The Haunting Time Is Coming Near!

The Ghoullog - Mountaintop Haunt at Cranmore, North Conway, NH


I don't think I'll be able to handle this much longer.

To work, to home, Monday through Friday. Weekends are spent mostly inside. My room is a mess- product of me not being able to do even menial tasks. Laundry. Straightening up. I did, however, manage to clean my bathroom counter this afternoon once I woke up. Just don't ask what the floor looks like... I don't have a broom, and I'm not getting down on my hands and knees to sweep the floor with my dustpan and brush. I'd end up stuck there. Then again, being a hermit isn't my idea of fun, but I really don't have a choice in the matter at this point.

Why is it that I have to be so strong so often?
Lately, being angry is the only thing I have that's absolutely keeping me from literally coming apart at the seams. I'm trying not to lash out at people... But it still happens. I do just want to cry. I do just want to fall apart, bury myself under my covers and forget the world until my body dissipates this pain I'm in. But it's not going to go away, not on its own. Taking it easy doesn't make it lighten up, but overdoing activities- sometimes as simple as walking down steps- will leave me reeling and almost unable to focus. I haven't really gone in to how this is affecting my thought process. The amount of pain I've been in is... Insurmountable.

I have to work hard to concentrate on one task. One. Multiple things? It has to be written down on a paper that's not going to get lost- otherwise, I'll forget. I'm so good at multitasking... But not this time. It's like my head's in a fog. I can't form thoughts completely through, and I usually forget what I'll say. A conversation has to be about the same subject- else I'll zone out and completely blank on what was just being discussed. Half the time I remember saying things, but I don't know what. I remember words, not sentences, and not all put together. I remember feeling hurt, angry, frustrated. But I don't know what else to feel... Anything else will just allow this pain to completely overcome and envelope me- and I can't let that happen. Slowly, it's getting better and better at taking me over... And I'm just trying to slow down the process as best I can. Some of you know, some of you don't. Now you will.

The results of the X-Ray I had last week are a bit, well, shocking. Not because of severe damage- can't see much detail since it's really just a picture in grayscale and little detail- but because it's a much different picture of my back than it was mere years ago. Basically, I have a chip of bone that's fractured off my L4 disc. Funny thing is, the radiology reader said there's nothing wrong- it's a calcification. Um... I'm sorry. I'm no professional... But... When you look at the picture, and obviously if the "chip" were twisted a little it and pushed back to my vertebrae- clearly, it fits like a puzzle piece. So unless my body has somehow managed to not only degenerate that vertebrae, and miraculously create a calcification for no reason just outside that portion... I think I need to be on Ripley's Believe it or Not! because that's pretty freaking impressive.

There are a few things that concern me about this "calcification". First, the obvious, it fits perfectly right back in to my vertebrae. Second- my sciatica is going nuts. I can't walk, stand, or sit in a position that's comfortable for me. Yeah- work is hell, but I suck it up and do what has to be done. Laying down is tricky... Sometimes I luck out and find a comfortable position. Which is ok, until I fall asleep.... Inevitably leading to me changing positions while I'm unconscious- and quickly waking me up in screaming pain when it does such. The most concerning part of all this is the fact that I've been falling down. All this pain is primarily on my right side. L4 & L5 lumbar discs are your bottom two, right above your butt. The sharp stabbing pain is here, from my spine and about 4 inches to the right is the radiation position. Some bad days, like today, it goes up into my shoulder blades, and to the left as well. From that centered point, imagine a circular dowel about 1 thick, 4" long and perpendicular being pressed into your skin- this is where I can feel pain. Take about 3" of that and pretend it goes down, through your hip, the back of your butt, thigh, knee, calf and straight into your heel and out your toes- getting smaller width-wise as it goes. This is the pain "line". I get pins and needles, anywhere from that spot in my back, or all the way down into my toes. It goes numb as well.

I've been trying to figure out why I fall.
Maybe a way I move, twist, turn... I don't know. There's nothing clear as to why it's happening. I could be walking, step... Down like a sack of potatoes. Basically... I should have someone near me at all times. Apparently, this will not happen until I somehow get home to people that can and will take care of me. The person I thought I could rely on here... Just isn't around. I could be mean, snarky, bitter... But let's just call it as it is. Disgraceful. Whatever. I've managed this long, I can manage a little bit longer. I just badly need this body fixed.

