Tag Archives: health

Updates!

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Updates!

Alright, time for some updates ^^

Went back to my sports medicine doctor and back to PT this week. My physical therapist gave me a few more exercises to add into my routine (which, this time, I will make routine), specifically to work on stretching my psoas. My iliopsoas on my left side were super, super tight and tender. He tried to do some releases on them, and it was horrible. About the worst pain I’ve been through in sports med or PT so far (well, maybe tied with the trochanter/hip pain…), and now I have bruises and terrible tenderness, even a few days later. But hopefully the new exercises will help some.

I got to talk with my sports med doctor about my x-ray results. She said she’s not really that concerned about the degeneration of the symphysis pubis, since I’m not experiencing pain symptoms with that. But it is arthritis, and probably caused by the abnormal pelvic mechanics I’ve had for, well, my whole life, I guess. I’m just not sure what the implications of it are since I already have degeneration so young. But, I guess we’ll see.

With the hips, she basically told me what I’ve already figured out from research. Retroversion is where the acetabulum is rotated back, so the femur sits and moves in the socket abnormally. It also puts me at much higher risk for impingement and wearing down of the labrum. She doesn’t know how far back it’s rotated, nor how bad it really is, but both she and my physical therapist recommended me seeing a hip specialist. So I have an appointment with a really good one near home, but I can’t get in until September. Boo. But he’s a great doctor, and my symptoms aren’t terrible, so that’s not too bad. And, if something changes and they do get bad before then, I have the name and number of another doctor who I could probably get in to see much earlier. So I have a lot of options.

Basically, what I’ve been told will happen when I see this doctor, is that I might have to get 3D CT scans (which look freaking awesome) so that he can get the most accurate picture of what’s going on inside my hips. Then I have a few options, probably. Injections, which I already know make me flare up worse for a while and then don’t do terribly much, or an arthroscopic surgery to see what’s going on and what can be done.

I really don’t like the idea of surgery, but if helps or can fix something, that would be great. I suppose it would be better to do something now, when I’m younger and heal better, than to wait until I’m older and something more serious happens. I’ll have the time before I start grad school, but I don’t know if I would be able to fit both hips in in that time. I don’t know, we’ll just have to see what the hip specialist says in September.

Other news: I’m totally done with my roommates. I moved all of my stuff into my room (which was literally everything in the apartment), and the younger roommate is paying for the couch, as well as for some other stuff her cat destroyed during her time there. I took the electric bill out of my name, forcing them to pick it up and pay for it all themselves. I’m just glad that this roommate nightmare is over. Here’s to hoping that I’m done with roommates forever (minus possibly my BFF for grad school) XP

I also took my bookmaking class last week. Holy crap. My new favorite thing. I got all of my tools (bone folders, awls, micro spatula, waxed linen, knives!) and awesome paper and binder’s board and such, and am now making my own books! Currently working on a bound book of all of the cards that I got from my high school graduation! And I’ve been making really tiny books to put musings and such in, as well as mini books for fortune cookie fortunes! :’D I’m thinking about opening an Etsy shop or something — I’d love to start selling them and doing custom books, but I just don’t even know where to start! No matter what, though, I love making them, and will keep it up!

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Well that’s…unexpected

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I finally got the hip x-ray results from the radiologist the other day, and it was kind of a shock. My doctor initially thought hip impingement, which ended up not quite being the case. I’m at risk for FAI, but that’s not the underlying cause of my hip problems.

I turns out that I have acetabular retroversion in both hips, and that this puts me at risk for FAI. This is a really difficult disorder to describe, as it’s pretty abstract. Basically the socket in the hip is supposed to be rotated towards the front, so that you would be looking into the opening were the head of the femur not there. With acetabular retroversion, the socket opening is turned so that it’s not in that forward-facing position; rather, it’s turned towards the back. Here are some x-ray images that depict normal hips versus those with acetabular retroversion:

Normal hips. The green line and arrow represent the lip of the front of the acetabulum. The yellow arrow and line represent the back lip.

