Pain Management appointment

Because I am special, I had TWO endo flares in June.
But because I am hard core, I spent the day at the Pride Parade, and at my friend’s dance party on Day 3 of the pain (June 27).
I was drugged up all day, of course, and I didn’t dance – I sat and watched people, instead.


IMG_0579

Me and my girlfriend.


 


IMG_0625

SF Pride Parade.


 


IMG_0655

The crowd at SF Pride.


 

I didn’t suffer again until July 21, OF COURSE 3 days before I had to get on a plane to visit family.
I had tried to refill the Norco a week earlier via the web, but it never got approved by the doctor. I kept calling to check on the status, and the pharmacy said they’d send another request, but there was nothing. So a day before I had to get on the plane, I reached 8 on the pain scale, and I got an emergency appointment with any available doctor. Well, I ended up with a nurse practitioner instead! And she refused to fill my script, and sat there arguing with me about it! Finally, she said she’d give me a few pills to tide me over until I heard back from my GYN, and she stormed out of the room, slamming the door.

My girlfriend was right there with me when it happened. I looked at her, mouth agape, and just started crying.
I am not a drug seeker, goddammit!! I am in a lot of pain!!!

I spent another two days in pain after landing in Michigan to see family, but at least I had enough pain meds to tide me through.


IMG_0854

Me and my Ma.


 

IMG_0901

Me and my chosen sister.


 

I recovered as I always do.
When I returned from my trip home, I had an appointment with a pain management doctor. I was expecting to be introduced to the different types of physical therapy type pain management they had to offer me.
Instead, I was told that before I can get to that stage, the doctor had to interview me. She wanted to know my life story with endo, so I told her. Then she said she needed to do a pelvic exam.
I was not ready emotionally for this, and told her so. She apologised and said that it is necessary for her to make her final decisions as to what care I need. She promised she would not use a speculum, or torture me.
I consented, but was not happy about it.
She did a simple pelvic with just her fingers. While in the stirrups, she had me lay my right leg to the side, then my left leg, while she kept her fingers inside of me. I yelped out in pain at the slightest movement of my legs to the side. She said that’s all she needed to assess, and told me we were done.

She then informed me of her opinion: I have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
“On exam, you have significant spasms in the muscles of your pelvic floor; this is commonly referred to as myofascial pain or pelvic floor dysfunction. Myofascial pain is typically worse with physical activity and after intercourse and/or bowel movements. When this has been a longstanding problem, changes happen in the nervous system that make the pain worse and even spread to other areas of the pelvis. The more the muscles spasm, the more pain you have; the more pain, the more the muscles contract and spasm so this becomes a cycle that can be difficult to break.”

We discussed the various types of treatment, which is the usual:

  • NSAIDS
  • Oral contraceptions
  • DepoProvera
  • Mirena IUD
  • Lupron
  • TENS unit
  • Surgery

I vetoed all but NSAIDS and TENS unit.

We then discussed the Gabapentin. I was on 200mg/day, which made the doctor laugh robustly. I got offended, and told her that at 300mg/day, I experienced tremors in the hand and neck. But after discussing it for a bit, and knowing that I’ve been on the stuff for two years now, I decided to try increasing the dosage again. She wants me to increase by 100g every three days.

When I got home from the appointment, my girlfriend was waiting for me. I broke down crying, because I am frustrated that I have YET ANOTHER diagnosis of something awful.
But it makes sense now as to why surgery twice “failed” me.

So, over a week later, I’m now at 500mg/day, and I’ve started to experience very minor hand tremors. I will continue increasing dosage until it becomes uncomfortable emotionally for me to deal with.

Going back to george, though…
I felt good until August 15. That afternoon, I could feel my body breaking down, slowing down… every joint and muscle felt fatigued. But I had agreed to show up on the U.S.S. Hornet for a paranormal tour. I’m glad I did, and I got to lead a tour, something I’m becoming more comfortable with over time.

But by the time the tour was over, my muscles and joints, especially in the legs, felt strained. I had wanted to go out dancing after the paranormal tour, but I just couldn’t do it.

