Okay, I’ve been away. Not literally, just been swamped with other things, and generally by the time I can type at night, I can’t. Read on to see why.
An update on where I am:
My neck and back are still bothering me. After months of seeing a chiropractor (which helped greatly!), I was still getting better then having set backs. Frustrated, I was finally referred to a neurosurgeon who had me see a sports medicine guru who ran a nerve test that determined my bulging and protruding neck discs had not yet compromised my nerves. He also had me see a pain management doctor who started me on a series of up to six spinal injections of an anti-inflammatory Depo-Medrol. Same medication my rheumatologist had prescribed in December that got me on the road to recovery…only to have a set back in February.
I’ve received two injections thuse far. First one…pain got MUCH worse, then mellowed out a bit, but never went away (there is a chance it will get worse before it gets better). Second injection started working after about a week and a half (it’s supposed to work within 3-5 days, and lasts for up to 21). I saw my pain management doctor after having 5 days of no pain. We discussed returning to activity (like vacuuming, running, lifting, etc.) and she said to take it slow, but that if I was pain free now, chances were I’d remain that way. YEAH. Yippee. Let’s go celebrate. Wait, the whole family gets a cold. Then what happens…5 days got by and the pain is back. So I give her a call…she says to revert back to the Tylenol every 6-8 hours and ice 15-20 minutes three times a day. I give it the old college try. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Have to wait until mid-July when I see her for a follow-up…as she’s out on maternity leave.
About two weeks ago I had a quarterly visit with my rheumatologist, and as usual, she asked if I had any new symptoms. Yes I do. EXTREME fatigue. Like don’t want to get out of bed until noon (although I’m up before 7 each day) and could fall asleep sitting upright on the couch watching the boys by about 3pm (although I don’t). Then I get my second wind, pull together dinner, baths, bedtime, and then it’s 830pm and I’m wide awake. I crawl into bed between 10:30 and 11ish each night only to sit and roll, and wait to fall asleep. So when she asked if I was sleeping okay, I told her that I’m also up a few times a night to fetch a crying baby and get him back to sleep, help a 3 year old get in/out of his pjs as he sleepily informs me he has to pee, or help him build a tent out of his covers so he can nest up and fall asleep. My husband sleeps through everything, including me punching him asking him to get out of bed and help. I also mentioned that I was still suffering a bit from the neck/back pain. That launches a conversation about why I can’t take anything (nursing) and what I’ve been doing (waiting).
She informs me that there’s a very low dose muscle relaxant that she gives, “her old bitties” that she thinks might help me get a good nights’ sleep…and hopefully function better during the daytime. We also discussed the fact that I should not nap (even if I can) during the daytime and that I need plenty of exercise. Hold on, I’m still on limited activity. Yup, no exercise. Figures why I still have 30lbs of baby weight to go…and lucky me, just had that insurance health exam. Hard to explain that I’m this heavy because I’m a new Mom as my nearly 1 year old is crawling at mock speed through the house!
Back to the meds…I called the pediatrician after leaving her office and was informed that if I take one tablet after I nurse for the night, it should be nearly out of my system at first light. It has a relatively short half life. Good for the fact that I’m nursing…however, short half life means it also doesn’t stay in my system (AKA help me) that long. Typically you take 4 pills a day. I’m taking just one. Okay, I give it a go. After just about a week I notice my youngest has nearly stopped nursing…pushing away, making faces, doing everything to avoid me. I think it’s because he’s weaning or wants his cool new sippy cup…so I pull out some freezer milk and fill it up. He downs that…so I got to pump…not much milk. For two days…not much milk. Hmm. I called the pediatrician back, and after some discussion (about formula, pumping, and trying to keep him nursing), I decide to stop taking the pills that really haven’t made me feel any better. Within 24 hours he’s nursing like a pro again. Yup, must have been the medication…not the cool new sippy cup.
So, here I am, not bent over in pain, but definitely not 100%. I have good days, and not so good days. I finally gave up yesterday and said, “screw it” and went for a run. I felt the best I’ve felt in months (and I mean months) today. Lots of energy, little pain, etc. So I ran again today. I’m sitting here with just some minor discomfort. We’ll see how it continues.
Meanwhile, the pain has seemingly moved to my hands. They cramp. And cramp. And cramp. After I write (which we knew a little while back), but now after typing. Three paragraphs ago I noticed it start. Now it’s making me want to wrap things up quickly. I raised this as my other “new symptom” and it of course prompted about 3 pints worth of a blood draw to check me for thyroid problems, vitamin B12 problems, and a slew of other things…which I’ll find out about on July 7th…if I can get a sitter. Nothing like trying to talk about this with a crying child and one who has to touch everything, open every draw, and stand on me saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mommy, Mom…”