Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Happy Tuesday friends. I've been waiting to write this post till I was sure it was going last so here it goes.....AFTER ALMOST 2 AND A HALF YEARS, I AM OFFICIALLY OFF MY PAIN PATCH!! I took off the patch on Halloween night because after not meeting my first goal of being off by October 1, I made a second goal of November 1. Again, I had to wait a few days to see how my body would respond being without it and I didn't even mention it to Harrison or my family till a few days later because I didn't want to jinx it.

A few people have asked me if I was proud of myself for what I've accomplished and for some reason, I've had a hard time saying yes. I know it is an accomplishment but I think because I have had endure the loss of many other goals, such as work achievements and my Masters degree, I feel that making this step isn't really anything to be proud of because its just something I had to do to make any type of progress toward the things I want in my life. I'm glad the process is over but I'm also worried about the next phase. I've found myself getting caught up in what i want to happen and accomplish next and where I want to be 6 months from now. I have to remind myself sometimes to slow down and that I have accomplished something and its ok to be proud of myself.

We had a great weekend in Boone with family and friends. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to not have a schedule and to just be able to relax and enjoy the company of people you love and care about. I have been really active since Thursday and have pushed myself passed its limits so my body hasn't exactly been happy with me since we got home but I feel like it was worth it.

Thanks for reading and thank you to all of you who have supported me and encouraged me the past few months as I have been going through the weaning process. I could not have done it without you. I love you all. You have no idea how thankful I am for each and everyone of you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doctors appointment

Well things at my pain doctor went pretty much as expected last week. I am going to stick to a dose of 12 for another few weeks, then try to come off entirely. Then, as I predicted, my nurse practitioner recommended to give my body a break for at least a month to let my body just adjust and not make any changes. Since I've been weaning pretty quickly since September, even though I am ready and willing to keep making progress, I know from my nursing experience with my babies that trying to do too may things to fast can easily backfire. So i know its probably smartest to just let my body take a breather for awhile and get used to not being on a constant 24/7 source of pain relief. As per my nature, I continue to worry about what comes next. I worry about how my body will respond to making the jump from my current breakthrough medication to something not as strong. As I have been weaning off the fentanyl, I have noticed that the morphine and my other medications seem to effect my body more because the pain receptors in my brain are less saturated with medication. So hopefully since my neurotransmitters are more receptive, something less potent will still give me effective pain control when I really need it. I am trying so hard to not take the medicine as much but sometimes, I just can't take the pain.

I'm researching a lot and considering other forms of pain control like biofeedback, relaxation and meditation, and for the first time, looking into a chiropractor. Even though a chiropractor may not be able to help with my neck since my fusions, I'm hoping to get relief for my back and help with my alignment, positioning, and posture. I still have several hurdles I have to jump before I will be at the point that I want to be, but I am trying to keep myself focused on today and on taking small steps forward...even though I know that sometimes, there will be steps backwards, like today when I'm dealing with a lot of pain, am very uncomfortable, and frustrated that it is so beautiful outside, and I'm in bed.

Its very hard for me to give myself credit for what accomplished, even though I'm getting so much encouragement from my doctors, Harrison, family, and friends. I guess on days like today, I tend to blame myself because I think that maybe I put myself in this position by something I did the day before or by being too active. Even though it may seem like very small tasks for most people, yesterday I got my massage, went to the store, payed bills, folded laundry, cleaned up the house, and cooked dinner. Again, these seem like such simple tasks for the average person, but for me, its a lot. Somedays, I just like to feel "normal" even though by the end of the night, I can already start feeling what is most likely inevitable.

The next four days are going to be really busy, but hopefully really fun and I can only pray that I feel okay. Tonight, one of my dearest friends who recently got back from his second deployment with the Air Force is coming into town and we are going to spend the day together tomorrow. He has been one of my closest friends since high school and even during his deployments, has been one of the most supportive, dependable people I have. Even when he is Lord knows where in the world, he always makes it a point to call or email me every week or two. I always get excited when I see his "restricted" number pop up on my cell phone. I'm so thankful he is home safe and so proud for all he is doing to protect our country and our freedom.

