Tag Archives: Spinal Chord Stimulator

I love YOU

Can you look yourself in the mirror and say “I love YOU!” and then REALLY mean it? Have you ever really even thought about it? I mean we turn to our children, our spouse, our sisters, our brothers, our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, etc and say “I love you” all the time and sincerely mean it. What happens when you look in the mirror at yourself? Can you look at yourself and really love the person staring back at you?

I recently came across a quote I wrote about scars that said “A scar is a tattoo with a better story.” Now this was written before my 4 spinal surgeries and I had to chuckle because all of my scars that I have now do have good stories attached to them an I do still feel that way, but BOY I had no idea when I wrote that 6 years ago what my life had planned for me! However I’m not ashamed of my scars. I know they each come with a story that is better than my tattoo. Now my tattoo has a good story too, but somehow my scars from all these surgeries seem to top my tattoo story now.

Someone recently asked me if with all the scars from all the surgeries if I would be in a one piece bathing suit now, and I go NO! I’d wear a bikini I’m not SCARED! I’m working too hard to lose all this weight to hide in a one piece! They laughed. Being comfortable in your own body is important. We have too many outsiders telling us we need to look like some airbrushed model, but the truth is we need to love our self.

There is nothing wrong with self improvement. I am working on losing weight so I am at a healthier weight, but I can still love myself. I do not need to hate myself in this moment. I can love myself and still lose weight. I can love myself and understand that the scars tell a story of where I have been, the journey I have been on. We often say we need to remember history so we don’t repeat it, when talking about our own history we need to remember that we don’t have to be stuck in the past.

There are things we might not be proud of, things we might wish didn’t happen, but they are in the past. We can honor those events without being stuck. We can honor ourselves and still seek self improvement. We can love ourselves and not be stuck. We can look in the mirror and say “I love you” and MEAN IT! I often use humor as a way to deflect my emotions, but I do love me. I know I may not have the easiest life, but I am proud of where I am. I know I have dealt with some really hard medical decisions, but I have overcome them and I am learning how to navigate.

I can look in the mirror and love who I am. I can look at my scars and not be ashamed. I have a tale to tell and not be ashamed of the tale. I am continuing to move forward and I want to remember that each time things don’t go the way I expect it’s just another plot twist! So today go look in the mirror and say “I love you!” The trick is to keep doing that until you really mean it!

heart

NAPS!

Okay fess up who doesn’t like a good NAP? I mean I really think the Spanish have it right with siestas in the afternoon! Take a nap go back to work, you feel refreshed! As a child I stopped napping at 6 months which my poor Mom had to put up with, as an adult I take a nap about everyday now…I think I am making up for lost time…sorry Mom! My Mom really is a saint! She takes me to my appointments, helps with taking me to do odd errands like going to the bank, post office etc. When she jokes about that I am her full time job she’s not kidding!

I am really grateful for my Mom and how much help she has been these last couple of years with getting me to these appointments. I don’t know where I would be without her. It’s been nice to spend some extra time with her. Of course when we spend all this extra time it doesn’t feel like quality time because its always around medical appointments. I am seeing this doctor or that doctor, I’m getting this or that test run. So every once in awhile she and I will pick a day and just go out. We’ll spend some quality time together that is not around some medical appointment or procedure.

I know that my whole life is not going to be based around doctor visits and medical testing but right now that’s what it feels like and it’s exhausting! I have all these pills to take, all these blood draws and tests plus physical therapy. I’m always at this doctor or that’s office for some sort of check up. I have this test or that test coming up. My calendar is already filling up for December and we haven’t even hit September yet… life of anyone with a chronic illness!

Can we have a redo?

Sometimes you just need a redo, I mean the day you just need to climb back into bed and start over. You just want to climb back into bed pull up the covers and try again. That was the day I had today. I have done pretty good with the blood thinner shots, but today I must have had the angle wrong which considering that I can’t look down and I’m having to use the mirror to give myself the shot I think I’m doing pretty well. So I gave myself the shot but it hurt, then after the needle was out it hurt even more. So that was not pleasant. Mother Nature has been giving us temps in the middle to upper 90s with feels like temperatures over 100 degrees so it’s HOT outside.

