Clock resets for ~21 days

This morning I woke and cautiously moved about the house, getting ready for work. I’ve only been spotting today, and I’ve had minor pelvic cramping and low back pain intermittently throughout the day.

My energy has been good all day, and my mood has been stellar compared to the past week. I’ve felt good today.

I am a bit tired but not excessively tired. I wonder if the lack of Tylenol 3 killing my liver has had anything to do with the lessening of fatigue. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be super tired, who knows. I do know that I’m still insanely constipated.
In any case, the first few days after bedridden is always different. Sometimes I feel I could go dancing, other times I feel like I should spend another day in bed.

I have a confession to make, though. I am convinced that this month was so rough for me with pain and heavy bleeding because I’ve been eating my weight in chocolate for the past couple of weeks. :p
It’s that time of year – Hallowe’en – when all the yummy spooky chocolate is being made by our local awesome chocolatier.

I went back through my calendar and realised I’ve been counting from start of period to start of period to predict health for the coming month. That was incorrect because from the starting point of menses to the finish point of menses is anywhere from 3-5 days…sometimes as many as 7 days. So I need to count from the END point of menses to the next starting point of menses for health predictions.
When I went back and did that on the calendar, I saw that just as ovulation is consistent at 8 days into the new cycle, my bedridden time also seems to be consistent – every 21 days with hardly ever a deviation.

So I start the clock. I look out into the depths and squint, cautious and always anticipating the next pain attack could be sooner. And I remember to live my life until the next bedridden time comes for me.

Too bad it’s not every 33 days. Then I could start calling george a cylon. Oh hell why not. George has gone from punk rocker to cylon. Like cylons, the bastard won’t die, and grows back…

Vicoprofen review

I have been bedridden since Monday. The pain started on Sunday and that’s when the Vicoprofen pill-popping began.

George subsided overnight, and there was nothing this morning. Thank [insert deity here], since I’d already spent three full days bleeding like a stuck pig. Last month, I’d only bled that much for two days.

I tried to go to work today but came home 2 hours later in a lot of pain, and went back on the Vicoprofen.

I was in class around 10am when suddenly I felt a warm trickle. My eyes went wide and I said, “Something’s happening, I have to leave!” and I staggered to the bathroom. The pain was already setting in by the time I got to inspect the damage.
Sure enough, george was back, and full on. I had brought extra pads to work, and I had my meds with me, but there was no way I was gonna stick around with the pain ramping up the way it was.

I told my co-teacher to reduce the class size to six children, and then I went to each classroom and told them that I was leaving for the day, so they would not send any more children out to my class. I informed the office and the lunch supervisor that I would be leaving. I tried unsuccessfully to get a substitute teacher for the lunch rush, and was told it’s okay, just go home.
So I grabbed my bags and well, they were heavy as hell. Stupid me, packing so much crap. I’d brought all my homework with me, as well as my laptop, with the optimism in my head this morning that I would not be in any further pain, and that I could get some homework done on my lunch break.
Stupid me.

While I was grabbing my bags, the librarian asked me if I was okay (the lockers for the teachers is located in the back of the library). I told her no, but it’s not contagious. She chuckled. I said that I have endometriosis. She knew immediately what that meant – she said “Ohhh. I had that.”
She proceeded to tell me that she’d had surgery to no avail, and that it was so bad that it had pulled her bladder out of place. She said she’d finally gone a couple of years ago and just gotten a full hysterectomy and is better, now. She said she needed reconstructive work on her bladder and everything. *shudder*

The librarian referred me to her surgeon, and I thanked her and set off with my heavy bags, whimpering and setting them down in the kitchen. I have to say that it is exceedingly rare when my optimism turns out for me. It’s much easier to be a full time pessimist, seriously. Had I been pessimistic, I wouldn’t be standing there in the kitchen with two heavy bags, ready to cry at the thought of hauling them a block and a half back to my car, because I’d not have brought them to work to begin with, knowing full well I’d be in pain again.
But no. Month in and month out, I have this stupid hope that THIS TIME, the pain will be less or won’t last as long or what-have-you.

I left the bags in the kitchen at work and informed the secretary of said bags. I told her I was going to go get my car, then come back and pick up the bags.