Tomorrow night my whole family is headed to the beautiful mountains of Boone, NC for our annual trip with our dear family friends the Convingtons. This is always a trip I look forward to but the past couple years, my pain has kept me limited and I haven't been able to go on the hikes we always take so I'm hoping that maybe this year I can. We always have so much fun hiking, shopping, eating, playing cards, watching football, laughing, and just being together. This year the Covington clan has a baby on the way and a new engagement so there is sure to be a lot to celebrate this year. Pray that I will feel decent because the next 4 days are something I've been looking forward to for months. It will be good to get out and spend the day tomorrow with one of my best friends and get away this weekend and be with family and friends.

I've got a lot of other things on my mind right now that I don't really want to get into in this post but maybe soon I'll get the courage to open up about a few of these things because its been weighing on me quite a bit. For now, I just ask that you pray for me while I sort through some of these things.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where to begin?

Geez...this past month has been a rollercoaster of feeling good and feeling horrible, feeling hopeful and hopeless, feeling confident and feeling defeated. After being on a dose of 25 on my pain patch for about 2 weeks, I weaned down to 12.5. Unfortunately, my body didn't like this change very much. I was in a lot of pain and tried for several days to try and cope with it, thinking that I just needed a few days to adjust but after about a week, I had to go back up to 25. I felt very frustrated and defeated. I had felt so pretty proud of myself so far in this process so far and my original goal was to be off my October 1. When that didn't happen, I tried not to be too hard on myself and had gone to my back up plan of hopefully being off my November 1...which could still happen I guess. Over the weekend, I went back down to 12.5 and so far so good. I go back to my pain doctor tomorrow so I'll see what they think and say. After I am off the pain patch, I am also needing to wean to a different medicine for breakthrough pain. Not sure when that will happen. I think my body needs a few weeks of rest and routine, without changing anything or adding anything. My pain is relatively the same as it was when I was on the higher doses of the pain patch, and I do still have back pain. I'm still getting massages often so that helps some. I did recently get re-approved to long term disability and now I am officially on Medicare as my primary health insurance which will hopefully help financially with medical bills and expenses. I know that I am truly blessed to have so much financial assistance while I am disabled. I know that some people are not as lucky and struggle very much to pay bills and make ends meet. Vanderbilt has been very good to me.

Speaking of Vanderbilt, I have had multiple dreams lately about being back at work. I don't know if it is because recently, a lot of my friends have changed jobs and are no longer at Vanderbilt, so I am feeling a disconnect, even stronger than I did before, from my previous passion. I have this recurring dream that it is my first day back at work, everyone is happy to see me, and I enter a baby's room and it all comes back to me like riding a bicycle. In some of the dreams, things are just as they were when I left them, but in others, the whole hospital has changed. Not sure what God is trying to tell me or if its just all coincidence or that fact that I am always thinking about how much I miss work.

Harrison is still working as hard as ever and is actually in Boston all this week for work. Not sure what I am going to do with myself for 4 days with him gone. This is actually the longest we have been apart since we've been married. We have been incredibly blessed to be able to be together so much. I'm blessed that he doesn't travel much for his job. Because he knew he would be gone all week, he took Friday off and we met my parents down at their lake property and took Reese to play. We took a nice boat ride, and drank wine while we watched the sunset from the dock. It was a great day and such a great blessing to spend such a gorgeous fall day with the people I love.

