Back Pain

is an exhausting condition to live with. Not only do the drugs I take to try and make the pain less, make me really sleepy and fuzzy, but just the constant mind over matter about the pain is exhausting. And boring too.

Last Sunday I vacuumed the house. On Monday Kris and I started Couch to 5K and ran for a whole whopping 8 minutes. Then later, we picked up Fern, walked around the Japanese Gardens in Portland, went to the Cavalia show and spent a few hours in the car driving to and fro.  On Tuesday we went to the coast and walked on the beach and of course spent a few hours in the car driving there and back again. We swung by a really cool light show out in Newton, www.newtonlights.com I believe.

Wednesday morning I woke up with bad pain. I could hardly get my slippers on since I have to pull them on over my heel.  I did some gentle stretches but had a hard time getting down on the floor and back up again. I did take a shower, I was so determined to not let the pain stop me from going to work, but as I held onto the shower wall to try and step out of the tub, and then paused to catch my breath after holding it in through the pain, I decided I was being foolish and needed to rest.  I spent the day drugged and in bed.  Like clockwork, the pain meds would wear off and I’d get up, get a drink, take more meds and go back to sleep.

Thursday I managed to make it into to work.  I had to move slow and pause after standing from a sit, in order to let the muscle spasms subside.  It was not fun.  I was starting to feel a little better that night so Kris and I went to the Kaizer light show in a small neighborhood. Apparently that was a bad idea.  On Friday I made it to work but only lasted an hour before I realized there was no way I was going to be able to concentrate.  As soon as I turned off my Tens unit, the pain would come back full force and I had already taken a Tramadol which is the only drug I had that didn’t make me completely fuzzy.  So I called Kris and went home to spend another day in bed on drugs.  Saturday morning I got up and told Kris I needed to go see a doctor because the meds I had were not cutting down the pain and it wasn’t getting better.  So he took me to Urgent Care where I got two shots, one for pain and one as a muscle relaxant.  He also prescribed me an NSAID to help with the inflammation.  I did begin to feel better on Saturday afternoon and wasn’t spending as much time in bed but I still could not sit for any length of time without significant pain.

Sunday saw more improvement and we went to our friend’s house for Christmas dinner.  After a few hours of sitting all I wanted to do was go home and lie down.  That’s the only position that is comfortable and without significant pain.

I hate that I can’t be as active as I want to be.  I hate that I have pain and it’s both mentally and physically exhausting.  Not to mention very demotivating.  I always have to weigh the pain level versus the activity to decide if it’s worth that little bit of extra pain.  Which tends to lead to me sitting on the couch surfing Netflix trying to find something to watch. And if I’m laying flat on my back, even on the couch, it’s hard to view the computer screen to watch.  I know, I know, what a travesty right?  Well I don’t have many options and I hate it!

I WANT to be healthy. I WANT to go on hikes up mountain sides and I WANT to be a runner.  But I can’t.  At least not without facing the consequences afterwards.  I really wish there was something that could keep my back from spasming and seizing up on me.  As I sit here typing this, I have a strong throbbing pain in my left lower back. And according to all the doctors I’ve seen, there is no cure, there is no surgery that can help. I am doomed to live with pain FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I’m only 36.  I’ve already lived with this for 12 years… and I have what, another 50 to go?  Fuck.

Life Events

They say that the three most stressful things in life are moving, having a loved one dying and financial troubles. Well we’ve got two of those.  Luckily not a loved one dying. 😉  We should be closing on our house back in Indiana soon, hopefully next week.  All the paperwork and financing for the buyer is done, just waiting on a date from the realtors. It’s rather nerve wracking and I just want to get it over with already.  Once that’s done we’ll have extra money and I’ll be able to take over payments on the RV park and the RV itself, which means Kris will be able to keep what little cash he has left to pay for gas and such.

I’ve been looking at apartments and houses for rent the last few days because we’re both tired of the cramped space in the RV.  I had forgotten how difficult it is to find rentals that will accept 3 dogs.  Many, many places around here are one dog under 30 pounds or no dogs. ugh.  I found a place today, it’s a duplex on the East side of Salem that sounds just about right for us. Nice private backyard with no one behind the house, the house doesn’t share a wall with the neighbor, the garage and laundry room do. It’s only a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom but with the garage and laundry room, I think it would do for a while.  The only problem is that the ad says one dog and it’s a little more than we want to spend comfortably for a place but I’m not sure we’ll find something at the price we want to pay. We’ll just have to try and sell the RV as quickly as we can. I will miss this park. Well some aspects of it. 😉 But right now I can smell sewer… it happens every now and then and not surprising really but it’s not all the time, which is good.  But they do events and have lots of benefits to living here.  We just wish we had more space!

