Chronic Pain

A 50 year old female living and dealing with lumbar back pain and fibromyalgia. Sharing things I do for relief, reduce stress and control weight gain.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A new scar

On January 30th the oncology surgeon did the surgery to remove the rest of the recurring melanoma from 2011.  It's coming along with the healing.  I'm in 10 days.  The scar itself is looking better but the top and bottom portion are still very tender.  As of this morning I haven't heard from the oncology office on the lab results so I gave them a call.  He told me day of surgery that we should have results in 3-5 days.   I didn't get a return call as of tonight.

I'm anxious for my follow up appointment next week.  I'm hoping he will let me start to put something on it for the dry tight skin and to help with the scaring also. 

On to other news.  I really wanted to get involved in a project I read about the last time I was at the library.  It's called Crochet Compassion.  A group of women get together the first Tuesday of the month.  They do some work for the homeless, but I got much more out of it than that.  It was nice to meet some new people and socialize.  What are they making?  Mats for the homeless.  It can be wet and cold outside.  What little they have to put down on the ground ends up damp and or wet.  The plastic mat helps keep whatever cover they have dry.  

These ladies spend many hours making balls of plastic yarn (plarn) from plastic bags you get at the grocery store.  They are smoothed, folded and cut into strips of circles and connected together.  When you connect enough you roll into a ball and get started.  It's just basic crochet after that.  I had been saving some bags but I discovered right away that I needed many more.  I called on some friends who came through for me.  I was also able to get some from some of the local retailers from their recycle bin.

I would be a lot farther along but unfortunately the crocheting part bothers my arm.  30 minutes into it it starts aching.  It hasn't stopped me though I've been chipping away at it.  Feels good to be doing something to help someone else instead of feeling sorry for myself.  

 What I've completed                 Bags every where

A mat completed, hard to believe that's  plastic bags!

Since I've written last my youngest granddaughter turned one.  She was the sweetest thing at her party. I was having a better day than usual, except for the sore on my leg, so I really enjoyed myself.  It was so fun watching her dive into her smash cake.   She started out with her fingers but then the little Diva used a spoon.  In the end it was all over her face and belly.  No worries though she cleaned right up with a quick splash in the tub.

I read the book "Killing Lincoln" I liked it so much I've started "Killing Jesus".  
Movies.....a couple weeks ago we rented BoyHood.  I liked it, it was unique but not as brilliant as advertised.  This past week end we watched The Judge with Robert Downy Jr.  It was awesome.  
After my two picks I had to let D pick one and his was Fury.  It was kind of bloody, war movie but if you got past that and the cussing it was ok.  My opinion on all of course.   Funny how we rarely watch movies but every time I'm recovering we get through several.  

Nonna with the birthday girl

enjoying her cake

chilling in her birthday chair!

I can't believe we are moving right on into the middle of February.  Seems it was just Christmas.  I've made plans to spend some time with some friends at the beach the first week end in May.   I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.  Right around the time that happens we should be opening the pool too.  The walking has been tough.  I've been thrilled to keep fighting and getting it done but I'm also looking forward to exercising in the pool again. 

Take care and stay full of H.O.P.E.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's back

New Years day and my birthday

My holidays were anything but typical. A lot of my grandchildren were sick, my daughter and myself.  As I mentioned in my previous post I had a spot removed at my dermatologists request.  He felt pretty confidant it was nothing, but because it was in the same exact spot (on my scar from the 2011 melanoma) he wanted to shave it off and have the lab take a closer look.  I teased him about telling me it "was nothing" last time.    

My medicine I'm taking for the fibromyalgia since November seems to still be helping most of the time.  If it's just a typical day at home I feel as close to normal as I have in some time.  When I do go out for errands, shopping, watch my youngest grand baby etc. I still struggle with the same issues as the past.  The good part is that my pain seems to be at a lower level.  Leading up to Christmas I had some bad days where I took ibuprofen.  A couple of times I took more than a dose a day to keep in in control.  I didn't think anything of it because I'd mostly used acetaminophen 650 so I figured a little here and there wouldn't hurt anything. 

The Tuesday before Christmas Eve late in the evening I got a call from my dermatologist. When I saw Dermatology Clinic on the caller ID I knew if they were calling something was up.  If the biopsy is normal they just send you a notice by email or by the email portal through the clinic.  When I answered it was my dermatologist, not the nurse.  My stomach suddenly hurt.  It was malignant melanoma IN SITU.  The findings stated that given the history of melanoma in the site, a recurrence is favored.  This meant I needed to go back just like the first time and let him do a small incision and take more tissue around site.  We set that up for the 29th. The Monday before New Years.