I'll try and update more later this week once I get a report from the doctor. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Step down #2 and #3

A couple of weeks ago, I made another switch on my pain patch from a dose of 50 to 25. I wasn't too concerned since the first step went pretty successfully. I had been planning a trip down to birmingham for labor day weekend for months because my best friend who is living in L.A. was coming in town for a friend's wedding and I COULD NOT miss the opportunity to see her for the first time in over a year. Harrison really had his heart set on staying in town and going to the UT football season opener so I was going to have to make the drive myself. Well, i planned ahead and started taking a steroid pack the week of so that hopefully I would feel my best and be able to be active and enjoy the weekend as much as possible. Yet, I was still apprehensive about the 3 and 1/2 hour drive down there. Luckily, God worked it all out and Frances' (Harrison's sister) boyfriend Jeremy (now fiancee!!! YAY!) ended up going down that weekend as well so he rode with me. I did drive the whole way down there which is the LONGEST I've driven in 2 1/2 years!! I was pretty proud of myself. Thank God for steroids!! I wasn't feeling good for the drive home Monday afternoon so thank God for Jeremy.

Great Friends

I had an incredible weekend with all of my birmingham college friends. It was so refreshing to be with old friends who know, love, and understand you no matter what. Despite tears or hard times that any of us are facing, we are all there to support each other no matter what the circumstances, no questions asked. It was a much needed trip to spend time with wonderful friends, talk to them about whats been going on, have them listen and support me, and recharge my batteries and prepare myself mentally for the next step down on my medication when i returned home.

So literally within minutes of getting home around 10pm, I changed my pain patch to a 25. Unfortunately, this step has not been as easy as the last one. The first 3 or 4 days I spent mostly in bed with noticeably more pain, unsure if it is related to my activity level over the weekend, the change in my dose, or most likely, a little of both. I've also been experiencing a new symptom for the past few months...intense back pain. For the past few years, my pain has always been isolated to my neck. Well on the way home from our beach trip a few months ago, my middle back started hurting and my muscles were burning very intensely to the point that i couldn't even bend over to unpack when we got home because every time i did, i felt like my back was on fire, like that feeling when you get when you work out a certain muscle group till you cant stand it anymore, only worse. Early on I just attributed it to the 7 hour car trip and the fact that the mattress at the beach house is much firmer than my mattress at home. But after 2 months, I'm still having a lot of pain, even though I am getting massages every 10 days or so and taking muscle relaxers pretty much around the clock. At my last pain doctors appointment last week, I talked to my Nurse practitioner about it and she said it could be something that was already there that the higher doses of medication covered up, something new, or just related to withdrawing. We talked about doing a round of X-rays and MRIs to see whats going on but are going to see if I can wean off the pain patch and see what happens. I plan to wean down to 12.5 for a week or so then come off so hopefully by the first week or so of October, I will be off the pain patch. I'm ready to just be done with it and cross it off the list of things that need to be done before I can focus on what I want most right now...a family.

This has been an extremely difficult phase for me as a watch SEVERAL of my very close, dear friends and their expanding bellies and listen to their experiences of being pregnant. THIS DOES NOT AT ALL MEAN I AM NOT EXTREMELY HAPPY FOR ALL OF THESE DEAR SWEET FRIENDS!! And I hesitate to even talk about this and post this because I don't want to hurt any of my friends, but I also feel that I need to be honest about what I'm feeling. Its just difficult because right now, things are out of my control and I do not have a peace about it. In a way, I feel left out. I feel like I am not as connected to my close friends and they are all even more connected because their babies will be born within weeks or months or even days or each other. If I were in the position where Harrison and I made the mutual decision that we just aren't ready yet or now is not the right time, then I feel like I would have a peace about that decision because it would be my decision. Although i guess, who I am trying to kid here, its all God's plan anyway and I'm not in control of anything really. Being a mother is always something I have felt deeply in my heart for as long as I remember, and I just want something to finally go the way I planned. Again though, its not my plan in the first plan but every step of the way since 2 months before we got married, we wake up to the unexpected. Nothing has gone at all the way we thought it would and we have face many obstacles the past 2 1/2 years. Maybe its selfish of me to want things to go smoothly, or to want something good and happy to finally happen for us, even though i know we are blessed beyond measure.