Hips with acetabular retroversion. Again, the yellow represents the front and the green represents the back. In “A” you can see the characteristic figure eight pattern that identifies it. You can also see the rotation in figure “B,” where you can’t really see into the socket.

My x-rays also showed degeneration of the symphysis pubis. Not quite sure what that means, but it definitely doesn’t sound good. Looking it up, it looks like it’s usually associated with aging or postpartum women. Since I’m neither, it’s a bit more confusing. Another source said that abnormal pelvic mechanics can contribute degeneration, which I guess the AR would constitute as that…But I still don’t know what the implications of that are, or how it could be halted.

I’m honestly kind of worried at this point. My hip pain has only gotten worse over the past few weeks, to the point where it’s almost constant when I walk. And I’ve been getting groin pain, which I never did before. I was reading that when a person with AR starts to get hip pain, it’s a sign that the body can no longer deal with the abnormal pelvic mechanics. Again, I don’t know what the implications of this are, but I’m definitely worried. I don’t get to see my sports medicine doctor until the 18th, so I have some time to worry, but I’m hoping to start up PT again this week, so maybe he’ll be able to give me some answers.

I’ve also had other nonsense to deal with. Particularly: roommates. Good. Lord. Can I tell you just how excited I am to live by myself next semester? I never, ever, ever want to live with another roommate ever again, unless it’s my BFF in Chicago. First, I’ve got one roommate throwing an absolute fit because she doesn’t want to pay a third of the electriv bill, she wants to pay a quarter. One roommate moved out and isn’t coming back, so it makes sense to only split it three ways instead of four (since she’s literally using no energy), but this girl is all mad because she claims that she paid for her quarter when she barely lived there the first half of the year, and that she used like no energy (not true — she does laundry like every three to four days, so her portion of the bill is by FAR the largest). We finally settled it so that I would be paying the last two week bill by myself, and she would pay a third. Which really makes no sense and isn’t fair, but whatever. I don’t want o fight about it.

Cliffnotes on the other issue, as it’s kind of a long story. My other roommate also brought back her demon cat, behind my and my other roommate’s back, after telling us she wasn’t bringing her back over the summer, and has been lying about it to us. I caught her red-handed with the cat the other day when I went down to pay my rent. The cat has already torn up the apartment and torn up my own personal leather couch. I tried to gently confront her about it all but she was really combative, so I walked away, as I did not want to fight. I then got a text from a friend with screenshots from her Twitter account, which she had made private and afterwards had an absolute freak out about me, calling me a “lunatic” and “psycho” and saying I was “stalking” her and that that was “disturbing” and “scary.” …What?! The girl is just really immature and childish. I wrote her a message addressing all this and explaining why I (and my other roommate) were upset, but I haven’t heard back from her yet. I actually had to e-mail it rather than send it over Facebook as I had planned, as she BLOCKED me over Facebook. Again…what?! Does she think this is going to make the situation better or solve anything? So anyway, I’m giving her a few days to respond, and if she refuses, I’m going to management and I am going to suggest they move her out. I have too much medical stuff to worry about right now to also have to be dealing with this. But maybe she will respond and we’ll get it all sorted out. Fingers crossed.

#feelingelderly

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I don’t use Twitter — I think it’s stupid — but I feel like a hashtag is appropriate here for this post.

So it’s been more than a week now since I had my cortisone injections in my hips done. I thought I would feel better, but I’ve been feeling a lot worse. Before, I got pain in my hips (mostly left) after sitting for long periods of time, and some with activity. It was uncomfortable, but not horrible. Now, however, I’m getting a lot more pain in my hips while sitting, including groin pain on my left side. And it’s definitely worse the longer I stand and am active. And it’s interfering with my sleep. Last night was pretty horrible, and I had pain running all down my left leg. Miserable.

