violachic: (Default)
Physical therapy went really well. I like my therapist. I'll be working with her, and alternating with a guy who I haven't met yet. I'm a little apprehensive about working with a guy, but I'll wait to pass judgement until I've had my first session next week. I'll be going twice a week for at least the rest of this month. This means I have to make a decision about the Full-Timer's retreat for CPT, which is the third week of September. I really want to go, but its five days, and aside from the fact that it might completely wear me out, it would mean missing two PT appointments. I'm ready to put the work behind PT, because it feels like the best answer I've gotten so far to the pain.

So far, everbody I've dealt with at the pain center has been awesome. I've already gotten a level of sympathy I never got from my old doctors. They take everything seriously, even if I say something in the fit of pain and frustration instead of out of logic, and even if I appear to be half-joking about something. Plus, they have all expressed what I feel is an appropriate level of sympathy and horror over the stresses I had in my life leading up to the illness. My old doctors wrote it down in my chart and never revisited it. Of course, these were the doctors I was telling I was depressed for four months and they never did anything about it. Sorry. I'm a little bitter. Okay, not bitter. But maybe a little resentful.

In fact, that seems to be a recurring theme, with all three doctors- the medical doctor, the psychiatrist and the physical therapist. They all are taking my stressors very seriously, but there is also this interesting balance of taking it seriously but not stigmatizing mental illness. Chronic pain often goes hand in hand with mental illnesses of many kinds and in many ways, so at a chronic pain center of course they'd have a balanced view on things. It feels really good. I don't know if I've ever expressed this sentiment before, but I have a huge fear of being stigmatized for mental illness. Being someone who is prone to mild depression- mild, meaning it doesn't directly interfere with my life inasmuch as I'm capable of functioning, even if just barely sometimes, and I've never been hospitalized, etc for it- and who is a major internalizer, I tend to also let what I'm internalizing affect my mood and behavior. I think this is something that is going to change radically throughout the rest of my treatment with all three components. I honestly don't think I'm going to heal unless it does change. Its a little bit of a scary thought; I'm so incredibly exhausted that I feel like crying at the amount of physical and emotional work that is going to have to be done. In the long run, I'm sure it will be worth it, and hopefully I'll come out a much stronger, much more capable person. But right now... oy.

So my first session involved a lot of question-asking, but also some initial evaluation of what my actual physical capabilities are. Looking at my limits, what causes the pain, my range of motion, etc. One of the things she kept telling me was "don't worry, I know its causing you pain, but you're not doing actual harm to your body". She assured me that even though it sounded callous it was meant to be comforting. I understood what she was saying, while acknowledging that I'm not thrilled about reproducing the pain. She also told me that she's taking my depression into account while working with me. I'm not yet entirely certain what the connotations of that statement are, but I guess I'll find out.

One of the best parts is the article she gave me to read. She asked if I'd done any reading on chronic pain yet, and no, I haven't. Kate and Larry gave me a book they found amongst the piles and piles of books Kate brought back to the house as her inheritance, but they just gave it to me last night right before I went to sleep. I'm now looking forward very much to reading it.

The article can actually be found online here. There are two parts of it that spoke to me very much.

When you are in agony, the last thing you want to be told is that it's all in your head. But in truth, pain does come from your head, in a group of interconnected brain regions known as the pain matrix. Some regions are involved in delivering descriptive information about the feeling—where it is, how intense it is, whether it's a dull soreness or a sharp prick. Another part, the anterior cingulate cortex, registers the unpleasant "hurt" of pain. It connects the physical sensation of pain to feelings of distress.

Interestingly, the anterior cingulate cortex doesn't distinguish between psychic and bodily injury—it lights up whether you've been hit in the stomach or hit by rejection—and is sensitive to your state of mind. "It is particularly dampened by good mood and enhanced by a bad mood," says M. Catherine Bushnell, director of the McGill University Centre for Research on Pain. "Change the mood, and it changes the pain."


and

The same area apparently influences empathy as well. Researchers in England studied happy couples' responses to each other's twinges. When one partner watched the other endure pain, his or her cingulate responded. The higher the person scored on a test of empathy, the stronger the response. In addition, the more empathetic you are, the more vividly you anticipate your own pain: In a sense, you're empathizing with your future self.



Hello? Resonate much?

I almost cried when I read this article. It felt like for the first time I found someone who could articulate many feelings I've had that I could not. It was such a huge relief, like being admitted to a special club where everybody gets it.

So I'm tired, physically, mentally and emotionally, from this morning. And not because it was so early, because I did manage to get to sleep relatively early, too. I had a really solid six hours or so under my non-existant belt before I went in. Just because it was hard to focus, and took a lot out of me. However, I'm incredibly optomistic at this point. I'm actually looking forward to my next PT appointment. Perhaps, as [livejournal.com profile] telstarman told me in my previous post, I will indeed end up hating everyone I work with. But for now, they feel like my saviors.

