I've been gone along time, I know - from the blogging world that is. For the last year, my life has been completely controlled by severe back pain. June 2008 I had my 4th knee surgery and was on crutches for almost 9 months until the end of February, when my back pain came on suddenly. One day I could say I never experienced bad back pain, and then the next...
Since that last week of February 2009, I have been in severe pain 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. while lying on my side feels slightly better, no position eliminates it. There is never a moment when the pain is not present, and even sleep doesn't provide relief - waking up frequently during the night and early in the morning in pain. Lying on my side is the most comfortable position, but no position feels good. Increased activity and being in the same position for more than a few minutes aggravate it even further.
I have had multiple MRIs, CT scans, a full-body scan, & x-rays; blood tests to check for inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and various other abnormalities; on three separate occasions I have undergone steroid injections, nerve/ligament/muscle blocks all in different areas of the back; I have tried physical therapy multiple times; I have seen a physiatrist, pain specialist, orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, acupuncturist, spine specialist, oncologist, endocrinologist, and holistic medicine specialist; I spent a full week at an alternative medicine center receiving acupuncture, infrared light therapy, massage, reflexology, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, IV treatments with MSM, microcurrent treatment, and a sleep study; and I have tried nearly 20 different medications including various classifications of pain medication, nerve medications, anti-inflammatories, pain patches, topical creams, muscle relaxers, and anti-depressants. Every diagnostic test was inconclusive. Few medications have the ability to take even the slight edge off the pain, but most did nothing. The injections did not help to diagnose the problem nor did they help ease the pain. Some of the doctors have provided varying theories as to why they think I am having the pain, but none have panned out. The most recent discovery was that I am severely vitamin D deficient, and through research, found out this is linked to bone pain, and more specifically-undiagnosed lower back pain in women. I am taking supplements and will soon recheck my levels, and hope that it makes a difference. The doctors think that it may be a portion of my pain, but that something else still undiagnosed is at blame for the rest. Given my symptoms and overall presentation, bone pain makes the most sense at this point.
I have been in some form of pain since I was 13 years old. For the last 9 years, I have perfected the art of putting on a happy face. I figure, if I am going to be in pain everyday, I can't make everyone around me miserable too. I want people to sympathize, sure, but I have no intention of bringing everyone down with me, or making anyone unhappy. But I beat cancer, so why can't I beat this? In some way that I can not identify, the back pain is debilitating in a completely different way than the knee pain. One of the hardest parts is worrying that because I am always putting on a "happy face" and downplaying how bad my pain actually is, that everyone around me does not fully understand the extent to which it affects me daily. It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet, and I am permanently stuck lying flat on the ground while life passes me by. The inability to return to school or work, the loss of feeling independent, as well as the inability to just do anything without having to worry about my pain as a factor, has made me feel so helpless. I feel so so fortunate to have such an amazing support system through Brent, my family & friends, and I just want my life back!
Holidays, birthdays, special events and occasions, happiness as well as extreme frustration - all came and went, as I craved blog posting as an outlet to share and sometimes vent about all these periods. Due to a recent addition of wireless internet, I am now able to use my laptop while lying on the couch and tap-tap my thoughts away. Yay!
So what happened during the rest of 2009-2010? My highlights over the year while I was gone.
Tyler stayed for a month to help remodel Aunt
Lori & Uncle Hal's bathroom and bedroom
this is such a big deal here
Nick completed the Graduate Program at Cal Poly SLO
Our 1 year anniversary - brunch at Salt Creek Grill
Valentine's Day in October - hot air balloon ride
to make up for the failed attempt in February. Incredible!
22nd Birthday - brunch with Brent at La Galette Creperie,
Joint birthday celebration with my mom at Vigalucci's
in Carlsbad with, Doug, Nick, and Brent. Amazing food!
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party Brent & I hosted.
Nick was the costume winner!