The sunsets can be amazing.

 

They do a good job with the grounds and this tent can be reserved free of charge to use. It has a large grill and large island on the other side that is available to be used as well.  Complete with tables and chairs!

And features like two off-leash areas for the dogs make potty time a breeze. Right now the pen below is right across from our final spot in the park, so it’s easy to walk across and let the dogs do their thing.

And the spot we’re in now has a nice grass area behind it where we can relax and tie out the dogs while we read, have dinner or just chill.  So it’s a nice place and the price is right, but we miss our stuff which is in storage and we both wish we had slightly more space. Though I do have to say that completing the vacuuming in 20 minutes is pretty darn nice.  heh….

I follow up with the neurosurgeon next week.  I sure hope that they think surgery is a good option for me. I want to try something else besides all the other things I have tried over the past 12 years!  My back is quite a bit better than the week that landed me in the hospital but it’s still not great.  For example, tonight I trimmed Kota’s fur and then brushed all 3 dogs and that left me in pain from just bending and trust me, I engage my stomach muscles to help!  I would like to be able to do normal every day things without ending up in pain.

I went to agility class for the first time in 4 weeks. Two weeks off for my back and one was Memorial Day.  I did ok in class but I could definitely tell the next day. Plus my calves were sore! How sad! I ran maybe a total of 3 minutes on Monday and was left with sore calf muscles and I was up to 3 miles before my back went out!  ugh…. and the jeans are a little tighter… guess eating all that cookie dough wasn’t such a good idea. lol…

So I’m kind of hoping that we can move into a house/duplex/etc in July sometime. I’m not in a super hurry and I’m not going to select a less than ideal place, but we may not have a whole lot of choices.  But for now we have a place to sleep, we have food in the cupboards and we have each other.

Pain

For many, this will not be news, but I have lived with pain in my lower back now since 1999. 11 YEARS of almost constant pain!  Cleaning my house would flare up my back and make me sore. Playing agility, either teaching or a class with my own dogs, would leave me in pain. Long walks or standing for long periods would leave me in pain.  And those were bad days.  In between were days where I might not even notice that dull ache in my back that never quite went away.  But if I were to bend the wrong way, or lay down and relax my back, sharp, severe pain, until the muscles relaxed completely.

Well that is NOTHING compared to what I went through last week and still am to a point.  Last Saturday, the 14th, Kris and I took Shadow on a hike to Cape Lookout. 2.4 miles out and back, so about 5 miles round trip. No biggie, I’ve done walks with the dogs that were 3 or 4 miles. Heck I’d been running 2.5 miles for a couple weeks, so I thought nothing of it.  The terrain was rough, roots here and there, lots of mud spots to be stepped around or hopped over.  It was an overcast day and I carried a small backpack out and Kris carried it back.

On Sunday I got up to work on the pics from the hike and by the time I was done I thought I was going to die from the pain in my back. I took some pain killers and muscle relaxers and laid on the couch for the rest of the day.  I watched movies, finished a book and took a nap.  On Monday, my back was no better. I couldn’t even sit without immediate pain in the back.  Over just a few minutes the pain would become so intense I would have to get up and lay down. I made it two hours at work on Monday and driving was torture.  Got home, more drugs, more couch time.

Tuesday, I made it 6 hours but I stood up a lot.  I even laid down in the office on the floor for relief.  Went home, more drugs, more couch time.

Wednesday I made it 4 hours. More drugs, more couch time, more movies. I would get up from sitting and would take a good 10 minutes before I could walk upright without severe muscle spasms.  Even better was I had to take Kris to the airport that night for a work trip. He drove up and I drove home. I took drugs on the way up and managed to make it home ok.

Thursday was chiropractor day. I’d decided on Wed that 3 days was too long and needed to try something. So chiro first thing, made it at work 2 hours.  That is the most work I have missed ever because of my stupid back.

