Posted in Health

This Wasn’t The Plan

When I began this year, it was definitely with the idea of focusing on myself–especially my health. And yeah, I’ve been doing that, but not like I thought I would.

PT? Check, but then stopped because of pain.

Exercise? Haven’t started yet. Because of pain.

Breast Reduction? Haven’t started research. Because of pain.

Dietician? Check. Doing so-so with following what she’s told me, but better with eating more protein. Currently working on drinking more water.

Back? Did PT, stopped, saw a spine specialist, got an MRI and 6 x-rays. Saw them for a follow up and got an official diagnosis of Sacroiliac Sclerosis. Which, translated to the non-medical person, is arthritis in the joints shown below:

sacroiliac-joint-pain-exercises-diagram-copy

Which, honestly, stinks. Next Thursday I go back to the spine specialist and get two injections of Betamethasone, which is supposed to help the inflammation and pain. I’m utterly creeped out by the concept, although I’ve had two spinals with my c-sections. Everyone on Facebook has been encouraging about how not-big-a-deal the injections are, and how great my doctor is with them (he’s a very good doctor).

So that’s basically it. I’m waiting. No Ibuprofen allowed at this point because of the injections coming up, so sleeping is very challenging. I’m hopeful that this will help, but leery of the actual procedure. I’ll keep you informed. when it happens.

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Posted in Health

When Pain Takes Over

And I’m not even talking about emotions!

Backstory: My husband gave me a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas 2016. He often does that. And around January to March I finally get one. March/April 2017 I went in for what I thought was a regular massage (I’ve had dozens by now, and it’s usually just working out knots in my back and neck). This time, though, I was in pain in my lower back. Like, producing tears kind of pain, which horrified the massage therapist. I went back again (on my own dime!) to see if only going a week in between would help. Still in tears. My back just really hurt. I figured it was just overdoing, but didn’t have much options because we were getting the house ready to sell. And packing a lot. I soldiered on because that’s what I do.

What with one thing or another (packing, moving, moving again, unpacking etc!), it took until January 2018 before I finally decided to see a doctor about my lower back pain. It had gotten so bad that on the 2nd day of moving into our home I didn’t do anything other than direct. Which was NOT FUN. I’ve always been proud of my strength, I may be little, but I am mighty!

The nurse practitioner immediately said I needed physical therapy and recommended a local practice that I have come to quickly love. Personal Touch is a wonderful place, woman owned and run, and they really, really care about their clients. I went for a few weeks, got sick, and took a week off and then and went back. For a bit I was getting better. I was even pain free on one side for a few days. But then….

Something changed. Something…got worse. I’m at a place where I’m afraid to do my stretches, where I sit down and rise very carefully, where I take 3 Ibuprofen every night in the hopes that the back pain won’t wake me up. And this is not because of PT overworking me. They do ultrasound heat, some gentle massage–never anything remotely aggressive.

They’ve referred me to a orthopedist (Main Line Spine). Both the therapists I see think I have something wrong with a disk. Which, yeah, kind of scares me a bit. My mother wore a brace for YEARS when I was growing up because of disk problems. I know that medicine treatment has changed dramatically in 40 years, but still, our backs do a heck of a lot.

So, at this point I’m keeping my twice-a-week PT appointments and waiting for the 13th to see the orthopedist

Posted in Health, Me

In Which I Practice Self-Care

There’s a sort of movement going on right now about self-care–bubble baths, glasses of wine, “Me time” etc. f you want to practice it, you go right ahead. But I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about the actual caring of myself–my body, my pain, my self-worth, even my darn teeth.

See, as all of you know, 2017 was, let’s just say a bit of a whirlwind. And there were certain things that HAD TO BE DEALT WITH. LIKE RIGHT NOW.

And I wasn’t one of them.

Oh yes, I absolutely blame myself. My husband is not going to nag me to go to the dentist. Or ask about my nutritional choices. He would view those things as my responsibility–rightly so–and leave them up to me.

But hey, it’s 2018! And I’m in pain. ALL THE TIME. And my teeth haven’t been looked at in…um….well over 18 months. And I stopped taking the medicine I need to take. And I’m eating crap and sugar way too much. And if you look up “sedentary” in the dictionary, well, there’s my picture!

So on the 31st I meet with my new dentist. Feb 1st I see a dietician. I started eating better (or at least paying attention to my choices!) yesterday and mostly recorded those choices in My Fitness Pal (app). I also, because of those good choices, took my meds (which HATE high fat choices and make me pay very quickly). I see my endocrinologist Feb 21st and a nurse practitioner in my new doctor’s office this Friday where I will talk about my back and my chest. My back is the everyday of my life pain thing. My chest….

Here’s the self-worth/happy with myself part. I’m 5′ 1.5″. I weight…well, a lot more than I should, but I’m not rotund. I’m also a 38G. Yes, a G. Such a great letter of the alphabet, but describes a part of my body that I’ve been very unhappy with for many, many, MANY years. I’d like to find out if insurance would cover a breast reduction surgery. If they would, then it’s going to become a conversation between Jim and me. If they won’t, well, I guess we’re stuck because that’s something like $12,000 and that’s not something we have just laying around. I guess I go to counseling to make myself happy with my body?

And oh, how difficult it is to preach “love your body” to my daughters while I’m so dissatisfied with mine!

So there you have it. Me. Aching, overweight, unhealthy me. We’ll see what 2018 holds!

Posted in Health, Jim

Rolling With the Punches

I don’t think we’ve had a year where Christmas with each side of the family happened when it was supposed to in years. This year is no different.