I still haven’t received the radiologist report about my hip x-rays, so I called my doctor’s office yesterday. They’re going to mail them to me, and she was able to briefly tell me the results over the phone. Yes, it’s hip impingement. I don’t know how bad, where, or what might be done about it, but hopefully I’ll know more when I get and review the results next week. I’ll probably also take them to my chiropractor for her to look at, since she might be able to help me figure out what the heck they mean. I just feel like, I’m only 22. I shouldn’t be having these problems that most older adults have, not at my age. I’m feeling pretty elderly today.

To make me more miserable health-wise, my mom and I were joking with my dad last night about how every allergy med makes him sleepy, even when they’re non-drowsy and have absolutely nothing in them that would make someone fall asleep. We’ve decided that it’s a psychological thing, and that even if we were to give him a placebo pill and tell him it was an allergy med, he would still fall asleep. For some reason, he thought we were calling him a hypochondriac. He laughed, and was like “I can’t believe that Jane, you of all people, are calling me a hypochondriac.” He said it jokingly, but it still really hurt.

I feel like this is how they think of me — that I’m always thinking I’m sick and looking for new problems for no reason. They just don’t get it. Fibromyalgia is a condition that has literally hundreds of symptoms associated with it, and a ridiculous amount of other diseases and syndromes associated with it as well. I’m always having to pay close attention to what’s going on in my body, and every day my pain is different and my symptoms manifest themselves in new ways. I just never know what it’s going to be like on a day-to-day basis. And it doesn’t help that there’s no actual test for fibro, so it’s all based on ruling out other conditions. All it takes is one single symptom to change my diagnosis to something else, for better or worse. I need to always be on the lookout and alert for any changes in my condition. Having someone say, even jokingly, that I’m a hypochondriac is incredibly hurtful, and makes me doubt myself. It makes me wonder if I am, and if it’s all actually in my head. It makes me feel ashamed and not want to get help for new symptoms and issues, and I know that that could be dangerous. But it doesn’t change that doubt and hesitancy.

I dunno. I was kind of down yesterday, between the pain and the hypochondriac issue. And my jaw has suddenly flared up on my left side again,and has been painful and clicking, which makes it difficult to eat or talk. And the stress of not knowing what could happen with my hip, and the threat of surgery hanging over me. It’s just not what I want to deal with at 22 at the beginning of what might be my last real summer. I wish I could just have a week where I didn’t have to worry about any of this, and could just be a normal 22 year old. Meh. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Oh hai thar

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Oh hey guys, it’s been a while. The last few weeks have been insane — finishing classes and doing finals, finalizing my schedule for next year (finally done!) graduating, moving home…I’m pretty much exhausted. Thank goodness I’m done, though! Now to just find a job and work on some art projects this summer! It’s going to be so chill!

Oh wait, that’s not really true. Yes, I’m looking for a job, and yes I have a lot of projects to work on, but, as always, my poor health is rearing its ugly head, this time in a new way.

I went back to my sports med doctor for a follow up on the snapping hip. The good news is that the physical therapy (which I did rather sparingly, shame on me) really cut down on the snapping, clicking, and instability. It barely happens at all now. The bad news is that, even though the popping has stopped, my hip pain has gone up. Which is weird, because I didn’t really have much hip pain before all this, and now I do. Or maybe I just never really paid attention to it, since I’m dealing with pain in various places on a daily basis for year. But whatever the reason, whether it’s worse or I’m noticing it more, I decided I should probably bring it up with my doctor. She was concerned by that, and ordered x-rays. She also poked around my hips and they were SUPER sensitive around the trochanters. I was pretty much jumping and flinching with even the slightest pressure. And so that’s how it was decided that I would get cortisone shots in each hips. Yay me. I’m just glad she wasn’t in on the day my appointment was originally scheduled for, and that we had to move it back two days, because all of this would have made my birthday pretty crappy.

So we did the hip x-rays and she administered the shots (not fun). Afterwards, she went to look at the scans before the radiologist examined them. She told me that it looks like I have hip impingement, which I had never heard of. Basically it means that there’s too much friction in the hip, due to growths on the femoral head or the edge of the socket. It really increases the risk of arthritis and the need for hip replacement later in life (but earlier than average). It’s usually treated with PT, injections, and rest (all of which actually don’t really do anything except pain relief), but surgery (arthroscopy) is often needed. The surgery is minimally invasive, but still requires like six weeks on crutches and about four months to heal fully.

