Distraught…well, not that bad.

I’m sorry.  I haven’t been paying attention to my blog and I haven’t been supporting others.  I’m sure you all think I’ve dropped off the earth….maybe not, maybe it’s just me.

I mentioned in a previous post that I hurt my back.  Um, kinda.  I started having back spasms as side effects to a medication back in May, then the med was changed and I was put on another that caused akathisia (the need to move – like restless leg all over), this caused my muscles to tighten even more.  I saw my GP about it and she gave me muscle relaxants.  It didn’t get better.  I was sent to PT.  It didn’t get better.  I was put in steroids, they seemed to help some.  I was sent to a specialist, he gave me lidocaine injections in my back.  I was much worse the next day.  After a couple of days of that, I was once again put on steroids.  This time I think I’m having every negative side effect you can have from a short dose of steroids.

These side effects are hell.  (they are getting better)  My moods, oh my goodness.  I’m so sad, I am crying all the time.  I’m scared, I keep having feelings of intense fear wash over me.  Two nights ago, I was convinced I was dying.  I’ve been having slow moving vertigo, I barely see it moving, but I feel like I’m moving, and I can’t walk without help.  My head has been killing me.  Extreme nausea has plagued me.  I can’t sleep.  and I’ve had 2 seizures.  Oh, let’s just say, I’m going through a rough time.  But don’t worry, it’s getting better.  I know my mood swings are from the steroids, but it’s hard to deal with.  Poor hubby.

Speaking of hubby, he has worked from home the past 3 days.  He hasn’t wanted to leave my side.  I’m so very grateful to have such a supportive and caring spouse.  He makes me want to be a better person.

After all of this, my back still hurts.  I still have 2 days of steroids left, and I have exercises to do, hopefully that will get me on the road to recovery.  To be clear, according to x-rays I have no damage to my bones, it’s all muscular.  The muscles simply will not relax and they spasm often.  I have not had an MRI.  I cannot have an MRI because of my cochlear implants.  If they need more imaging it will have to be a CT scan.  We’ll cross that bridge if it comes.

Forgive me this post of self pity.  I will try to post more often, and get out there and support others too.  I miss you.

 

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The Boot and The Back

Friday was a normal day.  I didn’t have a lot to do (bored).  I’d been sitting in my chair reading when I got up to let our dog out.  I got about a two feet and I ran into this:20170718_112901

again…..and did this

broken foot

happened…..again.

About 4, or was it 5, years ago, I tripped on my walker and broke my foot.  At least that time I was using it.  On Friday it was just sitting beside me.  I haven’t needed it lately, but I keep it close, just in case.  A little too close to my foot as it turns out.

It hurt, like it does when you stub your toe, I didn’t think it was broken.  It just didn’t hurt enough.   I had this discussion with another chronically ill friend and she said the same thing about when she broke her foot.  It really speaks volumes as to how differently we feel pain.

Stuart talked me in to going to Urgent Care to get it checked out since I’d broken it before,  and was told it would be easier to break again, I decided it’d probably be a good idea.  (I hate to say it, but knowing we have met our out of pocket maximum for the year, made it an easier decision.)  I hobbled in Urgent Care, got checked in and was seen right away.  I had an x-ray and the attending physician said my x-ray showed irregularities.  She couldn’t tell if what she was seeing was all from the last break or if it was a new break.   She thought it was broken, but a radiologist needed to read it to be certain.  I was sent home with The Boot, and the radiologist would call on Monday.  They did, and it is broken.

This time it’s not as bad as it was the first time.  I didn’t twist my ankle or anything like that.  I’ll be in the boot for 4 weeks instead of 12.   It’s hot and heavy, but it is taking good care of my broken foot, for that I love my boot.

On the other end, I started physical therapy (PT) for my back last week.  What’s wrong with my back you ask?  I’m not exactly sure.  I did fall, so I might have wrenched it then. (that was over a month ago).  I had severe akathisia (the need to keep moving) for over a month.  This caused me to constantly tense my muscles.   It’s possible, my back just never calmed down.   I also have arthritis in my neck, this is causing a lot of pain recently.  PT will hopefully help that as well.

So far, I feel like the PT has been aggravating my arthritis.  I discussed this with my physical therapist yesterday and he did a few things differently.  Hopefully, these changes will improve the pain and still help me get stronger.  If not, I know I can talk with him about it and we will work to make it better, to make me better.   I’m so impressed by this office.  Appointments are supposed to an hour long.  As most of us know, that normally means you are actually seen about 45 minutes, sometimes less.   My normal amount of time at this office is 1 hour 15 mins.  Yesterday I was there for an hour and a half.  I hope I get the results I’m looking for, it won’t be for lack of trying.

