Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last couple weeks

Again, sorry so long since the last post. Its been a rough couple weeks. About 2 weeks ago, i ended up having to go to the ER one night because the pain was so bad and the percocet was not doing anything to ease the pain. They loaded me up with diladid (stronger than morphine) and a few other things and i felt much better. Apparently I have just gotten tolerant to my dosage of percocet. I went back to my primary care doctor that week and she put me on oxycontin. It was a big step but its been a very good drug for me. Oxycontin has such a stigma because of all the people that abuse it but it really is a great drug for chronic pain. They are extended release tablets so i take one every 12 hrs so it keeps my pain better under control. I still have to take the percocet when i have "break through" pain which is usually once a day but there have been days when i havent had to take anything which is a big improvement. Last week was a big week as far as doctors appointments and information. First, i met with a orthopaedic surgeon at vanderbilt. He has a great reputation. He is the head spine surgeon at vanderbilt and does all the surgeries for the spine trauma cases. I got some additional x-rays done and saw his nurse practitioner and then he came in and talked with me, my mom, and harrison. It was great because he addressed all of us, not just me which is so important to address the family as well. From his expert opinion, i DO need surgery. My c4 vertabrae is misaligned from my c5 which is where my fusion is. Because of this, the vertabrae is rubbing against the disk and is misshaping the disc, causing and bone spur, and thus irritating nerves and causing pain. While he said he can not 100% guarantee this is where the pain is coming from and that I would 100% wake up from surgery pain free, he said that he was very confident this was the case and that surgery would cause drastic relief in my pain. Then on wednesday, my mom and I travelled back to Knoxville to meet with the nurse practitioner of my original neurosurgeon. She did a very thorough exam and we went through step by step what all have happened the past 3 months. My doctor was in surgery all day bit she talked to him by phone, and left my x-rays, mri, and ct scans for him to look at along with her notes. He called me the next morning (which i thought was amazing that a doctor especially a surgeon tool the time to call me on my cell phone!) and we talked for about 10 minutes. He said he was also confident that my c4 disk was the pain generator and he wanted me to try traction at physical therapy for a few weeks as a diagnostic tool (a weird contraption you put your head in and the machine pulls on your head and lengthens your spine to take pressure off your disks). He said that if this relieves the pain, even if only temporarily, that would be a good argument to go ahead and fuse the c4 level. So I start physical therapy this week at a new place who has a different approach to PT. They do "manual therapy" so its very hands on. I am going to try this for a few weeks and then decide if I am going to go through with the surgery. Right now, my gut feeling is that I will probably end up having surgery.

So thats the latest news and update from the past few weeks. Harrison has kept busy working. They recently moved offices so that has taken alot of time just to get organized and everything. He is making alot of sales and is still doing very well. Besides having to deal with everything goin on with me, we are loving being married. He takes such good care of me when I am not feeling well. He has been great about cooking dinner on nights I hurt and has even vacuummed when I have asked him too. He has been very supportive and has gone with me to doctors appointment. He remains very involved, loving, caring, and just overall has been a wonderful husband. I am very blessed.

Just keep praying please. I'll have to make alot of decisions the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just needing to vent...

Preface: A post about how I'm feeling at this moment....mostly venting emotions. Feel free not to read, but read if you like.
I know alot of people dont follow our blog, which is fine, and I mostly just use it as an outlet to write how I'm feeling. On the one hand, I feel incredibly selfish in a way...I know there are other people out there, even people I know, that are going through much more difficult situations than I am. I know I am unbelievably blessed. I have an amazing family, husband, job (that I am dying to get back to), a beautiful home and I want for nothing except to feel better. I've gone through such a rollercoaster of emotions since all this started over 2 months ago. I have gone from feeling like it was just a temporary set back of a couple days, to adjusting to the fact that it may last longer, to feeling very discourgaged, to feeling hopeful of the end in site, to being overjoyed at the wedding, to yurning to get back to work, and now I'm back to feeling very much discouraged. I had an appointment with the pain clinic again, who has been unbelieveable. The doctor there overbooked her schedule on multiple occasions to fit me in to have procedures in order to make me feel as good as possible before the wedding. The past three or four days have been very bad as far as my pain level. I have been in bed pretty much non stop and havent gotten out of the house since saturday except for my doctors appointment this morning. While my doctors appointment today was much better than my appointment a few weeks ago with my neurosurgeon it was still somewhat of a let down. I guess I am wanting so much for a "quick fix." I would love it if a procedure or even surgery would fix the problem. Today, Dr. Jackson said there were other procedures she could do but to keep sticking my like a pin cushion is not her first choice. So once again, I have been passed off an referred to someone else. This time I am being referred to the Center for Ingergrative Health at Vanderbilt. This clinic is a center that treats pain in less conventional ways, accupunture, myofascial release (basically massage that insurance covers), behavioral therapies, relaxation techniques, etc. While I'm not against these forms of treatment, I guess i am just tired of being passed off to someone else. I just want someone to figure out where the pain is coming from, why I've had it for 4 years, and how to fix it. I just want a simple answer and nothing about this whole process has been easy or simple. I'm tired of doctors appointments, I'm tired of being at home in bed, I'm tired of not working, I'm tired of being on the phone with my insurance company, the disability company, and my work trying to explain why i've been gone for almost 10 weeks. I am worried about my job at this point, and I'm worried about my life and my future. I know it seems silly but I worry how I'm going to be able to carry my child around the house once it weighs more than 10 pounds. (no i'm not pregnant, just things I think about). I worry how long I'm going to be able to be in the field I love if it takes this much of a toll on my body. Like the title of the blog says, I just need to vent. I'm feeling very helpless, hopeless, and discouraged. Physically I feel beaten and broken, but emotionally, the whole situation has taken almost as drastic of a toll. I can only pray for relief and for God to heal me, mind, body, and soul. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mr. and Mrs.

Hey everyone....sorry its been so long since my last post. Harrison and I are finally married! The wedding was absolutely wonderful. It was the most perfect day for both of us. I had some pain during the wedding day but I was running off adrenaline so I didnt hardly think about the pain. I want to thank all of those that were a part of it or came to support us. The pictures are done so I'll post some whenever I get the disc. Harrison and I went to the Cayman Islands for a week for our honeymoon. We had a great time. We had perfect weather and I felt good enough a couple of the days to do some activities like Sting Ray City, the Sea Turtle Farm, and some shopping in Georgetown. It was a wonderful week but we were ready to get back to Nashville and setting into our life.
All the procedures I had done before the wedding met my goal of getting through the wedding and the honeymoon but unfortunately the effects have worn off and I'm still having pain. The Tuesday after we got home, I had a doctors appointment with my neurosurgeon. I had never actually seen him, I have just been seeing his Nurse Practitioner, who is very thorough, compassionate, and helpful. The neurosurgeon was the exact opposite. It was a very disappointing appointment. I didnt feel like he cared at all what I had to say. He just said that he didnt think I needed surgery, so he didnt need to see me anymore and he wouldnt extend my disability. I've been back to my primary care physician and we've decided to get a second opinion from and orthopaedic surgeon and a third opinion from my original neurosurgeon in Knoxville. I have an appointment with the pain clinic this week so we'll see what they have to say and what my options are.
I'm feeling pretty discouraged and hate that I'm still not able to work. I miss the babies and all my friends at work and I am really eager to get back to work, but physically I'm just not able to yet. For the few people that read this blog, I just ask for prayers that of all these things I'm doing and all the doctors I'm seeing, we will find something that will work to relieve my pain more permanently than just the narcotics I'm on. Thanks again for all the support!