Hip impingement — the two types of growth.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Seriously, though. I’m only (barely) 22. I should not be having hip problems at my age. And I really don’t want to have surgery again — my lap wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fun. And hip surgery would be far, far worse. I mean, I guess I actually would have time, because I’m taking one semester and then I would have January — August for whatever. I was hoping to travel and work before graduate school, but if I absolutely had to have surgery, that would be a good time to do it. It would just be really not fun.

Ugh. Here I was thinking, “Hey, things haven’t been too bad health-wise lately. Fibro’s decently under control, my hip’s not popping anymore, I’m going to work on getting fitter this summer…what could go wrong?” and then bam, the universe was like “No.” How rude.

Still waiting for the radiologist report, though. That should hopefully come in the mail today. I guess I’ll wait and see what it says and then try to figure out what to do. Fingers crossed that my doctor read it wrong and that my hips or normal, or that the impingement is mild and surgery wouldn’t be needed now. Bright side, though: I’m pretty much covered for furniture for my apartment. I’ve got a table, five chairs, and a couch. I just need to touch up the stain on the chairs and redo the seats with new fabric and they should be looking pretty good! I’ll post a DIY post and pictures at some point!

Losing yourself

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So I volunteer with a program that goes to nursing homes and does art therapy sessions with elders with dementia. Yesterday night was our big, end-of-the-year art show. As a student leader, I do no have a partner that I meet with every week. Rather, I help lead and facilitate the weekly sessions. Because of this, and the fact that I’ve only been involved for a year, I haven’t known any of the elders over a very long period of time. I seriously love each and every one of them, but I haven’t been around long enough to see the changes that the disease has been forcing on them.

Last night I was helping direct pairs of students and elders, and helping people get in and out of the elevators and find their partners. My nursing home was one of the very last to arrive, and they had to make two trips in the bus to get everyone there. In the second bus, there was a woman who I didn’t have on my list. One of the women from the nursing home told me that her name was Jean, and that she’s been active in the program in previous years, but has gone downhill recently and had to stop coming. Because she wasn’t a regular, she didn’t have a partner. She was the last to come up the elevator to the show, so I offered to sit with her and take her around to see the art.

Jean was really struggling. She spent most of the show half asleep, and the other part of the time she seemed to be in the throes of hallucinations. She would reach out a carefully rearrange things on the table, then act like she was kitting or sewing, or picking things up off the table to set in her lap. She did not talk beyond a few incoherent mumbles and did not respond to my talking to her.

After a brief ceremony where the volunteers and elders were recognized, I took Jean around in her wheelchair to see the art, including a piece of her own. Again, no reacting and continued hallucinations. I kept talking, though, and showed her pieces some of her friends had made. As we were going around, I had a woman come up to me. She was ecstatic to see Jean, and really excited that I was helping her around. She thought I was her partner. I told her that I was actually a leader, and was just filling in. This woman started telling me about Jean. Jean before the disease took its tole.

Jean loved to tell stories. She would sit there during art sessions and talk her partner’s ear off, telling them about her day, about her past and family, about something funny another resident had done, or telling them a story that she had made up on the spot. She had a definite way with words. And her art was amazing. She was very detailed and illustrative, drawing figures rather than abstract shapes. She loved the art sessions, both for the people she got to see and the pieces that she made.

I could hardly believe it. I just couldn’t match up this description with the woman I was pushing around in her wheelchair. It was as if she was describing a completely different person. In a way, I guess she was. Alzheimer’s has taken away the person she was before, and has left this sleepy, unresponsive woman in her place. This was the first time really where the disease had been brought home to me, hearing stories about how she used to be and seeing how she is now. It made me so incredibly sad, especially when I thought of the fact that the person she was is probably almost gone for good. That woman who told stories and drew amazing pictures has disappeared forever. And that’s going to happen to all of my other amazing artists that I love, given enough time.

