Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Hahahahahaah, I'm so hilarious. The blog title is funny because 1. I'm actually feeling better after my short bout with addiction. And 2. because I'm currently in possession of/hooked up to my TENS unit. What's a TENS unit? Good question, readers. According to wikipedia, a TENS unit is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit and works by "activation of opioid receptors in the central nervous system". Of course, wikipedia also says "TENS units are used by the BDSM community for erotic play involving electrical stimulation." So take that with a grain of salt. Yikes. Anywho, today is day 1 of using the TENS unit. It's bizarre. You know how when your foot falls asleep for like, a REALLY long time, and then it wakes up and it's THE WORST FREAKING PINS AND NEEDLES EVER!? Yeah, it's like that, for 4 hours at a time. Then I get a one hour break. Let me clarify. I am not complaining. It is a better sensation than pain. However, it is WEIRD. And will require some getting used to. Also, I don't think I can walk through the rain anymore. So those electrodes stick to my leg and foot and the wires attach to a small battery pack that I can clip on my pants. If I run the wires under my pants, you can't even see that I'm wearing it. I also had some ultrasound therapy done at PT this morning. It didn't really feel like anything. I thought it was supposed to get warm but it didn't. Speaking of PT, this morning was my first land therapy session. I didn't do much because of the TENS unit explanation and the ultrasound, but I did do a warm up on a bike and a short stretch. Then a little bit of strength and a bunch of balance work. I was SERIOUSLY impressed with my ability to balance. And on an even more positive note, whether it's from the TENS or the ultrasound, there's been no pain today. Just weirdness. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy 1 Year!

A year ago today I had my first surgery. In honor of that, I've written a Haiku:

A year has passed now
Still cuter than a cankle
but not like before

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Looking good!

Pretty? I'll update soon...I've got some things in the works...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If I Could Say Anything.....

Dear Dr. McGorgeous,

Because our time is limited to an office visit once a month and a handful of surgeries (which don't count since I'm sedated), I'm writing this to help you understand, as a doctor, what happens when you leave the room and literally and figuratively wash your hands of me each month. When I leave, I limp up to the receptionist and set up my next appointment. I wonder when I won't have to do this anymore. Strangers overhear me talking about needing to see a Rheumatologist and ask me whether or not I'm even in my 30s yet. I limp out to my car and wonder if I'm ever EVER going to stop hurting. I drive back to work. Did you know I'm supposed to be a surgeon? It's true. I've wanted to be a doctor since I was in 5th grade. For the last 15 years, when I've imagined this scenario, I was the one in the white coat, not the one laying on the exam table. Did you know I had to put medical school on hold? Do you know that it kills me to have done that? I made it so far......through college, through activities, through volunteering, through research. I was in the middle of studying for the MCAT when I got hurt. Did you know that? That time is ticking away on my ability to make this dream happen, and I can't and WON'T keep going with it right now. I wouldn't trust me as my surgeon. I wouldn't be able to make it through a 30 minute surgery without being distracted by my own pain and I can't in good conscience subject people to potential errors because of my distraction. Did you know that I think about this when I have a bad day at work? How much I'd rather be scrubbing in on a surgery than doing my current job? When I first decided to become a doctor, I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist. This was also before I knew what a residency was. I've jumped around from specialty to specialty over the last decade and a half, but now I doubt I'll ever get the chance to do it at all. I wonder how something as stupid as an ankle could ruin almost everything I've ever worked towards. I think about the friendships I've lost and ended because people can't or won't be supportive. I feel sorry for the friends who remain because they're stuck with me. And don't get me wrong, the pain hurts, but every once in awhile I'll catch a glimpse of my ankle and that hurts too because it reminds me that I'm scarred for life. I'm too tired of this to be vain anymore. I don't care that you've cut and re-cut me. I care that if I choose to expose my leg, I'm inviting stares and questions from total strangers. I wore a dress to a wedding last week and I had to talk about it all night. I lay in bed at night and sometimes I can't sleep because of pain. Sometimes I can't sleep because of stress. Sometimes I can't sleep because I've had a really good day and I start thinking about all of the yoga I'm going to do, and walks I'm going to go on, and high heels I'm going to wear when this is all over. I take the pills you tell me to even though I hate pills. Did you know that before I was hurt, I wouldn't even take a tylenol for a headache? And now I own a pill organizer because there's too many not to confuse. So this is what happens after you leave the room. I would never say that you don't treat me like a human being. Actually, you have the best bedside manner of any doctor I've ever had. I just don't know if you really realize just how far this reaches into my life. And I want you to. I want you to understand my urgency, and my frustration, and my anger at no one in particular. Why I'm fighting so damn hard every day. And I'm scared ALL THE TIME that you're going to walk in one day and tell me you've done all you can for me. I need you to keep fighting this too. I hope you understand.


I just went back and read what I wrote last night. Holy.Pity.Party. While that is actually how I felt last night, it probably isn't the best representation of how I feel in general. Yikes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Can we be serious for a minute?

