Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lavender Calm and Tincture Healing

Back when I had bronchitis in September and October, I was feeling pretty ill. Between the normal pain and being very sick, I was in bed for the majority of 7 weeks. I thought it was never going to end. I really didn't want to go to the doctors and have them try to give me antibiotics for a viral infection, nor did I want to waste my money and time. (In November I got on Medicare, but at this time I didn't have coverage.) Instead, I went to my chiropractor, Dr. Jensen, who also practices homeopathy.


I was a little apprehensive about seeing Dr. Jensen for bronchitis, since he was my chiropractor and I had never seen him for anything else, but I was miserable and looking for any relief. I have tried my share of alternative and western medicine for all sorts of ailments, and I was hoping to find something natural for this. He did some muscle tests and confirmed that I had a really bad virus, and he sent me home with some tinctures. I was supposed to take one eyedropper full in the morning and at night until I felt better, and then for an additional four days afterward.

I don't know if I was on my way to being better and I just kicked the bronchial infection myself, or if these drops really did help, but oh my goodness! 5 days later, I was back up and running! I will definitely be visiting Dr. Jensen for any other things I have problems with. He is such a down-to-earth and humble person, with a real head on his shoulders. He opts for natural therapies over western medicine, and his presence is very calming and reassuring. Plus, his form of chiropractic treatment, the ProAdjuster, has been a blessing! I highly recommend seeking alternative treatments, even if it is just to keep additional options open. I was skeptical, I do admit, but I am so happy I went.

To top off the healing, Mom brought in some lavender from the garden and it filled my room with the most wonderful aroma. Peaceful healing.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Oxycontin, Trigger Point Injections, and the Bowels of the Earth

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the start of December!

Last week, I worked on getting a new patient appointment at a different pain management clinic, one where the doctors hopefully have better bedside manners than the one I saw a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I got the call that I won't be able to get in for 2 months. I was all set to wait it out, until that night when, as usual, the typical nightly pain became so unbearable, the cries of frustration were abounding and I couldn't take it any more. I decided to go back to Dr. Pain again, at least to get me through until I can be seen in the new clinic. If I end up liking him, I may stay with him, but at least I can see someone else for a "second opinion" if need be.

The worst of all of my pain, and the constant, is my "flank" pain. I liken it to laying down on hot coals while simultaneously being branded with a burning metal poke. It is a terribly hot, writhing pain that never goes away, and is only slightly muted by the combo of pain meds, anti-spasmodic meds and a heating pad. The docs have no idea what is causing it. The rest of the pain sort of comes and goes, it is a mix of joint pain, muscle pain and nerve pain in random places.

The first thing Dr. Pain wanted to do (besides tell me again that I didn't act like I had bipolar disorder, like he can "tell" after the 10 total minutes of talking to me), was trigger point injections. I was very excited about this, since this would be the first attempt at easing the flank pain. We had no idea if it would help, but I was up for trying anything. According to the Neurology Channel, "a small needle is inserted into the trigger point and a local anesthetic (e.g., lidocaine, procaine) with or without a corticosteroid is injected. Injection of medication inactivates the trigger point and thus alleviates pain." We chose to do it without steroids, especially since I want to avoid them if possible.

I got a total of about 15 shots in my right flank. The doctor first numbed the skin by wiping a topical anesthetic across it, though I don't think it helped, then injected a bunch of different areas. It was a bit uncomfortable, but not that bad. Dr. Pain said I should feel some relief within 10 minutes, and that it should last between 1 and 4 weeks. Unfortunately, because I bruise easily, he also mentioned that I might be sore for a day or two from internal bruising, and I might not notice the relief until it eases up. Lastly, he put tape over the injection sites. I mention this, because even though it was paper tape, it was awful to peel off. No tape next time! About 30 minutes after the injections, I did notice a bit of relief. The normal pain level in my flank is about and 8, ending up at a 9 by bedtime. As of now, a day later, I am down to the average flank pain being about a 6 or 7. Yay! It does still progress and is pretty bad by bedtime, but any help is welcomed with open arms!

