Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking A New Approach

Some people have to think things through, others like to talk them through. I seem to have a need to write them through.

I have shared a little about my current health problems. I have no idea what else to call it. Is it an illness, a disorder, an injury? I have been to numerous doctors, run a whole lot of tests, had surgery and so on. What I do know is, it stinks and I am tired of it. It's nine months today, nine months since all of this started. We were hopeful when my neurologist found the herniated disc in my neck. There was the belief that it could be causing some of my symptoms. Both my GP and Neurosurgeon were not quite as optimistic as my Neurologist but it needed to be done anyway and so we went forward with at least a bit of expectation that things would improve.

Waking up from surgery nearly three months ago I was sore, obviously, but otherwise felt pretty good. Arms, legs, hips - none of it hurt! This was a good sign. My gracious mother took care of me and my three year old during the two weeks of recovery while my husband was at work and my older children where in school. The surgery - in which they removed the herniated disc, replaced it with a cage and put in a titanium plate to hold everything in place - was not near as bad as I was expecting. It was so much easier to get around after that surgery than the c-sections I had had with the kids. But I was extremely sore and faithfully took my pain killers and muscle relaxers around the clock. After sleeping through the night once and missing a dose I did not make that mistake again. I set alarms and did not let any more time than necessary pass between doses. One day, about a week after surgery, as I sat in my parents living room feeling fabulous and full of energy I thought, "this is it! We have found the answer, I'm fixed!" I texted my husband at work and said, "I think I am actually going to get my life back!" After 6 months of being on the couch or in bed unless it was absolutely necessary to do otherwise I was ready!

Yes, it had only been six months but I was certainly relating to the second part of this verse. I had been begging God to heal me, to restore me to my usual energy. To feel good again. And I truly felt like as soon as my neck healed I'd be nearly 100% again. I was still having a lot of muscle jerks but they are mainly just annoying. I can live with annoying.

Ten days post op I got a little tummy bug. I was afraid it might have been from all the medicine I was taking and I hadn't kept down my breakfast that morning so I skipped all my meds that day. The next day, feeling much less nauseated I went back on my pain medicine but discontinued the muscle relaxers all together and backed way off on the pain killers. I felt good enough by the next day to take a short shopping trip with my mom. By the time we got back to her house my arms were beginning to feel achy. It was a familiar feeling and I was disappointed but hoped it was just some referred pain from my neck and took it easy for the rest of the week. Just like the onset of all of this it started with the arms but slowly the rest crept in. And soon I was feeling the throbbing muscles, achy - flu like feeling all over, I was sore like I had just done an intense workout the day before, my muscles were fatigued. All of the old symptoms - they had returned. At first I could make a clear distinction. When my muscles ached I was also having a "bad neck day" as I referred to it. But as time has gone on even on a day when my neck is feeling really well (and let me tell you those days are rare - this surgery has a very long recovery period) the rest of me still feels pretty much awful. It has gotten to the point where I dread buckling kids into the car, making wide turns into parking spots, rolling up my window... I can certainly testify that hope deferred indeed does crush the spirit. I am a little slow, it took me weeks to realize the obvious. When I was taking pain killers and muscle relaxers every three hours my body did not have a chance to feel pain. But as I backed off I certainly felt it. What I had thought was healing was actually just symptoms being masked by large doses of medicine.

I went to see the neurosurgeon a couple of weeks ago for my post op visit. He suggested that we give it another four months to see if a full recovery will make a difference. Yeah!!!! More waiting! Actually a break from all of this has been kind of nice. I am sad to say I have been surviving on pain killers in an effort to be upright and keep moving and get some sense of normality back. I have been waiting for a good opportunity to try some more natural things, to see if they might make a difference. This was hard to do while we were still trying to find a diagnosis. So many of these diseases that they have been trying to rule out are just a process of elimination - a whole lot of trying this medication and that. But here we are, 4 months of waiting. And so, and I am kind of excited about trying this, I am going to try to make some changes to my diet - one thing at a time. First up... drum role please... sugar! I LOVE sugar! I would certainly go as far as to say I am addicted. It may not be the source of any of this but it certainly can't be helping. Right?! I thought I'd kick things off by truly torturing myself with a detox of sorts. A few days of fruit, veggies, and whole grains. (I'm going to miss my meat!!!!!)  I have been eating SO bad, getting some of this junk out of me sounds kind of nice! And then it's bye bye sugar for a while.

Why am I sharing all of this here? I am hoping it will keep me accountable. I am truly hoping it will be the beginning of good news and I like to share good news right here! Maybe I can learn a few new things about health and pass on what I learn. Be prepared to hear a little more of this journey You can skip on past these posts if you don't care to hear about it. I promise this is not about to turn in to a health blog. But it is my blog and this is my journey.

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