Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Enlightened

First off, sorry for changing this horse blog into a lameness blog, but until I get my mobility back, there will be no horseback riding.  In the meantime, there's not much horse-related to write about other than flies and mud and thrush and hoof abscesses, and that's boring too.

I believe I did get a little enlightenment out of my last doctor visit.  We left off with me firing my general practitioner and planning on seeing a "back" doctor... whatever that is.  I guess I'm supposed to start with a chiropractor, and he'll refer me to a neurologist if I need one?  The shot in my knee helped in an odd way.  I have moments when I feel no pain, and I get my hopes up that I'm cured, and then the pain comes back worse than before.  I went from being in pain all the time to swinging between the extremes.

Then I saw a different specialist about a completely different health problem not related to my leg... or so I thought.  I just wanted her to give me some medication to get that issue under control so that I could focus on fixing my leg without constantly being blocked or distracted by this other health challenge.  I was skeptical when she told me that she thought I had one of three diseases, and I would have to go on the operating table in order to find out which one.  To me, this was just another hassle that would turn out to be a stab in the dark with inconclusive results.  I didn't want anymore of my time and money wasted, so I said, "No thanks," and went on my merry way.

Later that day I started looking at the big picture.  I have now had three specialists want to operate on me, and I've turned all three of them down, because I like to avoid getting staph infections.  I also like to avoid having months of my life taken away from me while I answer phone calls, fill out paperwork, and visit laboratories leading up to the day of my surgery, and then spend weeks recovering from that surgery.  Our country is surgery-happy.  That's how doctors make their money.

I don't have a single doctor who is looking at the big picture.  Why are three of my bodily systems breaking down simultaneously?  This has to be related.  What do all of these health problems have in common?  Inflammation and pain.

So, I did some googling, and lo and behold, what pops up in my search results?  Two of the three diseases that this last doctor wanted to investigate.  35% of the people with these two diseases also have secondary inflammation in their joints and other organs.  She didn't mention that.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and a vitamin D deficiency, which I have.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and eye infections, which I've been getting my entire life, and not even one ophthalmologist has ever been able to diagnose.  Also, there is a correlation between these diseases and some of the hormonal issues I've been having all these years.

I have a lot of repetitive, inconvenient health problems that I have just learned to live with because apparently, I am a medical mystery worthy of Dr. House's attention.  There was information on the types of joints that get inflamed, and then I remembered the times when I lost the use of my arms several years ago.  I thought I had just injured myself shoveling manure, and my doctors just had me wear braces for tennis elbow.  The problem eventually went away, so I forgot all about it.  However, now I am realizing that what is happening with my leg is the same thing as what happened to my arms.

That gives me hope, because if I could regain the use of my arms, then I could regain the use of my leg.  The doctor did say that there are ways to treat these diseases, we just have to narrow down which one I have.  So, I was all ready to dismiss the back doctor and go in for this surgical procedure, and then I threw out my back while shoveling manure!  Damn it!  I was so sure that my back was not the problem.  The universe sure likes to mess with me.

I just want to take the route that offers the most promise for a resolution, because I'm tired of having my time and money wasted.  My husband is currently seeing a chiropractor for his back, and he has to go in three times a week and spends hours each day wearing contraptions and doing assigned exercises.  I don't have time for that.  I'm thinking I'll start with the surgical procedure.  My only hesitation is that I had this same procedure just three years ago, and was told I was perfectly healthy.  Could things have really changed that much in three years?  I had all the same symptoms three years ago minus the leg pain, and I was so sure the test was going to tell me I had cancer back then.  Instead, they said everything looked great and sent me home without any resolution.  It's funny how the symptoms get ignored when the test results don't back them up.

