I’ve been away from here for about a year. Things were just too intense to think about writing. But I’m going to give it another try. I think writing might be therapeutic and give me an outlet for all my emotions, thoughts, etc. It was good for me before. So we’ll see how it goes.
I am 59 years old, going to be 60 this September. It’s surreal to think that I will be 60 years old. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and although it’s cliche to say it, but it’s true…I don’t feel like I’m that old. I’m starting to look it though. lol
I’m a chronic pain survivor. I’ve had chronic health issues for almost 35 years. It started with Graves hyperthyroidism, then endometriosis, then fibromyalgia, then osteoarthritis, diabetes….along with many other odds and ends thrown in for good measure, such as carpal tunnel, sleep apnea, eye problems, and so on, blah blah blah.
My worst problem lately has been my feet. Yeah, my feet. I have chronic and severe tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and tendinosis. Basically, if I had to describe it, my tendons and ligaments are ripping apart. In the beginning, there was what they called “micro-trauma” from “overuse” going on in my feet. It started when I took a walk in bad shoes and started having pain (probably 20 years ago).
Actually it started earlier than that because I am an antique dealer and used to go to antique markets that would take hours & hours to get through and I just ignored the pain signals my feet were giving me. This went on for years. (I’m an idiot, or else another way to look at it is that I am driven by the hunt for good antiques….nothing else seems to register when I am shopping, or else, yeah….I’m an idiot)
Anyway, I’m trying to give a timeline for all this so you will understand the length of time all this has been going on. Seems like an eternity but it’s only been about 25 years. lol
So……from there to here……
The past few years has been pretty much touch and go. I have a bad flare up, I get knocked off my ass, I ride out the pain, I wait, I stay off my feet for weeks or months, then I start feeling better and hit the road running at 90mph and then inevitably…..BAM….I get knocked off my ass again.
Well, several months ago, I was cruising along, enjoying my life…..(for about 4 months this time) and suddenly from out of the blue….BAM. And I thought Oh Shit. Here we go again. And yes, it was yet another flare up. But this time, it was horrific. The pain was beyond bad. To make it from the bedroom to the bathroom to pee was like crossing the Sahara desert. Felt like walking on hot coals. Felt like scrubbing a brillo pad on open wounds. Felt like I’d been skinned alive then the brillo pad thing. I knew right away that this was truly a “bad” like nothing I’d experienced before.
It took me 8 weeks to be able to walk through the house without excruciating pain. And even though I had vowed to myself to never, EVER let myself get to that point again….I knew that this was a life-changer for me. This time something happened and things would never be the same for me. My feet were not only trashed, they were devastated. They were beyond redemption.
Then….as I slowly, hesitantly began to walk around the house, I thought….okay….I think I have crossed the hurdle. I think I have passed the test. I think I might be able to maybe get from the bedroom to the living room and back again without wanting to pull my hair out of my head from agony.
And so off I went….at first slowly, then as is common for me, I totally forgot all the fear and terror and pain and agony….and began to live my life again.
For about a week.
I had a small sinkful of dishes to do, that my hubby did not get done before work. And the stove had really gotten cruddy over the course of the 8 weeks I had been laid up. So I thought to myself, I think I will do the dishes and the stove. That shouldn’t be too much. It’s a lovely day and I think I will just get this done. Then I’ll sit down and take it easy.
Well, I started on the dishes…..no problem so far. And then I began taking the grates and the metal pan things off the stove and soaking them in the sink. If I had been listening to my inner voice at that point I would have let them soak and gone to sit down for an hour. But, being me, a type A personality….I saw that underneath the pan things was a lot of gunk and so I proceeded to ignore my inner voice and wipe down the stove.
By that time the other pieces had soaked sufficiently so that I went ahead and scrubbed them down (about a 15-20 minute process).
At that point there were warning bells going off in my head…..which I succinctly ignored.
I wiped down everything with a towel and placed all the metal pieces back on the stove. Let the water drain out. Wiped down the counters. Stepped back and looked at the kitchen that I had cleaned up. Felt a sense of satisfaction. Turned and left the kitchen, and went to sit down.
And then my punishment began.
Slowly, with the stealth of a lion on the prowl….the pain monster began working its way into my feet. I tried not to think about it. I tried to think that it was not going to be too bad. I tried to ignore the anxiety bells ringing in my head. I tried to not regret with every fiber of my being what I had just done in the kitchen. I thought to myself, surely….seriously….40 minutes of working in the kitchen is not going to throw me back into the fire??? Are you shitting me?
Which brings us to today. This is day 5. I have been knocked off my ass again, with unimaginable pain that there are not enough descriptive words to make someone understand the severity, the intensity. The first night the pain made my eyes water even though my feet were off the floor. Not crying, just my eyes, watering.
The past 3 days, I have been only able to do the very least of things, like go to the bathroom, and grab the sandwich my husband made me and left in the refrigerator. I also have to give my diabetic cat his insulin which has to be refrigerated so that makes two trips to the fridge just for the insulin and one for my lunch. Then I either head to the living room where my desktop computer is or my bedroom where my laptop is.