I staggered out the front door of the school with a parent eyeballing me on the way out, and made my way slowly down the street. I got to the light half a block down and just as I was about to cross the street, it turned yellow. I stumbled and turned, walking into the street’s bike lane, and began walking up the street. After a few steps, I decided this was probably a bad idea, so I made my way to the curb towards the sidewalk.

It was at this point that the financial director of the school came up the street after me, and asked if I was okay and what I was doing. I told her I was trying to get to my car but it’s so far away and I’m in a lot of pain. She told me her truck was right here on the street, and that she’d give me a ride to my car. Then she asked if I’d like a ride home. I told her that decisions and logical thinking were really not on my side at the moment, due to the level of pain I was in. I still hadn’t popped any pain medication at this point, either. Why? This is what chronic pain does to the brain. It is at times like this that the person suffering needs an advocate to help with medication, transportation – even eating.
The financial director told me she’d drive me to get my bags, then drive me home. She pulled around to the front of the school, ran inside, grabbed my bags, and took me home.
On the way home, I told her I’d spoken to the librarian. She replied with “Ohhh yeah she had it REALLY bad, and finally had the surgery and took the whole summer off to recover.” I told the financial director that the librarian had given me a referral to her surgeon. She told me she has the same surgeon – that he delivered both of her daughters, and that she absolutely loves the guy.

Well! Two gleaming reviews for the same surgeon in one day! And he’s in my insurance network! I’ll have to check him out. His name is Hank Streitfeld.

The financial director drove me home, unloaded my bags and carried them to my doorstep for me. I thanked her profusely.

I think I’ve averaged about 1-2 Vicoprofen pills per day since Sunday. I take half a pill at a time because if I take a whole pill, I have severe breathing problems.

The pain was so bad for me Sunday night that I took too much Vicoprofen within a short time frame. I had taken a half pill, but it was taking too long to kick in, so about 20 minutes later, I took the other half. When both halves kicked in, the nightmare began. I had a hard time breathing, I was very dizzy which at times turned to vertigo, I was nauseated as a result of the vertigo, I was on the verge of hallucinating, I was seriously agitaged and whiny, I was paranoid, depressed, and I had to pee a lot.

Now, take all those side effects listed above and put me in a compact car in the dark on over 100 miles of winding road near the ocean in the Autumn when all form of nocturnal wildlife are present in and near the roadway. For six hours.

Yeah. Worst drug trip since the oxycodone incident back in 2006.

Going back to the beginning of this month, when I began taking the Vicoprofen, I had noted, “The test run with Vicoprofen so far has vague similarities to when I was taking Darvon back in November/December 2007 and Codeine Sulfate back in February, 2008; in the past two days I have experienced headaches, jaw pain, heart palpitations, and anxiety leading close to panic attacks. I knew better than to take a whole pill at once, otherwise I’d have also experienced the feeling of being drowned/suffocated as hydrocodone is wont to do to me. I would like to note that although I’ve had strange dreams, I have not had horrible nightmares while on this medication…Right now on half a pill, I can still feel the low back pain clearly, but the pelvic pain has subsided. I can still feel pain in my eyes and head. I’m very tired, getting shaky and dizzy because of my refusal to go lie down when on this medicine. So I’m gonna quit now and go lie down.

I don’t recall any after-effects from the Vicoprofen at the beginning of the month.
However, NOW…the after-effects of Vicoprofen is severe depression and severe constipation.
The constipation is so bad that I thought I was birthing aliens out of my ass. I will leave the results of that to your imagination. Ouch.

So unfortunately, once again, I have to put the Vicodin down and step away.

This probably leaves me with Tylenol 3 all over again.

I have no idea where the FDA currently stands on its acetaminophen ban – I know that the FDA stopped taking public input back on September 30, 2009. Now it’s wait and see.

My last liver enzyme test (October 2009) came back normal, so the continued goal is to try to take more Ibuprofen than Tylenol 3 if I can help it, to manage the pain. I know that Ibuprofen damages the kidneys and G.I. tract…I really am stuck between a rock and a hard place until I find alternative treatment that works, or until I can afford to do surgery again.

Hmmm.

Let’s have a look at this… what is the difference between Vicoprofen and Tylenol 3?

RxList shows the ingredients in Vicoprofen to be Hydrocodone bitartrate and Ibuprofen.

RxList shows the ingredients in Tylenol 3 to be Codeine phosphate and Acetaminophen.

Okay, okay, so ANYTHING with Hydrocodone in it is BAD for me.

