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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pain clinic and Michael Phelps keeps on winning

The appointment at the pain clinic, this past Thursday, went rather well but the outcome was not what I had expected.  The doctor whom I saw, Dr. Panozzo, concluded that the intense pain I have been experiencing is not from the MS (although it is, most likely, making it worse) but from arthritis.  Arthritis?  All this hell is coming from arthritis???  Oh my goodness!  I cannot even begin to imagine how much worse this pain would be if I did not take Glucosamine Chondroitin triple strength twice per day, every day, for years now!  I was told I had some arthritis in my shoulders many years ago and that this supplement would help in relieving the pain, which it has, so I have been very faithful in taking it.  My chiropractor has also mentioned that I have some arthritis in my hips and back so while I wasn't completely surprised in what Dr. Panozzo said, I was shocked beyond belief by the horrible agony I felt when he poked me in two separate areas.  One was on my right, upper butt cheek, almost at my waist (I think this is called the flank?) and the other was on my right hip.  I am STILL feeling pain where he applied pressure and it's been over twenty-four hours since it occurred.  Damn.  This arthritis is a bitch!
One of the decisions I chose to make, after discussing it with Dr. Panozzo, is that it appears receiving Cortisone injections is my only alternative for relief, unless I wish to take oral medications.  Honestly, this pain is too severe to consider oral meds as the only way out of this!  I asked him how much of a chance there was that the Cortisone would raise my blood sugar levels and he said 100%.  Ugh.  This was not what I wanted to hear.  The good thing is that he said the higher blood sugar could last as little as one day, but possibly as long as four days.   OK, I can deal with that.  I was thinking it would go on much longer than this, so I have chosen to have my first injection this coming Wednesday.  I'm in too much pain to worry over this anymore.  I need relief!
Michael Phelps waving at me.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?
Not much else has been going on with me since I'm mostly home and in pain, but watching the London 2012 Olympics is a lovely distraction.  My television is on from the moment I wake up until bedtime.  I find myself wanting the USA to win more of the events during the summer games than during the winter Olympics, but this could be because I simply adore swimmer Michael Phelps who just finished winning his 22nd career medal (18th gold!), I always cheer on the beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings and I love USA gymnastics (mostly the women although they are really just girls!).  For other events, I base my opinion on who I feel deserves the win most of all.
Michael may be only 27 but ooh la la!  I can still look..
Now I'll just wait until Wednesday and see how the Cortisone injection works for me.  I hope it's as miraculous as it has been for so many others!  I could use such a miracle right about now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How one knows when they're relapsing.. my answer

Just yesterday, a friend asked me how one knows when they are going into a relapse.  She felt rather "stupid" (her words, not mine) in asking me this somewhat basic MS question but honestly, how do we know when our neurologists can't even agree on what a relapse entails?  This friend was diagnosed just this past December so I understand her confusion and anxiety when she asks me questions and believe me, I'm flattered when she comes to me with her concerns as I try my best to ease her mind.  I never claim to know everything about MS but do my best to inform her from what I have learned along the way, as gently and honestly as possible.
The answer I gave her, as to how we know if we are going into a relapse, was: "I'm not sure how one knows exactly.  I feel I have been in a relapse since the beginning of the year but my neurologist does not agree with me.  I feel when you feel your old symptoms flaring up again, it's a relapse. If you feel new symptoms you have never felt before, you should call your neurologist.  Actually, if your old symptoms are flaring up, you should call him too.  They usually want to take new MRI's to see what is happening, but even without new lesions showing (as occurred with me), shit.. I'm still having a flare up!"  What do I mean by this last part?  Well, my MS got worse around November or December (2011) but the pain progressed dramatically by February and my right leg became too weak and unreliable by mid-April to drive anymore.  YET, my neuro refuses to believe I'm having a relapse from the lack of enhanced lesions (old or new) in my MRI's.  But what about the many people who are diagnosed with MS despite the lack of lesions on their MRI's?  Or even those who have normal Lumbar Punctures?  There are other ways to prove you have MS and there must be other ways to show I am having a relapse, such as I FEEL LIKE FUCKING SHIT AND MY RIGHT LEG IS WEAK AND THE PAIN IS GETTING WORSE, NOT BETTER!!!  What more do these doctors need?!!
Luckily, I have an appointment tomorrow (Thursday) at a pain clinic.  Apparently what they usually do at these places is inject some sort of pain medication into the affected area, but I am not going to allow them to use steroids on me.  No matter how much the doctor I am assigned will insist (and from what I've heard, they sure do like to push corticosteroids!), I know they have other pain medications at their disposal and they will need to use one of those.  Just as I refuse Prednisone and Solu-Medrol for my MS (due to my being diabetic and these steroids not really helping me much anyway), I will not allow steroids into my body, considering much of the food in the USA is already full of them!  Yeah, I'm stubborn enough to stand my ground so they'd better be ready for me.
This picture is almost perfect.. it's just missing one more kitty!
The scary thing is that I'm becoming almost used to the way my life has been these last seven months or so, which includes not being able to drive in four months.  Will this be my "new normal"?  I sincerely hope not but if it is, I know I'll survive, no matter how much I wish I could go back to the way I felt just last year, when I was far more independent.  After my couple weeks of deep depression, it's good to be mostly back to being myself again and seeing life more clearly and less dismal.. yet I'm horribly fatigued.  I'm not one to take naps or feel tired throughout the day (especially since I'm not able to do much of anything anymore) yet lately, I am tired beyond belief.  I know my cats love it since they get to sleep on top of me when I lay down on the sofa, though!  Ahh, what would I do without my precious babies?
July 23, 2012, in front of my house
July 23, 2012.. I really like this one!