I’m happy to say that my migraines are still much, much better.  I’ve had a few, but nothing like I was.   I haven’t had a lot of vertigo.  This past week I’ve had a few times where I’ve had really fast spins that last for just a couple of seconds, or very slow movement that I can barely see (but it makes me very nauseous).  Overall, I’m feeling healthier than I have in years.  I don’t know how long this will last, so I’m trying hard to make the most of this time.

Feeling Stuck

I’ve been trying to write for a long time, but the words just haven’t come.  There are a couple of topics I want to write about, but they are sensitive, and they may offend some people who read my blog.  It’s a true dilemma.  I want to be true to myself and my readers, but I don’t want to hurt anyone.  So I feel stuck.

My brain is also just not working like it used to, I’m thinking that having a moderate to severe headache for almost 2 years has something to do with that.  They’ve just been getting worse.  I had another visit to the migraine doctor and she changed up the Diamox; she had to, it was driving me crazy with all the side effects and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.  She put me on Methazolamide.  It’s in the same family as Diamox but it is supposed to be more easily tolerated.  So far I am tolerating it, but it is doing nothing for my headaches.  I feel like she doesn’t take me seriously since most of my migraines are moderate in intensity.  A moderate headache  (between a 4 and 6 on the 0 – 10 scale) every day can be pretty debilitating.  At least I do have a few hours here and there where my headache is mild, but it’s still there, all the time.  My brain is mush.

I started to order supplements that are supposed to help with migraines, but I’m seeing the functional medicine doctor next week, I’m sure they will suggest supplements.  So, it will wait until the 18th.  I’m excited about going to the Functional Medicine doctor.  I’ll write all about it after my visit.  I was supposed to go a while back but we thought we might be moving and didn’t want to get started with another doctor.  But it looks like we’ll be here for a while, so let’s get started.

I was reading on the American Migraine Foundation site and the University of Maryland site about supplements that help with migraines. (be sure to check out those sites for information on supplements for migraines)  I’ve already tried looking for triggers in foods and everything else I can think of.  The only things that really trigger a headache for me is the weather, and strong smells.  Sometimes bright lights can do it.  So I’m searching for alternative treatments.  I’ve tried acupuncture and chiropractic, they didn’t work for me.  I know that magnesium can help with migraines but I found it caused diarrhea.  My migraine doctor suggested a different type of magnesium that is easier to absorb, (magnesium glycinate or gluconate).  Who knew there were so many different types of magnesium, I counted 7 yesterday when I was researching it.  How is one supposed to know what you need?

I decided to wait on starting the new magnesium until I found out if this medicine she gave me worked.  (I already take magnesium, but it’s the kind that upsets your tummy so I don’t think I’m taking a therapeutic dose.)  She still says to give this new medication a month at the highest dose.  I hate to say it, but I’m ready to look for something else.  I just don’t think the medications is going to help, so far my headaches have been more severe.  I’ve been on the medication for about a month now, I’ve been on the highest dose for a week now.  It’s a very hard medicine for me to keep up with .  I have to take it 3 times a day.  It’s the only med that I need to take in the middle of the day and I can’t remember it.  (I haven’t missed a dose, I just don’t feel that I’ve timed it out well) I installed a timer on my phone, hopefully that will help, as long as my phone is close enough to hear.  Great thing about this medication, it has greatly reduced my appetite.  I’m losing weight again, finally, after so much trying.  I’m very excited about this.  Now if I can keep it off when I go off the medication.

The thought of adding more supplements or medications to my regime is overwhelming.  I take so many pills, surely I don’t need all of them.  But I’m not one to just go off of medications.  I will go over all of them with the Functional Medicine doctor and we will see what he has to say.

“Functional Medicine is the deepest and most powerful approach to prevention and reversal of disease that I have encountered. It systematically discovers and addresses the root causes of disease and uses sophisticated treatments that lead to dramatically improved outcomes”  ~ Robert Sheeler MD, Editor Emeritus, Mayo Clinic Heath Letter

If you are curious about where I’m going, then please check it out.  Optimal Health Medicine Center

Since I’m giving an update on me I may as well tell you about my vertigo.  I’ve been having a lot of short spurts of vertigo.  It may be migraine related instead of Meniere’s, but it is really hard to tell at this stage.  I’ve fallen twice in the past 2 weeks.  Luckily I remember to just crumple myself on the floor instead of falling hard.  Both times I went down on my artificial hip.  Luckily, I didn’t hurt myself at all.  Think I need to use my walker at home more often.