Friday morning chiro again first thing. By the time I got to the doc’s office, I could barely not cry. My back was now the worst it had ever been. I had several muscle spasms on the way, I had pain radiating in my butt and across my left thigh. I could feel pain in my ankle for no reason.  I laid down at the chiro’s and couldn’t stop crying. I bawled like a baby when he came out to help me up.  He suggested that if it wasn’t better by Monday I should go to the ER.  Monday?  Three days from then? No way in hell was that going to be a solution.

I got home, more drugs and a nap. Barely slept and woke up in the same amount of pain, no relief that time. Maybe the chiro was a bad idea, who knows. But I called my doc and luckily got an apt for an hour later.  I debated on driving in or calling an ambulance because I wasn’t sure I could handle driving.  Not from drugs, but from pain.  Pain shooting into my back have made me cry out several times over the week.  One really severe one I will never forget on the way to the docs.  I probably should have gone straight to the ER via ambulance.

Once I got to the docs, I couldn’t sit at the office. I had to lay down on the couch. Couldn’t sit in the little exam room because that was too much pain. So I leaned my head against the wall and held onto the back of a chair. She couldn’t do anything for  me. She felt an MRI was a good idea but to schedule would take till next week. So off to the ER I went.

They had someone from ER come up and get me, rolled me over in a wheelchair. I was hoping it would be a gurney but no luck, but at least the wheel chair was faster than me walking.  I got checked in, waited a few minutes, then got a room, got into my gown and then blissfully into a bed, flat.  Got an IV for Dilaudid but the pain never fully went away. The drugs dulled it, but didn’t make it disappear.  Now remember, I had already taken a Tramadol and a Vicodin that morning and now Dilaudid, a morphine type drug AND THE PAIN NEVER WENT AWAY! That is some serious pain.

So I got the MRI, got the results, now this was my third MRI in the last 11 years.  My once centrally herniated disc was now paracentrally herniated and pressing on my nerves. Great.  So some more Dilaudid, sent home with a script for steroids, Percocet and a stronger muscle relaxer with a note to follow up with the neurosurgeon who read my MRI.  Now remember Kris was out of town, so I debated about who to call to come get me. Scot was working till 7:30 and it was 4pm. Amy was also out of town with Debby and Justin diving. My friend Tracy almost got the call, but based on the timing of the MRI and results, I figured it’d be close to 7:30 when I got out, so I called Scot.  Just barely crying, asking him if he could pick me up at the hospital when he got off work.  Imagine getting that call eh?

I had texted Kris what was going on and he said for $300 he could fly home that night. I told him it wasn’t worth it. I’d get home, go to bed with drugs and be out.  I wasn’t sure at that point how Sat would go and if he’d have to get a shuttle home from the airport or not.

Saturday I woke up ok. Not great, but not as bad as Friday.  I started the steroids at breakfast and went back to sleep with  more drugs. By noon, was feeling up to the task of getting Kris.  I drove up and he drove home with me reclining in the passenger seat.

Since then I have gotten a little better each day but one thing that does not go away is the pain while sitting.  I still get random shots of pain in my legs but not as bad as they were.  I spent most of Sunday laying on the couch, though I did have to go to work to update some stuff for today because I didn’t go to work at all on Friday.  Even that 30 minutes was torture on my back. Again, I have been taking either Tramadol or Vicodin or Percocet depending on the severity of the pain and/or the time of day. If I was to be awake and/or driving, I took Tramadol, it doesn’t seem to make me sleepy like the others do. Nor fuzzy in the head.  So strong pain killers 24 hours a day for now 7 days.  Ugh.

Monday loomed and I was concerned about it and sitting at work.  I took a mat in to the office and spent two 20 minute periods lying on the floor. That actually helps quite a bit.  I also spent some time standing while on the phone.  I tried kneeling at one point but the desk is too high.  By the end of the day I couldn’t sit still and then I lost my connection to IU around 3:30pm because of severe storms in Bloomington.  I called it quits at a quarter to four and came home.  Another chiro apt this evening and then home again.

Now that I have finished this long post and took a break in the middle to walk the dogs, it’s time to lay down again.  Oh but before I close out, the soonest I can follow up with the neuro doc is June 14th. Yes that’s right, 4 weeks from now.  In the ER for severe pain and I can’t get in for follow up care for 4 weeks? Can you even begin to imagine what my next 4 weeks of life is going to be like?  I’ve already missed two agility classes and can’t walk my dogs for more than 10 minutes at a time….  I dread my sanity. Time to start the L-Theanine that Kat sent me.