I realised my body had entered yet another pain flare.
The next morning, I was expected to be on the Hornet again for Security. When I woke up, I tried to ignore the pain. Sheer stubbornness got me dressed, fed and out the door, and to the ship. I took my pain medication first thing in the morning, and at mid-morning, and again right before I had to leave, but the pain STILL managed to take me down right before the end of my shift.

I made it home and crawled into bed. I remained bedridden for over 24 hours.

What pisses me off to tears is another beautiful, warm, sunny day was ruined by pain. I could count how many beautiful days I lose each year to this hellish pain, but it would be too depressing to stomach. What made me cry even more is that my girlfriend was staying with me that weekend, and I felt cheated out of happy fun hangout time with her. Though I have to say, she is the best girlfriend ever – she made meals for me, did some dishes, fed my cat, warmed my heating pads, and stayed by my side despite me being in states of listlessness or whimpering in pain or emoting anger at being in pain. I offered for her to go do stuff, hang out with people locally, etc. But she said she WANTS to be right here, by my side. I feel so lucky.

On August 17, after my girlfriend left back for her home, I developed a nasty migraine which lasted for hours. I put an ice pack on my head, it was so bad, and I finally just went to bed.

Woke up this morning, not feeling the greatest, but I had to go to work.
I was at a 6.5 to 7 on the pain scale all day, and just before it was time to go home, I spiked up to over an 8 on the pain scale.

On the way home, I fumbled around for some Norco, and found out I only had one pill left!!! So I called the Kaiser pharmacy, and was told that the doctor STILL has not approved the refill. The pharmacy said they would send another request. When I got home, I emailed my doc as well. Now I just have to hope that the last pill I took is all that I really need, and that the pain flare will come to an end tonight. Until then, I’m back to bed rest. The Norco kicked in, and I slept for three hours.

When I woke up, I thought it was time to go to work. It was only 9:13pm.

Being on 500mg/day of Gabapentin so far is NOT helping me with the pain.
I have a pending appointment with physical therapy, and I will be getting a TENS unit in the near future.

Now I must try to go back to sleep for the night…

Happy New Year…

Sorry I’ve been away for so long.

Just so I don’t leave you hanging, I did not have a better day after my last journal entry. In fact, it was my worst pain day at work that week. I wore a heating pad all day and consumed 1,600mg Advil.
After that date, I didn’t record my pain for the rest of the week. I was likely too pissed off about the pain to bother recording it. Although I had noted on December 1 “Nausea, extreme fatigue, shakey legs, mild to moderate pain. dark brown flow, turning to red.”

I got my period again near the end of the year and was actually bedridden from the pain.

THIS PART IS IMPORTANT:

Since December, I have become sexually active again, and as a result have been dealing with drama in one case, and what my housemate calls ‘New Relationship Energy’ in another case. So maintaining my endo blog had not been priority. ;)

Although I blamed becoming sexually active again as the reason why I must have been bedridden. Why else would I have had such a great year previous to that, pain-wise, other than the fact that I’d had a noticeable lack of sex, specifically penetration sex?

Ok, interrupting the pain diary for a moment to tell you about relationship stuff!
In December and again in February, I had a fling with a friend. I ended it after February, though. In March, I began seeing a newish friend, and we’ve been together – not separated by more than five days at a stretch – since March 21st (Happy Spring!).

Right…back to the pain blog:
Looking back through the last 24 months of my blog, it reads like someone who grabs at straws each month, looking for a tiny amount of hope that things could be improving pain-wise, but in reality the pain actually has remained the same the entire time.

For all of 2013, though I was bedridden only once, the pain continually got to between 7 and 8 on the pain scale, which is still unacceptable. The surgeries have not been worth it in that regard. The only benefit of surgery was a short-lived lengthening in span between pain cycles. The Gabapentin is what helped me to not be bedridden for over a year, until I became sexually active again. The end of December and into January was very rough on me, pain-wise. Same thing for February.

During March, I pushed through the pain because there was so much already planned for that weekend. I got up to a level 7 pain on March 13, and said ‘screw it’ and didn’t record my pain levels for the rest of the week/weekend because of all that was going on.

In April, I got george TWICE. On top of that, I began dealing with severe low back pain. I wasn’t sure if it was related to endo, a cyst, or spinal deterioration. I went and got an X-Ray, and bone spurs were found on my lumbar spine (#1-3).