So, I’ve been rambling.  At least I’m writing, right?  Today I just had to get out what has been going on recently.  Perhaps soon I’ll write about the other things on my mind.  I really want to keep my blog open and honest and not writing about these things that are going on in my life, feels dishonest.  Perhaps I’ll write about easier things first.  maybe.

Thank you all for following me.  I’m glad you like Mindfulness Monday.  I’m going to try to get out more posts, I promise.

What would you do?  If you thought a topic might cause some upheaval, would you still write about it?  It isn’t anything that everyone in my family doesn’t know about, they just don’t believe it all.  Then the other topic is about medical marijuana….since it isn’t legal in my state, I’m not sure I should write about it.

 

A Day in my life…..

During my last post I told how I planned to do some journal posts during the month of January.  I planned on these being open and honest reviews of my days, then I realized I wasn’t totally honest while writing my last journal entry.  I talked about the good things, the things I accomplished that day, but I glossed over the fact that I had a vertigo attack.  I just slightly mentioned it, instead of saying how horrible it was.  How it stopped me dead in my tracks.  How I was stuck in a chair for over 2 hours not being able to focus on anything and being so upset that the day was ruined.  (as you know now I decided to risk things and go out anyway, very unlike what I normally do, normally I stick very close to home after having a vertigo attack, but I was determined)  During the attack I was scared.  It is a very tough thing to deal with.  After the attack, I’was exhausted and had to rest for a while before I could do anything else.  Everything I did I pushed through.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good day, it did turn out to be a very good day.  I simply glossed over the rough parts when I was journaling about it.

Well, day before yesterday was a good day.  Yesterday I paid for it, but I couldn’t give in and just rest all day, I had my yearly physical I had to go to.  I ached all over and just wanted to stay in bed all day, but I had to go to the doctor and have her poke me a bit and talk about my blood work.  I hate going for my physical, often they find something else wrong, who wants to go find out something else is wrong?  This time I didn’t find out anything else is wrong.  Yay.  My cholesterol is still high.  The good cholesterol is in good shape, but the bad and total are not in good shape and my triglycerides are too high, as usual.  We discussed my diet.  First she told me that I’ve lost weight.  SIX pounds!  Woot!  Yes I’m being sarcastic.  She was trying to be supportive, but really, 6 pounds in a year, is not good. (She had no idea I’d been trying to lose around 40lbs the whole year.)  So we discussed how I could get my weight down and my cholesterol in better shape.  I have a friend who has been on the Ketogenic diet for a while, so I asked about that before she suggested anything and she said it was a good diet for what I need.  She said it is good for people who have to be more sedentary.  The Ketogenic diet is very low in carbs and high in fat.  This is very different than I am used to eating.  I don’t go crazy with carbs usually, so I don’t think that is going to be too big of an issue, however increasing the fat is going to be odd.  It’s just so counterintuitive to what I’ve always done.  As soon as I can wrap my head around this and all the sweets from the holidays are out of the house, I’ll start the diet.  wish me luck.

Today I’m still achey.  I’ve had a migraine all day.  I had an appointment with my therapist this morning.  That’s going well, I think.  Some days I wonder why I’m spending so much money to just sit in there and talk, am I really that hard up for friends?  By that I mean that on some days I feel like all we talk about is stuff you’d talk about with your girlfriend.  Like, I found out who cuts her hair….now my hair finally has a good cut!  But if I think about it, most everything we talk about comes around to something that could benefit me in the long run.  So it’s all good.

20161230_202846

On the way home today we stopped off to buy more yarn.  Yes, I’m really enjoying my Knifty Knitter, so much so I think I’m going to finish my first scarf in a week….or less.  I’m thrilled that when I’m all achey and feel cruddy I can still sit and “knit”.  I feel productive.  I’ve always wanted to make baby blankets for charity, now I might be able to do that.  I’m looking into it.

Right now everything is taking much longer than it should.  But that’s normal for me.  Right now I’m going on 2 hours for writing this post, and I know it will go longer.   I keep wording things wrong, can’t think of words, can’t spell, or I simply get stuck.  At this moment I hurt too much to think and I don’t want to try any more….it’s just too hard.