Jim complained early this week that something was in his eyeball, causing vision issues. He called the eye doctor, but only got the answering service and didn’t get a call back. He didn’t complain, so I didn’t give it much thought. Yesterday he complained again and I called the office. When I explained the problem–and that it wasn’t acting like a floater–they said “come in now”. He did.

Awhile later, he texted me that he had a torn retina.

WHAT??!?!?!?!

Retinas are terrifying around here. I have a blind teenager, a partially blind/partially visually impaired teenager, and a very near sighted teenager because of retinas. So yeah, retina damage utterly freaks me out. And this is a guy who’s job it is to stare at a computer all day. So yeah. Terrifying.

The ophthalmologist (it took me years to spell that word correctly every time!) called the office that Ethan goes to, which has two retina specialists. They said they would stay for him, because this is a Big Deal.

I met him there, they got him in, examined and took pictures and video and yuck. They INSERTED A NEEDLE INTO HIS EYEBALL with a gas bubble into it and injected it. The hope is the bubble will push the retina back down and then they will laser it today. In the meantime, he first had to spend an hour with his face facing down to the ground and then the next two days (aka today and tomorrow) with his head at a 45 degree angle so the gas bubble will be in the correct spot (cuz it wants to float to the top and the tear is at 1:00.)

We have a follow up appointment at 10am (aka 45 minutes from now) where the doctor will hopefully see that the gas bubble has done its job and he will then laser the retina as well. Then I think we go again on Sunday.

This has somewhat played havoc with weekend plans. The kids’ friends are still coming over tomorrow, but NYE over my sister’s? Nope. Continuing work on the house? On pause. Forced rest for my husband on the couch with a lot of “saved on the DVR and eventually I’ll watch it” stuff to watch? Yes!

He has already noticed an improvement in his sight–he could read “Deer Park” on the water bottle that he was unable to read earlier, so I’m hopeful about today’s appointment. We’ll see!

Posted in Health

Spending vs Investing

I am a saver by nature. Really. I dislike spending money and will pinch pennies just for the fun of it.

That said, I invested $80 on a pair of sandals this month. $80. ON SANDALS.

And I deliberately say invested because that’s what it ended up being, and it’s paying off in daily dividends of NO PAIN.

I have plantar fasciitis (Plant Are Fash E I tis). That’s a fancy term for a lot of tendon tightness in my calf, heel and foot and a lot of pain with walking.

Every. Single. Day.

I’ve been trying to be more intentional with stretching and hey, I probably should go and see a doctor about this (I’ve put myself on the back burner for months and months and…well, you get the idea. We’ve been busy!)

A few weeks ago I had lunch with my sister and noticed that my cheap slip on sandals were starting to wear through. She, who also has interesting feet, showed me the Aetrex sandals she got on sale. When I got home I googled them and they were $109.

People, I just couldn’t do it.

The next day, though, I googled “best sandals for plantar fasciitis” and found a great list. Teva Tirra came up. Amazon had them on sale. I decided, with free shipping and returns, that I would give them a whirl.

Oh. My. GOODNESS!

I am no longer in pain in my feet! For DAYS, so I know it’s not just in my head! It’s amazing!

I’m still working on stretching, but for the interim, if you happen to have plantar fasciitis, please, please, INVEST in good stuff to wear on your feet!

Posted in Health, Kids

Anxiety

I wrote that title with a certain anxiousness, not to be silly. That word has wormed and weaseled and made its way into our home, our lives, our days and our nights and our schedule.

It’s not something I am well-acquainted with. At all. And yet, I am learning.

Laura has general anxiety, which is currently being treated with both counseling (2x/week) and meds. The meds made an amazing difference. For the most part, she is even-keeled again and even the storm a few weeks back didn’t reduce her to worrying that the house was going to fall down and we were going to die. And I say that without a trace of mockery. That was where her brain went. All. The. Time.

Catie does NOT have general anxiety. She does, however, get panic attacks. Last night was another one, which is what prompted this post. She just started counseling and has her first medication meeting later this month with a psychiatrist. Her medicine journey will be different from Laura’s–she can take pills (something Laura can’t do), she’s younger (so we have to be a little more careful about side effects) and she’s doesn’t have the general anxiety. I’m curious as to what he’s going to try first.

When my kids were tiny and in the NICU and I was utterly powerless to do anything for them other than pray and cry, it was a very helpless feeling. As a parent one wants to HELP and FIX and MAKE IT BETTER! Last night, watching Catie shake and try to use breathing to calm herself down and being utterly unable to do anything for her other than be there with it, again, there is that helpless feeling. We have “rescue meds” in the house for if and when Laura would need them. Catie took one last night. I know, I know, but you know what, you would have done the same thing. She finally slept. I went to bed around midnight with her permission, there to pray and hope for the meds to kick in. When she wakes up this morning I’ll ask about what happened after I left.

I can only hope and pray that Catie’s doctor quickly finds the right meds and dose and that she is able to learn how to cope with the attacks. And maybe even not get them anymore. And that Laura’s meds continue to do their job.

Posted in Health

The First Flu

Somehow, through 21+ years of marriage, my husband and I have managed to never get the flu.

That record has now been broken, and broken but good. Everyone but Ethan has it now and it is SO NOT FUN.

The kids’ progress check ends of Thursday (all their schoolwork is due then), so I’ve requested an extension for them. I can’t sit up at the computer for long and certainly don’t expect them to, either.

So my one word of advice for everyone:

WASH. YOUR. HANDS!!!