My latest cycle began April 29th. The pain was intermittently bad. I consumed over 1,200mg Advil a day for a week. On Friday, May 2, I was out with friends and had to pee every half hour it seemed. On the way back home that night, the pain ramped up and was so intense on the left side that I cried a little. It hurt to be in sitting position. I just wanted to be in bed with a heating pad. Again I wondered if I had an ovarian cyst, or if the endo was sticking my left ovary to the back of my uterus again. But I didn’t want to dwell on that, because it’s too depressing.

Oh! Also…starting in January, 2014, my cycle changed from 28 days back to 25 days. It took a few frustrating months for me to notice, but after continual let-downs when my period showed up 5 or more days ‘early’, I went back and re-counted my cycle days again. Sure enough, it’s back to 25 days after a short stint on a 28 day cycle.

So now you are basically up-to-date.

Are you kidding me?

I’m only at 19 days since the last onset of my cycle, and I woke up bleeding! WTF! I’m not supposed to be due for up to ten more days!

First my cycle lengthens from 25 days to 29ish days, and now I’m starting it at 19 days?
Is this the start of peri-menopause?

I had prior warning signs for the last few days, but I mistook it for just being too active on the dance floor. I took half a Tylenol 3 pill after going dancing on Friday, because the lower back and left hip were killing me. The low back pain was a sign of george, though.

The pelvic and low back pain, combined with right hip pain and mild nausea from said pains has led me to take another half Tylenol 3 pill today. I’ve also consumed 1,200mg of Ibuprofen today. The pain of everything has had me constant at about a 6.5 on the pain scale today.

Despite the pain, I still went out and got my hair cut, then met up with two friends I haven’t seen in several months, then did a bit of retail therapy before coming home and setting up this year’s AIDS Walk donation page (I organise a team for the walk every year). I have been hobbling quite a bit today – mostly due to the hip pain – but dammit, I still went and lived my life. I will call the doctor tomorrow about the hip, and I will call my surgeon about the early menstruation. Of course, I should probably read up on peri-menopause again, too. I don’t know if it’s too early for me – I’ll be 42 in September. My Ma entered peri-menopause around this age, so it’s not unheard of.

Tomorrow begins a week of tearing down classrooms and setting up for the Summer session. This past Friday, my head teacher and I successfully graduated 17 first- and second-graders. I made it through an entire school year without missing much work from endo, because I’ve been on Gabapentin. I have seen more money in my paycheck as a result, and have earned my worth with the management, who are finally considering me for a head teaching position. So, I’m still in pain, but I’m no longer averaging an 8 on the pain scale. I modulate the amount of Gabapentin I take during my cycle, so I’m getting 300mg a day instead of 200mg. This helps, but the side effect is that I forget everything. So long as I’m not taking 300mg every day anymore, it’s worth the side effect for now.

We’ll see how this week goes for me…
In the meantime, here’s a pic of my new ‘do!

haircutbystarr06092013sideview

Bedridden and missing work again

I had a lot of pre-george pain this cycle, to the point where I was taking over 1,000mg of ibuprofen to get through the day.

I had intermittent right side ovarian stabbing pains all day on Tuesday, January 24.

On Wednesday evening, January 25, I got a sudden droning headache, shivers, 
G.I. issues, crushing fatigue, runny nose. But because I have allergies, it could EITHER have been a food reaction OR a virus.
 People are dropping like flies at work from the stomach flu and bronchitis.
Interesting to note; the crushing fatigue started before dinner. Everything else began during dinner.
So was it a combo of PMS and fighting off a virus, PMS and food reaction, or just PMS?

On Thursday, January 26, I woke feeling much better. However, by afternoon that day, I had the distinct feeling of adhesions pulling deep inside my abdomen. I forget what side; I want to say it was the right side. I had forgotten to record it til Sunday in my calendar. According to facebook, I ate 1,200mg Advil to get through the day on Thursday.

On Friday, I was so busy that I don’t remember if I was having intermittent cramping. It was daycare day at school, and parent/teacher conferences were happening. I was floating from the preschool yard to the elementary yard to parent conferences all day long. Then I picked up one of my students after work and babysat him and his brother til 9:30pm that night.