But wait…can’t I just remove the Acetaminophen in Tylenol 3, leaving me with Codeine phosphate?

Didn’t I try Codeine phosphate before?

I searched my journal and found Codeine sulfate, but not Codeine phosphate.

WELL! Time to give my gyn a call and see if she can prescribe Codeine phosphate!

Time to also give my friend’s acupuncturist a call – my friend has endo and said her acupuncturist has done wonders for her through the needles and Chinese herbs. I’ve gone the acupuncture route before, and I’ve taken Chinese herbs. But maybe this acupuncturist is different, and has different herbs that might work better for me. All I can do is try.

I’m also severely overdue for a liver/kidney detox through my Qigong practitioner. I need to get regular with those, and that means four times a year, on time.

I’m going to have to ask the husband for help financially for this stuff.

Chronic pain and traveling

Right, then, I’ve gone and had my little emotional meltdown, and now I’m feeling a little better.

I just remembered something I talked about with my husband yesterday while we were in Mendocino – I was very angry with my body for deciding to let the menses loose two days early, on our one-year anniversary no less.

I started to go on about all the things that I’d neglected to bring, if only I’d known that I’d be needing these things so soon.

I’d made some accommodation for myself with regards to the multiple chemical sensitivity issues I’ve been having since September, but I’d made no accommodation, outside of my pain medication, towards the endometriosis issue.

I simply did not expect to be two days early, because I was not exhibiting the usual round of pre-menstrual symptoms. I was taken by surprise. I had to use a sock as a pad, that’s how unprepared I was. I haven’t had to use socks as pads since I was in high school (we were too poor to buy maxi pads).

So my discussion with my husband was that from now on, I need to be prepared, in the event that george sneaks up on me.

On the way home last night, as I was tossed about on the rough seas of endometriosis pain, combined with too much Vicodin, I clung to what sanity I could. I made a list of things I need to have at the ready whenever I am away from home 5 days before menses begins:

  • Back support cushion
  • Medication – enough to last an entire month, because that’s what makes me feel at ease
  • Travel heating pads (I have rice pads and corn pads.)
  • Maxi pads (Always have fabric pads and disposable pads on hand).
  • Portable toilet (I have a female urinal in with my camping gear, but it’s incredibly uncomfortable. Last night I began fantasizing about lugging around an actual toilet, instead).
  • A change of clothes, such as pajamas or something loose and comfy.
  • A blanket or sleeping bag.
  • A favourite pillow (hugging a large pillow close to yourself makes being stuck in a moving car when experiencing a lot of pelvic pain a little more bearable. The pillow gives the feeling of support).
  • Large elasticised bandage (again, for pelvic support when stuck in a moving vehicle) – Some people need the feeling of confinement when in that much pain, while others need to be in as loose-fitting clothing as possible. I could go either way – it just depends on the situation and the type of pain I’m in.
  • Barf bags (Who here besides me has vomited from the pain and/or from the side effects of pain medication?)
  • Respirator masks (unrelated to endometriosis; I also have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS))
  • My wheelchair (either the pain or the pain meds, or both, can sometimes make it too difficult for me to even stand or walk. If I’m driving distance away from home but have the wheelchair in the trunk of our car, it makes my life SO much easier).
  • Unscented travel soap (again related to MCS issues)
  • Slippers or slipper socks.

I know there has to be more for my travel kit. I’ll think on it and check back on this post, later. The latest round of meds have kicked in and I need to go pass out.
Once I’ve refined my list, I’ll post it up on the main site. I need to also scour the Travels With Pain website again.

Blue moon menstrual month of doom

I got my period twice this month, hence a ‘Blue Moon Menstrual Month’. The last time this happened was in April, 2009.
I wonder how often this happens for me…gonna go back and look at the calendar for a minute…

…According to my calendar, I got my period twice in a month for the following months:

June 2006
November 2006
December 2007
June 2008
November 2008
April 2009
October 2009

So it looks like my ‘Blue Moon Month’ occurs twice each year (2007 being the odd year because I had been on hormone therapy after pelvic laparoscopic surgery that year).

For the record, it does not coincide with the Blue Moon for the actual Moon. Those instances were July 2004, June 2007 and December 2009 so far; occurrence averages about every 2.7 years.

Now, since I’m looking at planets, this gets me interested in Astrology, so I looked it up – Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are all still out of whack in the sky. That is to say, all four were Retrograde, and two have since stopped going Retrograde (which means they are now considered Direct).