So I’m pretty sure I am melting like I should have reached my melting point at some point today…and of course I remember that one summer I worked for that theme park and I would be outside in 115 degree weather..yeah that was fun…NOT! So then I decide that maybe I haven’t reached my melting point yet. But I decide to eat a popsicle to cool down just to be on the safe side! Not that I think I need an excuse to eat a popsicle because now that I am an adult I pretty much can eat one whenever I want and I have a valid excuse for eating one. It’s 6am and I’m eating a popsicle because it is orange and I decided to have frozen orange juice with my breakfast…yeah because I’m an adult! See how that works?

So then later in the day I was walking and my leg started to give out on me and I’m thinking to myself see this is the melting point my leg is giving out on me because it’s tired and it’s telling me that it’s giving up on holding up my body weight. It’s going to go on strike and it will not longer participate in fighting gravity on my behalf. I’m sorry body but you are just to heavy and gravity has won this battle…BAM! Body meet your new friend floor, floor meet body where you will be staying until further notice.

I used to watch all those commercials with the old people lying on the floor and they would say “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” and you would think aww poor old people they are so fragile! How is it at 30-something years old I could be in one of those commercials? When did I become so fragile that I could be an actress in that commercial and lying on the floor telling the world I can’t get up and really mean it?

The issue would be the people watching at home would be like that chick is too young for this commercial! That can’t be right! Fire the casting director! These are supposed to be OLD people, she doesn’t even have grey hair! The issue is that I am clumsy enough for the commercial!

Neck surgery, recovery and sticky cat…

My neck fusion surgery is complete! I had the IVC filter placement and the neck surgery this past week! What I love is doctors who upon meeting me realize I do know a lot about medical procedures. The doctor that placed the IVC filter had NO IDEA who he was talking to when he met me! He asked me why I was getting it and I gave him the very abbreviated version of the story, and how I had already gone over all the risks associated with the IVC filter and I understood that normally doctors do not recommend IVC filter placement before surgery but I was the exception to the rule.

So they used lidocaine to numb where they were going to cut my neck open to put the camera down my neck into the vena cava and they found the hardware in my back, they saw my stimulator in my back, but because I didn’t need sedation I only had a 30 minute recovery period after everything was said and done which ROCKED!

Surgery went well and I only had to spend one night in the hospital which was good. I like the shorter stays gets me out and back home to recover. The physical therapist and occupational therapist were the same ladies that saw me the past 2 surgeries and so they knew I was a pro. We go up and walked and I showed that I am much better at walking than they expected, but hey I have my issues!

Last night I slept pretty well, the pain woke me up a couple of times, but I took medicine and was able to get back to sleep quickly. My arms fell asleep (aka were numb) but hopefully as the swelling goes down from the surgery that will take care of it’s self too! I am happy that the surgery is over and I can go back to living. I know I have to take it easy and I have even more restrictions on me, but I am going to keep getting up and being as active as possible because that is the best way to prevent post surgical blood clots.

Speaking of blood clots…they have me on shots for the next few days to prevent blood clots and I am not thrilled with having to give myself a shot, but eh it could be worse! I have to remind myself that life could always be worse. I am home, I am healing, I am blessed beyond measure!

Creme (the cat) has been stuck to me like GLUE! She is helping me heal I’m sure, but it’s too hot for all that! I love her, but she needs to back up a bit! She always gets this way when I disappear for a couple of days, she wants to make sure I don’t run away with the circus or something… I’m just glad to know she missed me, another reason that I am…..

Tooblessed

Please leg don’t fail me now!