The next day, on Saturday, January 28, I experienced mild uterine cramping. I chose to drink with friends rather than take any pain meds, because it was an all-day birthday gathering for one of my friends. I wasn’t ready to admit downtime was coming for me. I still wanted to play. I never got drunk that day, but I did have five drinks over the course of about 7 hours. I paced each drink and also consumed water.

I was not hungover on Sunday – like I said, I never got drunk. Sunday however was brutal. I experienced moderate uterine fullness and soreness, and spent the entire day on the couch near tears from the pain. My entire lower back was on fire, and deep inside my pelvis there was a volcano of death brewing. 

I took 800mg Advil, half a Tylenol 3, stretched slowly in doorways, used my TheraCane on the lower back, and used heating pads. I was close to having an emotional meltdown, because my period hadn’t even started, and yet I was in so much pain. Later, I dug into the Tylenol 3, which helped, so I took half pills of that for the rest of the day.

I had 15 pain-free days in January (non-consecutive). The good news though is that nine of those 15 were consecutive.

George arrived on time on Monday, January 30. I’d like to note that January is a “Blue Moon” menstrual month for me, since I got george twice (January 5 and January 30).

Sunday night I had gone to bed nauseous and expecting to get george during the night. Thankfully, I awoke on Monday with minimal pain and no nausea, so I went in to work. Of course, by the time I was leaving for work, the pain and nausea set back in. I was able to make it through the day on 1,100mg of Advil, a hamster bladder, and some whining.

On Tuesday, January 31, I wrote in facebook:
“So is it bad that I’ve been sitting here for the past 43 minutes, waiting for the pain to stop so I can eat food and get ready to go to work?

I guess the 800mg of Advil for breakfast so far didn’t do the trick.

I have 30 minutes before I have to leave for work, but I need to make the judgement call in the next 10 minutes in order to attempt to find substitutes for the day.”

Just under an hour later, I wrote, “Can’t find substitute – still short-staffed. Going in with heating pads strapped to my body like incendiary devices. Hoping for the best. I may very likely have to take a half of a Tylenol 3 on the job just to get through.”

I tried 800mg Advil, then 3 hours later I took 600mg more Advil to no avail, then a protein bar and half Tylenol 3. Finally, the extended care supervisor found some staff to juggle, and gently pushed me out the door around 11:20am. She’s super empathetic and in general awesome that way.

The pain hovered between 6.5 and 7.5 on the pain scale all day and all evening. I saw that I still had some Vicoprofen in the medicine cabinet, so I decided to give it a try again, since the Tylenol 3 didn’t appear to be dulling the pain enough for me. I took half a Vicoprofen and half a Robaxin muscle relaxer I also had left in the cabinet. The pain during this cycle has been centered low on the uterus and pressing into the bowels through the anus. It’s enough to make me whine and cry like a three-year-old. It’s been REALLY brutal.
Tuesday night, I was in bed before 9pm because of the strength of the medications I had taken.

In the middle of the night (3am), I woke from a crazy dream in time to find myself bleeding through my bedclothes. George had circumvented the thick overnight pad and went through my underwear and pajama bottoms to the bed. I had to change my clothes but was not about to change the bedsheets at three in the morning! Thankfully the bed wasn’t a disaster.
Wednesday morning, I awoke with heavy flow, nausea and grinding uterine pain. Thankfully, the woman I had asked the night before to sub got back to me and said she would come in. I took another half vicoprofen and half robaxin pill. Within 20 minutes, maybe less, I was higher than a kite, so I went back to bed. I was fine as long as I was bedridden. If I tried to get up, I was super dizzy and cranky from the medication.

The pain hit me again four hours later, so around 10:30am I took a half vicoprofen and half robaxin. Once again, it took roughly 20 minutes and I was higher than a kite from the meds. This time, however, I decided I was just DONE being so stoned. I was done being bedridden, and now I was depressed over it, because I couldn’t just stop being high. And besides, the pain was leaking through the meds – just as it had done with the Tylenol 3.

That’s when my memory kicked in – didn’t I have a problem with vicoprofen in the past? I turned to my own journal, knowing full well I’d find out that I had a big problem with vicoprofen. OH LOOK, THERE IT IS…
http://www.livingwithendometriosis.org/steph/2009/10/vicoprofen-review/

And so I spent much of the day stoned – trying to leech the meds out of my system. I took only Advil for the rest of the day and the pain crept back in, but I was adamant that I did not want to take any more opiates or narcotics til the bleariness of the vicoprofen wore off. And here I am, at 6:15pm, STILL FUZZY from that shit!!!

