The Recent Disappearance of Jen

I recently suffered five weeks of miserable neck pain that ran down my psyche, my emotional well being, and left me mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from the pain and the lack of sleep. It wasn’t long before I was snapping at people and that old feeling of hopelessness began to creep back.

In early April I underwent new Cervical and Lumbar MRIs that found my back has become worse in the last two years. Thank the Goddesses for small favors though my neck has remained the same.

Only a week before these results were delivered my physical therapist informed me that she fears my knees have plateaued. According to her I should be able to walk and stand for forty five minutes to an hour before the pain in my knees requires that I sit. I laughed when she said that. My neck and back are so bad that I can’t go ten minutes before I have to sit down. She thinks my neck and back problems are interfering with knee recovery. I could have told ya that my entire body is connected and not just a series of independent parts.

This now takes us to my appointment with a new chronic pain management doctor at Brigham and Women hospital in Boston.
Same ol’ story different day. He wanted to do steroid injections and had no other new suggestion. Blah blah. I’ve already tried them and the cost benefit analysis is not in my favor. They made me lose my hair. They fucked up my skin more than it already is. I’m currently covered in a rash that won’t go away and that is making me miserable. I don’t need to be more miserable due to skin issues or other health problems simply because I’m trying to manage my pain. Now that I’m diabetic steroids sky rocket my blood sugar and make me very sick. They run my immune system down and make me more prone to catch every virus and bacterial infection out there. A run down immune system also means that I’ll get more yeast infections than I already get. All of this and I only get moderate relief for six weeks and I can only get the shots every three months. It’s absolutely not a long term solution given how it sucks the bones of calcium and does Goddess only knows what else.

I asked about neck surgery and par for the course he was against it. He felt I wasn’t really a candidate; that my neck wasn’t structurally bad enough. My neck isn’t bad enough? My quality of life is shit. I’m in horrible pain and it just gets worse with every year and no one seems to have any new remedies for me. I’ve been living with pain since I was 14 and I’m only 33 now! I’d like to have a long, healthy, happy life. MY NECK IS BAD! Fucking fix it or find an excellent way to really manage the pain or I’ll take a goddamn knife to it myself!

Obviously I told the Doc no steroids. I want to try Botox injections next. He referred me to a Neurologist who does them. Of course I can’t get in to see her until July 11th. It occurred to me after I left though that she may not even do Botox for neck pain given that she’s a Neurologist. It may not be a good idea to do Botox for neck pain given that I get it for my migraines too. I’m going to do some research and call my current Neuro and this new one.

I was also referred me to a psychologist who does Biofeedback to help control my pain on the mental health side. Of course I can’t get in to see him until June 11th. He reluctantly gave me the name of a surgeon too.
In the mean time I’ve also faxed my MRI reports to a neck surgeon at Mass General Hospital. I don’t even get an appointment with him until he has reviewed the MRIs and decides if he thinks I’m surgical. If he doesn’t think I’m surgical then I get sent to the physiatrist in the office.

Thankfully I heard from Dr. Shin’s office telling me that he wants to see me. I have an appointment on May 17th. Here’s hoping he has some better options for me.

Welcome to the bullshit of trying to manage spine problems and chronic pain. It’s a broke down journey with a broke down body across an endless dilapidated swing bridge that’s hanging on by threads over the deepest of canyons. At least this broke down body is possessed by a woman smart enough to pack a canteen full of top notch vodka and all her trusty meds. It makes the fight across much more interesting indeed.

Coming up in my next posts:
My feelings surrounding the Boston Marathon
Thoughts on running for office as a woman in my position

See you then!

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4 thoughts on “The Recent Disappearance of Jen

  1. *eyes cross at the mention of more steroids*
    Did the SOB not even read your chart before you got there? What a dickweed. But then, that’s the state of modern medicine in this country. . .

    • Hmmm me thinks this cantankerous Mule is my buddy, Misty. Readers, she’s really quite lovely in a snarky, dry witted, dark and twisted, humorous sort of way. All just a few of the many reasons we’ve been the best of friends of since our ‘SC days.

      To be fair, Mule, I haven’t seen many doctors at this particular hospital so I don’t have a very extensive chart. However, I gave him enough info on the new patient forms so he should have known better than to suggest steroids.

      Steroids? I say “Good day to you Sir!”

  2. Good luck Darlin!!
    I’ve had medical issues myself these past two years. Hang in there! Love your blog.

  3. Oh how I love to be called “Darlin!” I can hear your lovely southern fried voice in my head.

    I heard you had some serious health issues after I left SEIU. Are you still with them? Still living in the City? I was just there last weekend. How I miss it so.

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