Back? Hip? Pain! What is going on…. We may be closer to finding out..

Last Wednesday I saw the spine doctor, and good news, the herniated disc is doing great.  So, why am I in so much pain?  My physical therapist and spine doctor think it is my hip.  So do I.

(If you are ever in Charlotte, NC and need a recommendation for a spine doctor, give me a shout out.)

The spine doctor I see is a really good doctor.  He has a great bed side manner.  I never feel rushed when I’m in there, he makes sure to always look at me when he talks, he explains everything very well, and he is very thorough.  He examined me and decided I needed to see the hip doctor again.  I told him how I did not have any respect for the last hip doctor I saw, and why.  I’m not sure if I mentioned it here, and if I did, it probably bears repeating.  The last hip doctor breezed in, did not examine me, and told me that all my problems were from my back.  I asked him why then did I have hip problems before I hurt my back?  He simply ignored me, and said nothing showed on the CT scan, so good news, I had nothing wrong with my hip, good bye.  The spine doctor decided I should see a different hip doctor.  One he said he was sure would treat me with much more respect.  thank you very much.  I will not go to a doctor who does not respect me.

Today I had an appointment with the new hip doctor.  First I had an x-ray of my back.  After all the stuff going on with my back too, he wanted to get a view of it, and looked like no problems there.  Yay.  Then the doctor’s assistant came in and got a good history and did a good exam.  He told me what he suspected and that he wanted to go over everything with the doctor and he would come in soon.  I then had to have another hip x-ray to compare to the one I had in September.  They suspect I may have necrosis of the hip bone, caused by steroid use.  I have been given steroids a lot over the years of my life.  Doctors seem to hand them out like candy, they don’t think about the long term effects of what they can do to you.  Not once when I have been prescribed steroids have I ever been asked how often I have been prescibed then in the past.  Well, they can kill your bones.  The bones that have blood in them, it can kill the blood tissue, then the bone will collapse on itself.  Pretty gnarly huh?

Image taken from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  linked from http://osteonecrosis.me
Image taken from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons linked from http://osteonecrosis.me

The x-ray that was taken in September had a very round ball socket, the one taken today looked a little bit flatter on the top.  It could have been just the angle of the x-ray, or it could be the beginning of Stage II.

If you are interested you can read more about the different stages here: Osteonecrosis.  Right now it looks like I’d be around Stage II, just starting to show outward signs….maybe.

My doctor wants me to send in my information about my cochlear implants to the MRI people there to make sure I can’t have an MRI under any circumstances.  They said sometimes they can do something and they can do them.  So I’m sending in my information.  I’m very wary about this, and think I might just refuse it even if they say it’s alright.  If they try this and (even if it doesn’t rip them out of my head) if it damages them, I don’t think it would be covered under my warranty, and I don’t want to have to have unnecessary surgery to replace them.  So unless they’ve done this many, many times before, I just don’t think the risks are worth the benefits.  I think he will understand that.

If I can’t/won’t get the MRI he said I will get another CT (Computerized tomography) scan.  CT scans are cross sectional.  Normally they are done at a certain width apart, I forgot how wide he said, he will order my new one to be done much closer together to try not to miss anything.

If you were reading my blog before when I went to the hip doctor and had the hip injection and it didn’t help at all  (another reason the original hip doctor said there was nothing wrong with my hip) this doctor said the hip injections often don’t help with this issue.

I was very impressed with this doctor and his assistant. He was very behind in his schedule, but I could understand why, and I didn’t mind.  He did not make me feel rushed when he was with me, he was very careful to make sure I understood everything.  He was great.  Also, before he came in to actually see me, I was seen by his assistant, and I had 2 sets of x-rays.  I wasn’t just sitting there twiddling my thumbs.  I was also impressed that when I got there he had already reviewed my chart and had questions waiting for me and orders for the back x-ray.  He walked in and knew all about me before he started talking to me.  I love it when a doctor does that!