I hate even talking about how i feel about this publicly because again, I don't want to discount the happiness and excitement I feel for my friends. I love all of them and I know it has to be such an amazing time and of course you want to talk about it and express your joys, hopes, fears, and everything you are feeling. I just can't help but ask God, "When/if it will ever be me Lord?" and "What is your plan for me in this life?" A few years ago, I thought i knew the answers. I thought I was meant to serve God by helping, treating, and caring for the sweet, innocent babies that are brought into this world sick or early, and being a support system to the parents. But now I don't feel like i know the answers. I don't know the purpose for my struggle with pain... at least not yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One step forward...

I've been eager to write this entry for awhile but i wanted to make sure that I didn't do it preemptively. The heavy medications I am on for my pain are not something I talk about a lot. There is definitely a stigma about being on narcotics and while I know that everyone who knows, loves, and supports me, thoroughly understands the reasoning behind being on ALOT of medications, it is still something that I do not open up and talk about often. I have been on narcotics for over 2 1/2 yrs. I have tried several different medications and finally found a regimen that seemed to work fairly decently for my pain control. Last summer, i was doing very well and was wanting to start the process of weaning off the medications. Well then the unexpected happened and I had to have an unplanned laparoscopic female surgery to remove what was thought to be endometeriosis. So after stepping down on the dose of my pain patch once, I was at a stand still till after I recovered from my other surgery. Then in late fall, I hit a wall and from December- May visited the emergency room 4 times. Obviously I wasn't getting good pain control so I switched on my breakthrough medication. That did seem to help give me better control.

Still the thought of weaning off of my pain patch has always been something in the back of my mind and a step I knew that inevitably would have to take. Yet, the thought of the pain being worse was something I couldn't bear to think about. Every time i would talk about it or the potential options for the process, I would break down because of how much anxiety and panic the thought of more pain caused me. I was presented with 2 options- 1) go into inpatient detox in a hospital setting for 5-7 days or 2) Go to a chronic pain rehabilitation program (not Rehab) but a specialized program of which there are only a few in the country and i would be gone for 3-4 weeks. Neither of these options felt right for me, so after a lot of prayer and conversations with Harrison and my family and a lengthy discussion with my pain management doctor, i created my own plan. We decided that after our beach vacation, i would start a slow, step down process of weaning off my pain patch. Last week I went from a dose of 75 to 50. I was apprehensive, not knowing how my body would react but it went ok. I have had trouble sleeping an a little bit of nausea but not much else. The plan is to continue to step down each month so at the beginning of september, I should go down to 25, then either to 12.5 or zero depending on my progress. Again, I don't want to get too ahead of myself because i dont exactly know how the process will go, but for right now, this feels like the best decision for me.

I do not like not having control over what is going on with my body and my health. I would love to be off my pain patch by Thanksgiving or Christmas but again, its literally one step at a time. Hopefully doing this slowly, my body won't be pushed into the horrific side effects of withdrawal. My body will gradually get used to each new dose.

Other things going on recently...I have found out that SEVERAL of my friends are expecting babies. While I am beyond thrilled for all of my friends and wish them nothing but health and happiness, I can't help but ask when will it be my turn. I feel like a lot of my hopes and dreams are slipping farther and farther away, and honestly, its been really hard to be positive lately. For 2 1/2 yrs I've been dealing with this journey of uncharted territory and I'm just ready for a break. I'm ready for something to go the way I planned. Nothing in the past few years has gone the way I expected or planned. I know God has a better plan for me than I can imagine for myself but I find myself questioning it all and where my life is going. Where will I be at Christmas? Will I be off my pain patch like i hope to be? Where will i be in a year? Will I EVER be able to finish graduate school? Several friends and former co-workers graduated from nurse practitioner school at Vanderbilt over the weekend, and that was a hard pill to swallow. I want to accomplish all the goals I have for myself, but I just dont know how or when this is going to happen. But most of all, I want to be a mom. I worry what all these medications are doing to me and my previous history with female issues if it will ever be possible. I can only hope, pray, and trust in God's love and faithfulness and his plan for me.

Please pray for me while i continue this process of weaning off the medication and pray that I can find comfort and peace in where God is leading me on this journey. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The long waiting game and the unknown future...

