Walking on Sunshine

The change in my mood has been remarkable since I found out that I would be moving forward with the hysterectomy. For people who are chronically ill, the difference between getting good treatment and not is HUGE.

Being chronically in pain or ill is depressing enough. When you compound it with feeling frustrated that your medical providers aren’t listening or don’t seem to be working toward a solution to the problem it becomes almost unbearable. At that point it’s like there’s no end in sight. The thought of living that way FOREVER is pretty heartbreaking.

I saw the ENT this week as well. He reviewed my CT scan with me and sure enough, my septum is deviated. He said that with surgery I will be able to breath better and suffer fewer sinus infections. Since I’m trying to do a half-marathon (that idea seems crazier and crazier to me now as I cut into my training me), I need to be able to BREATHE while I walk quickly/jog. So, we’re moving forward. My tentative surgery date is November 5. That’s probably too close to the hysterectomy, so we’ll likely be pushing it out a week or so.

I am so thrilled to be moving forward on these two things. Finally not having to worry about endless bleeding and heavy bleeding is such a weight off my shoulders. It’s seriously felt like there was an elephant trying to balance on my head or shoulders. It’ll take a bit after the septoplasty, but to be able to breathe well at night should reduce some of my fatigue during the day and give me the energy I’ll need to train and finish the half.

The other thing I’m excited about is that my shrink gave me a prescription for ADHD medication. I tested “average” on the cognitive skills assessment, which would normally mean no drugs for me. However, given my symptoms she thought I could try it for a month and see if it helps. I won’t be starting until after the hysterectomy though. It’s probably a good time to start since I won’t be doing too too much physically and will have be largely focusing on mental tasks.

These last couple months have been great in terms of moving forward in my health. I hope this trend continues into the foreseeable future! I’m not sure what else I can control at this point, but who knows.

Wow, I have not been here for a while. I haven’t figured out what that says about what’s going on in my life right now. Either I’m busy and haven’t had time (seems not quite right) or I’m avoiding something (also doesn’t seem quite right).

I have been super busy lately. Being in a place where you’re surrounded by people you know and can access things like fun shopping and the gym easily means less time staring at walls. I’ve been hitting the gym 4-5 times per week which has been so good for my body. I feel strength I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could have them. Shoulders have muscles? What?

Probably the best part about it has been the discipline I’ve exercised. I’ve talked before about how I struggled with discipline. I just cannot get myself to develop good habits. I do fine for a while and then the wheels fall off. My gym activities have been helped by the fact that I have a gym buddy. She’s using my guest pass to go to the gym, so I feel like I should show up so she can go. She comes because she knows I’ll be there so she can go. It’s working out well enough now that I think I’ll be able to continue it on my own.

 I need to work on developing better habits in the rest of my life. It’s almost 2:15am as I write this and I’m still awake because I totally failed at taking most of my meds on time today. Got the pill I take when I get up and… that’s it. When I don’t take my meds on time, things are not good. I feel joint pain. I don’t sleep. I have to get better.

I also know that there are other areas of my life (read: flossing, sorry J), that I’m terrible about too. It’s largely things that would make me healthier. The bad stuff is so much easier to do because we can accomplish it by doing nothing.

When I started thinking about what I could do to make myself be a better about healthy habits, I was thinking from the point of a reward system. How could I reward myself for doing the shit I’m supposed to be doing anyway. But now that I’m writing this, I’m irritated at myself.

For the things that are good for me, I should do them because I know that doing them will make me healthier. Health should be its own reward at this point in my life. The other part of the problem is how I would reward myself. Cake and other goodies that I would normally consider aren’t things I should be eating now anyway. Also,  I generally buy what I want when I want it (perhaps this is something I should be working on as well…) so there’s no saving up good behavior credits for a special something.

So, I have to suck it up and face the fact that sometimes in life, I just need to do something because it’s the best thing for me to do. I can’t expect to get a reward every time I do something I *should* be doing for myself. Chris Rock has a skit about it – I won’t mention where it comes from here, but if you’ve heard it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He’s talking about people want recognition for things they should just be doing like, “I ain’t never been to jail!” Response, ” What you want? A cookie? You ain’t supposed to go to jail…”

I am a very visual person so I am going to track and monitor how well I stay on track with the things I should be doing. The plan is to have a calendar that I hang up where I can easily see it as a reminder. For this month, I’m focusing on three things and will give myself one star/sticker per day for each of the following:

  1. Take all of my meds ON TIME
  2. Brush my teeth twice/day, floss, mouthwash
  3. Meditate for at least 5 minutes

I already screwed up today, but since I just came up with this plan, I’m going to give myself a “N/A” for September 1.

What kinds of things do you feel like you could be better about? What do you think keeps you from doing what you feel you should?

Health Update – Progress on my back!

I went in to see the foot surgeon yesterday and spent five hours (yes, FIVE) at the clinic yesterday between waiting to be seen and waiting for a referral form and prescription. Good thing is that I think it may have been worth it.

The point of the appointment was to look at the MRI I had done at the end of February to make sure there wasn’t any nerve impingement that was causing the pain in my leg. I didn’t think there would be, but it’s good to make sure. I also wanted to see if we could figure out what’s causing my continued low back pain.

I was shocked to see that I still have trace bulges at the L4-S1. I figured once they did the fusion that wouldn’t be an issue anymore. The surgeon didn’t seem concerned since a lot of people live with trace bulges.

That may be true for most people, but for someone like me, with a congenitally narrow spinal canal, it’s not great to have anything that pushes in. Especially since across from where the discs are, I have some inflammation. Overall, this contributes to a pushing in on the nerve roots.

Because I do have continued pain, the orthopedic surgeon referred me to another doctor who specializes in the spine. That appointment is set for mid-April. Hopefully he and I can come up with a pain plan. He may want me to go back to physical therapy, which would be great. It did help before. I’ve also had epidural steroid injections (those didn’t help though and I ended up feeling weird the next day).

In order to deal with the nerve pain in my leg (since we know it’s not radicular pain from my back, the foot doctor gave me a 30-day prescription for Lyrica. I don’t know if I was just wiped out yesterday or if it was the Lyrica, but I had one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a while. I’ve read some great things about Lyrica, so I hope I feel the effects too!

April should be a good month for health progress – I start shockwave treatments and the spine doc should be able to help. I also head back to the endocrinologist. Maybe he’ll finally address my fatigue.

 

Out and About

Today was an exciting day for me post-surgery. Work laptop for new job didn’t get delivered as expected so I opted to go out and find it myself. This required a drive to grab the friend to whom the laptop was sent, a trip to FedEx, and then as a bonus, dinner out. Friends had dropped off a wheelchair for me to borrow, so we figured it was easier to use that than to go out with the walker or crutches. Also, a good test run for the trip to the doctor tomorrow.

Getting around with a wheelchair here is a bit difficult and I couldn’t do it on my own. Trying to get the chair into the trunk and get me into the car is hard. Navigating in a place that doesn’t have sidewalks or ramps everywhere is a hot mess. The trip to the bathroom at the restaurant was a pain as it was tight turns and spaces everywhere. Not something I’d ever think of just walking around.

Being out and about was good – I liked getting out. However, my leg is pretty much completely protesting now. It’s buzzing and there are occasionally stabs of pain. I’m back in bed with my leg up, hoping to ease some of the discomfort. Pills are soon to follow.

After tomorrow’s trip to the doctor, I don’t think I’ll be out and about for a while…