After 16 consecutive pain-free days, george reared his ugly head once again. The term “pain-free” is really a misnomer, though, because I was in a ton of pain during those 16 days, but it wasn’t endometriosis related. I had a pinched nerve in the neck, which radiated down my left shoulder and arm, and caused much of my upper and mid back to go into spasm. I had little to no mobility of the head without intense pain. The pain also radiated upwards, causing migraines. It all began when I tilted my head back to put in antihistamine eye drops before work on December 14.
The uptime that I would have had for 16 days was completely removed by the pinched nerve. I went through two different muscle relaxers, and was also eating Advil like candy and taking regular doses of Tylenol 3. I was scheduled for physical therapy and potentially a cortisone injection to quell the pain. I bought a TheraCane, which helped only a tiny bit (but having that cane long term is a good idea).
And then, just as I was entering the next menses cycle, with lower back pain ramping up, the upper back and neck pain eased up! Thank goodness, because I can only handle one big pain mess at a time!!
Since the first day of my cycle this month, I have not had any pinched nerve in the neck issues, and I’ve had full mobility back again.
ON TOP of the pinched nerve and the endometriosis, I ALSO developed pink eye for the SIXTH time in three months, because I wore eye makeup with some kind of ingredient in it that hates my eyes. This time mascara was not the culprit – it was black eyeliner with glitter in it, which I wore on New Year’s Eve. The pink eye hit about 36 hours later, on January 2.
Perhaps I had used that eyeliner during one of my other bouts with pink eye, and it was therefore contaminated and reinfected my eye. I don’t know, but I threw it away this time, along with my other eyeliners. Ugh, it’s getting to be too expensive for me to wear makeup, I swear.
I had leftover antibiotic eye drops, so I have been putting those in four times a day for the past week, while dealing with trapped nerve pain (so THAT’S been interesting, having to lay down or lean back, because tilting the head hurt too much) and also dealing with premenstrual cramping.
The cramping had set in on December 30, and was likely the result of me drinking coffee during vacation. Caffeine always kicks up pelvic pain for me. I know better. I was a bad monkey. I could have given myself a few extra days without premenstrual cramps had I just stayed away from the caffeine.
By January 2, I thought for sure george was going to be early. I was urinating more frequently, and felt a fullness in the uterus, so I was checking for bleeding all day Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, I actually had no cramps until 8:40pm, when began an increasing stinging pain in my hips, moving inward towards uterus, triggering my bladder.
On Wednesday, I had intermittent pain throughout the day, worsening in the evening when I was at a meeting for a paranormal group that I volunteer for. That night, my entire back from top to bottom was seizing, because I was still also dealing with the pinched nerve pain.
George didn’t actually show up until Thursday – a day late – while I was at work. I had been wearing a pad for a few days, so I was prepared. The low back pain was brutal that day, and was aggravated by all the stooping and bending that I do as a preschool teacher. I ate 2 half pills of muscle relaxers that day, and 800mg Advil gel caps. I looked pretty ill at lunch hour that day, and two teachers commented on it.
On Friday, my head teacher and the two teachers from the previous day were surprised to see me at work. My head teacher said she was told I wouldn’t be in. I gave a contemptuous look and assured my head teacher that I would have phoned her myself, as well as the school, if I were not coming in. She replied that she thought so, and said she was confused by what people had said. I told her that it was likely the two teachers from the previous day, who saw me in pain at lunch hour, and who also know about my endometriosis. My head teacher asked me if that was acting up, and I said it was. I told her I was doing well at the moment, and that I hoped for the best, since I’d been pre-medicating for days.
The pain set in not long after class started, because as a preschool teacher I had to go right into the stooping and bending to interact with children. I consciously used the Alexander Technique as best I could the entire day. Between that, the muscle relaxers and Advil, I was able to get through the work day. That’s not to say it wasn’t a bad day; I bled through two pads, to my underwear, TWICE. Good thing I was wearing black slacks. The pain was at 6.5 on the pain scale for much of the day, though I had entered the workplace at about a 3 on the scale.
It took 2 half muscle relaxers and 1,200mg Advil gel caps to get through the day. The pain ramped further when I got home, despite taking a whole Tylenol 3, a half muscle relaxer, and 400mg Advil.
Before bed, I took another half Tylenol 3 and a whole muscle relaxer. I had intermittent cramps throughout the night.
That brings us up to Saturday – which was yesterday.
I conserved my energy, missing out on one of my husband’s birthday functions during the day. He was at a local game store playing table-top games with friends from 11am to 7pm, while I stayed at home playing it safe, trying to avoid the pain.
I took a continual amount of Advil gel caps throughout the day, and the pain level stayed at about a 4 on the pain scale.
I was able to accomplish some minor housework, which pleased me greatly.
Last night, I joined my husband for dinner at a local German restaurant. I have not had any alcohol in the New Year, because I knew the endo flare was on its way. For dinner, I chose grilled salmon on a bed of spinach.
I made all the right choices, and yet, the pain flared while I was out at dinner. One of our friends remarked that I was looking ‘green’.
I was in fact about a 7 on the pain scale. I broke the ‘no booze during an endo flare’ rule in order to attempt faster drug delivery to the blood stream. I drank some brandy with my Tylenol 3 and Soma. It really did help.
After dinner, my husband and I came back home, and I curled up in bed with the heating pads and passed out from the pain meds.
This morning, I awoke to debilitating pain from one end of my spine to the other, spread out across my back and throughout my pelvis. I was at 8.5 on the pain scale and whimpering a lot. I took a full Tylenol 3 and a full Soma, and the drugs took hold within 20 minutes. This thankfully lowered me back down to a 4 on the pain scale.
Moving around wasn’t really an option, as it brought the pain back up again.
As a result of having to take drugs first thing in the morning, I was barely functional, falling asleep at the keyboard from the drugs. My husband made me a bit of breakfast to eat, and then I passed back out again until afternoon.
I have spent the entire day in bed. I got out of bed long enough to make myself a late lunch, and this rekindled the pelvic pain, so back to bed I went, with my food, even.
This is not how I like to spend my weekends. I’m tired of doing this for 26 years. I’m tired of having spent thousands of dollars on two surgeries that have not made me pain-free. This is no way to live.
I really hope this endo flare is done by tomorrow, because I have to be back at work.
It is now 6pm, and I will get out of bed and move around. I’ve been getting out of bed every one to two hours to move around and test the waters on my body’s mobility and threshold.
…6:37pm: so far so good. I’m leaving the house to go grocery shopping with my husband!
…7:52pm: At the grocery store, my legs got weak and felt like giving out several times. I walked slowly and forced one foot in front of the other. Leg weakness is common with endo and me. The nerves radiating down from the pelvis must still be inflamed or impinged with the endo flare, because the signal does not reach correctly in the legs.
When we got home, I was helping put groceries away when I almost fainted. I literally felt myself go dark and dizzy, and then my eyes popped wide and I held onto the countertop. Now I have nausea. It’s not hypoglycemia – I ate 4 hours ago and I’m not feeling hungry. This is different from hypoglycemia. I know this feeling. It happens right before crushing pain from passing more clots. The rest of tonight should be interesting. I hope it all gets itself over with before work tomorrow!