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I have learned that this journey through chronic pain and illness is a bumpy one.  It isn’t a process where you learn something, and then you never have to address that part again…. As time goes by and my illness evolves, so does the process…. and I find myself having to re-address things over and over again while trying to look at things from a different perspective each time.  What have I missed?  What did I not learn the first time?  Has my illness progressed since the last time I had to face this particular issue?  Have I matured since the last time I faced this particular issue, so maybe there is something different to learn this time?……. It sure isn’t like riding a bike.  You don’t get back on and just know how to pedal…. it is different every time.

These past few years have been really difficult for me, and my pain has slowly gotten worse and worse.  Every medication I have been on has either stopped working, or just never worked to begin with.  Emotionally, I have gained many tools to deal with living this life, but physically a body can only take so much….  I was really fighting that point, and thinking that I could take it all on, but the proof is in the pudding so to speak.  I have back-slid.  And requiring extra help was something I didn’t think I would have to think about…. until now….

When I first became really ill, it changed life completely.  And not just mine, it effected my whole family.  After being misdiagnosed for close to 2 years, having exploratory surgical procedures, being bed ridden, I finally got into a place where I live called the Chronic Pain Centre.  It is a government-funded, multimodal clinic for people who suffer from severe pain.  The day I walked into the clinic for the first time changed my life.  I walked in as a desperate girl so badly wanting to believe there was a ‘cure’ for me, and I walked out knowing that I may have to deal with this for the rest of my life.  It was completely overwhelming…..

I ended up being a patient there for 3 years.  I saw pain specialists, physiotherapists, kinisiologists.  I saw nutritionists, worked with the pharmacists, saw a psychotherapists, and worked hard for those 3 years to understand every aspect of illness.  It was a full-time job, between the ‘group’ lectures I attended, sleep seminars, reading, weekly psychologist appointments, weekly physiotherapy appointments, and that doesn’t even include the appointments I had with my Doctors…..  It was a HUGE commitment.  In some ways it has been the biggest commitment I have ever made to myself.

I crawled…. and then I toddled…. and when I cold finally walk on my own, I ‘graduated’ from the program and thought I was on my way to living in SPITE of all of this…. If this was the hand I was dealt, I thought I had found as much acceptance as I ever would, and I was relieved and excited to move from that program and to live life on my own terms…..

That was close to 4 years ago, and after much time, suffering, frustration, and failed attempts to manage this on my own, I had a heart to heart conversation with my Doctor, and she has referred me BACK to the Chronic Pain Centre.  And I honestly don’t know how to feel about it….

Part of my is relieved, as I know I can get help there that I cannot get on my own.  I won’t have to worry about the expense of therapy, and the impact it can have financially on my family.  I am in a MUCH  better place emotionally now than I was when I first went through the program, which leaves me to believe that I am more ‘ready’ this time around….  But I am also really sad to find myself back at the starting gate.  I was hoping I would never have to go back there.  I was hoping that SOMETHING I had done or tried in the last 4 years could have been the answer… my answer… and the truth is, no matter how much it hurts to say it, I just haven’t found my answer yet.

It is going to be a big commitment to make, and no doubt it will impact my family again… but I hope that the positives will outweigh the negatives.  I hope that maybe, this time, they have more answers, more solutions, and more ways to help me ‘deal’ along the way…..

Is it a step forward or two steps back to have to enter this program as a patient again?  I am not sure how to answer it.  I guess it depends on what day you ask me that question.  I feel really conflicted….

All I know is that I don’t want to have to live like this forever.  And I am not going to stop fighting….

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I must say, it was bitter-sweet to say goodbye to 2010….

Some incredible things happened in the past year, but I was knocked down more than a few times as well, and for that I was relieved to end the year and start anew…

It was a perfect dichotomy I guess… You can’t have one without the other, or you can’t appreciate the good without the bad… or whatever cliché is used to make one feel better….

I had the intention of writing about all the wonderful things that transpired over the past year, and a wonderfully cheerful look at the year ahead… but since we rang in the New Year, I can honestly say I haven’t had the head space to be ‘cheerful’… I will be completely frank… So far 2011 has been rough… really rough…  It has sucked… and I know I am not the only one who is feeling this way….

I was having a hard time managing my health before we went on our holiday the beginning of December… it was SUCH a great trip, and a VERY needed break… but it has been a solid month of pain and frustration since we have been back.

Who am I kidding?  It has been 10 months of solid pain without much reprieve, and I am REALLY feeling beat up and worn down.

