
By last evening, once the 48 hours had been met, I wanted to be on my feet constantly.  Just wanted to be moving.  My body was itching to "go."
I hadn't slept well the night before and I'm quite sure it was because of the lack of activity.  I've really come to enjoy my time on the treadmill and obviously my body needs it.
My doctor said I could start again on the treadmill today, but not as fast and not as long.  I'm to build up to 20 minutes again.  So by the time I get back up to 20 minutes, I'll be getting the second injections, and have to stop for two days again.  Then I'll have to build up to the 20 minutes again.  Then it's on to round three.
I guess I'll simply have to accept that I won't be getting my usual exercise for the next two weeks and hope that I can maintain my weight loss effort by other means.
Oh dear.  I had so wanted to be down another ten pounds by mid-July!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Synvisc Injections #1

OMG that hurt!
We did the left knee first, and it wasn't quite as painful as I remember last year's injections being.  (I took a codeine contin an hour before the appointment so that might have helped.)
Then it was on to the right knee.
The first attempt, on the outside of the knee, failed.  The doctor couldn't find her way between bone.
Over to the inside.  Still couldn't find her way between bone.
Back to the outside of the knee to try a different entry point.  If the third attempt didn't work, she was going to go find the doctor who gave me the shots last year to ask her to try.  Fortunately, the third time was the charm.  And by then, it didn't hurt at all (the three attempts at entry had been that tortuous).
The post injection pain has not been too bad at all.
I iced both knees last evening, when they were quite uncomfortable.
This morning they are just marginally sore and I have iced them again.
But here I am, ensconced on the sofa in the living room -- where I will have to "live" until 4:00 pm tomorrow.
Only two more rounds to go, on each of the next two Thursdays.
Short term pain and inconvenience, for long term gain.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Visit with the Allergist

Well, I saw the allergist yesterday about Aspirin desensitization.  Of course, he had a myriad of questions for me, some of which I couldn't answer.  (What all medications have you tried for your arthritis?  I remembered Naproxen, and Celebrex, to name two.  For the life of me I couldn't remember all the others that have been tried over the years.)
I explained that for the most part, the only analgesics I can tolerate are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and codeine.   Aspirin in particular (and several other analgesics) cause disorientation and vomiting.  Anything with anti-inflammatory properties cause me asthmatic distress. Naturally, I never continued taking anything beyond the initial negative response, so I couldn't tell him if I would have developed more serious reactions (swelling of the throat, lips, tongue -- all of which could be possible if the drug were continued).
He was interested to hear about the time my massage therapist used an oil on me that had anti-inflammatory benefits and I broke out in hives.  Yet I am using Voltaren gel (an anti-inflammatory) without incident on my hips every night.  Go figure!
Anyway, he agreed that I could benefit from Aspirin desensitization but he would not attempt it in his office.  It would have to be done in hospital and he is not in the hospital very frequently.  It happens that he will be there on June 30th if I was available and wanted to do it then.
Oops.  No can do.  I can't have this done before July 12th because I'm having a cortisone injection in my hip joint on that date and I can't be on aspirin or any anti-inflammatory for a week prior to the shot.
So he offered to find a colleague who could do the procedure for me.
His first choice could see me in a year.  That just won't do.  He thinks this should be done sooner rather than later.
His next attempt was successful.  I will see a different allergist on August 19th (but I will have to be assessed again) and hopefully I will have the procedure done shortly thereafter.
He also did a scratch test on me to see what I'm allergic to.
Nothing!  What a hoot.
He tested me for trees, grasses, ragweed, pollen. And I'm not allergic to any of them.
Wow.  I sure used to be!  As recently as five years ago I was allergic to all that and more.
"These things change over the years," he said.
He explained that my year-round stuffy nose is called "non-allergic rhinitis."  It is caused from having a thin lining of the nose which is sensitive to temperature, barometric pressure, strong scents such as perfumes, etc. (Years ago, I was told I had "allergic rhinitis.")
He prescribed a nasal spray which I am to use once a day.  He assured me that I'll find I can breathe much easier once I'm using the spray.
I'm to see him again on August 28th (just because he likes me).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Off to the big city today

So I cancelled yesterday's physio session because I have to go into the big city today and I couldn't face two consecutive days of round trips.  (Overnight at my little chickadee's would not have worked this time because I would have had too much down time between appointments.)
Anyway, today I see the allergist to discuss Aspirin desensitization.  If it is something we can try -- and it's actually successful -- that would be a real boon for me because I would finally be able to take something for this damned arthritis!
Following that appointment, I'll come back to this neck of the woods and go to my massage therapist's clinic for a session with her (rather than her coming to me tomorrow).  We had to make a change to my massage schedule for the next three weeks because I'm starting the Synvisc shots in my knees tomorrow.  Didn't seem to make sense to have a massage and get all mellow, then follow it up with those very painful injections an hour later!  So massage it is on Wednesdays (but at the clinic because she can't come to me on Wednesdays), but just for a couple of weeks!
By July, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The saga of my hands

This is getting tiresome.
Really it is.
Not to mention painful.
Last evening, for no apparent reason, my "mousing" finger (index finger of my right hand) decided to flare up again.
It's swollen, and angry, and screams in agony if it's flexed even slightly.
Which makes many day-to-day functions rather difficult, to say the least. Because that digit is used for many chores besides mousing.
Really it is.
What I don't get is -- when these flare-ups happen, why just one finger?  The rest of my hand is fine.  Well, as fine as my hands ever are.  Both hands are swollen (had to remove my wedding band again this morning), but they're not painful.
Other than that one finger.
Go figure.
There's just no rhyme nor reason to what ails me from one day to the next!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ah shucks ...

I don't not got nothin' to say.
I honestly can't think of anything about which to blog.
So we'll have to leave things as empty as my head!
Sorry 'bout that folks.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dammit, I did it again!

Last evening, I was super fatigued at supper time.
I was also feeling extremely "stressed" but couldn't identify any particular cause.
Then at bedtime, for some reason I went looking for my mid-day pill holder.
Oops.  It was still in my purse.
Where it had been living since Tuesday morning when I had to be at my final "fat class" for 9:30 am.  That class went until 11:00 am and my physio was at 1:00 pm in the city.  I wasn't going to come home between sessions so I threw my pill case into my purse, plan being to take the meds when I had my "lunch."
Yeh right.  I had my lunch (an Ensure) but forgot to take those pills.
And when I got home later that afternoon, I again forgot to take the pill case out of my purse.
There the case sat until last evening when for whatever reason I went looking for it.
That meant that I had missed my mid-day dose of meds on three consecutive days.
Not good!
Fast forward to this morning.
I was leaving the house at 10:00 am to go bottle a much-needed batch of wine.  Directly from there I was heading off to lunch with my Angel.
Once again, I threw the pill case into my purse.  Surely, I'd remember to take the pills this time!
You guessed it.
I just now remembered them.
At least today, I took the damned things!
At 4:30 pm.
Better late than never.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I did it. I did it!

I passed my "fat class."
I am so glad that part of my life is over, because that's seven mornings I'll never get back!
They did verify my ten pound weight loss though, so I was glad to get that confirmation.
Now, I'll simply keep doing what I'm doing until I take off a further ten pounds so I can book my tummy tuck!
Perhaps by Christmas time, I'll be slim and svelte (and all recovered from the surgery).