Jupiter went Direct on October 12, and Pluto went Direct on September 11, but Uranus and Neptune are still completely Retrograde.

Jupiter and Pluto are still playing catch-up and won’t be in their place of Return until December 2009.

Neptune won’t be in its place of Return until February, 2010, and Uranus won’t be in its place of Return until March, 2010.

Why the heck would I consider astrology?, you may ask.

Well! This leads to a much larger discussion, but the short of it is that in the 24 years that I have wrestled with endometriosis, I have tried so many things to try and figure out the why and wherefore of this damned pain, and that includes such strange things as astrology and belief in deities.

The longer answer begins with two statements:

  1. Likely due to my fundamentalist upbringing, I have conditioned my thought process from an early age to leap to punishment to explain why I am in such pain all the time.
  2. Also likely due to my fundamentalist upbringing, I harbour a lot of guilt over having this illness.

With #1, I have a constant unconscious dialogue that begins with asking myself, “What did I do to deserve this?” I answer my question with, “You must have brought it upon yourself, somehow.” I proceed therefore to lay blame to everything from my recent diet, habits, thoughts, illnesses, exposures to contaminants, vitamin intake or lack thereof… you name it. And that’s just on my end.
I also go the pity-party route and blame the environment I grew up in, the birth control pills my mother was taking just before conceiving me (and which she’d been on for something like 12 years straight), the fact that my mother smoked like a chimney throughout and after her pregnancy with me (and still smokes a lot to this day), and my mother’s genes (her mother and sisters all had/have classic symptoms of endometriosis, as do my female cousins).

With #2, I miss a lot of things in life because of this illness. I’ve missed a lot of work, concerts, birthday parties, being there for friends in the hospital, babysitting gigs, charity events, activist events, doctor appointments and more. This leaves me feeling like I’ve flaked on people and let people down. I feel this way because so many people still do not understand much about what it means to live with endometriosis. The clearest example I can give you just happened yesterday:

I awoke on my first year wedding anniversary YESTERDAY and without warning, gushed forth like the bathtub scene in Stephen King’s “Carrie”.
I had barely any symptoms leading up to this menstrual cycle, which was two days early. I had no spotting, no low back pain for days, no intense fatigue, no feeling of having to repeatedly ‘check my undies’ that I get up to 48 hours prior to menses. I had three days of minor right side ovarian cramping. That’s not unusual – sometimes I get that for a week straight, and not even right before my period. The low back pain came in the wee hours before waking yesterday, and I thought it was the bed I’d slept in (we were out of town).

On my fricking wedding anniversary, I bled like a stuck pig and was not prepared in the least for it. I had no pads, no wheelchair, no security blanky and pillow, no rice heating pads.

My plan was to wake, use the bathroom, then snuggle with the husband. Instead, I woke, used the bathroom, and sat crying with my head in my hands, on my first year wedding anniversary.

I began immediately with the blaming dialogue. My husband tried to talk me down, but I’d catch myself returning to the topic over and over again, muttering aloud that this or that could have brought on the pain and bleeding. Everything from all the chocolate we’ve been eating to the half hour we spent in the jacuzzi the night before.

I spent all day high as a kite on Vicoprofen yesterday. We were in Mendocino, hours away from home, and I had refused to be taken home right away. I took the drugs and we visited as many little shops as we could. We ate brunch. We explored one of the cemeteries. We walked out on the bluffs and stood watching the ocean together. We indulged in a chocolate orgy yesterday – we had cake from Mariposa Bakery that we’d brought with us, and I’d gifted my husband with handmade chocolates from Gaslight Emporium in our own hometown, and we bought even more chocolate from a place called Frankie’s, as well as buying truffles from a street vendor.

We left Mendocino when we said we would, and got in some of the last sunset pictures we could on the way out of town. We had decided at the outset of the trip to take Highway 1 home, to enjoy the scenery and the ocean view.

However, my pain ramped up considerably on the way home, and I took a whole Vicoprofen pill in the span of one hour to combat the pain. This was my first time taking that much Vicoprofen at once, cuz I’ve been consuming only half a pill at a time.

What resulted from being on a whole pill of Vicoprofen (7.5mg Vicodin and 200mg Ibuprofen) was very similar to the experience I had when I had taken a whole pill of oxycodone; “I thought I was drowning/suffocating to death. I literally didn’t think I’d make it through the night. That was 5mg though.”