I have been dreading this blog post for awhile. DREADING. It's taken me this long to wrap my (currently very fragile) mind around what's happened and get to a place where I want to talk about it. Actually, that's a total lie. I don't want to talk about this at all. So I'm writing this post the same way little kids do their homework. I went for my ankle ultrasound. And they found nothing. There's nothing wrong in there. I just hurt. After a year and a half they can't find any reason for my pain. And to be totally honest, this really feels like the end. The final, official, life is never going to get better end. And I don't know why. I don't know why I have to live like this. I want my old life back so bad. I can't do a whole lot without crying anymore. I don't know where I can go from here. I've exhausted modern medicine. And the prospect of another 50 years of this makes me sick.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

IDK what the title is all about. I just feel like I need a big strong opening, because I'm gonna drop some knowledge on you. How weird is it that I'm actually scared to write this? There's a new one. And also, the reason I feel like I can get through this post is because I'm on drugs. Lets start at the beginning, use small words, and avoid shiny objects for the crazy lady (that would be me). I've told you all about the crazy prescription. That makes me crazy. CRAZYCAKES. Anyway, my last pill was Saturday at lunch. And all the villagers rejoiced! Until Saturday night when I had a really hard time falling asleep and my back hurt. And then Sunday when I was extremely agitated, aching, and exhausted from not sleeping. Then Sunday night when I couldn't sleep again. At work on Monday, my pulse was racing, my heart felt like it was going to beat through my chest, my palms were sweaty, I was shaking, I hurt all over, and I was full of rage. I was pacing the halls like a caged animal. Fortunately, I had a checkup with the surgeon in the afternoon. He came in and asked how I was, and I asked him if it was possible for people to go through withdrawals from the crazy medication. And he looked me in the eye and said he'd never seen anyone do it before, but I was clearly doing it now. I kind of started crying a little. Dr. McGorgeous was so good about it. He said that my brain became dependent on the drug, even though I didn't like how I felt on it. And I was going through a withdrawal just like for any other drugs. He told me that he knew I just wasn't myself, and his number one concern was ending this episode. He tossed around the idea of putting me back on the crazy meds just to wean me off, but I was worried that the medicine makes me feel so bad, and I'd already put three days into the withdrawal, maybe I should just stick it out. He wrote me out a couple new prescriptions to help the agitation and insomnia, and promised to call his drug rep to find out if there was anything different we should be doing. Sigh. And this is all before we even start talking about the pain. Because I'm the most helpful patient to ever exist, I took the liberty of drawing lines on my ankle wherever I felt pain, so when I rolled my jeans up, he had a working map of my pain. Now, a lot of this part of the visit is very fuzzy, or I'm missing pieces altogether. But the first thing we are going to do is ultrasound my ankle to get a better look at the soft tissue. This will help us decide the next move. I may be having tendon problems or I may be having nerve problems, which will take me to Pain Management. Despite being told that Pain Management doesn't mean drugging me senseless for the next 50 years, I have a sneaking suspicion that it does. I can't worry about it yet though. Mostly because these new drugs don't let me have feelings. I am nothing if not mellow. So I'm getting my ankle-baby ultrasounded tomorrow morning, and that will lead us in some direction. The good news is that Dr. BlueEyes is doing the ultrasound, so I get to see an old friend and fill him in on what the last 15 months has brought me. So stay tuned faithful readers.....tomorrow is a big day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

High and Lows

So one of the issues I have with life in general is that it keeps moving. It would have been super-nice if for the last year and a half, time had stood still while I dealt with this. But, unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the giant Pause button that stops life. So in the meantime, I go to work, and brush my teeth, and buy purses and coffee filters. And manage friendships and move from one apartment to the next. In other words, I have my life to live. And life after this last surgery is no exception. I'm back at work, and grocery shopping, and doing my laundry, etc. But some of the main problems I'm having are the side effects from the drugs. One of them has the most ridiculous side effects. On one hand, it's horrifying, but on the other hand, it has created some AWESOME hilarity in chronic pain stories. Example 1: Inability to talk. No kidding. For about an hour after I take the pill (which I do three times a day) I lose my ability to speak. I think thoughts in my head, but they get lost on their way out of my mouth. Example 2: Forgetfulness. And not your run of the mill, did I turn the coffeemaker off, forgetfulness. Like, missing chunks of time, putting the car in reverse instead of drive, forgetfulness. Example 3: Inability to walk when mixed with painkillers. I started physical therapy on Wednesday (we'll get to that in a minute) and took my first painkiller since day 7 post-op. When I wasn't taking this crazy prescription. I took the painkiller before bed and tried to get up in the middle of the night to see why the neighbors were making so much noise. And I fell down. And took most of the things on a shelf with me. When I woke up in the morning, I wasn't even sure if that had really happened (see Ex. 2) until I looked over to see my stuff EVERYWHERE and a huge scratch in the wall. Oh well. It's a rental. SO! Lets get to the good stuff. Physical therapy. AQUATIC therapy, to be specific. Love. It was amazing. I'm kind of a know-it-all when it comes to PT because I've done 16 weeks of it on my ankle already. But I have never done anything in the pool before. It was great to feel so buoyant, and be able to do squats and calf raises on the very first day. I was getting some cardio going by pedaling my legs in the deep end for 15 minutes, and I got the most awesome endorphin rush! I was giggling to myself in the water from all those feel-good chemicals! And at the end of my session, the physical therapist turned on the jets in the pool and it became my own private hot tub. I was required by my physician to sit on a bench and let warm jetted water massage my leg. I may or may not have positioned myself so that my back was directly in front of a jet also. Hey, I gotta make the best out of this! I will say that about an hour later the pain was pretty all-consuming (hence the painkiller before bed) but the next day I felt good. Sore, but like I used my muscles sore. It's a feeling I have missed. So at this point, I'm waiting. Waiting to get off these drugs and waiting to see how my ankle responds to the physical therapy. Waiting to see if the scar tissue returns. Waiting to see if life will pause itself til I get better. Waiting to see if I ever will get better. Waiting to stop waiting!