So now I'm at my sister's as I have therapy at 3 this afternoon (head therapy), and it was easier for her than driving me home and picking me up again. So at some point I'm going to need to lie down for a bit before I go there. I left my appointment a little shaky and slightly dizzy, but I feel better now. I'm hungry too. I will be raiding the fridge.


So I guess I've said enough for now, so I'll go away for awhile. More to come, I'm sure.
violachic: (Default)
There is something lovely about having someone in your life who will bring you a francheezie upon request, and then on top of it all, will bring you an eclair as a surprise. Warm fuzzies :-)



Some of my co-workers came to visit today. It was nice.


My mom bought me some pajama pants yesterday, because I only have two pairs in my rotation. Now I have four. Although I'm going to need a brave volunteer (or volunteers) to do laundry for me next week sometime.


I am ready for a snooze now. Bye.
violachic: (Default)
I'm really bored with making whining posts about how much I suck. So I won't, for awhile. Also, I realized that hanging around on the internet wasn't necessarily the heathiest way to pass my awake time, so I'm trying to be more productive. I augmented the gift from [livejournal.com profile] fille_de_livre and [livejournal.com profile] ahn1010 with construction paper, glue sticks and scissors, so I have a nice little "arts and crafts and fun" bag in what has become "my corner" of the dining room. It has my computer, and all my arts and crafts stuff, plus it is right by the phone line so I can plug that into my laptop to dial up. Kate bought me a waste basket for My Corner to catch all the scraps of paper and stuff. "My Corner" also is where the breakfront cabinet is, where I've taped up all my get-well cards. It looks rather cheery. It helps.


Now I need a nap. Catch ya on the flip side.
violachic: (Default)
Come visit?




Chocolate is welcome, but not required.


Best to call me first, preferably on the cell phone, to make sure I'm awake.




Sanx.
violachic: (Default)
My spirits are slightly better today, although there's still a great deal of pain.

Things that are making me a Happier Camper:

1) Kitty came home! He seems like he's doing well so far, and we're praying hard that he doesn't have a relapse. I loved it earlier today when Larry walked by me with Sweetness riding on his shoulders, and they both had this total nonchalant look. I'll have to try to get a picture of that someday, its great.

2) I have gotten six get-well cards in the mail from CPTers. Some with pretty pictures, and at least one is homemade. One of them is from a woman who lives near my mother, and is friends with her. She is about a zillion years old, and has been to Iraq and Palestine with CPT, and is incredibly active in the peace and justice community in general. But just in case I did't know who she was, she wrote in little letters under her name "I traveled with your mom". Because, you know, that's her biggest accomplishment in life. It cracked me up.

3) Kate keeps bringing me presents home. One day it was several packages of wrapping paper from the Dollar Store with a hippie motif, and yesterday it was a pack of smiley-face stickers. One of these days, both Kate and Larry are going to come home and the entire apartment will be slathered with these smiley-face stickers, out of sheer boredom on my part. But not any higher than about five and a half feet, because I can't reach high right now.

4) I'm finding myself oddly satisfied that I've finally taken it in my own hand to straighten out the soap operas that are the neighborhoods in The Sims 2. Marrying off some already-made Sims to my own Sims to help get a little order in their lives, moving teens out of problem houses into better ones, using a cheat to change "aspirations" around, etc. I'm not sure why its so satisfying, but it must be my inner social worker/pastor/teacher, or whatever. Weird. I think I need more real-people interaction, or I'm going to start talking to The Social Bunny.

5) [livejournal.com profile] fille_de_livre and [livejournal.com profile] ahn1010 sent over a lovely get-well present a week or two ago that included a coloring book and crayons, silly putty, and play-dough. I've been getting into the swing of things, and actually been doing a fair amount of coloring. It reminds me of the survival packs we'd give each other in college around finals time. Erin and Ahn, I colored you a picture to hang on your refrigerator! I think I'll stick it in the mail. Its two-sided, too, so when you're tired of looking at one side you can just flip it over. Maybe I should color some for our refrigerator. Anyone who wants me to color them a picture, let me know. Its a Peeps coloring book.

6) There is a birthday party downstairs right now for our neighbor who is turning six. It is an Anime party. Our neighbors are already firmly established Geeks, but its nice to know they're encouraging another generation.
violachic: (Default)
kitty update )

me update )

I'd love to see people, though, so if anyone wants to drop by- especially during the day, but any time is great- please let me know. I'm getting quite stir-crazy sitting at home. Just call me ahead of time, or make an appointment to make sure I'm awake.



Th...th...that's all, folks!
violachic: (Default)
cut for possible length, and angsty content )


Next person to come visit, will you please bring lots of chocolate?
violachic: (Default)
the wedding )

All in all, congratulations [livejournal.com profile] ironheadjane and [livejournal.com profile] disappearinjon!!!

the movie premier )

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] subdermalglow, [livejournal.com profile] priestlygoth, and [livejournal.com profile] hellfaerie on the fruits of your talent and hard work!

a -me- update )

random ramblings )
violachic: (Default)
I'm not even going to attempt to recreate yesterday on LJ. Instead, I'm going to point you to my sister's highly accurate post and leave it at that.