We finished going through the artwork and went downstairs to wait for the bus. She was still hallucinating, but seemed a bit more alert. She actually opened her eyes to look at me where I was sitting in front of her. She started to talk. I couldn’t understand almost anything she said, but I tried my hardest to respond appropriately and keep talking to her. She seemed happy to just have someone there listening and paying attention to her.

The bus finally came and I took her outside to board it. As the worker backed her until the wheelchair lift, I told her that I was really happy that she had kept me company during the evening, and looked forward to maybe seeing her at the next art session if she was feeling up to it. She looked right up at me and told me that she would like that. She then smiled, shook her head, and told me that I was a beautiful girl. I almost burst into tears right there. Here was a woman who was struggling to retain herself in the face of a devastating disease, and who was clearly losing that fight, and yet when she came back to herself for a brief time she still was incredibly kind and appreciative. Most people would have seen Jean and written her off as a vegetable, not worth their time. But with just a little attention, some kind words, and a listening ear, she returned enough to offer some kind words of her own. She just demonstrates to me that every single person is worth our time and effort, and that even the tiniest things can be regarded the greatest victories.

I was so glad I got to spend time with Jean, and I genuinely look forward to doing so in the future. Hopefully she’ll feel well enough to come to art therapy every now and then!

Is anyone else sweating to death? …No?

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Oh my goodness, the weather. So it’s finally nice out. This past weekend was great — 60’s to high 70’s, breezy, clear. In short, amazing. And then the actual week started, with the temperature getting up to around 80. Okay, I would prefer the 70’s, but I’ll take anything over snow…And then the storms came, and with them: humidity.

The humidity. Holy crap. In the past year or two, I’ve thought that I might be more sensitive to humidity than most people, but it’s never been a huge problem. But now my medication has been reduced for my memory, and I’m becoming more aware of all sorts of symptoms. The symptom today is my sensitivity to temperature and humidity. I can tell you how humid it is before setting a foot outside. I will lay in bed all night sweating to death if the temperature is higher than about 65 and there’s any sort of humidity. I’m dreading this summer. I don’t know why I’m looking at schools out west — I would never survive it.

It’s really frustrating because my roommate just doesn’t get it. I talk about how miserable I was all night and she’s like “It was perfectly fine in here last night.” Well, for you it was. You don’t have a disorder that’s wreaking havoc on your body all the time. For someone like me with fibromyalgia, a single degree in temperature can be the difference between being comfortable and being miserable. A tiny bit of humidity can make trying to sleep a hell. (In general, I think my roommate might also just be very insensitive to a lot of different things — sounds, smells, temperature, sight etc. I’ll hear things that she never notices, and I’ll smell things she never will. Or, it could be that I’m way more sensitive to stuff like that because of the fibro. Or it could be both. It’s probably both. We’ve also been a bit rocky this week because she likes to be very neat, and I’m not so neat when there are a lot of things going on and I’m stressed out. I came back from class the other day with all of the stuff I had in the living room piled on the floor outside my door, even though it wasn’t that much, but it included my laptop and camera. I was pissed. I understand she likes to be neat, and I try to respect that, but she also needs to try to understand that I’m not a neat freak. The way for her to deal with needing things clean is to just ask me to put things away, not pile it up. It’s not like I would ignore her — I would do it because I would know it was bothering her. And I was about to clean that stuff up anyway because my parents are coming tomorrow. She just couldn’t wait. Ugh. Anyway, back to humidity…).

I really hate when I bring up an issue like this and get an incredulous, unbelieving look from her and others. They just don’t get it. Just because they’re unaffected by something, they can’t understand that for others that same something might be a huge issue. This has been a problem between my roommate and I for a while. She tends to time her laundry poorly, so she’ll be running the washer and dryer past midnight some nights. It doesn’t bother her at all. For me, it’s torture. I can’t sleep because of the sound of it. She just doesn’t get it, even when I explain it to her, and she still does it even though she knows it bothers me. Same with smells. There have been times where she’s made the most rancid-smelling salmon. I’m pretty much vomiting from the fishy smell, and she doesn’t smell anything at all. I’ve tried to ask her not to make such smelly things, but she just doesn’t understand. She can’t smell it, so she thinks I’m just throwing a fit over nothing.