So this week at physical therapy I did squats… which is not my favorite exercise. I dislike doing squats and I do a modified exercise because of my damage to my spine. I am also under the close supervision of the tech while doing the squats. Well I’m not sure if we just did to many this week, or if it’s just the fact that I have no feeling in my right thigh or a combination of everything…but this morning my right leg, specifically my thigh muscle is buckling. Now the fun part is because I cannot feel my thigh or the muscle I get no warning until it buckles.

Which I want to remind everyone that my balance is REALLY CRAPPY! So to be walking and then all the sudden my leg to buckle is not working out well for me this morning. I was walking and it buckled and I stumbled. All I can think is I cannot fall this close to my surgery. I cannot break anything this close to surgery. I dislike that I cannot feel my thigh and that I randomly lose muscle control in my leg. I have a knee brace, but if this continues I have a feeling the doctors are going to evaluate if I need a longer brace on my leg for stability.

This is also why I told the hospital that I am 100% a fall risk. I can admit that my balance is crappy, I can admit that I have neurological complications, and I sway when I try to stand still. My back is not fused and my center of gravity is non-existent. I know this, and I have begrudgingly accepted it for now. It’s hard to accept what you cannot change, but it is wise to learn your limitations before you hurt yourself more.

Pain medication

There was a really interesting discussion yesterday in one of my doctor’s offices between myself, another patient, the doctor and one of the techs, the topic at hand…opioid pain medication. So both the other patient and I have long histories of pain but neither of us are on opioid pain medications. I know that had I stayed on pain medications I probably would be addicted at this point. My first back surgery was September 2014 and my back still is not fused.

We talked about how we have created an epidemic because doctors in the past have been too quick to prescribe the opioid pain medications and not try other ways of pain management. There are other things to try for a lot of patients. Now there are patients who do need pain medication for longer term use, but those patients are few and far between. A lot of patients who are on opioid pain medication don’t need them for long term use.

I will ALSO say that just because a patient is on opioid pain medication does not make them an addict. There are plenty of patients who are under doctor’s care and they are taking the medication responsibly and there are no issues. I know patients who need the heavier pain medications and they have tried other methods of pain management to no avail.

Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude can go a LONG way when you are dealing with a lot of health problems. Heck it can go a LOONG way when you aren’t dealing with a lot of health problems! So earlier this month we got repeat xrays on my back which at this point I think I could do in my sleep because I’ve had them done so many times the tech rarely has to re-position me, I usually know exactly how she/he needs me! I was frustrated when I saw the report that said no significant change since January (Healing SLOOOWLY). I saw one of my doctors who has been helping specifically with my back recovery this week and he confirmed that the fusion is happening but at a snails’ pace… he also confirmed that there has been little progress between January and present. He also showed me some other areas of concern on the xray, which were not new areas, and I teased back that one area in particular I was complaining about to him which is why we had recently changed focus in the treatment plan.

So what does this mean? A) I do know what my body is going through because I can feel it. The one issue I had complained about which is why we did the xrays in the first place and the xrays showed exactly what I have been feeling. B) We are going to have to keep doing the xrays to watch for metal fatigue because right now a few pieces of metal is what is holding my spine together (yeah let that sink in for a minute…) C) We continue with the physical therapy and D) Keep up with the supplements.

Mentally what does this mean? ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE! I could be on here whining about how life sucks and I should have never done the surgery and I was better off before, blah blah blah but I honestly don’t believe that. The leg spasms have decreased, I have lost a bunch of weight since I had surgery (the surgeries really gave me the motivation to start losing the weight and then keep it off), and I do believe that I will get better in time. I have an amazing team of doctors. I was talking with one doctor about the upcoming surgery and he said something about that my back hadn’t fused. I said if I had lost my faith in the surgeon I wouldn’t be allowing him to perform the next one, but I haven’t! I have total faith in the surgeon. The surgeon has done everything possible to set me up for perfect fusion, my body has just been SLOOOOOOOW to recover!

So I am going to keep on trucking, keep moving forward and keep looking at all the things I have in life to be grateful for, because at the end of the day…THERE ARE A LOT!!!