2 days after.  My skin stayed irritated from the  dressing.

Just a little about melanoma stages for those who are not aware:

Stage 0-1 tumors/ 0 is localized and in situ which has not penetrated the surface of the skin.  This is when you want to catch it for best outcome.  I was asked to come back at 6 months then once a year (unless I see something) Stage 1 has invaded the skin at a slow rate and are small. 
Stage 2 tumors/ though localized are larger (1 to 2mm) and/or can be ulcerated and can be larger up to 4 mm.  The depth is as important as the size.
Stage 3 and 4 tumors have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body.

In between that time I had a flare up with my back and I was having terrible stomach pains.  Christmas eve it was really bothering me but I didn't want to say anything to my husband because I was afraid he'd just feel it was stress from worrying about the upcoming results of new biopsy.  Some of my husbands family came for Christmas day.  I hope it didn't show for them, but it was an awful day for me.  My stomach kept me awake most of the night and I wasn't sure I could get through helping my husband finish cooking.  I did what I could and thank goodness they were very understanding to how I was feeling.  
That afternoon as soon as they left I went back to the couch where I'd been most of day. After an hour we decided I needed to go to the ER.  Something was definitely not right.

I was there from 5:30 to 11:30.  I must say they were on top of things and constantly working to get me comfortable.  Someone was always there either giving me something or taking me for lab or x ray.  I didn't spend a lot of down time with nothing happening.  In the end they found something to reduce my 10+ pain in my back.  A cocktail to drink to numb my stomach, and a shot of pepcid (yes, a shot...a real needle) to calm my stomach.  I guess the ibuprofen has been harder on me than I thought.  My gastritis is speaking volumes.

I'm still struggling with it.  Most days it's hurting.  I have no appetite and I'm nauseous.  I find something soothing to eat because I get weak if I don't.  The ER doctor asked me to go back and see my gastroenterologist if not better in a couple of days.  I have talked to them on the phone and they've changed a few things from what the ER doctor put me on.  I plan to go back in, but want to finish this melanoma fight first. 

This past Thursday evening I get another call from the Dermatology Clinic.  It's the dermatologist calling again.  When you hear the doctor on the line...not good right?
Right, it's not clear.  Melanoma still present.  Stage 2 but not really deep.  So that's good right?  I didn't find that out until today.  She set me up for today to get my stitches out and to an Oncology Surgeon she was referring me to for more invasive surgery in that area.  She made me aware that they sometime want to biopsy the closest lymph node to melanoma site.  My appointment with her went well.  She said I did an awesome job of caring for my incision.  Personally I think it looks terrible.  I'm sure it's because it was over the previous incision site.  

She decided she wanted to do a head to toe check while I was there.  She found two spots she was didn't like so "just because" there is a history now she shaved them and sent them off too.  When I saw the oncology surgeon he put my mind at ease a little.  He said my lymph nodes in armpits and neck felt normal. Due to the fact that the melanoma was at 0.5 depth (although still serious and dangerous) he is always more concerned about spreading with a 1-4mm depth.  He agreed with everything my dermatologist recommended including being checked every 3 months vs. yearly and that it is a recurring melanoma.  "For how long I do I have to do every 3 months?"  "For life" was his answer.

We decided together we'd schedule for two weeks instead of next week for the surgery.  He really wanted to have the results of the two biopsies from today so there wasn't any chance of having to go back again for another surgery.  So it's back to waiting again.  

I'm really not concerned.  I've studied melanoma a lot the first time I had it and have continued to read any articles I've discovered on it leading up to now.  I'm a proactive patient and go with my gut.  My gut brought me in at the first sign when many would have sat on it and watched for a while.  Love yourself enough if you have any fears of something wrong with your body/health to have it checked.  Don't every fill silly about knowing for certain if something is wrong or not. 

I'm counting down the months until this cold weather is over.  Especially damp cold days like today.  The fibromyalgia just amplifies everything.  I'm trying to hang in there without the pain medication but I'll tell you it's hard.  Many times over the last couple of weeks I told my husband it's just not worth it.  I'm stopping the new drug and going back to my narcotic.  At least I get some good relief for a few hours.  I've actually went back and reread my post about getting off of it to remind myself the down side to taking it.  Then a good day will happen again and you start to doubt yourself.  Am I crazy?  I know my regular FM and back pain suffers that read here know what I'm talking about.  You've let me know I'm not crazy and you experience the same.  

I really need to do better with writing more than just when I have news regarding my health.  As I've said in the past, I've really started to hate being on my computer.  