I've been trying to write this blog entry for over a week. Its been hard, mostly because i wish i had better news to report, and secondly because i get really emotional every time i start writing. I've edited and reedited so I apologize if some of it didn't get properly edited for all you grammar correctors out there.

As many of you know, I had a pretty big test a few weeks ago at Vanderbilt that would show pretty much everything in my neck. Well three weeks later, an email, countless phone calls, and conversations with 3 nurses (each of which said they would look into the progress and call me back and didn't) I was obviously frustrated with an medical center I still consider to be my home and am technically still employed by. To make a long story short, I found the written report online through a service to patients called "my health at vanderbilt" late Thursday night (its a online service available to patient. I had checked it before but according to a friend, it can sometimes take a long time for reports to get scanned into this service). Granted, I'm not a radiologist or a doctor but I have enough medical knowledge to read a written report and I saw the multiple the problems that were found. I wept and wept. I called my parents and I still wept. Not with sadness, but with validation and joy that they had FINALLY found something wrong. I guess those 12 hrs before my nurse practitioner called me the next morning, i let my mind get ahead of myself thinking that there would be an easy answer, even if it meant going thru another surgery and things would be better and I would heal and I even dreamt that night of returning to work with those precious babies and finishing my degree, pursuing my dreams, and finally trying to start a family of our own.

The following morning my nurse practitioner called after consulting with one of the neurosurgeons at the clinic. The neurosurgeon went over my results thoroughly had to come up with a decision whether surgery would be helpful or hurtful at this point in my pain journey. The neurosurgeon consulted on my films and didn't think that he could give me a good success rate of fixing my pain by doing another operation, especially at my age and previous history. I had to ask the hard question of "are these problems going to get worse?" That is a fairly good possibility considering these issue have arisen since my last CT a few months after my 2nd surgery (which will be 2 yrs July 15). Of course, that was a big blow and very difficult to hear. Good news is that "i appear" fused, my hardware and screws are in good position. The doctor sees no reason to remove my hardware.

Long story short, the next step is a follow up with the nurse practitioner to go over my films step by step and then consult with Tracy Jackson, the head doctor at the Vanderbilt Interventional Pain Center. This is the same physician who worked tediously and went out of her way to help me in the 2 months before Harrison and I's wedding and who was basically responsible for me being able to walk down the aisle, enjoy my own wedding and go on my honeymoon.

Friends, I've reached a very low point in my emotional journey with all this. I feel very desperate, lonely, sad, and hopeless. I have so many hopes and dreams that I want to accomplish. This life has been very hard for be because I am such a goal oriented person and it pains me emotionally to lay in bed most of of my time, being by myself, 5 days a week (unless I'm with my parents) while Harrison is at work, in pain. The sleep I get whether its during the day or at night is not restful or restorative and I wake up frequently, uncomfortable, in pain, restless, and frustrated. I desperately need prayers, support, and encouragement right now to keep my head up and keep in the fight because there are many days that I don't feel I have the fight left in me anymore. I have been humbled lately by people who have reached out to me. Some who i haven't spoken to in months or years. I've gotten support in places I didn't think I would find it and I know God is going to take care of me and provide the support i need from the people I need. As always, my husband is my rock, my foundation, and the best husband and care taker. I know that God put him in my life for the sole purpose of being perfect for me and when we said our vows and said "in sickness and health..." we didn't know how much that statement would affect us but indeed it has and if this is the life God has planned for us, well, there certainly must be a reason for it. I also have my incredible family to support and love me so I know I am blessed beyond measure in so many ways. These things, my friends, and your support, are literally what gets me through the hard days. As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The search for answers...

Some of your may already know that a couple of weeks ago, after having another horrific acute pain attack and another visit to the ER, my family and I decided that it was time to start looking for answers again. Recently, I have just been managing the pain with medication, bed rest, and massage therapy but the search for answers had been put on the back burner since we ran into dead ends with the rheumatologist and neurologist. I'm still under their care and on medication but neither doctor could explain the pain and all the other symptoms i have ( fevers, joint pain, etc.)

