Remainder of Week 6 and Week 7

Life has been completely overwhelming!  That, actually, may be the biggest understatement I have made in a while.  I do not do well with stress, so for others, these weeks may not seem like such a big deal, but for me they have been hellish!

Tuesday I was completely overwhelmed, but, as has been the case, blogging helped me snap out of it a bit.  Also, my son graduated his level of swimming and went up to a level 4.  Having a child with autism who has fears is  a double whammy – we have tried lessons year after year, but putting his head under water ended each attempt.  Now, he is constantly going under water.  It is amazing to watch!

The remainder of my week was haunted by bad back and neck pain and headaches.  I had several appointments:  physical therapy, psychologist, and my orthopedic surgeon.  As usual, my pain increased after having physical therapy and remained high through the weekend until Sunday.  From this correlation, I decided to stop going to PT.  It is no longer necessary, the doctor told me, unless it was helping.  After 6 sessions, the pain was exacerbated.  I had felt more at ease with my decision to have ACDF surgery as the doctor explained and answered my questions during my appointment.  But I also made an appointment for a second opinion, since I do not want to rush into surgery.

I have an appointment next Monday for a neurologist.  However, looking up my symptoms, my continuous headache sounds like a tension headache.  I still need to find out if there is any other issue regarding the tinnitus and dizziness, as well.  Tension is the key word of these past few months!

Yesterday, I had my EMG.  The EMG was interesting, getting shocked by a mini car battery and then needles put in my arm, moving them, while pushing against the doctor’s hand on demand. I found out that I now have to go to a hand specialist due to a nerve that is very compressed/blocked in my elbow. Add those appointments to the roster!  The upside: that was the only damaged nerve.  Those results did not help me with the decision for ACDF surgery, as I had hoped, all it did was set me up for another potential surgery on my elbow.  Great, more to obsess about!

Week 6 of Summer

Thus far, for me, summer is a bummer!  I just can’t find my happy.  I know I am being vague.  I really don’t feel like writing but hoping it may get me a tad out of this bad mood.  I felt pretty okay the end of last week.  Saturday was very stressful for various reasons regarding our dogs and pain and workload and energy.  However, Sunday I felt much better.  Unfortunately, that feeling was fleeting.

This week began in a shambles.  Monday I had a sitter for Roger, since there was no camp and no therapy that day.  I felt like a prisoner in one room to get my work done.  Yesterday, I also had physical therapy.  It lasted longer than intended and I started stressing about all the time I am missing from work for all these therapies.  This morning I woke up feeling much the same, stressed, tired, terrible headache and tinnitus that I just cannot ignore anymore.  Again, I had another physical therapy appointment and, again, stressed over missing work time.  The headaches and tinnitus are just so constant as of late.  This headache must be at least a month old.  The tinnitus is about a decade old but the volume of the past week has increased greatly.  I feel like it is making me completely crazy.  I am in such a bad mood all day long.  I feel terrible for my son and husband, but especially for my son because he does not understand why I am in a bad mood so often.  He asked my husband what was wrong with me on Saturday.

Today, I called my therapist and made an appointment for tomorrow (even more time to make up for work) and had a friend recommend a psychiatrist.  I am getting so depressed as of late that I don’t want to keep sinking deeper.  This calendar is filling up pretty quickly with more and more appointments.  Now, I just have to figure out when I can have a full day of rest.  I do not know if I can wait until the end of August!

Downer Update

I reposted yesterday’s blogs in some of the FB groups I belong to for cervical issues/ACDF surgery.  I received a lot of acknowledgement of what I have been feeling and dealing with.  I think venting helped my mood a bit.  In the evening, I took my son to him swim lesson and went to the pool afterwards for 2 hours.  My back was in lots of pain, but I did my new exercises from physical therapy that day after dinner.

This morning I woke up, again in pain, but feeling a bit more stable mentally/emotionally.  I made a few decisions that I think were partly to blame for yesterday’s mood:

  1. Do not try to start work before taking my son to camp.  I was already feeling overwhelmed/stressed from the work emails before the day really began.
  2. EAT before going to an 11 am physical therapy appointment.  I only had 3 cups of coffee and water in the morning.  As I was waiting to begin therapy, the hunger crept in.
  3. Do my exercises first thing in the morning and after dinner (on days I have physical therapy).  On days I do not have PT, add another set before picking Roger up from camp.

The exercises are hurting me and the pain is probably worse than before my first day back at physical therapy.  The headache is a bit more intense as well.  I will bring it up with her today.

This week and next are filled with appointments:  Tuesday – PT, Wednesday – PT, Thursday – Internist, Friday – PT, Monday – Pain Management, Friday – Orthopedic Surgeon.  PT wants me to come 3 times a week, so I am guessing that will fill my Tuesday – Thursday.  I can only do one appointment a day due to work.

Another interesting thing occurred yesterday.  I am not sure if it changed my mood for the better or had much of an effect at all.  I was called to schedule my ACDF surgery.  I am still unsure if I will have it and will see how therapy goes, as well as getting a second opinion.  I scheduled it for October 19th, with my pre-op on October 4th and post-op on November 1st.  Sounds like it’s so far away, but in actuality it is only 14 weeks.  It is enough time to see what is working/what is not/and make an informed decision.

Downer Alert!

