Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moms & meeting the Fockers

A little delayed, but...Mother's Day was great this year. I'm glad I could spend it with my mom and aunt Lori, especially after being in San Francisco the past few Mother's Day. Tyler was staying with us for a few weeks to help with the house remodel, and it was great having him along. My mom and Doug drove up, and the Williams, My mom, Doug and I had brunch at Sarduccis in San Juan Capistrano at the train depot. Unlimited juice, mimosas, coffee, fresh fruit and pastries, and an entree of our choice. I had the cheese blintzes, with whipped cream and fresh berries - delicious! After brunch, we strolled around downtown San Juan, visiting the shops and galleries and a great antique shop. We also visited the petting zoo and laughed at the funny animals.

It started out as a gloomy day but slowly the sun peeked out and it was a gorgeous. My mom, Doug and I went to Brent's parents' house in San Clemente, the first parental meet and greet. We (the parents, Brent's sister and husband, and Brent & I) sat outside and admired their gorgeous view of the San Clemente coastline, enjoyed some homemade guacamole, nice conversation, and everyone got along and meshed very well. Our version of "Meet the Fockers" was a success... although my mom wanted to know which set of parents was "the Fockers" :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whac-A-Mole: Part 2

I appreciate all the good thoughts sent my way on Tuesday. I wanted to give you all an update, so here goes:

Unfortunately, the injection did not work. The doctor told me that if the injection was successful, I would have significant pain relief within 5-10 minutes after it was done. Not only did I not have any relief, but my pain was so much worse than when I first came in. If you are wondering how the injection could make the pain worse, Brent described the new pain as "someone punching me in a really bad bruise" and it will just take awhile for the pain to return to what it was. Basically the needles just caused additional trauma to an already inflamed and painful area.

Originally I was going to be given a sedative during the procedure. I would still be awake but it was to calm me down and make it a little easier. I decided last minute that I did not want it, I was not as nervous as I thought I would be and I just did not know how the sedative would make me feel afterward. I'm glad I went without it because I was able to watch the x-ray screen, seeing the needles in my back and watch as he injected the contrast (a dye to make sure the needle was in the right location) and then the anesthetic. It was fascinating to watch. The insertion of the needles (6 total) and the injection of each substance were all very painful, but I have experienced worse things.

At this point, it only feels slightly better than Tuesday, but still worse than before the injection. It hurts to walk, and sitting and lying down are both extremely uncomfortable, and the pain meds and ice provide only slight relief. I am really bummed that it was not successful, I was really hoping I could at least find out the source of the pain. Brent was telling one of his patients yesterday about my injection, and she has had many different back injections, including the one I had. It was also unsuccessful for her, and she described the pain as someone having hit her in the back with a bowling ball. I think this is actually a very accurate description.

I am not sure what the next step is, I am still waiting to speak to my doctor. Thanks again to everyone for the good thoughts and love. Turns it this is just a VERY mean, unyielding little mole.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Whac-A-Mole: Part 1

Discussing my recent medical problems with my cousin Tyler, he compared my medical history to the classic arcade game Whac-A-Mole. A pretty accurate comparison I think, in that it often seems once one problem is taken care of, a new "mole" pops up in need of being whacked on the head and forced back in its hole.

1 year ago on June 7, 2008 I underwent my 4th knee surgery. And about 2 1/2 months ago I developed extreme lower back pain. With a very sudden and random onset, I was concerned it was related to using my crutches for so long-about 10 months at that point. So I stopped using the crutches but it made no difference with my back.

The back pain is like no pain I have ever experienced. A deep pain across my entire lower back, nothing makes it feel better and has slowly and progressively worsened. I saw my orthopedist who ordered an MRI. The MRI was an hour and a half long, lying flat on back on a hard metal table covered only in a sheet, unable to move the entire time. After it was over I could barely walk out of there. Sitting vs. lying down vs. standing does not seem to make a difference, but staying in the same positing for too long increases my pain. I am in pain from the minute I wake up to the minute I finally fall asleep, but my nights are restless due to constantly waking up in pain. I have seen a physiatrist and a pain doctor and no one can figure out exactly what is causing the pain or where it is coming from. The MRI was negative and my symptoms manifest in an unclear manner. I have gone to physical therapy, but even the smallest exercises produce high levels of pain during and after. I have tried acupuncture, with no success. I have tried a multitude of drugs, including various pain meds, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and medications for nerve problems - all with no results.

After trying all these without any positive outcomes, my pain doctor agreed to an injection. Because no one is sure where the pain is stemming from, this is a diagnostic injection. Scheduled for 12:30 this afternoon, a general anesthetic will be injected under fluoroscopy (guided by the use of xray) into the nerves connected to the joints. The anesthetic will have a numbing effect for 4 hours and if I have pain relief it is likely that the pain is coming from the joints. So depending on the outcome of the procedure they will treat it accordingly.

P.S. This back issue is the reason why I have not written on my blog in so long...just trying to deal with it has taken everything out of me. But hopefully this tenacious little mole will get whacked once and for all. Is this a weird analogy? Whatever I like it...thanks Ty :)
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