It’s very unfortunate that cannibus is illegal in most states.  I’ve used it to help me in the past, but it is illegal in my state.  I’ve tried cannibus infused coconut oil to help with the pain and sleep, it is amazing for that.  I’ve used it via a vape pen during a vertigo attack and it stopped me from throwing up and slowed the vertigo.  What I wouldn’t give for it to be legal.  I’m having a hard time recently with vertigo and pain, it just makes me think about this more and more.

I think that’s all for my journal entry today.  I didn’t mention that I had a vertigo attack yesterday and a small one today, but if I mentioned every one we would be talking about vertigo a lot.  However, I think I should mention it every time during these journal entries to bring attention to how often I really do have vertigo.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years Eve celebration!!

Tomorrow in my mother’s  birthday.  It’s always a bittersweet day for me.  I celebrate the day of her birth, but I’m sad she is no longer with us to celebrate.  It’s always an emotional way to start the year.

 

#HAWMC Day 28 – 5 Challenges & 5 Victories

Today is Day 28 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories.
Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus.
Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

5 Challenges5 most difficult parts of my health focus:

fear

  1. FEAR- My number one challenge is Fear.  I’m afraid of the vertigo.  Of course I’m afraid when I’m having it, but I’m constantly afraid I will have it even when I’m not.  I’m afraid of the pain, the migraine pain, the arthritis pain, all of the pain.  I’m afraid the pain will get worse and I won’t have any way to manage it.  I’m working through some stuff in my past and I’m afraid of what I’ll find out.  I’m afraid of more than I like to admit, but I’m working hard to be less afraid.
  2. Finding Doctors – I’ve had a difficult time finding doctors that treat Meniere’s Disease.  Even if they say they do, they often have little knowledge of the disease.  It’s also difficult to find a doctor who knows a lot about migraines.  It has been difficult to find good doctors to treat me.  In each field I’ve felt I’ve found a good doctor, only to be hit with the “I can’t do anything else” line soon.  It is a definite challenge to find a good doctor.
  3. Freedom taken away – Isolation, is a big challenge.  Since I can’t drive, I have to depend on my husband to get me out of the house, this is a difficult thing sometimes.  He works hard and when he is at home sometimes he has things to do here, or he just wants to relax, he doesn’t need to be taking me out all the time.  Plus I have to get over my fear of having vertigo in public before I can go out at all.   My freedom isn’t just taken away because I can’t go out, it’s also taken away at home.  Because of my illness doing certain things are not only difficult, they can be dangerous.  I can no longer cook because it’s dangerous.  I can’t take a bath or shower by myself, because it’s too dangerous.  It’s very hard for me to do any housework, sometimes because of the danger, sometimes because of the fatigue.
  4. Friends – It is a challenge to keep friends, and to make new friends.  Many of the friends I had before I became ill are not in my life as much now.  (various reasons, but let’s face it, I’m a different person.)  Making new friends is a huge challenge.  (I wrote a post about this, Making Friends?.
  5. Food – Food has been a challenge for a long time.  I have had GI (Gastrointestinal) issues for as long as I can remember.  Then I found out that I have Fructose Malabsorption, IBS, and a wheat allergy.  I have a specific diet I must follow so I won’t get sick.  This makes it hard for me to eat out, or to travel.  It’s hard to explain to people, “oh, I’m sorry I can’t eat that lovely meal you prepared”  It used to be hard to explain why I can’t eat wheat, now it’s really hard explaining why I can’t eat onions, apples, and all kinds of things.

5 small victories – list of 5 little, good things that keep you going.