In addition to that, we were on some very twisty/turny ocean-side roads. I had the spins real bad from the medication.

Ibuprofen is a bit of a diuretic, so I continually had to have my husband pull over so I could pee or so I could stand in one place and get some fresh air so as not to vomit. I kept a paper bag in the front seat with me just in case I had to throw up.

The drive, which is supposed to take about 3 hours, took TWICE that because of all the stops I needed, because of how slow I needed us to drive because of the dizziness and nausea, and because of road work (in some areas, there had been mudslides and the road was down to one lane!). What a harrowing experience it was to get home last night.

I cried, I moaned, I begged for my death, I hallucinated.

It didn’t help that due to the season being Autumn, there was a lot of wildlife on or near the roads after dark. I’ve never seen so many deer in my life. There were possums, raccoons, hares, and, I shit you not, there was also a large brown cow sitting on the cliffside next to the road at one point. Just sitting there calmly, chewing as we drove past. I flipped my shit and my husband had to reassure me it was not another hallucination.

I was convinced a deer would land through our windshield before the night was over.

I think the worst trip I ever had prior to this is probably the first time I ever ate a pot brownie. Back then I felt like I was continually going backwards on The Gemini roller coaster. What a horrible night that was.
So last night, on the full pill of Vicoprofen, I felt like I was on a continuous roller coaster from hell – picture a giant wooden roller coaster like The Gemini with steep hills that won’t let you off for six solid hours. That’s what it felt like. Every muscle in my body was tensed to the max, which made the pain worse. I tried and tried to relax. I tried to start with just my eyebrows and I could not do it. That’s when the crying started, really.

We got home around 1:30am, according to my husband. I washed my face, put on my pajamas, and put a few things away that we’d brought in from the car, and prepared for bed. Despite all that I’d gone through, I was lucid enough at that point to be sensitive to my husband’s needs. He was all jacked up from the stress of the ride, too. He was the one having to steer us through all those roads and having to endure my crying and whining (to the point where he just blasted the radio for a long time to drown me out, but I didn’t care that he did that cuz seriously, I was a mess and it was making him a mess).
I warmed up all available heating pads in the house, gave my husband a massage as he sat in front of me on the bed, and then ordered him to take half a Vicoprofen and lay face down on the bed.
Then I put the heating pads all over his back and just let him lay there while I settled into bed.

My husband said that when he woke this morning, he had no trace of back pain, thanks to the care I’d given him. :)

As for me, you know I stayed home from work today. I’ll be staying home from work tomorrow, too. I’ve already called in sick. There’s no way I’m playing the “wait and see” route this time. I need the extra day and I have no false hopes that I “might” not bleed as heavily or be in as much pain tomorrow as I was in today and yesterday.

After 24 years, I’m tired of this constant every month battle of wits, this false notion of “thinking positively and the pain MIGHT go away” bullshit.

The reality of the situation is that I have an incurable illness which is an immune deficiency, which means it ravishes my entire body, and I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS ILLNESS BUT TO LET IT RUN ITS COURSE when the pain flares.

I want to get this through my head as well as through everyone else’s heads – go look at my list again of what I’ve tried over the years.

Eventually we will all have to come to a place of acceptance – that there is no overcoming or beating this illness – only living with it…if we are up for the job.

Some days I wonder how much longer I’ll be up for the job.

Liver enzyme and thyroid test results

I got my liver enzyme and thyroid tests back today – both are normal!

I asked if the thyroid test was on the high end or low end of normal and was told it’s smack in the middle of normal.

Yay! But boo! I was hoping that I could blame some of the pelvic pain on a faulty thyroid and not have to get surgery again…you know…just take a pill instead. Ah well.

Daily Mugshot

I’m using Daily Mugshot to post an image a day to track how I look throughout the month when dealing with chronic pain.



Daily Mugshot

First day back to work again

Today I woke feeling exhausted, but had very little pain in the pelvis and lower back. I went to work and made it 3 minutes before the start of my shift, still feeling like I’d be better off back in my bed.

Once I got to work, the uterine pain returned, but it wasn’t debilitating. The pain remained at a 4 on the pain scale for the entire day, and even at this moment, it’s still about a 4.