When I first was diagnosed with multiple illnesses that lead to a life of severe chronic pain, I felt like something was being overlooked.. Yes, I have a very severe case of Fibromyalgia, with secondary neuropathy… Yes, I have Endometriosis with adhesions that haven’t been removed… Yes, I have other varied illnesses, disorders, or defects that lead to the intense pain I feel everyday… but from the VERY beginning, I have asked to have other things addressed… namely, my back and hips…

It took 26 months (18 of which I was misdiagnosed, and another 10 months on a waiting list) to have a lower back CT scan and x-rays done… and I was so hopeful that they would find a reason for my crippling pain which has caused me to walk with a cane at times the past 4 years… it showed NOTHING… and I was devastated…

Through the last 3 years of intense treatment and therapy, I have asked over and over for my back issues to be addressed more aggressively… I have been in physio many times, and from that and the support I have had by a  wonderful Chiropractor, I knew that I had developed some MAJOR ligament problems, but I have never been given a solution, or at least a proper way of dealing with it….

“Jolene, you have Fibromyalgia, which makes you hyper sensitive to pain that might not  necessarily be have a valid SOURCE.” I have been told many times…

BUT THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE GOING ON!!!!!

If I as much as isolate and tighten my glutes, I can completely dislocate my SI joints, THAT is how unstable my lower back is… I cannot do Kegal Exercises for my pain because that is enough to dislocate my SI joints as well…THAT is not Fibromyalgia…

When I can look into a mirror, and SEE a big sack of swelling over my tail bone… there is a VERY real source… you do NOT get inflammation just because….THAT is NOT Fibromyalgia…

When I put my arms over my head and lean over to do a gentle side stretch my hip rolls and POPS out of its socket… THAT is NOT Fibromyalgia….

When I can’t put any weight on my left leg for days, and all I can do is either tuck myself into the fetal position, or rock back and forth to distract myself from the 10-inch knife that is going right through my spine, there is something WRONG….

When my back becomes so tight that I have no choice but to over-compensate and end up pulling all the muscles in my groin and butt… that is NOT just being sensitive to pain.. there is something STRUCTURALLY WRONG WITH ME!!!

If I go a month without this intense back pain I am feeling like the luckiest woman on earth….  Sometimes I go TWO months without it… but when I feel the crack or pop I know in that instant I am screwed… and it takes days and sometimes weeks to recover… it is the kind of pain that isn’t touched by ANY medication, and the only ‘cure’ is to get it to POP and CRACK back into place… THAT IS NOT FIBROMYALGIA….

As some of you know my Dad had spinal surgery before Christmas, and he has been in a great deal of pain since… It has been a hard recovery for him, and he still has a way to go… If we can somehow make it easier on him, we will….

As a way for him to stay connected with his online illness community, as well as for him to stay comfortable, and avoid frustration, I talked him into getting a laptop.  I would be lost without mine, AND his computer had a lot of issues, and I believed he had to wipe out his hard drive anyhow…  It wasn’t worth putting in the time, money or frustration into it anymore….

This past Tuesday he had asked for me and my honey to come over and help him disassemble his PC, and drive him to the store so he could deal with transferring data to his new laptop.. And we were more than happy to help. I made the mistake of leaning over to pick up his PC tower and both heard and felt the CRACK…

I knew I was in trouble…

We barely made it home….

And I have been stuck on the couch, writhing in pain ever since…..

Ice, heat, meds, stretching, massage, baths, back brace… nothing is helping….

What a fantastic way to start the New Year!!!

So yes, it has been a rough start…. my nerves are frazzled, and they are in hyperdrive… every minute or so I get a wave of PAINFUL “Goosebumps” that make me want to crawl out of my skin…. My stomach is churning… and my get up and go, got up and left….

As my honey gently massaged my back last night I let out some hot frustrated tears, while he silently supported me and hoped to somehow make it better… HE can’t see me like this… My Mom and Dad can’t either… it creates this helpless feeling in everyone, including me.. I don’t know how to make it better…

THIS IS NOT FIBROMYALGIA!!!!!!

One thing for sure… I am getting down to the bottom of this.. I am not being placated anymore… I will not let them prescribe me yet another medication in the hopes that my body will become LESS sensitive to pain… THAT is not the issue, and I know it.  I just need to be heard… I have enough pain to deal with every day, I don’t need this…

Angry?  Maybe…

Frustrated?  Absolutely…

Have I had it?  In a heartbeat…

Will I keep on keeping on?  There isn’t a doubt…

I am not letting the system fail me again… not this time…  I am not letting them convince me I am just depressed, or that I need to exercise, or that somehow Vitamin D will make me feel better…

It is time to get down to the bottom of this…

Thanks for listening to me rant my friends… That wonderfully hopeful post for 2011 is coming… just not today….

 

**If you are reading this anywhere other than http://www.gracefulagony.wordpress.com it is because this post has been stolen. Please click on the link provided to return to the site of origin

 

 

 

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To my Doctors office that is… 4 appointments in four weeks starting today…. Sometimes keeping my appointments feels like a full-time job.