Staying Mad Keeps Motivation

It's been a nightmare, these past two weeks.
Between having a back spasm that won't let up, and finding out about the thyroid thing... I'm about at my wits end. Back and forth, back and forth, I can't seem to keep anything together.

Appointments being made, doctors that are incompetent (save, however surprisingly enough, the hospital), and no relief in sight for the back problem.

Well I was able to get a copy of my x-rays. The pathology reader literally noted "no noticeable sign of degeneration, calcification on L4 lower" or some shit like that... But I find it hilarious that I email the prints to my chiropracter and he goes "WTF! What did she do?! That's a traumatic injury..."

Nutshell: I'm in pain because... I have a small piece of my vertebrae that has chipped off L4 on my right side. Hmmmm... My "neurosurgeon" seems to think that I have a pinched sciatica. YOU THINK!? I told him that when he first walked in- never mind after the "routine tests" he had to do- poking, pushing, pulling and pinching my leg/toes. Making me walk... Bend over (OUCH), lean back as far as you can (UUUGHHHHH HURT), bend side to side- left, feels like stretching, right, feels like grinding. Are you effing kidding me??? Here's the kicker... His advice was to go through this list:

Physical Therapy (check)
Chiropracter (check)
Heat (check)
Ice (check)
Massage Therapy (check)
Accupuncture (insurance doesn't cover)
Pain Management (?? You've gotta be kidding me)
Giving Up (Seriously, I shit you not... He WROTE THAT- I have a COPY!)
Surgery (Preferred at this point...)

The cherry on top of the sundae?
Dr: It seems like you have pressure severe enough to impact your sciatica nerve, and that's why you feel the way you do down from your right hip to foot.

Me: Yes, I figured that's what it was... When I get really bad it does this.

Dr: Well, we need to take further action. Is there anything else you wanted to ask?

Me: Um, should I keep taking 600/mg Ibuprophen every four hours like I am to take the edge off the pain so I can function?

Dr: No, you should try to push it back to every 5 hours. Have a nice day. (walks out of the room)

Me: DUMBFOUNDED. Astonished. WOW. Not like I'm asking for freaking handouts here, but:

a) I'm not sleeping well, if at all during the night. I turn wrong, I wake up. I sneeze, I wake up. I take too big a breath, I wake up. I move my leg, I wake up. I move my right arm, I wake up. Getting the picture?

b) It literally feels like I'm sitting on a softball- under my bum, and one near the base of my spine... Conveniently where that piece of bone is "broken" off.

c) I don't know when my leg will give out again. I've fallen at least 7-8 times in the past 2 weeks, and most likely my fall in the tub last week, or the one this past weekend is what "broke" that piece of bone off. I don't exactly look forward to falling again.

d) Because I'm in overload of pain at the moment... I'M BITCHY. I'm miserable, I'm moody, I'm freaking IMPOSSIBLE. I know this. I'm trying to keep it in check- but overstimulation in the system makes me forget I'm being a jerk and well... Sorry.

e) I just want this fixed and over with.

So plan of action:
MRI next Friday. This better not be denied. I'll not be responsible for my actions if that's the case.
Trying to get ahold of the Dr in Maine so I can have this fixed.
Would like to be able to get even TYLENOL3 if possible. Mind numbing pain is not fun... I'm unable to really focus on much at this point. Ibprohpen I'm sure is working wonders on my liver- as in overload because I'm taking so much to try and just take the edge off the pain. Not really working. And the short temper is not fun to deal with- part of it pain, part of it associated to the stupid thyroid thing.

I'm also dealing with the process of losing a friend. I don't like it, and because of certain aspects that I just don't want to be involved in.... I'm trying to remove myself from the situation, but can't find a tactful way to do so. It's frustrating. If everything could go back to the way it used to- well, that would be dandy. But I don't have a rewind button... So suppose that's out of the question. Guess the best way to not get hurt is to step far enough away from the fire so that I don't get burned. It sucks, but at this point... I don't see any other way. I'm sad about it... But I guess everything has to come to an end at one point or another. Such a shame.

