Friday, January 17, 2014

1/17/14 the ongoing mystery continues

look! it's a pretty drug flower!

and thank you Target for the 50% coupon for any Starbucks sweet with purchase of a latte, because, you know, when you're loading up on drugs, you do tend to get the munchies. Except when you don't and your family has to remind you to eat. 

You know, I used to be little proud of being different, or just a little out-of-the-ordinary in most of the ways that I approach life.  (Caveat: but never so far out that I made most people uncomfortable. People-pleasing is still a crippling deficiency in my character.)

Now, I'm getting a little irritated by it. 

For example, I would like to, once, finally, go into a doctor's office and have her say, "I know exactly what this is and what to do about it."

I supposed I was spoiled by the straight-ahead childhood encounters with doctors. It's tonsillitis. Boom. Take this and you'll be fine. It's a broken arm. Boom. Set. Even if the second one was under incredible circumstances, there was no question about exactly what had happened and how to fix it. 

My second pregnancy was the first time I ran into the scratching of the heads, the general sense that no one quite knew what was happening or why. Samantha had to bear the brunt of those endless visits and blood draws and specialists. 

Then came the hysterectomy almost three years ago now. The diagnosis and multiple scans and strangeness of the problem was round 2 of "no one knows quite what's going on. I think they're all guessing but can't admit it." Getting past both the surgery and the surprise complications, though, was a known entity. Take this, do that, and you'll be all better. And I was.

And now here is round three, strangest of them all (so far...), at the end of a week in which I will have been seen by my regular doctor, my therapist, my gynecologist, an ultrasound specialist, and my urologist, all of them will having made the same confused face, the same scrunched eyebrows, and the same "hmm" response to what is now an almost two month battle against mystery pain without much relief, or without any relief that brings even worse side effects.  

And every one of them has said, "Maybe it will just go away." I asked my family doc this morning, "Does that ever happen?" and she said, "We're all saying that because we can't figure it out."

At least we've ruled out anything ovarian in nature -- I now have gorgeous pictures of my two perfectly healthy ones. So what does it say that when I showed my ultrasound specialist exactly where the pain was radiating from, she put the wand right there, and there was my left ovary? No idea. To the gynecologist, the completely clear ultrasounds it ruled out any problem with them, which means the next specialist should be the urologist. I began to formulate a new hypothesis, which is that the ureter surgery may have created, over the course of  the last three years, adhesions, some of which are attached to the back of this ovary.  But according to my family doc, she's not sure an MRI would show anything like that and, even if it does, the catch-22 nature of surgery adhesions is that, to go in and remove them creates more scar tissue which creates more adhesions. 

Per the Urologist, he's sending me for my third ultrasound next week to look at my kidneys, whose function may be impaired by scar tissue, and should the left one be swollen, will require a "function test" to determine whether it's from scarring closing the opening or the surgery spot having worked its way into an opening too large, causing, essentially, "reflux." (I looked this test up and it's either going to be peeing into yet another cup or getting yet another needle to draw blood. Fine. Better than what I was imagining.) He follows this up by saying, "But none of that explains why the pain is centered in your hip." So now we're chasing other rabbits, just for the heck of it and to rule out any kidney function failure. 

Having leveled down on the Neurontin in the hopes I could avoid any more altered states like I experienced this weekend, the constant nagging pain has increased and added to the fun. Now it's with occasional back pain and the constant feeling my hip is being twisted around backwards in its socket. Mostly, though, I just see that tiny little dog chomped down on the nerves inside and using them like a chew toy.  I also stopped the cold medication and the cold symptoms came roaring back, so yet another bonus. 

After this morning's visit, I'm the proud new owner of four more prescriptions: 1) a lower dose of Neurontin that I will take twice a day for one week, then once a day for the next week, and then stop completely. 2) A new pain med that will hopefully I react better to, TraMADol, and yes, even on the pill bottle, it's spelled with the capitals M-A-D, which just isn't a good sign;3)  a script for Cephalexin, for the continuing cold symptoms since it's going on three weeks now; and 4) more Vicodin since I managed to use up the first round when I cut back on the Neurontin and we're really not even sure the TraMADol is going to help. 

When I looked up TraMADol, I got this from Google:

So if it doesn't work and she then prescribes Flexenil (I'm not even going to try and type out the generic), I'll suspect she's friends with Google, too.

One week ago, I was a basket case, quite certain I was destined for the mental hospital, so the absence of any more illogical emotional storms seems to suggest it was indeed the Neurontin, which effectively alters brain chemistry, and that I'd be better of with some other form of pain medication while we continue to try and sort out the root cause of the pain. Whether the new stuff works better, doesn't work at all, or sends me straight over the edge remains to be seen. If it's either of the latter two, it'll be back to the drawing board for pain management. 

I am sincerely in awe of people I know who have dealt for years with chronic pain and slow/murky diagnoses. Just these couple of months have me frustrated beyond belief. Next week will be the third ultrasound, possible "kidney function" test, my therapist, a follow-up with  my regular doc that I might possibly be able to do by phone, and a follow-up scheduled last month with the surgeon that I'm cancelling on Monday because, really, what IS the point. 

I am also deeply grateful for health insurance. This newest round of meds only ran me $34.00 today, and each co-pay of $20 is a pittance against what is getting billed to the insurance company. 

But I feel like I've been reminded enough how blessed I am to have it for awhile, thankyouverymuch.


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