My memory being what it is, I have to make a list of talking points before my call with the doc. Since the office recommends “checking in” 15 minutes before the zoom call starts, I use that time to make sure I’ve remembered everything that’s happened since our last appointment. I had eight things to tell him. It started out as three, then I started thinking back. It’s always good when that happens before I hang up.
Anyway, here are the eight things:
1) That freaky shoulder/chest wall pain. I got to tell you before I was able to tell my doc about it. That pain has almost disappeared, just twinges every now and again. Nothing like when it first happened.
2) My left arm. From shoulder to fingertips, I’m having issues. Chills, soreness, numbness, etc. This is especially fun since I’m left handed. Since the additional CRPS diagnosis in my hand, it’s been harder to do normal things like write without pain, carry stuff, etc. I do it because I don’t have another option, I just wish I was ambidextrous! Anyway, my left wrist has that burning “please stop trying to do normal stuff with me” pain. The nagging ache that makes me wish I could unplug it for a while, just so I don’t have to feel it. And then we have my hand. Argh! It’s more of the same.
3) My lower left leg, (did I mention this has been a reeeally left week??). The outer edge of my leg is very tender. It’s not a new thing, not really. But I can’t even cross my right leg over it because the pressure is too much. There’s a patch of broken blood vessels near it, I thought it was because of that. In addition to the CRPS, of course. It may not be. I’m using lidocaine ointment on it almost daily, to try and take the edge off.
4) Mid-back pain. Okay, so this isn’t entirely new. I have issues in my neck. I have issues in my lumbar spine. And I’ve had back pain as far back as middle school. But the pain in my thoracic spine is brutal. I’ve taken to sitting with three cushions on my chair, all hit different parts of my back. But the weirdest addition is the acupressure head cushion that I position in the middle of my back. It’s the only way I can stand to sit down for any length of time. I’m not even sure you should use that kind of pillow for longer periods, but I don’t care. I’m past caring about “should” at this point.
5) My knees. I don’t know if it’s the weather, a flare, arthritis. No idea, but my knees feel swollen and sore. Lidocaine is also sort of helping with the nightly pain of trying to sleep (and failing) with two bad knees. And all of the other stuff.
6) My hands are also puffed up. It’s actually enough that my ring stays in one spot, which is good because I don’t want my wedding ring flying off my finger again. But it’s bad because I don’t want swollen fingers, they hurt. I guess I can include my right wrist here, although I forgot to mention it to him. I’ve got the nagging burn, please disconnect it for five minutes pain there too.
7 & 8) The last two were prescription issues, so I won’t bore you with those details.
He surprised me when he said, “it’s the facet joints.” I sat there like, “wait…what?” He explained that every joint has them. He’s fairly certain that most of my issues at the moment are, in part, due to facet joints. What the actual heck?
Just when I thought I couldn’t hate hearing any medical thing as much as I hate hearing CRPS, RSD, or arachnoiditis, he brings facet joints into the mix. This could be causing the new issues in my arms, legs, and back. So, now what?
And thus began our monthly back and forth about treatment options. He recommends doing a medial branch block. A medial branch block is an injection that numbs the medial branch nerves in the facet joint. It’s diagnostic in that it can be helpful in determining if the facet joint nerves are actually the problem. If you get relief, the doc knows those nerves are involved. What then? Well, he said two more words that I loathe: radiofrequency ablation. Nope, nope, and nope. In that nightmare procedure, they use heat to burn the nerves, interrupting those pain signals for (allegedly) longer term relief. Let me just say that, in my experience, it caused longer term pain. I know there are people who’ve had great success with their procedures. I am not one of them. (Shudder).
He knows that. And he said, “I know you cringe every time I say it, but I have to tell you your options.” Ugh, not that. Anything but that. What else? He’s putting me on a week of steroids, a medrol pack. Hopefully, like in other flares, the steroids will reduce the inflammation in my hands and knees. It usually does the trick.
After all of that, we chatted a bit. I told him I finished my 50 book challenge. He couldn’t believe it. And then I humiliated myself. He caught me off guard and asked what books I’d recommend, since one of his kids recently gave him an Audible subscription. Oh my goodness, I literally couldn’t think of anything. Two of the three books that came to mind were perfectly acceptable. But, in between, I blurted out a horror/paranormal/romance novel that I loved but would never in a hundred years have recommended to my pain management doc. Good grief. It’s a great book and maybe he’ll love it. But, ugh. 😂
Anyway, we joked that we should start a book club. That was after I told him I started a “100 books in 2021 challenge.” I’m a few books in already, so I know I’ll get it done. I started last year’s challenge in April or May, I think. So I missed valuable reading time.
So that’s where we are. Arms are numb burning as I’m typing this but – shocker – I’m going to be posting it EARLY!! Not at 11 pm! That’s a victory! 😂
Wishing each of you a safe, peaceful, low pain week. ❤️
Peace and painlessness,
#thisiswhatsicklookslike #rsd #crps #arachnoiditis #autoimmune #sacroiliacjoint #backpain #medicalmarijuana #migraine