I took 600mg of Advil liqui-gels at some point today, perhaps around 11am, because the pain was downright annoying. The Advil of course made me even more tired, but I still had to get through the lunch rush from 11:30am – 1:15pm whereby I first monitor children aged 3-5 eating lunch, ensuring they clean up after themselves, and releasing them to the play yard after they’ve finished. I then scan the play yard of up to 50 children romping and screaming at recess (I’m one of 5-6 adults out there at that time), dashing to and fro to stop arguments, stop children from crashing the trikes into each other and/or inanimate objects, and ensuring ground rules of the playground are followed.

The pain spiked to 5.5 a couple of times during recess because of all the darting around and bending over I have to do when interacting with young children.

At my lunch break at 1:15pm, I felt as though I’d fall face first into my food, I was so tired. But I had to eat because I still had to get through afternoon class with the kids.

When I finally got home around 4pm, I crashed on the couch immediately and slept for an hour. I only woke because my upper back was hurting, but I was too stubborn to change into my pajamas and crawl into bed. I knew if I got into bed, I’d be there for the rest of the day.
Of course, since waking from my nap an hour and a half ago, I’ve done pretty much nothing but stare blankly at things. I motivated myself to the storage unit at the back of the house to retrieve the heater fan, because our furnace pilot light is out again. Just weeding through the storage unit and hefting down a 2-foot tall heater fan is all it took to wear me out again.

Welcome to my life with endometriosis. The fatigue right before, during and after menses is ALWAYS like this. For some women with endometriosis, the fatigue is like this 24/7.

If I can muster any energy at all, I may start work on a new video blog – it’s been 6 months since my last video.

I have just over 3 weeks until bedridden time strikes again. Let’s see how many days in the next 3 weeks are actually pain-free before I’m bedridden and taking time off work again.

In September, I had a total of 8 pain-free days, and they weren’t consecutive.

sept2009full

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my masseuse, to get me on a regular massage plan for pain management, and I’ve also talked with a friend of mine tonight to see if she’ll practice on me, since she’s done massage school, too. Got an appointment with her this coming Sunday. :)

Other things on the pain management horizon: another liver/kidney one-month detox program and Chi Nei Tsang sessions, joining a gym again, recommitting to yoga and Qigong again, getting that menu book together I’ve been promising myself for years (culling from gluten-free recipes, yeast free recipes, sugar free/corn syrup free recipes, the endometriosis diet, etc).

As I get older, the pain will only get worse. If it’s not endometriosis, it’s the osteoarthritis. I must stay on top of this and continue to prove to myself and others that I’m doing everything I can outside of surgery and hormones to fight the pain.

Trying out Vicoprofen

It’s been a long weekend. Hell it’s been a long week. I have experienced severe pain and mild nausea every other day since last Monday. I missed work every other day last week. This is not normal for my cycle. Someone asked me if perhaps I have another ovarian cyst on top of the usual menstrual cycle – I would not be surprised if this is the case.

Let’s recap: spotting on Sunday Sept. 27 until Thursday Oct. 1.

Moderate flow developing to heavy flow on Oct. 1. Bedridden Oct. 1 as of 8:30pm and all day Oct. 2.

Heavy flow on Oct. 3 but pain stayed around 4.5 on the pain scale for much of the day, spiking to 6 a couple of times. I spent that day in class (I’m taking a Teacher level Montessori Practical Life class through the end of this month) and forced myself to make it through the entire day.

The pain and bleeding subsided by around 6pm on Oct. 3 and I felt well enough to consider going out dancing, if you can even believe that. I decided to take it easy and not mess with my good fortune, and went to a movie with my husband and a friend, instead. We saw Zombieland – haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. :)

The pain and bleeding never returned for the rest of the night.

I woke to pain on Sunday morning around 10am. The bleeding returned in a gush, as did the nausea. I forced myself to eat something so I could take the Vicoprofen I just got on Friday.

The pain hovered around 6.5 on the pain scale, but I decided to take only a quarter of the Vicoprofen and see how that would affect me, since when I tried half a pill on Friday, it knocked me completely out for hours.

A quarter of a pill did nothing for me even after half an hour, so while riding in the car with my husband to run errands, I took another quarter pill and waited.
Again a half an hour went by, and by this time I was crying from the pain, so I took another quarter pill. That one finally kicked in with the other quarters and I was dizzy and stoned.
My husband dropped me home when I could no longer stay upright, but I could not sleep. I was antsy and headachey and my eyes hurt and I was moody and had the nesting MUST CLEAN air about me. I cleaned the counter top in the kitchen, the bathroom sink, and THEN passed out for half hour to 45 minutes.