It’s hard to explain how I am feeling, as of late.  I am moving through a heavy haze at all times.  Due to my cervical issues, I have constant headaches so  I have a constant pressure on my head.  I have tinnitus that is constant.  My eyelids feel so heavy at all times.  My focus is completely gone.  Each task feels so difficult and causes me so much stress.  I am constantly reactive when doing these tasks.  I have a sour expression on my face all the time.  I feel completely antisocial.  And I hate myself when I suffer through the small talk I must do on a daily basis.  I need a break from everything but how does one do that?  This summer is killing me.  I cannot even figure out how to work all my hours in a week when I look at my schedule that now includes doctor and therapy appointments daily.  After I let the dogs out earlier, I leaned my head against the wall and felt like I could stay like that all day and not move.  Sometimes when I am working, I close my eyes for a few seconds and imagine falling asleep the rest of the day.  However, it would not even be the rest of the day since these summer days are broken into chunks.  I am utterly depressed.  It is even hard to express how depressed I feel.  I think when I had post-partum depression it was about at the severity it is now.  I have a job, husband and child.  I cannot just stop doing the daily routine, no matter how much I wish I could.  This daily summer grind is killing me.  Seven more weeks of summer break.  I tell myself that I will take off a full-day of work when he is back at school, so I can rest/sleep all day.  What do I do in the meantime?  I am just so wiped out…

Monday, Not So Funday

Usually I love Monday’s.  I get to get back into my work groove and my routine, which I love to be in.  However, this morning, I had to have a work call with my boss first thing in the morning.  The call was not stressful, but a small project was given to me for the day.  As the call continued, work emails kept pouring in.  On top of that, the dogs were barking on and off.  Also, our dryer was being installed.  I just felt so much stress.  When I feel so much stress, I speed up my work and try to do hours and hours of work in a couple of hours.  I become a tad crazy about the workload and try to complete it as quickly as possible.

I do not feel accomplished today.  Instead I wonder why do I do this to myself.  There was no time frame to finish the project but I put all this weight on myself to do a good job in an efficient manner.  That is the worker they hired.  I still work at that fast speed but now my head spins in the process.

This cycle of back pain – headache – depression – lack of sleep – utter exhaustion – lack of focus/concentration is burying me in a big hole that I don’t know how to dig out of.  Also, my allergies have been making a comeback although it is not high allergy season.  I wonder if my immune system is crushed under all this.  I feel so hopelessly BLAH.

I start physical therapy tomorrow and hope that will start some good cycle.  Secondly, next Monday I have an appointment with the pain doctor and am hoping that will help as well.  I contemplate seeing a new therapist who may not be so much of a cheerleader but give me a kick in the butt, but right now I do not know if I could deal with that.  I may have to physically feel better before I start feeling better mentally.  Or should I work on both at the same time?  With it being summer, I do not have many extra hours to work with to go to doctor’s/therapist’s appointments every day.

My poor husband has to deal with the brunt of my anger/grumpiness.  I unleash it all on him.  After I do or when I am alone, I realize what a terror I have become and feel so guilty.  Yet, the next flare up, I do the same.  I hope he realizes how much I love him and appreciate his support!

Week 5 of Summer

Due to July 4th and a week with no camps, I did not write about the 5th week of Summer.  It was a difficult week pain-wise — probably one of my most grueling in quite some time.  Monday, I had my MRI and decided to track down all my past MRIs for copies.  I am still trying to see if I am able to get my ones from NYC, but that may not happen.  It was interesting reading over the results and seeing the number of MRIs I have gotten since 20414!

If not for Roger’s enthusiasm of July 4th, I would have stayed home that day in bed!  However, he had so much fun swimming at a friend’s house, playing with sparklers and watching fireworks.  Although enjoying the company of friends, I was thinking about my bed all during the fireworks…

Thursday of last week, Roger had a lot of dental procedures done — 2 crowns, 3 fillings and 4 sealants.  In the past we have tried (very unsuccessfully) laughing gas and the cocktail for pediatric procedures.  This time I opted for full-on anesthesia.  He did well through the procedures which ended up including pulling his two front teeth.  I was nervous to see how he would react to that.  When he roused, he was very sad (as predicted) and very out of it.  My heart went out to him.  Such a little boy!  Luckily, the nurse carried him to the car.  Unfortunately, I realized that I would have to carry this 70 pound boy from the garage up three stairs and into the bedroom.  I did not think he would be incapable of grabbing onto me to help with the carry.  Getting him out of the booster seat was an ordeal.  I asked him to hold onto me, but he could not comprehend nor seem to have any strength to do so.  I don’t know how, but I ended up lifting him off the floor of the garage and managed to get him onto the bed without dragging him.

He was sad for a long time and tired too.  However, he could not fall back asleep.  He just laid in bed staring at the ceiling.  Eventually, we started watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid and he started waking up more.  His sitter came by and I asked her to run a couple of errands, since he did not want to see her.  My foresight was not great, so we needed some soft foods like jello.  Also, I could not leave Roger’s side, so I asked her to walk the dogs.  After that, Roger wanted to be with the sitter, was sitting up and happy, had some jello, and was excited about the tooth fairy.  He handled the whole situation so well.  I am so proud of him.

My back, on the other hand, did not handle that carry very well.  I was in excruciating pain on Friday.  I hoped to do something easy with Roger, like go to the movies, but my back wanted me to remain home.  Seeing him almost fall asleep during a couple of errands made me realize he, too, still needed the rest.

Yesterday and today, my back still aches and I have realized that I cannot wait the two weeks to see the back doctor before getting some muscle relaxers or a good anti-inflammatory.  Tomorrow, I will call pain management physician and see if she has an earlier appointment.  Tuesday I start physical therapy and hope that will help but, from what I recall, that takes time too.

Here’s hoping week 6 ends up less painful!