This is a scary diagnosis.  However, if this is what it is, it is a diagnosis!  It can also be fixed pretty easily…I’ll have a hip replacement.  There are a lot of things that a lot of doctors do to work on this that don’t replace the hip, but there’s a lot of risk and most treatments don’t work very well. shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that.  I don’t want to worry people who are having those treatments done.  Just my opinion from what I have read…today…and from talking to my doctor.   Looks like most people have to have their hip replaced anyway, after many more years in pain.   I’m thinking I’d rather just get my hip replaced now.  I know I’m a bit young to have it done, but really not all that young, and with the new technology I hope the new hip will last as long as I do. That is…if I have to have it done.  I can’t predict the future.  Just preparing my mind for it in case that is a possibility.  Heck, my father has had both hips replaced, and I think one he has had done twice, or they are talking about redoing one of them?  He’s hard to keep up with.  All his artificial joints….shoulders, knees….ect….He’s bionic!  He has all the body parts, I have the ears.  Now if I get a new hip, I’ll be working on body parts too!  hahaha

I will be going back to PT, working out in the pool.  The doctor wants me as strong as I can be in case I have to have any kind of surgery.  Also he doesn’t want that leg to get too weak, and I can work it out in the pool because it is non-weight bearing.   Maybe I will hurry up and take this weight I gained from the steroids off and continue to lose more weight!  According to the scales at the doctor’s office I’ve lost about 8 of he steroid pounds.  (I gained almost 16 – that was depressing!  I’ve worked hard to take this weight off…and I want to keep taking it off! Go weight….get off my body!  Not that my body isn’t fantastic just like it is, but I want to make it easier on my hip…less weight to carry around….less pain!  I do not think beauty is determined by size!!)

 

drawing by w. holcombe copywrite - 2015 quote - unknown
drawing by w. holcombe copywrite – 2015
quote – unknown

Now for some awfully sweet news.

When I walked in this office I was met by 2 of the nurses there that just grabbed me and hugged me.  They we so happy to see me and to see me in less pain than I was in the last time I was there.  I also had a small vertigo attack last time I was there.  I’ve only been there 3 times, and I haven’t been there since October, but these girls remembered me and were so thrilled to see me.  I was amazed.  I told them I couldn’t believe they remembered me like that.  They said, they don’t remember everyone like that, nor do they treat everyone like that…only the nice people.  They kept saying how wonderful my spirit is.  How nice I was even though I was in so much pain.  I just cried.  My nurse couldn’t believe I was crying.  Just think, I am home alone most of the time, and on the rare occasion when I go out it is usually to the doctor’s office, I’m amazed I could touch a person’s life like that, in the little amount of time I see people.  We never know just how we may touch another person’s life.  So watch what you say, and always try to be the best person you can be.  On a day when you feel scared and a bit down, you just might run into a couple of people who grab you and hug you and tell you how special you are because you are who you are, and you just make them feel special because of that.  It was an amazing feeling!

 

A time to think of my…Gratitudes.

 

gratitude quote

There are days when you have a hard time.  Days when you can’t think of anything but what is going wrong.  It’s on those days that I find it most important to step back and look around me at the things I’m grateful for.

Today is a day I want to really look around and pay attention to what is in front of me, I know I have so much to be grateful for!