Until then, I'm sure you can find me hobbling around somewhere. Most likely my apartment, since I can't go far.

The Reason Behind It All

Well... This is a mixed bag of emotion for me.

On one hand, I want to share the news and get advice and help. Provided I am correctly diagnosed, and need to start a management program. On the other hand... I have different fingers. lol. Sorry, needed to not be so serious for a moment. Other hand- I want to keep this private and to myself.

But if that were really the best option, I think, I would not be sitting here writing this... Now would I?
Monday, March 15, 2010 began as a rough day. My kitteh had an eye infection really bad, making her look like a bobble-eye fish. So first and foremost was off to the vet with her... Which, to my delight (and everyone that knows her) she's ended up just fine and had an allergic reaction to something located somewhere in the apartment. Medicated, and given many treats, the kitteh is fine.

I had a Dr. appointment that afternoon, and in doing such I figured it was just going to be a routine physical. Had the blood work done earlier the week before, and this would be a breeze too. Got nearly done, and my Dr. started asking some odd questions. Felt my throat, glands I figured. I didn't feel sick, but questions asked really pertained to what I've been experiencing lately:

Panic Attacks
Fatigue (absolutely no energy)
Fluttery Heart
Hand Tremors
Severe Mood Swings
Weak Limbs- Legs/Arms
Frequent Bathroom Breaks (Gotta pee!)
Velvety Skin (rapid cell turnover)
Difficulty Concentrating
Short Attention Span/Memory Lapse
Heat Sensitivity

I chalked it up to being homesick, to the changing of the seasons... But then I realized, I've felt this way for about 6 months. Maybe more.
The Dr. tells me that my test results came back mostly good... Mostly. That word bothered me. Next, was the descent into her diagnosis:

Possibility of Graves Disease.
My blood work for nearly everything came back within the normal ranges- except for TSH and T4(free) levels. TSH is more or less the baseline moderator, produced by your pituitary gland in your brain. The hormone gets sent to your thyroid, and from there your thyroid tells it how much of the hormone to produce, resulting in the other chemicals being made and diffused throughout your body. My brain is producing hardly any of the hormone. Why is this a problem?
The other chemicals that are produced as a result and regulated by TSH go wacky- otherwise, overproduce. My T4(free) levels are too high. Because of the overproduction of the hormones, it's throwing my body out of whack. I'm a lot moodier, with bad emotional swings. I can sleep 10+ hours a night and wake up, only to be feeling 2 hours later I got a half hour of sleep. My back spasms are lasting longer, and I'm losing balance and falling (not frequently...) because all of a sudden my leg won't work. I think that symptom is mostly because of the pinched nerve, but still... The muscle suddenly becoming "rubber" on me is suspect. One symptom is a faster metabolism- which I wouldn't mind... It would help out with the weight loss angle, but alas- not in this situation. lol.

I now face a few more bumps in the road because of this. But, appointments have been made and I'm going to control this.
I'm having both the MRI for my back (to get fixed, once and for all!), and the uptake scan of my thyroid later that morning. Then back the next one for another scan... I'm going to be radioactive- hm, maybe I'll glow!

All kidding aside- this is really worrying me. I'm happy, in a way, to have some sort of answer as to why I've been feeling the way I have lately... But then again, this condition is forever. Risks, that I've found, include only a 20-30% success rate in trying to treat it with the anti-thyroid medication. (I HOPE I fall within that category). Step two would be radioiodine. Yep, you guessed it... Radioactive Iodine. Pro-side is that this method usually works. The con-side is that typically usage of this treatment ends up with 90% of patients getting HYPOthyroidism instead. UGH.

Third, and absolutely last option I'd consider, would be to have the thyroid removed entirely. This consists of living a certain lifestyle, being active, and taking medication forever in order to supplement the body with the hormones it's no longer receiving. That's typically only done in extreme cases- and I'm nowhere near that bad. Thankfully!

The up side of all this is by the time I have to take any action... My back will be fixed, I'll hopefully be pain free... And exercising will be a regular thing for me.