All I can do is smack my forehead and label the bottle THIS WILL KILL YOU or some other means of avoidance. I don’t want to throw the stuff away, because in case of emergency, I’d rather have something in the house.

Now…going back to the end-of-January pain cycle. I was saying it was really painful pre-george.

My question is, am I having a bad pain cycle because of the stress at work during the last two weeks of January (parent observations, prep for report cards, and parent conferences)

OR

am I having a bad pain cycle because I chose to drink with friends two days before george was due?

OR

am I having a bad pain cycle because of BOTH the stress and the drinking?

OR

am I having a bad pain cycle for no reason other than It’s Just Endometriosis?

It’s my age-old question, steeped with guilt over the possibility that I am doing the wrong thing to bring more pain.

Whatever the reason or lack of reasoning, the fact is that in the new year, 13 months after surgery, I am still missing work and still on occasion bedridden from endometriosis.

I was bedridden one month after my surgery when the first real menstrual cycle hit. I was bedridden nine months after surgery.
I was bedridden 10 and 12 months after surgery.

The good news is that since my surgery in 2010, I was only bedridden for FOUR cycles, and only couch-ridden during TWO cycles out of 14 cycles total in the year 2011.
That’s much better than I was doing before surgery, where I was bedridden nearly every cycle of the year.

Doing the numbers helps me keep focus, helps me keep a semblance of morale up.

I’ll continue to track bedridden times through the year 2011 and see if I’m edging back towards pre-surgery illness. I’ll continue to tweak my diet, even though overall, dietary changes have not in my opinion shown vast improvement to the overall pain level during each cycle. If I don’t keep doing something to fight, then there’ll be no reason to fight, and the endo really will consume me.

My workplace, some friends and family, and total strangers will not see any improvement in my condition. I see little fluctuations that to me are major. I must continue to point them out so you can see how major in the scope of my illness these small changes are, and why I must keep fighting.

And some more fun before the next downtime

Every weekend this month has entailed some sort of birthdayness. January and October are big birthday months in my circle!

Saturday, January 7 was dinner with my husband for his birthday. Even though I was in the thick of an endo flare, I still went out to the dinner.

Saturday, January 14 was dinner for our friend D’s birthday, and roller skating for me and my husband afterwards.
I was pain-free that weekend!

Saturday, January 21 was Concrete Blonde in concert, although she cancelled at the last possible second due to being really ill. We got to see the opening bands and then were sent away with many apologies. David J was one of the opening acts. His singing was really awful, and that in itself hurts to say, because he’s one quarter of the godfathers of goth – Bauhaus. His voice is just not there anymore, but he doesn’t want to give up the show. I feel bad for him, I really do.
I was pain-free that night!

Saturday, January 28 was dinner and drinks for our friend W’s birthday. My endo flare had begun, but rather than take 800mg of Ibuprofen, I was stubborn and went without meds so that I could drink booze with my friends. At least the drinking dissociated me from pain that night. Here’s a bunch of us helping our friend celebrate:

418189_10150567292243909_37586043908_8602068_642591218_n

 
In summary, I got to enjoy two out of four Saturdays in January, which is average, and unchanged since before surgery. I still only get one to two good weeks out of every month on average, but hey, some of my endo sisters never get to have a good week, so I do live for every healthy moment I get. It’s a lose-lose situation, though. Either you are constantly depressed because you never have any uptime, or you are cyclically depressed because you are dreading the end of any short-lived uptime you do get. Chronic pain is chronic pain – it’s a bitch no matter how much or how little uptime you get with it.

Edit: It is amazing to look back on now, but six months after posting this photo, 14 out of 16 people in that photo abandoned me in the wake of my husband’s affair with a woman I babysat for. The abandonment circle was much wider than that photo, though. I lost near a hundred people who thought it no big deal for marriage vows to be violated. Several of those people actively hid their knowledge of the affair from me for months. Photo preserved to remind me of snakes and liars. Women with endometriosis are often cheated on. There’s no excuse for it. EVER.