  • I’m grateful I woke up today.   What?  You think I’m joking?  I thought I’d start at the beginning of my day, and I thought what is the first think I’m grateful for today?  I’m grateful I’m here.  I’m grateful that I’m alive.  I’m grateful I can breathe.  Oh there is a good one!  Last night I had a very difficult time breathing, I coughed and coughed, and had a hard time taking a deep breath.  I had used my inhaler and it didn’t seem to do anything.  I did a nebulizer treatment, and I could breathe better, but of course I had the shakes for a long time afterward (I really hate that thing, a necessary evil).  Then I started coughing again, and well, it was a not so great breathing night.  Just one of those nights for me.  I did sleep without much coughing, so that is great!  We’re working on getting the chronic bronchitis under control, but haven’t gotten there yet.  I’m not complaining.  Last night was a rougher night than usual, the weather changed….rainy, damp…that makes it worse.  Again, not complaining, just stating the facts.  I accept it as it is, and I am fine with it.  I will be going to a new pulmonologist soon and we will work at getting this more under control.  I am very grateful that I can breathe better today.
  • I’m grateful my husband can walk our new dog every morning, and she is so good about it!  When we first talked about getting another dog Stuart said he didn’t want to have to walk it.  Then we met Kiki, and knew she was the right dog.  I was having hip problems, but thought it was going to be over very soon.  The doctors thought it was just a little inflammation, I was scheduled to get a hip injection and they thought that would be the end of it.  So when we decided to start fostering Kiki, I had planned to be the major caregiver.  Little did we know I would fall the night after my injection causing me to have a herniated disc in my back, and now a month later, I’m still not walking Kiki.  I’m still not walking much at all.  However, Kiki is the best dog about taking walks.  If you are in a hurry, she will go very fast.  She isn’t the kind of dog who will just go out and sniff and sniff just for the sake of it.  If you go out and walk out to the tree and then walk back toward the house, she will go.  No problem.  Often, in the mornings she will run Stuart outside, go real fast, and run back in and go back to bed!  She says….”Bye Dad!  I’m ready to go back to sleep!”  He has even said that he likes taking her for walks!  I’m a little envious.  I’m very grateful they have bonded and the walking issue, never became an issue!
  • I’m very grateful my doctor thinks my herniated disc will heal with just a little physical therapy.  Yep, right now I’m bored out of my mind.  I’m so tired of not being able to do anything. I can’t walk far without pain, I keep waking up because of pain, I can’t sit long without pain, well it just hurts.  I’m so relieved that the spine specialist thinks that I will heal with very conservative treatment!  Yay!!   I’ll happy dance when I can!!
  • I’m grateful I didn’t gain weight while taking steroids.  Oh boy, oh boy can we get happy about this one?!  The steroids made me go out of my mind, I was climbing the walls and wanted to destroy people, but I didn’t gain weight!  I didn’t weigh myself for the past month, it was too hard to try to step on the scales, I finally weighed this past week.  I lost 4 pounds!   For inquiring minds….that is a total of 44 pounds lost so far!! 
  • I’m grateful I understand I can’t trust my emotions right now because of the steroids.  I was actually very proud of myself for my self control and for understanding that it was the steroids that were making me feel so horrible.  They are still nagging at me a bit, I have one more dose, but you know it will take a little while before they are out of my system….so I can’t trust my emotions.  That is a good thing to keep in mind.  It is very difficult for someone who is bipolar to feel this way.  I am always very on top of my emotions, very in tuned to how I’m feeling.  I have to be.  If I start noticing that my feelings are our of sync with how they should be, I need to talk to my doctor.  By this I mean, I need to watch out if  react to something in an inappropriate way.  For instance, the other day, I said to Stuart, “Why don’t you use your damn common sense once in a while?!?”  in reaction to him just asking me a simple question.  This was VERY inappropiate!  I do not talk to him that way, and I couldn’t calm down.  I was sitting there suddenly saying….”I don’t act like this any more!  I don’t feel like this anymore!”   I took some deep breaths, centered myself, and calmed down.  Apologized over and over to my dear husband and explained I couldn’t help it and it would probably happen again.  I was full of anger I couldn’t control and he was probably going to get the brunt of it.  He was a dear sweet love and hugged me and understood.  Yes, he did get it a couple of other times, nothing like that time, and we dealt with it very well because we talked about it and how the medication was affecting me.  I’m so grateful I have a husband that communicates with me and understands about uncontrollable emotions due to steroids.
  • I’m grateful for a small place to live.  I’m grateful for a place to live that is safe.  I’m grateful for a place to live that is peaceful.  I’m grateful for our place.  I have been a little ungrateful for out little place lately, and just now I realized just how very grateful I am for this place.  I really do love this little place in many ways.  I love that it is small.  I am very grateful I do not have to climb stairs right now.  I couldn’t.  It is so much easier for me to get around this little place.  I have been feeling a bit claustrophobic in here lately, and way too isolated.  I know it’s because I just can’t do anything.  My mind wants to do something and my body says NO.  (yeah I’m working on that)  I’m very grateful that of all the places we looked at to rent we found this peaceful little place.  It is quiet here, (yes that is so important to a deaf person…haha).  There is little traffic on the street.  There are more people out walking their dogs in my neighborhood than there their are cars that pass by!  I just think that is so cool!  Yes, as I write this little piece I’m much more grateful about the place I live.