So anyway, 2 weeks ago we went to Nashville to have an appointment with the nurse practitioner at the Comprehensive Spine Center. After a very thorough and positive appointment, she recommended a CT myelogram. Basically I had to get a spinal tap to inject dye into my spinal column and then had a CT scan. The purpose of the dye is to get a better picture because it creates contrast between nerves, bone, my titanium hardware, my spinal column, and my bone grafts. Its been a week and I haven't heard any results yet. I emailed the nurse practitioner yesterday and am going to call on Monday. No news probably means that it came out normal...which is good news bad news. I desperately want answers. All the pain and the needles and procedures, i just want something to show up on one of these tests. Its so frustrating having test after test, 2 surgeries, and everything coming out "normal." It baffles me that all the pain i have is unexplained, no reason, no cause. It makes me want to cry out and scream " THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG AND I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE." The doctors believe me that i have pain but they just don't know what to do besides trying all kinds of medications.

I'm so tired. I'm so physically and emotionally exhausted. I'm sad. I have missed countless special events, weddings, family function, and quality time with my husband, my family and my friends. I feel enormous guilt, especially with Harrison. I feel that he deserves more than I am able to offer. I feel guilt with all my friendships because I can't be the best friend that i feel i should be because my pain limits what I can do and when.

I've been through this search twice already since this all started. The first search for answers ended up in a surgery that was necessary but didn't fix the pain. The second search ended in medical management which is what I've been doing but its just not enough anymore. I want my life back. I want to go back to work. I miss the NICU, the babies, and the families, and the feeling that I am doing something positive and doing God's work. I want to feel self worth again. I want to be able to spend fun, quality time with my husband, family, and friends.

Please dear friends, please pray for me. I'm having a hard time right now and I need some love and encouragement. Please pray that these new doctors and tests will be able to answer some very difficult questions.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I know its been awhile since I've updated. Unfortunately its been because i have felt pretty terrible the last month or so. Had another ER vista (that makes 3 in 4 months) last Thursday because i had been in unbearable pain for almost 2 weeks and just couldn't handle it anymore. At the ER they gave me a 3 shots of dilaudid and a steroid shot which calmed things down for me this past week. Because of this last episode, we decided it was time to go back to Vanderbilt and get reevaluated.

So on Thursday my mom, Harrison, and I went to Nashville to see an nurse practitioner at the Comprehensive Spine Center. She was actually the first person I saw back in 2009 when my pain came back. She is a great nurse practitioner and is really compassionate. We felt like we had a really good appointment and that she got a really good picture of where things stand and how my pain has gotten worse and harder to control the past couple months. She decided i needed to get another test done called a CT myelogram. Its a CT scan but they inject dye into my spine to get a better picture. This will enable the doctor to see my hardware, nerves, spinal column, bone grafts, etc. It will give a really comprehensive look at my neck. Injecting the dye is like getting a spinal tap so i'm not looking forward to that so please pray for that to go well and for the test to show something or give some kind of explanation to why I have so much pain.

I try everyday to remind myself that God will use this experience and that He has this all under control and that His plan is better than mine. Its hard sometimes on days (like yesterday and today) when I am in pain to remember that.

I personally have been praying for encouragement and support and God has really answered my prayers. I have had so many people reach out to me and give me encouragement and tell me that they are praying for me. People mention how strong I am to be able to go thru this but its definitely not my strength getting me thru...its the prayers from everyone and God giving me strength that gets me thru every day.

As always, if you are reading this, you are one of the people that I am so thankful for. You are someone who encourages me and gives me support and for that, I can not thank you enough. Words are insufficient to express my gratitude. I love you all.

Monday, April 11, 2011

On being incredibly blessed..