The second thing on the agenda was to start me on new pain meds. Since the Vicodin and Flexeril I am currently taking aren't doing near enough and the Vicodin is really messing with my GI tract, we talked about a new plan. The Fentanyl didn't work as a long-acting, since the side effects were too bad, so now I am trying Oxycontin, 20mg 2xday for the long acting med, and Vicodin 5/500mg as needed for breakthrough pain. I am no longer taking the Flexeril. I went home to see how the Oxycontin would work. 

And, then it started. Pain medicine does not work well with my system, specifically narcotics. The major side effect of taking narcotics is constipation. Well, combine the normal side effect with my ridiculous GI tract, and chronic constipation, and it leaves me in worse shape than the normal pain I deal with. This was the problem with the Fentanyl, it is a giant problem with the Vicodin, and it has proven to be a problem so far with the Oxycontin as well. Since I was a kid, the chronic constipation I deal with has been horrible. I was even in the hospital for it when I was a younger. I have tried natural remedies, diet changes, drugs, and many other things. I always have a problem with it, but I can deal with it most days. Add a narcotic, and I become so constipated and get so much gas (flatulence) built up in my body that I can't function. 

Last night, I buckled in pain. I was crying, sobbing, screaming, and I was in the same boat I was in when I took Fentanyl. The gas pain was so bad that I was literally curled up and shaking, my mom spent the evening stroking my hair and back, wiping my tears and snot. Yep, it was that bad. It is times like this that I am so glad I live with someone who is able to help take care of me.

I have been trying to get through the nausea, headache, drugged feeling, hot flashes and sweating, and make it through this constipation and unreal gas/bloating. I am hoping that it will ease up once I have been on the Oxy for a few days. I'm finding that it is helping the rest of my pain a bit, which is wonderful. I will take it one hour at a time for now, and continue to sit with the heating pad, take the simethicone (anti-gas, over the counter medicine), take the Senekot-S and pray I can get through this. 

Hopefully this is a start! I have also begun yoga to help with back and core strengthening, and I will be doing a post on that soon. Until we talk next, may you have a low-pain night and hopefully you are enjoying yourself wherever you are, whatever you are doing. 


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Left Foot, Right Foot, Feet Feet Feet!

Does anyone get foot twitching and spasms?

For years I have been getting these awful foot spasms that are completely disabling, and I have no idea what to do about them. Sometimes they occur in my arch, sometimes in my toes, and sometimes both; everything balls up all at once and the worst stabbing and shooting pain immediately deadens me wherever I am. I have even sat down in the store and started crying they hurt so bad. The weird thing, the spasms are so intense that my foot becomes entirely contorted, my toes splay out in all directions and hyperextend backward, and the pain and spasms can last around an hour, if not on and off all day. If I immediately wrap my foot in a heating pad and take a pain killer, it makes it easier to get through, but sometimes that doesn't even help.

The leg and foot cramping I get from Restless Leg Syndrome is not the same thing. It doesn't feel the same and this doesn't happen just during the last part of the day like the RLS does.

I have read about deficiencies that can cause spasms and "charlie horses," but I take supplements for calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. My potassium levels range between normal and just a little low, so I continue to eat bananas and drink coconut water. I am not sure if these spasms are caused from EDS or a deficiency, but the doctors don't have any suggestions.

Any ideas?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Results from Banjo Trial

For those of you who are new readers, a little over a month ago I started a trial of Dr. Steve's Banjo, a homeopathic treatment for a host of things ranging from fibromyalgia to chronic fatigue, arthritis to chronic pain. I was hoping for a positive outcome, hoping to see some relief for my symptoms, especially the pain. Unfortunately, my results are in and they aren't positive. After working directly with Dr. Steve for over a month without any real results, we have come to the conclusion that if I haven't already started showing improvement, it is unlikely that I will; I have made the decision to stop taking Banjo.

Dr. Steve was helpful, kind, and wonderful to me throughout this process. There has been great success in treating just fibromyalgia or just arthritis, according to Dr. Steve's studies, but my combo of EDS and fibromyalgia didn't have the same results. I am disappointed, since the thought of a homeopathic treatment that would alleviate pain and fatigue sounded so amazing, but alas, this is not my panacea. On to the next big thing!

Lots of love!