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Maybe physical therapy will help? September 21, 2007

Posted by PAS in cancer, survivorship.
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Okay, just going to vent for a second…

I’ve been having back pain, intermittent and hard to pin down, since January.I’ve been on pain meds more or less since May…ibuprofen, which Dr. Personality upgraded to Celebrex in August.

When it hurts, it’s mind-numbing. I literally cannot focus on anything else. It’s a tearing pain that extends down my left leg and leaves my toes and sometimes foot tingling. Not good symptoms when you’re also worried that the meds you’re on might cause a stroke.

I was referred to an orthopedist who works with my oncologist, and they’ve ruled out cancer mets (whew!) and put me on physical therapy…which I’ve been doing faithfully since August. In fact, so faithfully that my insurance, which only covers 20 visits per year, is about to run out so I’ll have to pay for it myself. But my PT can only go so far. If they try to add more reps or new exercises, I am racked up for at least a day, maybe longer, and have to take Lyrica to get through the pain (which gets me through the pain mainly by putting me to sleep.)

So finally, I asked for and they ordered an MRI; had it Tuesday.

It’s not just the spondylolisthesis I already knew was there…a separation between L4 and L5 which they saw on the several CTs they’ve ordered since January. Tuesday’s MRI shows an actual disc herniation between L5 and S1, apparently a rather large one. The extra weight I’m carrying in my abdomen and the pressure from the post-surgical hernias aren’t helping.

I know it’s not the end of the world and in the course of all the stuff I’ve been through in the last three years, this is not the worst thing by a long shot. But I am really, really discouraged right now. Funny how that works…because this morning I was excited that I seemed to feel better!
I know that the PT is working, albeit very slowly. This week I was able to wear pants I haven’t been able to wear since the colostomy surgery. And I was actually excited about that…I’ve lost a good inch and a half from my waist and hips doing the breathing and abdominal contraction exercises which are the only ones I can stand to do every day. And I counted and it’s been 10 days since I had to take any supplemental pain meds. So PT is working…but the way they described the herniation, it’s pretty serious. It could compromise my bowel or bladder function if I’m not very careful. Great. Just exactly what I was looking forward to…not!

Jeez…some days I wonder why wasn’t the stroke enough? Why wasn’t cancer enough? What the @#$%! else can possibly go wrong?!? There’s that old saying, ‘if I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.’

Oh, wait…I DID take better care of myself. Look how far *that* got me.

Ah, well, I know this will pass. But right now, I am really feeling like I’m taking two steps forward and then two steps back every time I turn around!
There…now I feel better. 😉

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