Dear Friends

While I usually use this blog as somewhat of a journal and a way of expressing all the emotions that I experience thru this crazy rollercoaster, I'd like to take the opportunity to say how incredibly blessed I am, despite my medical issues and pain. For instance, my mom came over today and cleaned my whole house from top to bottom since i've have spent the past 3 days in bed with bad pain. I enjoy cleaning (oddly enough) but housework is something i cant really do anymore, especially more strenuous stuff like mopping and vacuuming. I have the best parents in the world... I really do.

My mom and dad have supported me since day one of this journey. My parents have both been extremely involved in everything, from going to important appointments, to fixing meals for us, to running errands for me, to driving to me to appointments...the list goes on and on. My mom spends hours on the internet researching the newest pain treatments, the best doctors, dietary changes and supplements, and anything related to chronic pain.
In addition to all this, they are an extremely strong source of emotional support for me. I also have wonderful, loving, supportive in-laws. Harrison's parents sent me flowers and cards of encouragement all the time. They are in constant prayer for both of us as we deal with the unexpected. Even though they are now in Nashville, i feel their love and support daily.

I have a bad habit of feeling that if i talk about what i am going thru too much to people, it will burden my family and friends, so i tend to keep my emotions to myself most of the time which usually ends up in me reaching a breaking point and breaking down. Despite the fact that i keep a lot to myself, I know I have amazing friends all over the country that love me, support me, and pray for me. I am trying to work on reaching out to people more and opening up to friends that i trust and that offer to be there for me. I definitely need all the love and support I can get!

And last but most important, the love of my life, my best friend, my rock, my everything...Harrison. I always thought our love story was interesting how we dated, broke up, stayed friends, got back together, endured a long distance relationship for almost a year and then us both living in Nashville and eventually getting engaged. I knew how much timing and especially God's timing had to do with us getting together and especially now, looking back, getting engaged and getting married (we got married 6 weeks after my pain same back...coincidence??) God most definitely hand picked my husband as my perfect other half. I have never met anyone who is as compassionate, understanding , and loving as Harrison is. He works a full time job, yet he cooks dinner for me almost every night and will bring me my meals in bed when i cant get out of bed. He always comes home with flowers or little surprises. He will do anything to make me feel better. He will wake up in the middle of the night when I'm having a bad night and will scratch my back, or get an ice pack for me. He always puts me first and always stops me if he thinks i am overdoing it.
As I have gotten back into photography, Harrison has been so supportive and encouraging and takes me places and plans little photography outings. He is so sweet and loving. I can not imagine my life without him by my side every step of the way. I know everyone says this but I truly am the most blessed woman to have found my perfect companion for the rest of my life. I love him with all my heart.

To all who read my blog, I am blessed to have you in my life because by reading this, you are supporting me and for that, I thank you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On being in pain...

So I have a thought....with all the emotions i've been going thru and dealing with lately, its been hard to separate everything and figure out which emotion is actually leading my feelings. Things have been remarkable difficult lately. This time of year is like the "anniversary." So i'm going to try to break down my feelings by each emotion to try and sort through everything. While doing this publicly may be something i decide against down the road, for now, this is an outlet that works for me.

Right now, this is my bedside table...it consists of all my medications for pain, muscle tension, muscle spasms, sleep, anxiety, topical creams, etc. My bedroom is my sanctum. I have everything i need in my bedroom at my fingertips. My floor next to my bed has my heating pad, my books, bible, journal, and magazines, and computer. I have my tv, my dvd player, FRIENDS, Gilmore Girls, and netflix to keep my occupied or distracted (whichever I need at the moment).

Pain is such a complicated process...especially chronic pain. At a moments notice it came become so severe that moving is out of the question and i automatically access the quality and characteristics of my pain to determine if its bone pain, nerve pain, muscle pain, or all the above. I have to figure out what medication will best work for the type of pain I am in. This process happens at least once every day...If i'm lucky it will skip a day or 2 if i'm really really blessed.

I dread the night time because it can be the hardest. Its when the world gets quiet and the distractions of the world fall away and i start to think....i mean really think about my life and my pain. I'm hardly if ever comfortable. Sleep is a rarity...at least the good, deep, restorative sleep that makes you wake up feeling rested, happy, and ready to face the day.