And then there was fun!

I spent the weekend with friends!

On Friday, I went out dancing with a couple of friends, and we saw more people we know at the club.

img_3700

img_3697

 
On Saturday, we met up with D & R at D’s favourite Korean BBQ joint to celebrate his birthday, and then my husband and I drove down to San Jose to go roller skating! It’s been a full year since I last roller skated, and it’s been since middle school for my husband, but we both got on the rink and did our best. I even retrained myself how to cross one foot over the other when taking turns, how to take a tight round turn, and how to get a little speedy on the skates. YAY! These are the skates I bought for myself back in April, 2007, and my husband got me some better wheels for a year or so ago.

Our friend D, the birthday boy

Our friend D, the birthday boy

There was a lot of food.

There was a lot of food.


 
On Sunday, my husband and I had a nice breakfast with friends J, G, M and D at a local diner, and then we went wine tasting with J & G! When we got to the winery, A & M joined us at the first stop, where we had birthday cake and hung out.

J.J., T & K joined us at the second winery, and T & K came along with us to the third winery. That’s all we had time for, but we had a great day with friends!

My husband and our friend T share the same birth date, so there’s been lots of festivities. :)

img_3723

Irish Monkey Cellars

Look at all that port! At Westover Winery

Look at all that port! At Westover Winery


No work missed so far in 2012 ;)

I made it through work today! It took 1,200mg Ibuprofen and half a muscle relaxer (the back/neck are still locking up, but not all the time), but I made it! YAY!

And then I took my husband out to sushi dinner, cuz today’s his birthday! The owners made him a special dish:

img_3680

 

Now that the endo flare is over, I’m golden until the end of the month. Gotta be strong and adhere to the goals:

  • Go sugar-free again.
  • Do a better job from abstaining from alcohol again.
  • Be serious about gluten-free baking at home, so I cut down on processed foods.
  • Start biking to work every day again.
  • Keep posting more positive entries – what I can do, as opposed to what my limitations are – and post between cycles, as opposed to during or right after an endo flare.

 

I have a few additional goals:

  • See if I can manifest the idea I had recently to gift fellow endo sisters, to share positivity and love.
  • Make a video update on how my life has been since surgery in December, 2010.
  • Finish editing and then upload two more humourous videos I’d done in the past year or so.

January 2012 cycle

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!

Happy New Year!

Holy Moly, how did we roll into another year already?!?

Rather than chronicling all the bad stuff, let’s catch you up on some good things:

My uptime (no endo pain) began on December 14, and continued for 15 days!
December 22 was the last day of work for the winter break, and I got to spend good quality time with my husband and our local friends. I don’t normally celebrate winter holidays with family, because I live clear across the country from them, but I did get to talk to my family by phone. I even got to attend a party with my Michigan friends via Skype!

applestoapplesviaskype

a very skype christmas

 
Giftmas, as I call it, was happily low-key. I am quite loved by my students and workplace, as there were a great many gift cards, hand-made gifts, and other wonders! From the gift cards, I received a bounty of new books to read. My husband got me a digital EMF detector, because I like to ghost-hunt, and because I’m also sensitive to EMF, so reducing it or avoiding it early and often is key for my well-being!

We spent Dec. 25 at a friend’s house; they are like family, so it is a relaxing, cozy environment. We went dancing on Dec. 26, and for New Year’s Eve, we went to two local bars to celebrate with friends and acquaintances.

img_3620

img_3627

 
My husband and I also watched a lot of Rome – an HBO miniseries. Our friend loaned it to us on DVD and we’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. I’m a bit of a history nerd, so we’ve been watching the series with the historical captions function activated. :)

During the endo uptime…actually from day 1 of the endo uptime…the discs in my neck pinched a nerve, and I have been dealing with that since December 14. It was the second time in a month that the discs pinched on a nerve in my neck; the same happened back on November 20, but the pain only lasted 3 days before righting itself. The pain this time was so bad for so long, that I missed 3 days of work. I spent all of winter break moderately to heavily medicated on muscle relaxers, Tylenol 3 and Advil. The doctor wants to do cortisone injections, which I put on hold until I got the results back from allergy patch tests to see if I have a sensitivity to cortisoids (I don’t, according to the patch test). My Ma had a really bad experience with cortisone treatment, and she and I are both highly allergic to penicillin. Because I share similar allergies to hers, I wanted to be tested before undergoing further treatment.

