Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Living with Chronic Pain and finding the new norm

The title sounds dramatic, but it is true.

On June 1 of this year I started to feel pain in my knee.  I tore the meniscus in my left knee, twenty years ago, and it acts up every now and then.  But this time was different.  The pain felt more like a new tear.

 I lived with the pain for a few weeks until it became unbearable.  I went to the ER, they took an ex-ray to make sure I hadn't fractured anything, and a sonogram to rule out a blood clot having formed as a result of being off my feet.

I had been hobbling around with a cane, but left the hospital with a brace and crutches.  The ER doctor recommended that I see the Orthopedic surgeon affiliated with the hospital.

I made an appointment and went to see the first doctor.  He took another ex-ray, this time of me standing and showed me what arthritis looks like.  My knee was still pretty swollen.  We agreed that if I wanted to come back to get an MRI that would be a plan. I left without a prescription, but with the recommendation I take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine.

None of the over-the-counter medicines worked for me.  Plus I was afraid of the long term results from taking them for a prolonged period of time.   So, I started my quest to learn more about arthritis and what could help.  My daughters helped with with the search and started bringing me all kinds of creams and supplements.  

I called a week later and asked him to schedule one.  You have to have approval from my insurance company before you can do that, so it put me back another week.

In the meantime, I was experimenting with different foods and supplements, as I faced painful, sleepless nights.

One pain killer, which is actually a supplement that saved me is Cuamin EXTRA STRENGTH. ( I am not getting paid to advertise, and I am not a doctor, I just know that the reviews I read match my results), I purchased mine at my local supplement shop, but you can find it in many places.   Here is the website, they have many helpful products.

I got a call from the doctor to come in for an appointment so they could read the MRI results.

When I arrived the MRI scans were on the wall.   I could see the meniscus tear, and what looked like a large irritation marked by a dark spot.  The doctor was wonderful and he is the top Orthopedic surgeon in the group. 

I asked him if he could see if I had torn it further.  Unfortunately they cannot discern with new an old tears on the scans.   He did not recommend surgery, because it is a meniscus tear and he said that he could remove the torn meniscus but he couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't be in more pain.  He suggested a Cortisone shot, which I said yes to, and asked me to go for physical therapy.

I am now in search of a good physical therapy group nearby.  I also purchased a cookbook on recipes that deal with inflammation.  I thought that was the common ground in Gout, Diabetes II and Arthritis.

It has been a painful three months.  I find myself counting the steps that I need to take to get anywhere.  I continue to try different foods.  I have also experienced some Gout and learned that there is such a thing as Gouty Arthritis.  Lucky me.  

I still have painful nights and insomnia, which creates a battle during the days with self-pity.

Of course, I read the Bible and my favorite devotions for support.  Being around my Grandsons truly helps me because they exude joy.

Unfortunately, what I can eat to help the Arthritis conflicts with the Gout and cause my blood sugar to elevate.  Since I have Diabetes II, it's a challenge.

I know that I am not alone dealing with chronic pain, and certainly there are so many people who suffer with arthritis.  

So, from time to time I will write posts about managing the pain, in hopes that it might help someone else.

If you have any suggestions for me, please leave a comment.  I will continue on my journey to learn more and as I do, I truly feel compassion for those who suffer with chronic pain.

I have learned that time flies when you create, so as I walk through this adventure I am finding new ways to express and share my creativity.  Stop by my Instagram page, I share fun photos every day.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandma's House we go

It was a great memory to watch my Mom with our littlest new addition, Logan.  He's two months old already. I found a beautiful song for your to listen to, sung by Marylee Fairbanks.  It speaks about how quickly our little ones grow.

I am there, I promise.  I am always behind the camera so rarely in the family photos.  Great photo with all those smiles.

It was the first time Mom got to see baby Logan.

My Mom's Birthday was on June 22nd, so we all loaded up the cars and drove to Vermont to visit Great Grandma.  RJ was calling her Gram Gram.  My mother speaks about in a blink of an eye my girls went from tiny hands in hers to having little ones of their own.

We had lots of gifts for her, but I think the photo in the frame that Sarah got her and the book we made of photos for her were a big hit.  She likes to look at the photos all the time because we live about five hours away.

Such a great day.  It was wonderful to see the boys together.


Mom looks wonderful for 90 years old.  She still makes her amazing soup each week and goes food shopping with a friend every Monday.  We are blessed.

Years ago when I was my girl's age, I would visit my Mom out in the Hamptons on Long Island around the same season.  When I got to her home in Water Mill, there were hundreds of Tiger Lillies lining the driveway to greet me.  I think that Tiger Lillies will always remind me of beautiful memories of my Mom.