I hate relying on all the medication to function or get thru each day. I worry about everything that I take...of course i never take more than allowed and never take it all at once but it scares me. Being in pain scares me. Not knowing when or if the pain is every going to go away absolutely terrifies me. I'm trying everything within western and eastern medicine to fight the pain. Right now i'm focusing on massage therapy. I really like my therapist and after my massages i usually feel better for a couple days but i wish it would last longer. I've been going every 2 weeks for the past couple months so i'm hoping that maybe one day it will last longer. I think i'm also going to start going to go back to acupuncture, which i've done before but then reached a plateau where the cost wasn't outweighing the benefit so i stopped going last fall. I've also been to this other place of western healing that works with a specific type of heat called far- inferred heat the deeply penetrates the body and promotes healing.

The weather we've been having in Knoxville lately has really messed me up. A few weeks ago, spring was in full swing and it was gorgeous. I was starting to feel better but now its been cold, damp, and all around yucky and gross again which makes me feel terrible and have more pain in my neck and joints..knees especially.

Well to offset this cold and hopefully help my pain, I'm going to go soak in a hot bath for a while and read a book. Thanks for reading. Lots of love to all those out there who continue to support me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So much to say but no one to talk to.

So its been a really long time since i've even looked at this blog. I guess I started to avoid it because i always felt like I was saying the same thing, over and over. I would update, trying to sound like i still have some faith in my situation but most of the time, especially lately, I don't. Ever since Christmas, the pain has felt like being on a non stop rollercoaster that never stops. While there are brief moments in this ride that slow down and allow me to take a few breaths, I feel like right as I catch my breath, I start heading downhill so fast its hard to see or think straight.

This time of year is hard because I kinda feel like it the anniversary of one of the most pivotal, hardest times of my life. So often I feel like the world keeps turning, everyone else keeps living, and I am stuck in the same place as I was 2 yrs ago. Countless procedures, injections, medications, doctors appointments and even surgery have left me exhausted but no different. I am Weary, run down, with less hope, and with my positive outlook on things getting more dim daily. I think the past couple months have taken so much of a toll on me because I see the toll its taking on the world and the people around me. Harrison is exhausted and has no idea what to do when the pain comes so strongly that it brings me to my knees. I can see the pain and suffering that he deals with. I've also watched the toll on my parents as they do everything they know humanly possible to help me. People tell me on a regular basis that they don't know how I do it. They don't understand how I live with the pain and with the frustration on not knowing why its there or how to fix it. I try to remind myself how blessed I am because I have so much support and I am grateful and fortunate to still be getting some income while I'm unable to work. But its just not the same. There is no comparison for the joy and happiness I felt when i held a 2 lb baby or when i got to place a baby in their mother's arms for the first time or witness the first bath, the first bottle, the first time in a crib, etc. All those moments resonate with me and some days the only thing that keeps me going is thinking about how happy i was then.

Working in the Nicu filled a void i didn't even know was there until i had to stop working and all of a sudden i felt such tremendous loss. Its hard watching a lot of couples I know who got married around the same time Harrison and I did start to get pregnant, decorate nurseries, pick names....because honestly I feel like it should be me. This has been one of the more difficult, deeper battles I've been fighting lately. A former Facebook addict, I can hardly even get on anymore because its become too difficult. Every time i get on, I see someone else who has posted that first picture of the positive home pregnancy test, or I see the cute pictures of the mother to be proudly showing off a growing belly. It makes me ache. I feel like that dream is getting farther and farther out of reach and even if its not out of reach, I think of everything that would have to change for that to become possible. I've been trying for 2 yrs to solve this pain dilemma and I feel stuck in 2009. What is it going to take, and more importantly how long is it going to take until I am healthy enough, strong enough, and have enough pain control that I could have a baby or even take care of a baby. I have so many questions, doubts, fears, and painful insecurities that I doubt I will ever fully know the answer to...