The joke during this time was that although I had pain, it was nothing compared to the endo pain!!

Excerpt from Facebook:
Definition of stubborn: driving self to doctor & errands on Tylenol 3 & Soma (pinched nerve is worse after trying new neck pillow). HEY, this is nothing compared to endometriosis pain! lulz
-December 30, 2011 at 1:05pm

 

I’d love to have muscle relaxers for each endo flare, too, but A) they’re addictive and B) they make me fat and depressed, so I usually steer clear of muscle relaxers unless the discs act up.

Of course, now that I’m cleared for cortisone injections, my neck decided to ease up! It was the longest period of time that I can recall pinched nerve activity. It was pretty brutal.

On Dec. 26 and Dec. 31, I wore eyeliner when I went out with friends, but for some reason, my eye hated the same eyeliner on NYE. Two days later – that’s today – I developed pink eye. It’s the SIXTH TIME since October 3, 2011 that I’ve had pink eye, all of which started around the time I began using Maybelline Great Lash mascara. I got a chemical and environmental allergy panel done at the end of December, and it did come back as suspect for sensitivity/allergy to cosmetics ingredients. I say suspect, because one doctor said YES it’s positive, and one doctor and one nurse said NO, it’s inconclusive. Damned doctors. No, of course there was no blood test – only skin patch test.

allergy-armpricktest12232011
allergypatchtest12282011

allergypatchtest12302011

 
So although I’ve been sick with one thing or another throughout December, I am still happy to report 16 days of consecutive uptime between menstrual cycles. There is positivity in there, I swear!

I also went to the dispensary during winter break, which has become famous overnight, as it’s now part of a television series called Weed Wars. I re-signed up for acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic, yoga and the alexander technique. Most of these services are now experiencing a 3 month wait due to recent fame for the dispensary, and of course it’s wall-to-wall people at all hours, now. I’m really happy for the dispensary, and also feeling a bit selfish for wanting services sooner. ;)

I will finish my New Year’s entry with a list of goals for 2012:

  • Go sugar-free again.
  • Do a better job from abstaining from alcohol again (I know, that few-times-a-week glass of wine is awesome tasting and relaxing, but may not be doing your cramps any good!)
  • Be serious about gluten-free baking at home, so I cut down on processed foods.
  • Start biking to work every day again.
  • Start posting more positive entries – what I can do, as opposed to what my limitations are. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, but just not all negative chronicling all the time.
  • See if I can manifest the idea I had recently to gift fellow endo sisters, to share positivity and love.

Doing it my way, despite the pain

(Reposted from Facebook)

 
December 10, 2011 at 8:11pm via mobile
Spent the day drugged to the gills on Tylenol 3, but at a friend’s house playing my first ever Call of Cthulhu game. Bonus – one of the gamers is an acupuncturist who did some work on me during game!
It’s pretty awesome when your friends allow you to play the game while doing various pain management stretches and maneuvers. The lady of the house even had a heating pad for me! ♥

 
December 11, 2011 at 12:36pm
Yesterday after gaming with friends, my husband drove me to my tattoo consultation. Still drugged with pain meds, I walked baby steps from the car to the tattoo parlour. The tattoo artist and I discussed the piece and made some changes, and then I bought a pair of wooden earrings. I’ve been wanting to change out all my jewelry from metal and plastic to natural wood and stone jewelry. One of the women at the shop misjudged my earring size, and I ended up with a stretch nearly a gauge in size. I was about 6ga – she took me to 4ga when she put the wooden earrings in. However, the resulting endorphin rush had a positive effect on my endometriosis pain…as in it nullified it for a couple of hours!

steph-stretched-wood-earrings12102011

YAY!!! I was even able to walk up a San Francisco hill to get back to the car. Holy crap, you have no idea how cool that was. I should do endorphin pain management as endo treatment every month.

 
December 11, 2011 at 3:57pm
(Attempting to keep some positive thought up)…

Something that I have done which you may not have:

Steph on a donkey in Israel

I have ridden on a donkey in a Bedouin village near Netanya, Israel.