Maybe I should just move in? *note my sarcasm….

I just don’t feel like I am getting anywhere lately.  It is two steps forward, two steps back… two steps forward, two steps back…. I am doing an intimate dance with my pain everyday.  It pushes me, I push back… and like I tell my little dude all the time – someone has to be the bigger person and end a bad situation.  If he was having an argument with one of his classmates, I would tell him that it will go on forever unless someone ends the cycle… Funny that I cannot take my own advice at times… I need to end this vicious cycle I have gotten into with my pain, but I get to the point where I don’t know what else to do BUT react every time the pain picks on me.. it pushes me… I push back…

My meds haven’t been working for a while now, and I have been taking over-the-counter meds in between all my  other meds to try to take the edge off… and those don’t work either.  I am not going to start playing pharmacist at home, so I am going to stop taking drugs of the over-the-counter variety and try to trust in the process… which is really hard to do when you are in desperate pain.

My Doctor is compassionate as she speaks with me, but I don’t know if she truly understands what it is like to live this life.  How can she?

My Pharmacist is sympathetic when he talks to me, even when I raise my voice and form clenched fists in frustration.  He truly wants to help, and I am sure he gets frustrated when he can’t.

‘BUT THIS IS CLEARLY NOT WORKING!’ I am trying to vocalize through tears… this pain is too much.. and I am tired.. and I need relief… And NO, I am not depressed, I am ANGRY… I do my best to live the most balanced life I can, but I am human.  I accept this is my life, but can’t I have moments of resentment and rage?  Isn’t that better than being complacent and unaffected?  At least I am letting myself FEEL… and then when the cork is out, and all the contents spilled.. I will pick up and start again.

Sometimes I wish I could just move right in to my Doctor’s office, so she could get a better picture as to what this life is like at times… I know nobody can walk in my shoes, but I wish they could, if only it would give them a glimpse of what living gracefully with agony feels like.  Sometimes ‘Grace’ isn’t in the equation.  Sometimes I have UGLY moments… Sometimes this pain would be too much for anyone to handle – not just me.

Sigh…

I have 3 more appointments booked between now and December 1st….

I hope my next appointment is a little less frustrating.

I hope to be much more “Graceful” next time….

**If you are reading this anywhere other than http://www.gracefulagony.wordpress.com it is because this post has been stolen. Please click on the link provided to return to the site of origin

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THIS IS THE LAST ROUND EVERYONE!!

ROUND 2 – THE FINAL ROUND OF VOTING FOR THE CANADIAN

BLOG AWARDS FOR 2010 ARE NOW OPEN!!

AND I REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!!

YOU MAY VOTE ONCE PER DAY, EACH AND EVERY DAY UNTIL OCTOBER 26TH

FOR GRACEFUL AGONY

in EACH OF THE CATEGORIES I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED IN!!

(just click on the links below)

 

I NEED YOUR HELP!!

YES, YOU!!!!


Are you on Facebook??? Please ask all of your friends to vote!!

Are you a member of a health related forum or message board?  Please ask them to come visit this site and vote!!

Do YOU have your own Blog?

Have you participated in the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival???

Feel FREE to make a blog post and include all the info here (copy and paste it if you want!)

Do you have friends or family that have been touched by a chronic illness or chronic pain?

Take this time to tell them how much you care – and let them know that I am representing the whole ‘Chronic’ Community in this Competition!

Do you have an email or twitter account??  Please forward this post!!

Forward it as many times as you’d like , get your friends to repost it and so on and so on…  😉

If you don’t believe that your vote won’t make a difference, please think again!

This has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I am honored to be included with some amazing bloggers!


My wish when I started Graceful Agony was to spread the word, and increase awareness on Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain.  I wanted to be able to light another person’s path through a life that is often misunderstood.  I wanted to leave my footprint, make friendships, and be a part of an amazingly supportive online community…. and THAT is the biggest gift in what I do here.  I get all of those things and so much more every day.

The rest is icing on the cake.

PLEASE GET VOTING, AND JOIN THE CAMPAIGN!!

SPREAD THE WORD!!!

VOTE!!!!

PLEASE!!

Thank you to everyone that has given me such amazing support and encouragement through this process.  Graceful Agony wouldn’t be a part of the world-wide web if it wasn’t for you.

You keep me inspired,

keep me coming back,

and keep me loving what I do…

In spite of Pain.

XOXOXOXO

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Poll: Best Personal Blog 2010 | Polldaddy.com (poll 3901025).

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Poll: Best Health Blog 2010 | Polldaddy.com (poll 3900946).

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Poll: Best Chronic Illness Blog 2010 | Polldaddy.com (poll 3900659).

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