So here's to tomorrow... And what it will bring.
Good news, I'm hoping!

Apologies to be Made

To three people.

To J, S & I for last weekend.
I apologize for being standoffish, and almost antisocial. I know you came out for me... And that O was there too, to share a few drinks and have fun. I tried..... Not as hard as I should have, but I did. I'm greatly appreciative that I was able to spend time with you, and I'm sorry for not saying so outright. Thank you, all four, for trying to make it a good night for me.

For me, lately, it's been a funk. I'm not sure whether I'm coming or going, which way's the right way, or what's up or down.
I don't need to explain in great detail why I do the things I do, why I make the decisions I do.
Most of the time, I know the outcome and consequences. And if I'm wrong, I admit it. Alternately... If I'm right, I also don't point and laugh and kick someone when they're down. There's a lot of things that are going, and some drastic changes that are coming. I thought I could put it off, but it appears I can't any longer.

This hurts me.
Even though I don't show it, or mask it with anger and not always kind emotional swings.... It's how I react. I don't necessarily mean to. While my head's telling me to shut the hell up, my heart is venting- saying what comes to mind, saying what and how I feel, and taking issues head on. Not really the best of things to do in all situations- but it's the way I cope.

Another reason, not excuse, for my behavior is that I've been in an incredible amount of pain- but not really letting anyone know just how bad it is this time around. The person I thought I could rely on to help me through this, is distant. Not that I blame O for wanting to back away from what seems like a rabid animal (me), but because he tries so hard to look past it and see the positive. When I'm in this much pain, it's hard to and my reaction is leave me the hell alone, or get out of my way. In my defense... It's kind of him to want to be around and help when he can. But when I really need him around- he's not here. This has only been lately- please don't think I'm saying he's never around. He's helped me a great deal.

To let you in on a little bit of this... The "back' story- pun intended. My apologies now for it being such a long read. Go on, grab a cup of coffee or a snack before you start...

Most of you know I have degenerative disc disease and arthritis in my lower back. While it's genetic and hereditary, it wasn't supposed to exhibit itself until much later in my life. However, being dealt the cards I have, I've tried to just get on with it, trying to move past and ignore it, hoping it will just eventually go away or get better. It started out with me getting a 2" door flung open on me at work. Workers Comp denied the claim, because I didn't make the connection between getting hit and my back problem until a week after it happened. Heck, it took three days for the injury to really grip me as it was. This was almost 6 years ago. After some time off my feet, I was back to work. I was able to recover fairly quickly, considering the injury, and I thought that was that. This was 2005.

Second incident was a horrible car wreck I had coming home from Concord, NH on March 24th, 2007. It was raining the entire way, and while they called for snow where I lived further North, it was too warm for it to stick even if it did switch over. The entire way, though, was rain. Tamworth, though, was a different story- and I was cautious after noticing the temperature was slightly dropping. Still, it was above freezing. After placing a call to my Dad, and lying about where I was on my route home, less than 60 seconds elapsed from the time I hung up the phone, put it in my cupholder and subsequently slid off the road, down a snowbank and ate a telephone pole head on. I should have known better- the road I took was always touch-and-go with weather. Mind you, I was going less than 20 mph because I had realized it was just starting to turn from rain to freezing rain... And the speed limit on the curve I was taking was 30. Up, over the hill, and it was a sheet of ice. I knew as soon as I crested the hill and zeroed in on the pole that I was going to head right into it.

The right wheel caught, dragged me over. I popped the car into neutral, and tapped my brakes to see if there was any traction... There wasn't. So I sat back, tried to steer into the other lane... Nothing... Tried to steer further into the snowbank, but it was icy. I just hugged it the entire way down. I had hoped that by turning into it- since trying to angle into oncoming traffic didn't do anything as far as moving me in that direction- the snow would slow me down and not make the impact so jolting. Unfortunately, my car refused to get up and into the bank.... Crash. Had it not been there, I doubt I would have survived. Just my luck, I had to crash in a cell phone dead spot. Just my luck, a volunteer fighter fighter came around the corner right as I crashed. The impact... Well... It was hard. The road curves to the right, and it angles in... So instead of slowing down like I was trying to, my car picked up some speed on the way down. They said I was only doing about 25 when I hit. All the airbags went off, and by some miracle I managed to throw my arms up so they took the brunt of the deployment from my steering wheel. I was, though, thrown forward- and had I not had my seatbelt on, I'd have flown through the windshield. These seconds seemed like they were slow motion...