wedding-love

  1. Successful marriage – This isn’t a small thing, this is a HUGE thing, but it’s what helps keep me going.  My husband and I both agree when we think about it we don’t feel that we work hard on our marriage, it’s just something that comes natural, but that isn’t exactly true.  We do work hard, it’s just something we want to do, so it doesn’t seem like work.  When I first started losing my independence it was very hard on our relationship.  I shut him out and he didn’t know how to talk to me.  We decided to see a therapist.  It was there that we learned to communicate again, and we both have a better understanding of how to deal with my illnesses.  If I could give one bit of advice to any couple going through one partner becoming ill, it would be to get a therapist. It might just make your marriage better.  I know mine is.
  2. Days I can deal with vertigo alone – this is a big victory for me.  When I start to have vertigo I panic because I never know how bad it will be.  See number 1 under challenges, and you will know, I’m afraid!  So going through a vertigo attack without help is a huge victory for me.  I’ve done it a few times, where I’ll have vertigo when hubby is at work and I don’t callv him home.  This doesn’t happen often, so this is a small victory, but it’s a big victory really, every time it happens.
  3. Making new friends – I’ve made many new friends on line.  I have a hard time meeting new people in person, but I’ve found that I can meet some wonderful people on line.  I’ve made some wonderful friends through my blog.  I have one friend that I met through my blog about 7 years ago now, our friendship has transcended the blogosphere.  We email, text, and send packages to each other.  We have called each other, but I can’t really talk on the phone.  One day I hope to meet her.  I think this is a pretty big victory, to go from losing friends to gaining such a deep friendship with someone I’ve never met in person.
  4. Getting out of the house – There are days I can fight through the fear and get out of the house with minimal distress.  When I’m having a good day we can go out and do normal things.  Those times are small victories, they get me through until the next time.  They remind me that I can do it.
  5. Diet – Eating my restrictive diet has made it so I can eat with minimal to no GI distress.  It may be challenging to eat this diet, but I think it’s a small victory, actually a big victory, to be able to eat without GI distress.

 

I wrote a similar post to this one here.

I’m participating in WEGO’s #HAWMC, if you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

#HAWMC Day 24 – Focus

Today is Day 24 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Choose 3 images that represent your health focus.
Share the images in a post and explain why you chose each of them.

I don’t really know what they mean by “health focus” so I’m going to  chose images that represent my illnesses or what I focus on in terms of my health.

vertigo-caught-in-motion

I took this photo during a vertigo attack.  I was starting to take a photo of something and suddenly a vertigo attack started and this was what I got.  To me this represents my vestibular illnesses.

headache-2

This manipulated photo of me represents the pain and aura of my migraines.  I use this with other manipulated photos to show my doctors my level of pain.

hope-for-dr-gray

I created this for one of my doctors because she gave me hope when I didn’t think I had any left.  Now I realize there is always hope, no matter what.  This graphic represents that hope.

I’m participating in WEGO’s #HAWMC, if you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.

 

*all images on Picnic with Ants are created and owned by Wendy Holcombe unless otherwise noted.

#HAWMC Day 19 Rough day? What do you do?

Today is Day 19 of #HAWMC (WEGO’s Health Activist Writers Monthly Challenge).  The prompt today is:

Everyone has tough days, but how do you pull yourself out of the rut?
Maybe you blog, repeat affirmations or listen to a favorite playlist.
Write about what tools, tips or practices you use to lift your spirits after a rough patch.

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image source pixaby

When I read this prompt I was reminded of a post I wrote a few years ago, I thought I’d link back to it now for your reading pleasure.  Living In The Moment  In this post you will find one of the main ways I deal with the rough days.

A little list of things I do to deal with a rough patch:

  • I do things that get me involved with others.  I reach out.  I text, email, blog, talk….
  • I do things that relax me.  I take a bath, a nap, read, watch movies and  mindless TV…
  • I do mindfulness exercises.  I focus on staying in this moment.  I remember that the past is over and the future is not written (when I’m having tough days I can get caught up in “how good things use to be” and “how bad things will always be”, neither of these things are true, focusing simply on the present can make it not as overwhelming). I meditate and do deep breathing exercises.
  • I remember to be grateful.  I write in my gratitude journal, I am sure remember I have many things to be grateful for.
  • During particularly rough times, such as a very bad vertigo attack, I chant.  I have a special chant I learned in a yoga class years ago that my husband and I chant together when I’m extremely sick with vertigo, this helps to calm me down. Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam”
  • I have my go to books, and I seek out books on mindfulness.  I have books by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others that I rely on, but the first book I reach for is How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness, by Toni Bernhard.
  • One of the biggest things I need to do during a rough patch is to remember, it’s not my fault.  I’m often hardest on myself during a rough patch, so I try to practice self compassion during this time most of all.
  • During particularly rough patches I reach out to my therapist, remember, that’s what they are there for.

How do you get through a rough patch?  Any suggestions?

If you’d like to read more posts from today please search for #HAWMC and check out WEGO’s Facebook page.  Don’t forget to Like Picnic With Ant’s Facebook Page too.  🙂

If you would like to share your story on Picnic with Ants, contact me through the contact form on my About Me – Contact Me Page.