At any rate, there is a definite correlation between stress and pain in my limbs.  Stress can trigger the inflammation.  I remember at the time I lost the use of my arms, I was being put under a tremendous amount of pressure to get an impossible amount of work done by impossible deadlines at my job, and everyone in my department had the threat of layoffs hanging over our heads.  We worked our asses off round the clock for months, and we still all got fired.  Now, with the loss of the use of my right leg, I'm dealing with extreme heat and humidity, very old and sick dogs, stuff breaking down all the time, an endless slew of repairman appointments, an endless slew of pointless medical appointments, demanding ex-neighbors, a difficult relative who has an endless slew of emergencies that only I can fix, people who keep hacking into my accounts so I have to spend time changing passwords and increasing security settings, and I'm having to deal with all of this while in pain.

So, before I do anything, I have to get control of my stress level.  Most of those things that are causing me stress are out of my control, so I'll have to teach myself to respond to stress in a different way.   I took Tai-chi a while back and found that it made me more nervous, because all I could do was think about all the stuff I had to get done while this lady was asking us to move in slow motion.  I suspect that yoga would have the same result.  I plan to keep exercising, because that will help in the long run, but the trick is to not let those stress factors keep getting in the way of my exercise sessions.  I have to remember to turn off my phone when I workout, limit myself to just one appointment every other day, put diapers on and lock up all the dogs before I start my workout session, and take all of my medications so that my health problems don't stop me cold in my tracks.  Easier said than done, but I have to train my mind before I can train my body.  Ultimately, I suspect my stress level will lessen when I can start trail riding again.

Off topic, but it may interest you to find out that the USPS does not deliver all of our mail despite being paid to do so.  A while back, another blogger who had to travel a long distance to her mailbox wrote a post letting us know that we can sign up to receive emails that provide pictures of our first class mail that we can expect to receive each day.  That way, if we weren't expecting anything important, we can save ourselves a trip to the mailbox.  I don't have a long distance to go to my mailbox, but with my leg pain, I want to conserve on the number of steps I take each day, so I signed up for those emails.

Amazingly, I discovered that I only get about 60% of my mail delivered!  Apparently, my mail carrier will not bother to come to my house if all she has for me is junk mail.  At first, I thought, "That's okay.  She'll probably deliver it the next time she actually has something important for me."

However, that junk mail never showed up in my box.  She just threw it in the trash.  I think it's kind of funny, because I would just throw it in the trash too, but still, it bothers me to know that a postal carrier is making decisions on which mail I should and should not receive.  Considering that someone paid to have that junk mail delivered, it would be morally correct for her to deliver it.  Right?

I've  been enlightened in more ways than one recently.  What a world we live in.


Mrs Shoes said...

I'm sorry you're in so much pain Nuz, I know that pain can be debilitating & challenge us in so many ways painfree people would not really consider. I'm sending thoughts of wellness your way.

On that bit about the mail.... wth? A lot of those stupid flyers & junk mail have our personal info on them, so I think they should be delivered for you to deal with as you see fit. We burn anything with our personal info on it - maybe I'm just paranoid, but I don't want to help out identity thieves riffling through dumpsters. :-(

Grey Horse Matters said...

I hope you find a solution soon. I can tell you that stress is a hard thing to deal with but if you can get some of that under control it might help. I'm also thinking that when the doctor directed you to see a back doctor I would think he meant an orthopedic doctor and not a chiropractor. I once had a disc pop out in by back and it was resting on a nerve and my leg was in excruciating pain for a very long time. There was nothing to do about the popped out disc but let it harden on the nerve it was pressing on. An MRI would show that. But as you say you may have one of three diseases that cause your pain too. So look into all the culprits you think need looking into. Good luck.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

GHM - I get it now. See, it was an orthopedist who told me to see a back doctor. I guess some of them do backs and some of them don't.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs. Shoes - Today the mail carrier has graduated on to delivering someone else's mail to my box. Maybe she doesn't throw my mail away after all, but just delivers it to my neighbors. When I'm not in pain, I usually just deliver the mail to the correct address myself, but I think it's time this lady do her own job. I left the mail in my box with a Post-It Note attached telling her to get it right next time.