  • I’m grateful Kiki loves her new toy so much!  Yes it is the little things that bring joy into our lives!  Kiki loves her little toy so much!  She has forsaken all of her other toys for the one she picked out at the pet store.  It is a little beaver…I think.  It has a recycled bottle inside so it crunches, and it has a squeaky toy in the tail.  She loves this thing so much!   She carries it around, and gets so excited.  She will chase it, she will play hide and seek with it, she will run and get it and bring it to you just to show it to you…..”Look!  LOOK!  SEE! my toy!!!!”   She takes it to bed with her.  She doesn’t play with it in bed, no she just has to have it with her.   If I’m in a different room she will go check on me then she will go and get her toy and bring it to the door and show it to me….like she is showing the toy where I am??  Then she will leave.   She has so much fun with her toy, and it brings me much joy playing with her with it, and just watching her with this toy!  I will never get tired of watching her play!
  • I’m grateful my husband took me out yesterday for a short trip to the mall and I found a bra that fit – First Try On!!!  don’t really need to follow up on that one….but I will!  I must say, this is the very first time this has happened, and it is amazing to me.  After losing so much weight I went in and completely guessed my size!  I was not up to trying on a lot, this bra was on mega sale and I thought, OK, I’ll try it.  I had on an old bra that was too small, so I adjusted the size from it….and Wow!  I’m still amazed that it fit, and it just looks and feels so great.  No gaps, no pinching, no pulling…..I’m a happy woman!  It was also on such a mega sale I won’t feel bad if  when I lose more weight and soon need a different size!  One thing that is a little different about me losing weight….I have bigger boobs.  I’ve always liked my breast.  I have felt they were just the right size, not too big, not too small…just right.  When I gain weight, they have always stayed pretty much the same.  They didn’t get really big with me.  (a lot of women gain a lot there, I didn’t.)  Yes I’m silly, but just thinking about it, if things keep going as they are I’m going to be a bit bigger.  Right now I’m a cup size bigger than I normally am at this band size.  Stuart likes it.  hahaha  However, I can’t imagine him not liking anything about my body….he is a bit biased.   and I’m very grateful for that!
  • oh there is so much to be grateful for!!   I’m feeling so much better than I was when I started this post!  I’m grateful I have so much to be grateful for...here’s a few more….
  • I’m grateful I got to tell my sister how I was feeling about some things.  It doesn’t matter if things don’t change,  I’m just so grateful that we talked and I know she knows some things now that were stuck in my head and I needed to let it out.  It’s hard to put some things in the past if you don’t know if other people have put it there, or heck, if they even know about it.  Yeah, try to wrap your head around that one.  I just feel better about things.  I’m grateful for that.
  • I’m grateful that I’m emotional.  (no one needs to understand that one.  It just really used to bother me, now, I’m glad.  I like having deep feelings.  It may hurt a lot sometimes, but it is also pretty darn great other times.  Being “emotional” is not a bad thing.)
  • I’m grateful I found this meditation on forgiveness….I needed it…. Forgiveness Meditation    (this is just a written page, not a link to a guided meditation, read if you want.  I liked it a lot.)
  • I’m grateful I have some friends I can reach out to, even if I don’t have any I can see in person.
  • I’m grateful I have clean water.  (I really don’t like the water from our tap here, we have started using bottled water, and I’m so grateful for it.  It really makes me think a lot about people who can’t get clean water at all.  I’m so very grateful that not only do I have running water in my home, but I am able to get wonderfully clean water whenever I want it.
  • I’m grateful I have access to fresh food.  Something else I have thought about a lot lately.  I have talked a lot about the change in my diet, how I’ve lost so much weight and how much healthier I am because of my new eating habits.  I haven’t mentioned some of the other things I’ve noticed that I can only attribute to my diet change.  My hair is thicker.  My fingernails smoother and less brittle.  My skin is clearer.  I can tell you I haven’t changed my hair products, nor have I done anything different to my nails, so I can only attribute those changes to my diet.  I did change my facial wash, but I will admit I don’t use it every day.  I am a self proclaimed foodie.  I love good food.  I love fresh food.  I’m grateful that even though we have had very lean times over the past couple of years, we have always managed to eat as fresh as possible.  We have cut corners every where we could so we could spend a little more on our groceries.   We do still spend wisely in the grocery store, but let’s face it, fresh fruits, veggies, and high quality meats are expensive.   For some people it is a matter of choice, but sometimes it is a matter of not being able to afford food…period.  Can you imagine if you simply could not afford to buy groceries at all?   There are so many people who go to bed hungry every night.  So many people who are malnourished.     My gratefulness about food is huge.  I’m so grateful that I now have the knowledge to be able to nourish my body in a healthy way, and am able to provide it with all the food that it needs.
  • I’m grateful I have this blog to write about things….and I’m very grateful that there are some people out there that read it.   Yep….this is what I needed today.

 

I really do appreciate life so much!

I love my life!

Do I have challenging days?  Yes!

Will I feel bad on days again?  Yes!

Do I accept my life the way it is?  Yes!

Do I wish it were different?  Sometimes….I’m working on a NO for that answer, but I think “Sometimes”  is pretty good.   I still love my life, just as it is, even if nothing changes, even if it gets worse, I still love my life!!

That’s pretty important I think.  I love my life, all the good parts, all the bad parts, all the fun parts, all the hard parts….I love my life!