Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chronic Pain Sucks

I don't often use this blog to discuss personal issues. I am a pretty private person, and talking about myself is actually uncomfortable for me.


I suffer from chronic pain. A lot of people do. And if you really want to see some interesting chronic pain numbers, look here.

There are many, many causes for chronic pain. Mine is due to a ruptured disc in my neck

The last few weeks have been pretty miserable for me. I see a pain management specialist (let's call him PMS), taking his prescribed meds regularly, and having occasional epidural steroid injections (ESI). (MY chronic pain stems from a ruptured cervical disc.) I had another ruptured cervical disc surgical fused in 11/08, but this second one herniated just a few weeks after that surgery, and started to bother me about a year ago. The surgeon and the pain management physician both felt it was in my best interest to try to treat the newly herniated disc medically (meaning "nonsurgically") at the time, rather than hitting me with a second major neck surgery so soon after the first.

Anyway, I had been doing fairly well with the prescribed meds and injections until about 3 weeks ago, and something changed (we don't know what, except that the fragmented and herniated disc fragments are now impinging much more on my cervical nerve roots than they had been.) My PMS saw me immediately (bless him!), gave me another ESI, and prescribed some much stronger narcotics, plus a powerful muscle relaxer, in addition to my usual pain management prescription.

The ESI worked for 8 days. And I woke up this morning right back where I was 9 days ago - just absolutely unable to get into a comfortable position due to the pain in my neck and left arm. I have taken all the prescribed narcotics and muscle relaxers that I can (OK - I have taken more than I should have). Up until about 30 minutes ago, I was too loopy to put coherent thoughts together, but these meds have a paradoxical effect on me - rather than making me groggy, or letting me sleep, they make me agitated and hyper - so I can't sleep off the pain - I just kind of walk around the house, or toss and turn on the bed, until they finally take a little edge of the pain, which is where I am now. And I apologize if this post is nonsensical - I am very much MUI (Mentally Under the Influence) from these drugs, and having a really difficult time concentrating. I have some moist heat packs on my neck and shoulder, and decided to sit here and blurt out personal stuff, which is so unlike me, and probably totally not interesting to anyone who is still reading this.

But if you ARE still reading, here is a real gift for you, at least that's how I felt about it.

My friend Pam Brisse posted this on her blog, and I just wish everyone in world could read it. It is so well-written, and offers great perspective on what it is like to live with chronic pain.

[And Pam's blog is a nice read, too - and look at her gorgeous blog banner, while you are over there!]

When I woke up this morning I felt like I had no spoons. After finally getting out of bed (the need to pee overtook the need to stay in bed) and taking some drugs, and writhing around until they started to kick in, I felt like I had 1 spoon - and I used that to feed Bailey. I now feel like I have 4 or 5 spoons, and my heating pads are starting to cool down, so I need to get up to go microwave them again.

I want to give a huge shout out to this microwaveable heating pad that I splurged on about 3 months ago at Bed Bath & Beyond: The Original Bed Buddy Body Wrap. Over the years, I have bought probably 20 different kinds of microwaveable heat wraps, but this Bed Buddy Wrap is the best. EVER. It has a velcro tab that lets you wrap it around your neck, or your shoulder, or a knee, thigh, or whatever, and it will stay there. No kidding - all my other ones fall off or shift if I turn my head or lean forward - I know a lot of you know what I'm talking about. And it holds the heat a long time. And this is a huge plus as far as I'm concerned: it is unscented! All the other ones I have either have lavender, or some kind of herb, or rice - and you heat them up and wrap them around your neck and are smothered in smell. I know that the manufacturers of these wraps consider that to be "aromatherapy", and relaxing, and a big selling point. But when you have allergies, or (like me) fragrance-induced migraines, no thanks. So I am loving my Bed Buddy.

And the Bed Buddy Wrap is available on Amazon, too. I have provided a link over on the right there -------------------------------------------------------------->
to a lot of my recent favorite finds on Amazon.

Good grief, I am really rambling.


PussDaddy said...

Oh my, I am so sorry to hear that you are in so much pain. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


Jan said...

Wishing you wellness Sweet !


Brenda said...

It's not boring...I can sympathize.
I have two blown disks in my back, arthritis all over, deQuervains in my wrists, no tendons in my left ankle, stenosis in my hips, a curve in my spine and now a rotator cuff injury...

But I'm old and falling apart LOL

Hugs and hoping sincerely that you feel better soon.

Sweet Freedom said...

Oh Brenda - so sorry for you. I, too have deQuervain's in both wrists. Or I should say, had - it was so bad in my right wrist (my dominant hand, that I was forced to have surgery to fix it, and that was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

After years of pain and MONTHLY injections of cortisone in that wrist, I woke up from the surgery basically pain free (except for the usual post-op type of pain), and I have been pain-free ever since on the right.

I had dreaded the surgery, because the surgeon had told me there would be a 3 to 6 month period of basic inability to use that hand, and he was right. I had physical therapy, and lots of it, because I had so little mobility in the wrist and hand after the surgery, and for several months thought I had made a bad decision to let them operate, but after 6 months, it was like a new wrist.

The left side is not nearly so bad - has only needed one cortisone injection.

And I've had rotator cuff surgery, too. - Again, all better now!

And while we're comparing war wounds, I've had carpal tunnel surgery 5 freaking times. 3 on my right wrist, and 2 on my left. Damn shit keeps coming back.

My thoughts are with you, and everyone who has chronic pain and health issues - I just needed to have a little pity party today.

jstinson said...

So sorry that you are having such pain! Best wishes for a speedy recovery from this acute bout and hope you are able to gain better control of the chronic pain.

Della said...

Unfortunately I know EXACTLY how you feel. Sooner or later we usually find something that works somewhat for a short while. I live for those moments! Good Luck
Chronic Pain Talk