Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Injury Update

So, I had my follow up appointment with my physiatrist today, and had to report that there really wasn't any improvement. The one thing that does seem a bit better is the spot of nerve pain on the top of my foot seems to have improve, which is exciting. Of course, that is the one spot of pain that doesn't generally bother me - only when I touch it - but I'm still pleased to have something.

On the downside, this doctor is now out of of ideas for what he can do to me. So, I'm being sent off to a new doctor, this time a neurologist. I was honestly almost in tears when he told me that his only idea left would be to try to limit the pain with medication and exercise. Since that's what I've been doing the last 3 years with no success, this really isn't a good option. It's frustrating to have yet another medical professional tell me his is at a loss.

However, he did mention one thing that might have hope for me. Apparently there are Chronic Pain Centers, where they should hopefully be better trained to deal with my kind of pain. They can do something called a "Peripheral Nerve Block." The fact that my pain is a tingling/burning means it has to be a nerve thing, and since the nerves from the spine don't seem to be involved, it would make sense that the peripheral nerves are involved. They aren't trained at my center to do this kind of work, but maybe there's a slight hope. Downside is I'm concerned that my insurance won't cover it. That worries me, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. At the end of the day, it's worth a fairly substantial amount of money to me to not be in pain any more, so I'm open to it.

In much more lovely news, we had an amazing trip to Point Reyes! Pictures coming soon :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

On a Lighter Note...

Since I don't like having up a negative post for too long, here are some photos from recent activities that have been lots of fun. 

First up, a delicious dinner from last week. Ed tried a new sweet and spicy rub on our salmon, which featured brown sugar and cumin, and was probably the best salmon we've ever had at home. We also experimented wiht roasting slices of zucchini in the oven, which transformed it into amazingly sweet and tender bites. The mashed potatoes, unfortunately, were better in theory than in practice, as we tried a new kind of potato (white rose), that ended up being a bit gummy. Still, a beautiful looking and great tasting meal. 

Second, Ed and I went for a short but beautiful hike on Veteran's Day, since I had it off. We went up to Skyline Ridge, where we had one of those rare days where you could see right to the ocean, with nothing in your way. It was windy and cold, but great. I also got to try out a new purchase - a hiking skirt! It's made of the same material as hiking shorts, is waterproof and SPF up to 50, and it really comfy.  I liked it's longer length, and wicking waist :). 

Last, today is Ed's 30th birthday, and we celebrated with some homemade deliciousness. For dinner, we had roasted red pepper lasagne, a newer recipe I've been trying that is both healthy and tasty. I even roast my own bell peppers for it.

And, of course, what birthday would be complete without cake! This was a healthyish recipe that still tasted plenty decedant and delicious. 

We're now off to Stinson Beach tomorrow morning for Ed's birthday race - a 15ish mile race at Stinson Beach with PCTR. I'll be, unfortunately, bringing my laptop and working on lesson planning instead of enjoying the trails, but am looking forward to cheering him at the finish. Afterwards, we're up to Point Reyes, which should be lots of fun - neither of us have ever gone!

So, I moan and groan, but there are plenty of great things going on :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


*in all fairness of a warning, this post is generally a not so happy post, and probably not all that entertaining to read*

Unsurprisingly, the shot didn't work. It was, perhaps, a bit unrealistic to think that, after the other steroids I've tried, that this would be different. If anything, my leg has been a bit more sore lately. It might just be that I'm more conscious of the pain, since I had a small hope that it would get better, but it's been hard to get to sleep, lately, and it's just making me feel defeated.

So, onto another appointment. I'm not sure what we'll try next, I just hope the doctor doesn't give up. At this point, I think I need to stop thinking of this as an injury - it's just chronic pain. Maybe it started with a calf injury, but it seems impossible that over 3 years later, that injury is still in effect. I have another chronic pain issue that isn't connect to running, and I have wondered if somehow they're connected to each other. In any event, chronic pain sucks, and I'm worried that it will never go away.

However, with all of that, I am gearing up to start being active again. If this is just pain, not an injury, and it isn't going away, I need to suck it up and be active again, so that I can be healthy. I've already gotten back to eating healthier, and Ed and I are going for a hike tomorrow.

I think I need to figure out how to not let myself get (stay) down with this pain. These last few months, since I started back up with school, I think I've sort of let it overwhelm me and have felt a bit sorry for myself. Which, I know, has made for very entertaining postings. But, this is where I am.

And, if anyone knows of any exciting ways to deal with chronic pain, I'm all ears :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Trying something a bit more aggressive

Thought I would take a moment to mention the current excitment with my leg - after an unsuccessful bout with both an anti-inflammatory and a nerve pain medication, plus a very healthy looking MRI, my new doctor suggested we try an epidural. Before this, I was really only aware of epidurals being used for giving birth, but apparently, this is a common diagnostic/treatment for leg and back pain. The idea was that if the epidural works (targeting the nerves that go down my left leg), then it will be doubly good - we'll have pinpointed where the pain is emanating from and I'll also hopefully have relief from the pain.

So, this morning, I took the day off work, and Ed drove me up to the surgicenter for my 6:30 am appointment. They were very insistent about not putting anything in your mouth after midnight, the night before the procedure - no food or drink, but also no brushing your teeth, gum, mints, etc. I was worried I would forget in my tired morning state, and found it very hard to leave the house with unpleasant morning breath and no hope of a remedy. At least all the other patients there were in the same boat :P.

Just after 6:30 I headed back to my prep room, where I got changed into the oh so attractive booties, gown and cap, and got an IV put in to keep me hydrated. Apparently I was thirsty, as my body was quickly downing my IV bag. Ed got to hang out with me until it was time for the main event, while I lounged in my "hospital bed" (though, apparently, this is a misnomer here, since this wasn't a hospital. In any event, it looked like the ones on tv :)).

Around 7:30, a new nurse wheeled me back to the procedure room, where I was laid on a metal table and hooked up to some new machines. They gave me a mild sedative "cocktail" which, honestly, didn't seem to do a whole lot. I still felt pretty coherent during the whole process. What was pretty cool about the procedure was that they were doing a live x-ray during it, to make sure the needle went into the right places in my spine, so I could see it as it was happening. It hurt  a bit, but I was expecting much worse - it was over before I knew it!

Afterwards, I got wheeled to recovery, where I had to sit for 30 minutes. And, that was that. Now my back and leg are hurting a decent amount, which is to be expected. I'm told it will be 2-7 days until I feel the positive effects, if it worked. Since the extra pain today is in the normal area, I'm feeling hopeful.

In an ironic coincidence, my mom was also donning a surgical gown today for a hip replacement, including also getting an epidural. I got to chat with her before she went in for her procedure and tell her about mine. Hopefully hers will be just as easy going!