Blah. I just need to live by myself. I’m at that point. I love my roommate to death, but especially with all of these unique fibro symptoms, it would be a lot easier if I just lived on my own and dealt with them on my own. That way I’m not inconveniencing anyone, and I can take care of myself. Just a few more weeks until graduation, then I get my own apartment in the fall! Thank goodness!

Is this week over yet?

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Good lord. This has been the longest week of the semester, I think. It just never ends. I’ve been trying to figure out my schedule for next semester, which has been a bit of a nightmare. I need 15 credit hours for graduate school, all art credits. My first schedule I had seven different classes on my schedule — drawing (3 credits), painting (3), ceramics (1), sculpture (3), woodworking (1), metals (1), and printmaking (3). Wut. Yeah, that wasn’t going to work. Also because it would interfere with my volunteer work. So I tried again — drawing (3), painting (3), ceramics (3), and sculpture (3), with three credits during the summer with a special program that my university offers. Much better. But now the problem is actually getting all that scheduled, since I don’t have a registration time ticket (since they think I’m graduating and leaving) and because I haven’t taken some of the pre-req courses for a few of them. So I’ve been running around all week trying to figure out who to talk to to get all of this resolved. It’s been crazy, and I’m still working on it.

I’ve also been running myself ragged trying to get everything done this week. I managed to get my one exam that I forgot resolved (I can take it and get half credit, and then extra credit, so it’ll be fine), but I still have a million other things to do. I’ve been trying to finish drawings, working on schedules, writing papers, figuring out group projects and meetings, attending a plagiarism hearing as a witness for my roommate (she got off, basically only because of my testimony), picking up my cap and gown for graduation, and trying to figure out what project I’m doing for my volunteer work. I have to go work on stuff tonight for that volunteer work project (playtime, we call it!), figure out what we’re going to do, and then test it a few times. And, just to add to the stress, I’ve barely had time to eat the past few days. I tried to make barbacoa in my crock pot, but for some reason it totally messed up and was burnt black. I have no idea what went wrong, as I followed instructions to the letter. So last night I ended up eating a corn dog for dinner at like nine o’clock. Ew.

To make everything worse, I haven’t been sleeping well all week. They installed a new light on the apartment building across the way, but it’s not a normal flood light. It’s like a prison yard spot light. Even with my shades closed and my curtains (which are supposed to be light-blocking) pulled, it’s like trying to sleep during the day. I’ve been sleeping with a blanket over my curtains. It’s ridiculous. And because that makes my room so dark, I have a lot of trouble waking up in the moment without at least some natural light. I don’t know what to do, short of getting a ladder and punching out that light.

This lack of sleep is really running me down. I’ve been having more flare-ups than usual, and my hips are killing me. We had to stand all class for my drawing course (but we’re finally doing color — yay! Side note, I love color and I love pastels because I can layer color. We had to draw two fruits, a banana and an orange for me, and use only four colors to draw it, which I chose orange, yellow, green, and purple. My instructor thought I was cheating and using more than four colors. Sorry that I just know how to blend and pick colors? I’m just really good at it. Anyway…). All that standing has just been killing my hips. And then I got to the building where my next course was, after running all around campus trying to get answers for my schedule while exhausted from lack of sleep and fibro-fog, and the elevator up to the third floor was out. I was in the basement. So I had to drag myself up all of those stairs. Ugh. Now my hips hurt even more, even while just sitting here. At least we’re watching a movie in my class, so don’t have to actually think or pay attention. Instead I can write this post!

Anyway, sorry for the rant. It’s been a long week and I just want it to be over. Playtime tonight, then one class in the morning and I can go home for the weekend and see family. It can’t come soon enough! Cheers!