"Happiness is a Choice." quote taken from an interview of Drew Barrymore by Kevin Sessums

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meeting Elizabeth – Part II

By the time I see Elizabeth on December 15, I am desperate. Despite the fact that I am now taking Klonopin, Prozac, Neurontin and Ultram, my pain level is growing and growing. My back is absolutely killing me, let alone the continued burning in my left foot, ankle, leg and hip. Michael is continuing to push on my trigger points in the thoracic area and although I clinch my teeth and swear under my breath, this is the ONLY WAY I can get any sort of mild relief from the pain. My low back is also killing me and, of course, it seems I am dropping everything only to have to bend over and pick it all up. The crying episodes still happen….not as often, but still more than my comfort level.

Elizabeth is very pleased that taking Klonopin and Ultram at bedtime means I am sleeping more. Unfortunately, however, I am rarely sleeping in bed anymore due to my back pain. Not only is our black loveseat my friend during the daytime when needing to put my feet up, but this is now becoming my new “bed.” Michael is now alone in our CA King bed most of the time and occasionally one of the boys joins me on “sofa city.” There is no doubt in my mind that he feels abandoned and is wondering what the hell is going on?

Elizabeth has the MRI results and it shows 2mm BB disc bulge at L5S1. She quickly mentions that surgery might be necessary at some point and, frankly, I am totally against it. It has been my experience with my mother and others that unless you injure your back due to an accident or fall, once you have one back surgery, you continue to have more. She does a Caudal Epidural Steroid Injection in hopes that this time I will have some real pain relief. She encourages me to continue to use the heating pad and ask Michael to push and release those trigger points. I am to continue the current medication regimen and fill my Ultram prescription. She wants me to begin physical therapy on my left foot which scares the hell out of me because every time someone examines it, it flares up hours later and punishes me with more cramping, burning and throbbing. Her hope is, however, that the therapy will desensitize the area rather than flare it. She also wants to repeat the sympathetic block in the next 7-10 days and then have an appointment with Jeff, the chiropractic doctor who works under her pain management umbrella.

There is no doubt that Elizabeth is being incredibly aggressive in hopes to halt and/or lessen the migration of my pain. It has become a personal mission of hers to help me. She meets with other pain management specialists in the area once or twice a month and/or has phone consultations on an “as needed” basis. Together they discuss their most challenging cases in hopes that they can learn from one another and, perhaps, someone will suggest something that hasn’t been considered before. She asks me if she can include me in this “discussion” and I willingly give consent. After all, how can it hurt for some of the top pain management minds in the North Dallas area to ponder my case?

She is pleased for me that my parents are coming for the Christmas holiday, thinking that it will give me the emotional ‘boost” I need. She knows that Mom is an RN and I tell her that most likely she will be with me at the next appointment. I make it for the 22nd to see both her and Jeff and hope that in the next 8 days, I will find some pain relief so that I can fully enjoy my time with my parents.

Little did I know that The Grinch would be stopping by and temporarily live at my home.

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