My youngest grandchild is turning 1 in 2 weeks.  It seems like just a few months ago we were at the hospital waiting for her arrival.  She is something else.  So sweet, yet so BAD.  She is her mother as a toddler.  She is really going to have some kind of personality.  Like both of my other grandchildren she has learned to sigh and definitely lets you know what she wants.  All of them keep me going.  They cause me to push myself and not let myself get to down.

Recently on an episode of 60 minutes a wise woman said, "the first 50 years are for learning and the second 50 are for living.  I'm ready for that....

Full of H.O.P.E. ( hold on pain ends )

Handsome boy P
AJ with all her Minnie's

A in her Elsa hat Aunt B made for her :-)

Monday, December 22, 2014

In Honor of our protectors

My heart has been hurting so much for the two police officers killed Saturday afternoon. 
They were on duty, in their car and never had a chance.  A crazy mad person who had a long criminal record approached their car, fired multiple shots and killed them.  This sick individual had shot his girlfriend earlier that morning and made it known through an instagram post what his next mission was.  This is what it said...

"I'm putting wings on the pigs today." "They take 1 of ours....Lets's take 2 of theirs, ending with "this may be my final post" #EricGarner #MichaelBrown #shootthepolice

I am so outraged.  These officers were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill.
Being a police officer is a volunteer career.  I believe it's a calling.  Who in their right mind wants to leave their family every day and not know if they will return home or not? 
Sure, that's a risk for us all in this day and age, but we're not going out and intentionally put our life on the line for the American people. of the free.  The land where we have the right to protest something we believe is wrong or right.  No other country would allow us to do that.  Because of that right the police have been protecting protesters even though they were chanting "shoot the police".  Do you think you could do that?  My heart has been breaking for them since the beginning of this terrible terrible nightmare that started in August.  

Where would we be if no one wanted to be a police officer.  Who would protect us?  This brings up something else that makes me angry.  How can they protect us when everyone has available to them the same weapons that they carry to protect us.  They are being used to kill the very people who provide protection for us.  

Rafael Ramos was 40 years old with 2 sons.  They are left to grow up without their father.  His 13 year old son posted several posts today on his Facebook page that are so moving.  The Ramos family came out and spoke to the public today and said they forgive the killer because thats the kind of man Rafael Ramos was and that's what he would have wanted.  

Wenjian Liu was a newlywed of only two months.  He had served seven years on the force.
I heard a conversation on FOX News today from one of the broadcasters regarding Mr. Liu.  It was a story about him stopping by somewhere on his home one day when he was still in training and some friends asked him why he wanted to be a cop?  He said, " because you don't want to do it, a lot of people don't want to do it.  If no one does, how can we keep the people safe.  Someone has to do it, so I will."  

It's been said that Officer Liu & Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw weapons. They probably never saw their assailant.  We need to stand up for our police officers.  They get paid very little and have such an important job.  I've had a bad experience with an officer before but I'm not disrespectful to them because of it.   Four officers have suffered minor injuries in scuffles with protestors.  Two were attacked on the Brooklyn Bridge a week ago.  Still they have to go and protect the very people who are rioting against them.  What's wrong with our world?  

 I can't tell you how passionate I am about this.  You don't see people who support the NYPD out in the streets protesting now.  There is nothing but calm and an entire side walk filled with flowers and candles in honor of the fallen officers.  I'm praying for both of their families and urge you to do so too.  I've felt so helpless.  I have a voice so I'm using it.  I live where we have freedom of speech, so I'm speaking it.  

Teach your children to respect authority.  If the situation is bad,  just go with it and if your innocent it will work out.  Know your kids friends and where they are.  It starts in the home.  As I read about many of the thugs who kill cops and their own kind  I  find they have been living on the streets.  If they do have a home, they have one parent and it's usually a mother working two jobs to survive.  It's going to come to cops being hesitant to feeling safe to do their job due to these past acts of rioting and luting.  Innocent business owners losing their business that they spent years building up.   If they can't do their job where will we be?

RIP to everyone who has died in this unsettling battle of blacks vs cops.  Blacks believing cops hunt them down.  *Shame on ALL the hollywood stars and athletics who used that status to sing about bad cops and how "they ain't gonna stop til there people are free, go on national tv with their hands up when they obviously don't know the truth and wearing shirts to promote more uproar instead of calling for peace.  Let me fill you in....your people have been free.  Stop crying about it and act like educated, respectful, free people you could be.  

Praying for Peace and living with H.O.P.E.

*Samuel L Jackson
*LeBron James
*St. Louis Rams football players