Pop... Pop... Pop... Pop... Pop.... Pop... I could feel each vertebrae from the bottom of my butt to mid-shoulder stretch, move, separate. My initial thought was Oh Shit... Adrenaline. Shock. Kicked in. Tried to start my car back up and back out of the telephone pole- until I realized I had crashed. Crashed. Totalled the car. Shit... Turn it OFF... Removed the keys. Felt my back tighten. Had to get out, headlights were right there. Voices. Phone was in my hand, not dialing. Numbers weren't going through. High heels sinking into the dirt on the side of the road, I somehow unbuckled myself and got out of my car. Pain... Chest... Neck... Seatbelt scraped me from the impact... Back spasm. Adrenaline, no pain yet. My salad is all over the back of my car. Call Dad, he has to know... No cell service. Fire fighter has signal, tells me he has the ambulance on the way. He's sliding down the road, trying to keep me calm. Eerily, I was calm.

Moments tick... Back, slight pain, it goes away. Sirens. Already? They're close. Station's nearby. Face is wet... Blood? No, tears. I didn't realize I started to cry. I didn't hurt... Yet. Phone rang through at home, I somehow picked up a signal, got through, Dad, I crashed... Come get me, please... Tamworth... I lied... I'm sorry... My car... My... My car is... Wrecked... Yes, I took that road.... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have... I thought it would be quicker... But I was near where I said I was... It didn't seem icy... It was only raining... I'm sorry... Sirens, they're almost here... Daddy I'm sorry...

Lights. The police were here. Woman trooper, telling me to keep my head still. I nodded, she put her hands on my neck and held me stiffly. High heels sinking back into the dirt, and she told me to keep my eyes open. I jerked, she moved to catch me, spasm. Shouldn't be doing this. The cop car was in the snowbank on the other side of the road, why? Odd place to park... Usually, they close the road off. Minutes more.

She tells me to keep still. More tears, I can't believe I did this. My coat, in my car... I'm cold... But I don't really feel cold... I'm just shivering. It's a long time standing there. Ambulance lights... Sirens... They're here... Seems like forever ago. But the ambulance keeps gunning it... They're just past my car... Why? Neck brace goes on, ask if I'm alright. Dazed, but ok. Yes. I'm fine. The ambulance moves up the hill again. They check vitals, and I hear a familiar rumble. Dad's here... They're trying to get me to lay down on the gurney, No I want to see him first... Then another voice. My sister... Oh, why did I DO this... Dad gets me to lay down. They strap me in, and I hear him talking to another trooper. They get bags, and start moving my things out of my car. It has to be towed.

Cop jokes, WHAT does she have in there?!? Lots of stuff. I didn't have a chance to empty it out. I was going to, tomorrow..... It was too messy... Jerking spasm again... Was going to get all that stuff out and have my car nice and clean again.... Pain is setting in, I'm starting to feel the muscles in my back... Uh oh... Can't lay down on the gurney straight. Leg curled up a bit, and my back is arched. They load me into the ambulance. Oh, they had to keep gunning it... Because it kept sliding backwards down the hill... It's ALL ice!? IV goes in, pinches for a moment. Spasm so bad I nearly pass out from the pain. Lights reflecting off the inside of the sterile truck, snowflakes now swishing by. The EMT tells me to relax, breathe... I am... Not helping any... Ride takes forever. Hospital, more checking me out, x-ray, spasms continue. Poor Mom, home alone not knowing what happened. I close my eyes and cry.

