Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas To-Do-List Complicated by Chronic Pain

Christmas is right around the corner and there is still so much to do between now and then, even after eliminating all baking and cleaning projects. Hubby and I have managed to make steady progress on our to-do-list but it has been slow steady progress. Frankly, at this rate it won't all get done in time. 

But it's not like we can just pick up the pace and get it all done. I can only go out on days when my head pain isn't too bad. Even on a day when the migraines are manageable, I can only run one errand if it's sunny out. With my foot pain as bad as it is (worse now because of the gabapentin) I have to limit the amount of time I spend on my feet. Doesn't matter if I'm walking or standing, every moment on my feet is painful and ever increasing until I'm off them. Then there is the need for recovery after.

While we try to get stuff done within the restrictive confines of my pain, Christmas gets closer and closer. Normally, I try to start on this stuff in the summer but this year has been difficult as I've been dealing with this new pain. Many things have been pushed to the back burner - Christmas shopping is just one of them. We won't even talk about the messy house and the complete lack of baking.

Chronic pain strikes again. Always present so I never forget it's the pain that dictates what I do and when, not me. No plan is safe, especially this time of the year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


A little levity to help you cope with the election and get you through this midweek.

Have a great day!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Nerve Results and New Medications

How is it the 5th of December?

So much has happened already. 

I was able to get an appointment with a neurologist to see about the nerve pain in my hands and feet on the 1st. Much sooner than expected. Even more unexpected was being able to have the test done on my nerves that same day by the actual doctor. I thought for sure I would be sent to some testing center to have it done by a tech. Turns out there is no nerve damage, which is wonderful news. 

Since we have already ruled out other causes, most likely this is a severe worsening of my fibromyalgia. I've been asking myself over and over, what could I have done to make it so much worse? It has never been this severe and even with all the resting and care I've taken since early August, when all this started, I've not seen any real improvement. In fact it has only gotten worse. 

Since I can't come up with an answer, I have to assume this is simply something that can happen. Perhaps it's just a progression of the condition or some other idiopathic event. All I know is that this is not my fault.

The doc also prescribed a path to an appropriate dose of the gabapentin my primary doc started me on the week before. She was way, way, way under-dosing - she usually doesn't know what she's doing. As I started to increase my dosage over the weekend, my nerve pain got much worse. Last night's dosage made it clear that this just isn't the right drug for me. 

I had this same response to this drug back in 2011 when I was trying it as a migraine preventative. I've reached out to the doc to let him know what was going on. Hopefully, we can move quickly onto another medication trial. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Good in a Very Difficult Season

This fall has been rough. Extremely rough. I thought seriously about not writing about it at all because I've not been able to do much of anything outside of doctor appointments and sitting on the couch watching tv in pain. Hubby encouraged me to still do it so I thought I'd give it a try. I did find some good in this very difficult season.

Fall Favorites

I'm a big fan of Instagram. I love seeing pictures my friends post, but I've also been following a whole bunch of chihuahuas I've never met before. Oddly enough, I've become attached to these sweet little dogs. I see their pictures and videos every day along with fun captions filled with clues about their personality. Over time, I've begun to feel like I know these dogs. One of them has stood out, Little boogie shoes. This little chi has a movement disorder along with all kinds of charisma and charm. I have loved getting to know this chi. If you are on Instagram I would encourage you to check him out.

Fall Successes

My big accomplishment this fall is continuing to endure. I've been fighting through some very dark moments as I've been unable to do the meager handful of things my chronic pain had previously allowed me to do. By no means have I conquered the fear, anxiety, and deep sadness I've been wrestling with, but I still have had moments of pleasure. I've laughed with hubby and enjoyed some good shows. I'm even enjoying our Christmas decorations now, which I wasn't for more than a week.

I'm enduring and I'm hopeful that, with time, I'll find a way to deal with all of this much better. For now, that is a big accomplishment.

Fall Failures

The cortisone injections were a giant failure. Not only did it not help, it actually made my feet worse. At least I won't have to do that again.

We also had a small snake in our garage in September. We had accidentally left the garage open, only to discover the snake when we stepped out to walk the dog later.

Fall Highlights

Well, we couldn't let fall pass us by without enjoying some firepits.

The other highlight of this fall was the time I spent with our chihuahua, Gypsy. As always, she has been a loyal little friend and companion through this difficult time. She does dozens of cute things every single day. It is such a pleasure to have her in our life.

Fall Lowlights

This one is easy. The pain in my hands and my feet.

Whimsy Wednesday

This dog is so excited to skateboard.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It Might Be Time For a New Migraine Rescue Medication

I've always had a love/hate relationship with my migraine rescue medication - sumatriptan. I started on Imitrex back when my migraines were turning chronic (11 years ago) and then switched to the generic when that became available a number of years ago.

I love it because it helps to provide some relief from the terrible migraine pain. I can't imagine not having a medication to help me treat the pain. I honestly don't know how I would cope without the assistance of this medication. Literally.

I hate it because of the side effects. The Imitrex always made me feel sick to my stomach. So much so that I still don't like taking any generic that comes in that same triangle shape that the Imitrex came in. The negative conditioning is that strong. The generics still leave me feeling queasy but to a lesser degree. But that's not the only side effect. There is often a weird feeling in my heart. It makes my breath terrible. Sometimes, a couple hours after taking it, my blood sugar will drop and my breasts get tender.

Slowly. over the past year, I've been feeling like the medication is not as effective as it used to be. More often than not I need to add 400mg of ibuprofen to my sumatriptan to get relief. That used to be a trick I used only to treat the worst migraines. Plus, it's becoming more common for the rescue meds to either not provide as much relief or wear off quicker than it used to.

I think it might be time to look for a new rescue med, which will be tricky because:
1. My migraine doc is in Minnesota and I'm in Missouri.
2. Right now what little bit of energy I have is being spent on dealing with the pain in my hands and feet.
3. Trying new medications for my hands and feet might impact a trial of new medications for my head.

I've decided to put it off until the spring or summer in hopes that I can get a better handle on my hands/feet and be on a stable medication regimen. I just hope the sumatriptan won't become completely useless before then.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Getting Back on the Medication Roller Coaster

Well, I've officially gotten back on the medication roller coaster. I officially got off the migraine prevention medication roller coaster back in 2013 because I couldn't take dealing with all the side effects and never seeing any benefit. Well my reasons were a bit more complex than that but you can read the link if you want more information. 

I'm getting back on now because of the pain I'm having in my hands and feet. So far we've ruled out any kind of autoimmune, inflammatory or arthritis causes. Everyone feels confident that I'm having nerve pain. The only question now is this nerve pain due to nerve damage (neuropathy), or is this a severe increase in my fibromyalgia pain. 

The medications used to treat both conditions are the same and all of them are ones that I've tried before either for migraine prevention or fibro pains. I've had bad reactions to some of them and the others were ineffective. 

Still, I don't mind trying all of them again because severe pain in the hands and feet is quite disabling and very difficult to cope with. Plus, it's possible it will go better now. Just because they didn't work for migraine prevention, doesn't mean it won't work for nerve pain. The ones I did take for my fibro pain I didn't stay on because the side effects outweighed any benefit I was getting. But the pain is so much worse and more relenting now. 

I'm hopeful that I won't have the awful side effects I had before and that one of these medications will step up and provide some relief. 

I'm thankful that my primary care doc got me started on one while I wait for my neurology appointment. 

Yesterday I stepped on the nerve pain medication roller coaster feeling cautious and hopeful as I took the most daunting of all the medications - gabapentin. Last time I took it (migraine prevention) it gave me terrible nerve pain.