It’s hard to believe that we’re sitting on the edge of summer vacation already! As the child of two teachers, I’ve spent my entire life thinking of September as the beginning of the year and June as the end. Then I became a parent and it really solidified that concept. Even more so now that I work in a school! So the end of the year is upon us. What a relief!
Except that it’s not a physical relief. I’m in a flare. The stress of the usual end-of-school-year whatnots joined up with the impact of changing weather and BOOM! My entire body feels done in. I spent far too much time mentally warring with my pain this week. Staring at my hands, as though angry glares would stop the bubble-wrap sensation, stop the shocks. Clearly, I wasn’t thinking clearly.
But I finally got to see my doctor. Arriving at their still new office, I was escorted to an exam room off of a long hallway. The lights in this facility are so ridiculous! I had to take pictures this time. The practice deals with people suffering not only with chronic pain, but also neurological disorders, spinal issues and more. Glaring strips of light every two feet in a long hallway? It’s far too bright, a major sensory overload. And insensitive to the needs of the patients, in my opinion.
I explained the last 6 weeks of symptoms to my doctor. He listened and typed, listened and typed. Click-clacking on the keyboard, every now and again looking over at me. Occasionally, his looks bordered on anxious. Then he’d nod and start typing again. Then he stood up to examine me, doing the usual strength tests. He mentioned, far too casually for my liking, that my calcium had been “borderline low, last July.” LAST JULY?!? No one mentioned that. It was during my summer surgery from hell. (Look back on those blogs if you haven’t read them. I’m a walking, talking cautionary tale about post-op complications). He wants to check my calcium levels, saying that a deficiency can cause spasms. Great. I’ll run right to the lab and get it checked. Or maybe I’ll wait a year. 😒
A YEAR of spasms, shocks and pain, this on top of the usual RSD-related “stuff.” If I could have known, I’d have avoided this. If low calcium is the culprit. That can be fixed. That can improve. The alternative is too much to bear. That there’s something more serious wrong with my hands. There’s literally no point in obsessing about it. I have a lab appointment tomorrow. We shall see.
The doc also wants to do an MRI of my cervical spine. I haven’t had one of those done in years. And, unfortunately, they don’t want me to do an open MRI, despite my intense claustrophobia. Ugh. Even the thought of it. (Shudder). That appointment is booked for next week. Hopefully, it will show nothing. Or should I hope for an answer?
One of the bad things about living with any chronic illness is getting tests done. Most of the work ups ordered aren’t awful, but getting blood drawn is a risk. Every trauma, however small, can set off a firestorm of flaring. And then there’s the rock and hard place of getting results: do I want them to find nothing? Or something to give me an answer? Do you know what I mean?
Waiting endlessly for a diagnosis, a plan, a solution to a symptom/symptoms is awful. Between trying to find the right words to describe your problem and having medical professionals look at you like you’re insane, there’s no comfort. It’s a rotten deal, no matter what. So getting lab work done is a mixed blessing. Maybe they’ll finally give me an answer! But maybe they’ll find another terrifying issue that brings more drama, more pain. OR maybe they’ll find nothing and I’ll go on, suffering forever. It’s a no win situation.
Low calcium isn’t the end of the world. It’s the c-spine MRI that worries me. I’ve had spinal surgery. Let’s just say that it wasn’t the best time of my life. Even the thought of needing something done to my neck scares the heck out of me. But there’s not much I can do, at least until I have the test done. So we wait.
For now, life continues as usual. The one lovely thing is that my daughter is on vacation! And she aced her junior year of high school. We’re so proud of her. She’s a constant source of light for me, no matter how I feel physically.
I carry on, moving forward and taking joy wherever possible. And whatever the test results are, I’ll deal with that too.
Wishing all of you a peaceful, pain-free week.
Be kind to one another.
Peace and painlessness,