It seemed like forever... My parents and sister come in, they've given me the pain medication... I start to blabber. They tell me to be quiet, relax, I can't. I need to talk... Wow, pain goes away... I can't stretch out, the muscles are too tight... But it's relief. Hours go by... I drift in and out.... Concern, I'll be just fine. Bumped and bruised, and the back is an issue because of the impact now... More medicine, more spastic blabbering about anything that pops into my head. Uncontrollable. I can't help it. I want to go home. Stood up, nearly fell over... Parents caught me... Went to get the car, couldn't bend to get in, needed to crawl into the backseat and put my head in my sister's lap. Ride home bumpy, I didn't remember it being like that... Comfortable bed, warmth, drifted off to sleep...

It took me weeks to heal from the superficial injuries. Months passed before my back would relent in the spasms. I learned, however, to stretch before I got up in the morning so I wouldn't incur the wrath of the back at any point during the day. But right after Christmas the following year, I fell down the stairs at home. I didn't stretch before I got out of bed, I had to go to the bathroom bad... First floor... Bounced from the second stair, down to almost the bottom. Passed out momentarily from the pain, brought out by screaming. Realized it was me. My back felt funny..... Not in place...I couldn't move. I couldn't straighten my back... And my leg hurt. Bad. Back to the hospital, X-rays done. Told me to go home, take meds and rest. See the doctor to get the reading on Monday. Preliminary diagnosis was that I didn't have any noticeable damage. Monday's Dr. C was the hero of the day.

He was able to pop me back into place... Only to tell me that I had DDD & arthritis, You mean the ER didn't tell you that from the x-rays?? Are you kidding?! No, Dr. C, I'm not. He said it wasn't advanced, but there's a disc that's out of place- potentially herniated. Need MRI. Did it, not herniated. Just bulging. Torn ligaments on both sides- from falling the way I did. Resulting in a pinched sciatica, when inflamed. Most likely, some of the damage was also done by my accident... But the disc, even with his magic hands, wouldn't go back in to place. So not only would back spasm, my leg would tingle and then go numb. Was fired from work for "performance issues' on my birthday that year of 2008, 2 months after I fell. Funny, I missed 2 days of work and still showed up on time the rest of the duration I was employed. Even being on medication I had no business taking while at work, but to cope with the pain it didn't affect me very much. Dr C. wanted me out of work 2 weeks to allow my body to heal, and I argued- I had bills, needed to work at least 20. He okayed it... Boss, well, he fired me. He didn't have the balls to actually... It was someone else that did it for him. Still dealt with the pain, the adjustments, the spasms that wouldn't let up. Through April.

Then I moved. A week before I did that, I was able to start walking again, after mostly crawling around for the months I couldn't move. Still taking meds to deal with the pain and spasms... I started seeing an awesome Chiropracter in VA... And up until now, it's helped. I do my exercises and stretches... But sometimes my back goes anyways.

For the past week and a half, my right leg has been mostly tingly and numb, with bouts of me losing feeling/strength and falling down because of it. This has happened at least half a dozen times. So, friends, if you notice me walking very slowly, and staying near walls or other objects... This is why. Topple can be slowed down so I don't just hit the floor. Which leads to my decision over the past few days.... I'm getting this fixed for good.

Getting ahold of a great doctor I've been referred to in Maine. Surgery to fix what's broken, so that I'm not remaining broken and in pain like I have been. This will happen as soon as possible. Fusion won't happen- there's too much of a risk of the discs above and below the fusion will degenerate. It happens often, and knowing my bones... Quite unavoidable. Options will be discussed, but most likely disc replacement. This way, the disc that doesn't quite fit where it used to will be replaced... And I'll be able to walk, hike, do the things I used to be able to do without worrying about having to pay for it later by being incapacitated. I'm too young for this to be happening.... And the time has come that the decision is made.

So please forgive me if I'm short tempered, mean and cranky.
Forgive me for things I've said because I'm not really in the right frame of mind in trying to process both this amount of pain, and trying to be social. I've hated being limited like this... And I know I take it out on those closest to me without meaning to. Forgive me for not really seeming like I'm terribly interested in being out and about- I know the intentions are well meant, and I appreciate every bit of it. Just... My head is trying to process both what my body is screaming at me, and how I know I should be acting like with everyone. They haven't meshed well lately.

I'm sorry.
Especially to O.


Back to Home Back to Top The Snarky Princess. Theme ligneous by Bloggerized by Chica Blogger.