Tonight, I'm hoping to attend the premiere of the movie my housemates helped make last summer, entitled Say Hello to Clive For Me. Lets see what the Pain Gods have to say about that.


Later, kids.
violachic: (Default)
Home from the wedding, and back into the fray of doctors and tests. Now we're looking at fluid in the lung. Joy! Waiting is my new hobby. Film at eleven.
violachic: (Default)
I was supposed to fly out early tomorrow morning to Seattle, for Laura and Jon's wedding. Due to continued pain, we've decided to reschedule the flight for Wednesday. Hopefully in the extra three days, I can get some continued rest, bug the doctors a little more, and be moderately fit enough to be on a plane for four hours. I wouldn't miss this wedding for the world.

I'm not making particular strides on recovery. I wonder if part of is psychological, with the frustration of not having a proper diagnosis and all. But this week I've been holding steady, and last night was a really bad night. No pain medication ever makes it go all the way away, although the recently recommended dose of one capsule instead of two makes it mostly tolerable. I take two if all I really want to do is pass out, which I did overnight last night.

I seem to do nothing except lie in bed, and hang out at the computer, either being online or playing with my Sims. Sitting on the couch to watch TV or movies, or read, isn't comfortable at all. I read a little, but I usually am too groggy to get far.

This sucks. I HATE not doing anything. I've gone smack out of my head and back again, and I'm preparing for another trip.

BAH!
violachic: (Default)
1) While I totally understand why pharmacies need the person for whom the prescription is written to pick it up and show ID, it does seem sort of contrary to why a person would be prescribed such drugs in the first place. Meaning that if I'm in enough pain to have been prescribed this to begin with, it seems silly to have to drag my ass out of the house in order to get the pills that will make the pain go away.

2) They told me at the doctor's on Tuesday that since two pills totally knock me out, to try only taking one, and seeing if that minimizes the pain without knocking me out. Guess what- nope! I'm about to fall off my chair. Can't believe I can still type.

3) They give me weird dreams, so I have to manage what I read/see/talk about right before I fall asleep, or less-than-benign things will cause my dreams to get really twisted. To help combat this, I've taken to reading the most benign children's book I own- about three orphan girls who go to ballet and stage school, in 1930s London- as I'm falling asleep. So far, it seems to have done the trick. Sci-fi=BAD, as do most movies.

4) How come it still hurts where the cat scratched and bit me about an hour ago? They should put a disclaimer on the bottle, right next to the one about operating heavy machinery, that says something like "don't play 'poke the cat' under the influence of this drug, because YOU WILL LOSE!"

Saga

Mar. 30th, 2006 03:45 pm
violachic: (Default)
Well, here is the saga of the last week and a half or so, recounting the mystery of this illness.


Last Sunday night, I was woken up two or three times with a sharp pain. Each time, I discounted it, and was able to shift into a comfortable position and go back to sleep.

Monday, I woke up and made this post</>.


Monday )

Tuesday )

Wednesday )

Thursday )

Friday )

misc )

next steps )

Anyway, that's my story so far. I'm still not at work, and won't be until at least the week after next, as I will be (hypothetically, anyway) in Seattle. Luckily, there is as big wave of "lets take some time off now that we're not in crisis mode" sweeping through the office, so its not a huge deal that I'm not there. We also have some really awesome reservists who are spending a couple weeks there doing basic office tasks- which is what I would do if I were there.

I would love to see people, but I'm still not really up for much. And anyway, all you'd end up doing is sitting across the table from me and looking at me.

I'm out of minutes on my cell phone *pout* so even though I won't be able to dive to answer it, you're better off calling my home line for now.




Phew. I'm done. Seeya later.
violachic: (Default)
Its been a well-filled, busy, adventurous weekend. I did lots of things, had profound conversations, and tried to save the world (no, I didn't get arrested, but neither did we stop the war). I could talk about any number of things here. But I'm not going to.

Instead, I'm going to sound like an old woman.

But I've got this weird pain.


It could be a pulled muscle- its on the right side (my dominant side) of my body, and its kind of connected to those muscles that do other things, like drive, and mouse, and write. And reach for the radio-changing buttons in the car. All of those things make the pain worse, but just walking really hurts. Lifting things in and of itself doesn't make it hurt, but if I have to twist at all, even a few centimeters, that is excruciating.

I also wonder if I could have a rib out of place or something. Its in that side area, around the back, just at the bottom of my rib cage, and although the whole side is very sore, that's where the nexus of the pain radiates from.

I don't think its organic or anything. I don't know my anatomy well enough to know what is in that area, and if it could be messed up, but it really does feel like its in the muscle or something like that. I feel fairly nauseated, but I think that is from general pain, rather than illness or something.

I really don't want to have to spend the time and money at a doctor if its something that will just work itself out, but dang- it really hurts! I'm going to drop by a friend's on the way home today who is in the last throes of studying nursing, and maybe she'll have some insights.

Bah.


It hurts!

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