I got up after my husband went off to game night with his buddies. The bleeding had subsided again, but my head and eyes still hurt. I made myself dinner and felt comforted by the lovely smell of cornish hen cooking in the oven. I ate that entire hen. ;)

Immediately after eating, the pain returned once more, but the bleeding hasn’t ramped back up. I didn’t want to chance it, though, so I took half a Vicoprofen and inside of 20 minutes I was stoned. I had just enough time to type up this journal entry before becoming too stoned to carry on.

Someone had suggested a few months ago that I try Vicoprofen instead of Tylenol 3 – for two reasons: 1) My liver enzymes were really high in January 2008 and the doctor thinks it’s from taking Tylenol 3 every month for the past few years. 2) The FDA wants to ban opioid/acetaminophen combos because of the danger of liver damage/failure in patients.
So last week I called my gynecologist and asked to try Vicoprofen. Curiously, she said she’d never heard of the stuff before. She’s the same doctor who has let me run the gamut of meds to treat the endometriosis pain, so of course she said yes to the Vicoprofen.
I was bedridden on Friday but my neighbor was nice enough to go pick up the prescription for me.

The test run with Vicoprofen so far has vague similarities to when I was taking Darvon back in November/December 2007 and Codeine Sulfate back in February, 2008; in the past two days I have experienced headaches, jaw pain, heart palpitations, and anxiety leading close to panic attacks. I knew better than to take a whole pill at once, otherwise I’d have also experienced the feeling of being drowned/suffocated as hydrocodone is wont to do to me. I would like to note that although I’ve had strange dreams, I have not had horrible nightmares while on this medication.

I really hope all the pain and bleeding is over by tomorrow, because I need to go back to work or else the axe hangs ever closer regarding attendance issues again. I have not been threatened on this job for missing work on account of my illness, but it’s a constant fear that it’s only a matter of time. I’ve been with this school for 5.5 months. I’d like to make it to a year and start feeling comfortable and secure in my job placement.

I will continue to report on any side effects I may have with the Vicoprofen. Right now on half a pill, I can still feel the low back pain clearly, but the pelvic pain has subsided. I can still feel pain in my eyes and head. I’m very tired, getting shaky and dizzy because of my refusal to go lie down when on this medicine. So I’m gonna quit now and go lie down.

Oh…wait… before I forget – last month two different people suggested things for me to try to quell/cure the endometriosis pain. One suggested I go to Lourdes, France and bathe in the healing waters. Another suggested I try biofeedback. As you know, I keep a list of things I’ve tried to combat the pain of endometriosis, and I keep this list not just for me but to show others who ask “have you tried” that yes, more than likely I have in fact tried it. However, I won’t be able to afford a trip to Southern France anytime soon, so Lourdes isn’t feasible. Nor am I Catholic, nor do I believe in ‘miracles’, so Lourdes isn’t believable.
The biofeedback thing though has merit – in Susan Lark’s Fibroid Tumors and Endometriosis Self-help Book, she talks about the aid of biofeedback in managing pain.

So I’ll motivate myself to try that and add it to my list.

Suggestions are always welcome. Check my list first before suggesting I try this or that remedy. Some suggestions may be refused – with explanation as to why.

I really gotta go fall over now. Good night.

Serious pain has arrived

I’m bedridden right now, waiting for the Tylenol 3 to kick in, enduring nausea, ragey feelings, sharp stabbing pain in my left pelvic quadrant, and a low body buzz of inflamation.

Today was Day 5 of spotting which rolled into Day 1 of actual flow, around 10:30am.

I had minor pain from the time I woke up this morning, and decided to go in to work. I had stayed home yesterday, expecting the worst, and it didn’t happen. At the moment I had called in sick to work though, the pain and nausea was bad. It just dissipated is all. I was a mental basket case all day yesterday though, so it’s best I stayed home, anyway.

I did a bunch of slow large hip circles before going to work and lamented that I couldn’t do them while on the job cuz it looks too risqué ;)

I wasn’t much better emotionally this morning, cuz when I got to work, both the school director and the financial director said they needed to see me, and the school director offered to take over for my start-of-shift duties. I told her I’d be fine, and went. But of course I fretted to the point of near panic attack, fearing that I was going to be fired for missing work. Hello PTSD!

