A New Routine And A New Doctor For 2017

Over the last almost five years now, I have spent so much of my time going to doctors. First it was to the follow up appointments after my surgery. (If you are new to the blog, then look at the posts for June, of 2012 to get up to date on what happened) Then it was to gastroenterologists both in Arizona and here in Georgia, trying to get answers to why I was in so much pain, and trying to get my colostomy reversed. I was denied the surgery to reverse the colostomy and repair my abdominal wall. That was devastating to me but with the help of the mental health clinic I was able to cope and get myself ok with it. I also did not ever get an answer to why I was in so much pain months and years after my surgery. I still don’t have an answer to that. But starting last week, I have changed the game plan, and have moved forward to a new phase in the taking care of Fabgrandma.

The first thing that happened was on Monday. Fabgrandpa and I went to the health supply store in Carrollton, Georgia to pick up our BiPAP machines. Our sleep studies back in October and then again in December indicated that we both have sleep apnea. The sleep apnea, along with the opioid pain meds I had been taking, was making me sleep all day. Almost every day. If we had a doctor appoinment to go to, I would almost fall asleep driving home. I really had no idea that I had sleep apnea. I was referred to the sleep study by the cardiologist I went to after my feet and legs swelled up. 

I have now been sleeping with the BiPAP machine for a week. Even though I am only sleeping about five hours a night, I feel more refreshed and more like I really slept. Getting used to having the mask on my face is not easy. It dries out my mouth so much that my lips stick to my teeth inside my mouth. But I am doing it, and it is helping me feel better. I bought a bottle of Biotene Spray and that is helping with the dry mouth.

The second thing that happened is that I went to a pain management doctor. I had asked my primary care doctor for a referral over a year ago, but she could not find a pain management doctor who would accept me as a patient. On my last visit to her, I told her that the Percocet she was prescribing for me was no longer working as it used to. I asked if she could write me a prescription for something different. She told me that what she was prescribing for me already was the strongest she was allowed to write a prescription for, and that she knew the day would come when I would sit there asking her this very question. She tried again to refer me to pain management, and the next day, Dr. L’s front office called to schedule an appointment.

Dr. L examined me and went over my records. She started out saying that she normally does not treat people who have abdominal pain, they usually treat people whose pain originates in their back. But after her examination, she did detect some arthritis in my back. I also did a check off sheet for symptoms of Fibromyalgia, and had so many of the symptoms it was insane. So, Dr. L decided to accept me as a patient. 

The first thing I had to do was stop taking the opioid pain medication that my primary care doctor prescribed, and to sign an agreement that says I would not ask for opioid pain medications from any other doctor. I also had to sign an agreement that I would submit to random drug testing to insure that I was not taking any opioid, or narcotic, pain medications. I have not taken any of those pain meds since last Tuesday. Instead, I am now taking Gabapentin, which attacks pain in a different way. She also prescribed Meloxicam, a anti-inflammatory medication; and Flexeril, a muscle relaxer. She told me to take the Gabapentin only for four days, to make sure I had no reaction to it. Then, take the Meloxicam for four days, again to check for reaction. And last, add in the Flexeril, at night when I go to bed. So far, so good. 

I want to say here that even though I have been in pain, true debilitating pain, for almost 5 years, when I quit taking the Percocet, I seemed to have quit having the pain I was taking it for. That sounds weird, but it is how I feel. I still have pain, but it feels different now. I can tolerate it. I can live with it. I am not sleeping all the time either. So, while I may be a bit grouchy, and somewhat weepy since I stopped taking the Percocet. I will get over that I am sure. 

So. We are treating ME. NOT my PAIN. I am getting the sleep I need. I will update as we go, and hope that things continue in a positive manner. What are you doing to improve your health this year?

This #BloggersTalkingAbout series features amazing bloggers writing from the heart. Continue reading more by following these links.

Loving Yourself by Joanne

 Loving Yourself This Valentine’s Day by Traci

 Care For Yourself By Reducing Anxiety & Worry by Karen

 Permission To Cry by Brandy

 Caring For Myself In My First Trimester by Jenny.

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About Karen

Karen Eidson is telling the world way too much about her, whether they want to know it or not. She writes about her life of living full time in an RV, eating a gluten free diet, things she does for fun, and things that are important to her. She makes you look at photos of her grandchildren, talk about her husband's survival of oral cancer, and shows you things she has made. You know you want to look.

Comments

  1. I’m so happy to hear that you’re off the opioids, with all their harmful side effects. Good luck with the new pain-control meds and with your BiPAP machine. I hope you’ll soon feel more like your *real* self again. Good for you, for continuing to seek out new and better ways to take care of yourself! You are an inspiration.

  2. I’m s happy to hear about your progress and that you’re off the Percocet! I hope your pain management doctor continues to help you heal. ((hugs))

  3. Karen, I so understand much of what you’re dealing with. While I have not dealt with those surgeries, I have terrible neuropathy and fibromyalgia. I take Gabapentin – 3x a day. It works a very different way and I hope it provides you help.
    Also, from my husband the snorer – the mask gets easier and you should find your sleep continue to increase.
    Wishing you my best,
    Traci

  4. Hello “other” Karen! I’m so sorry to hear you have had to deal with so many problems and their accompanying pain! Glad you seem to be on the road to recovery now, though. I can relate to a lesser degree and in other areas, as I deal with hypothyroidism, arthritis, and asthma.

    In addition, I endured increasing and ongoing pain in my the base of my right thumb for a couple of years before finally pushing my fear aside and getting reconstructive surgery done. This surgery removed the bone spurs and fragments floating around in there, due to advanced arthritis, and added new tendon (removed from my wrist) into the space was bone was removed. It was a long healing process (from May to August 2015), but I have virtually no pain now and can do most anything that requires me to grip with my right thumb and hand.

    THIS year, I want to get back on track with exercising, so I can work toward losing 50 lbs. and expanding my lung capacity.

    • Wow, I am obviously tired and should be going to bed! I just noticed two glaring typos in my comment! Should have said “ongoing pain in the base of my right thumb” and “into the space where bone was removed.”

  5. I’m happy to hear the sleep treatments are working. Hopefully, they become less painful for you.

  6. Hi, Karen! You know that pain and I know each other well. I really suggest you look into Kratom, I have some resources if you want to read about it and learn more. I was up to 5400mg of gabapentin a day and it was no longer helping me. Kratom has been a huge help in keeping my pain levels at a manageable level for me. Opioids really don’t help for very long and do not help with all types of pain. Thankfully I have refused them for many years except for other reasons..never for my RSD though. I hope you find a system that works for you to at least give you a manageable level of pain. <3

  7. My husband sleeps with a CPAP and it has changed his life. It takes some adjusting. Sometimes, he would wake up and the mask would be on the other side of the room. However, it will extend his life. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself and others you care about.

    You also are not the only one I know to have that experience with pain medications. I’ve known several people make that same discovery. You aren’t weird. I hope you eventually find full relief, though.

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