It turns out that the school director just wanted to know more of how I get through each moment with the pain, and the financial director wanted to go over the purchase request forms I’d submitted for my classroom, to be sure she understood everything before making a store run for the school today. *big sigh of relief*

Today I fluctuated between a 1 and a 3 on the pain scale until 1:15pm.

Just as I was going to my lunch break, my legs felt weak and the pain ramped up to 7.5. I shoved 600mg Advil liqui-gels down my throat while eating watermelon and dried mango, because 5 minutes was too long to wait before my lunch was done cooking in the microwave. I sat through my 45-minute lunch break hunched over the table, my hands trembling as I tried to eat. I seriously considered going home.
I made chit-chat with the school secretary, who was also on her lunch break. We talked about Michigan cuz I finally got plane tickets for my husband and I to visit between Christmas and New Year’s. Her family is from Troy, Michigan. We talked about the seasons and where we’ve traveled within the state.
About 8 minutes before the end of my break, the pain cleared, and I sat up straight, and felt alright. I slowly stood up and the pain didn’t return, nor was there any gush. How excited I was!
I went back to my outdoor classroom and finished out the day, tremendously proud of myself. The pain fluctuated between 1 to 4.5 for the rest of the work day.

As the parents arrived at 3pm to pick up their children, the director of the school came outside and asked me how I fared today. I told her how the day had gone well until my lunch break, and that I toughed it out waiting for the meds to kick in, and they did! No opiates! Just the liqui-gels, and I was ok by the time my break was over.

The director smiled broadly and I told her ‘what luck!’ that I’d had the pain come and go again in-between the time I was around the children. She was happy for me and remarked that she’s watching me in order to gain more understanding of what her own daughter goes through and how she might help her through it. Awww, isn’t that sweet? Seriously! I am happy to tell her whatever she needs to know about endometriosis and how I personally get through each day.

I got home and immediately changed into my pajamas and resumed the slow large hip circles to manage the pain. I tried to get some homework done but couldn’t concentrate and was literally falling asleep at the computer. Around 6:30pm I forced myself to get dressed and went for a 3½ block walk to my favourite sushi joint and got some take-away dinner. I was able to walk briskly and surprisingly, I had energy to burn. The pain fluctuated between 1 and 3 over the half-mile round trip.

Around 8pm I was trying to do homework again when I was seized by fatigue once more. I fought it a second time and decided to make a grocery run. I noticed that walking had become more laborious. But still, I was alright when I walked into Safeway. The pain was about a 4 on the scale. However, while shopping I became nervous and felt like a panic attack may occur. I felt a low full body buzz beginning. Then my legs started to get weak. I finished up and got the hell out of there to make it to Trader Joe’s next door before closing time.
It was just after 8:30pm, and as I stepped out of Safeway, it felt like every foot forward was leaden. I felt like I was walking in slow motion. My body just didn’t want to carry on. I forced myself to keep walking, despite the heaviness and fatigue I felt.

The pain reached a 7 on the pain scale by the time I got to the checkout lane. I thought I was maintaining outwardly pretty well, until the clerk looked at me to greet me and worry crossed his brow. He asked how I was doing in that “are you alright?” sort of tone. I quietly and nervously replied ‘okay, how are you”. :/

By the time I got back to my car, the pain had reached an 8 on the pain scale. I was able to drive the half mile back home, but could barely get out of my car. I literally had to sit there for a minute to steel myself and force myself out of my car.

When I got in the house, I took a Tylenol 3, got back into my pajamas, and crawled into bed with the laptop. Screw the Ibuprofen, I needed immediate whacking of the pain. Still, it took roughly 25 minutes for the meds to take effect, and the nausea almost won out.

But here I am, pleasantly stoned, laying in bed with heating pad and laptop. I made it through the pain and chronicling said pain.

Where is my husband, you may ask?

Band practice.

Sometimes I’m bitter at his absense during my intense pain in which I am left to fend for myself.

Other times I am okay with it because honestly, there’s nothing he can do aside from fetch things for me. I didn’t NEED to go to the grocery store tonight. I was stubborn and went, because I’d rather have done that than have gone to bed at 8pm like my body wanted to do.

Tonight was a mixed bag. I’m still emotionally a bit of a basket case.
I hate the hormonal whack that comes with menses.