I am an avid reader so when I am laid up I try to read, and I have been reading a lot lately. But when the pain is mind-numbing, screaming pain….I cannot concentrate on the words. So I just lay around, stare at the walls, try not to go crazy, and wait.
Now that I’ve been laid up for technically about 9 weeks….my back & my hips are starting to really hurt because of all the sitting. I have fibromyalgia & osteoarthritis and those things make moving around a must. But when you cannot walk, you cannot move around….therefore now it’s the domino effect. My feet, then my back, then my hips…..and sooner or later, my back or my neck will “go out” and then I will be completely out.
So that’s where I am as of right now. I am contemplating taking a shower which will require me to be on my feet at least a little bit. I have a shower chair which helps a lot but even the short amount of time I will have to maneuver on my feet in the shower, and out….will do me in for the day and night. I will probably need the entire day tomorrow just to recover from the shower. At least.
I take three to four vicodin a day plus ibuprofen, also 2700mg of gabapentin a day, plus 4 blood pressure meds, thyroid hormone, anti-depressant, etc., plus supplements. I can’t take any more pain meds than I already take. So it’s basically just try to survive and gulp pills all day.
Well, I guess I better go and try that shower. I’ve been putting it off for three days. It terrifies me. I know I will be in terrible pain, much worse after than I am in now. And that thought is mind blowing. But ya kinda gotta shower….. so I just grit my teeth and do it. That’s all I can do.
Til next time….. wish me luck.
I’ve been away from here for awhile. A lot has happened since I was last here. Our house got severe water damage due to a ice dam build up on the roof in a few places, which resulted in a demolition of part of our ceilings and walls. They had to bring in industrial strength fans (all during single-digit temps in February) that had to blow the bare wood structure dry, before replacing the insulation and re-plastering the ceilings and walls.
Since we had half of one of our bathrooms torn up, we decided to do a little remodeling, which is coming up on Monday. They will begin renovations on our bathroom, then they will rebuild my pantry off the kitchen and then paint all the rooms that were affected. Needless to say, I’ve been under a bit of stress. (understatement of the century).
Then about 3 weeks ago, I got some terrible news. One of my 10 year old cats was diagnosed with diabetes, which required me to learn how to give him insulin injections twice a day. His blood sugar is coming down but is not where it needs to be yet. His highest numbers were 551 in the beginning. (normal is 60-150). His sugar is now about 233 as of last check a couple days ago. We are getting there but it’s slow going. His back legs are very weak due to neuropathy so he is not walking well. They tell me that his legs may improve once we get his sugar regulated. I am doing well with giving the shots. I was terrified at first but it’s not that bad. Thankfully, he is a mellow cat. Thankfully, it is not his brother, Micah, who would not accept the shots as gracefully as Tory.
Getting the boys to alter their usual diet has been difficult. We are still working on that. I have learned that canned food is much better for a diabetic cat than dry food or treats because the carb content is low in canned food. So I bought a bunch of different kinds of canned food to offer them, hoping that we might find one or two that they really like. The plan was to eliminate as much of the dry food and treats as possible. Unfortunately, you cannot reason with a cat, or explain to a cat why they cannot have as many treats as they are used to. I have tried. They just stare at me with disdain, their eyes boring into mine. They are telling me that this new diet thing is unacceptable. They are having none of it. They want their morning treats. They want their afternoon treats, and evening treats.
I try to hold out, and withhold the carb-laden treats. I do leave some dry food out for them because we don’t want to starve them, and a diabetic cat should not go a long time without eating anything or it could adversely affect their liver as well as bring on hypoglycemia. I know they nibble at the dry food throughout the day but do not consume mass quantities so I figure it’s safe to leave it out.
But back to the canned food. I have probably opened about 50 cans of food in the past couple weeks. I think to myself, “this will be the one they love” and “they will eat this because it smells so nasty”. I prepare the plates and even heat it in the microwave for a few seconds to bring out the flavor. I bring the plates to the dining room and place them on the floor as I call the cats. I say “oh look at this great stuff! It smells so stinky, you will love it!!”…..all while the anxiety rises up and threatens to choke me with fear….waiting for those crucial few first seconds to see if they will indeed start slurping up the stinky canned cat food.
I hold my breath. They saunter over to the dishes, sniffing with aloof indifference. Micah walks in a circle around his dish. Tory continues to sniff. And…..then….they both begin to eat. I finally exhale, but quietly, for fear of disturbing the air around them as they consume the good, low carb canned food that is so vital to Tory’s health. I sit and stare at them, willing them silently to KEEP EATING….PLEASE. And after only a few short minutes, they lick their chops and stand there….and then walk away.
My heart sinks. They only ate a small portion. This is not unusual for them. They rarely eat enough canned food to keep a bird alive. They are used to filling up on dry food or treats. I know, it’s my fault. I feel enough guilt to fill a football stadium. I wish I had never brought a bag of treats into this house. Trust me, I know I screwed up when I bought that first bag of treats home when they were kittens. Anyway, enough of my guilt. It’s too late to undo the damage. So I am trying hard to change things. As anyone with cats knows…..changing things in midstream is nearly impossible.
So anyway….as I watch the cats walk away from barely touched plates of food, my anxiety rises. My heart drops. My stomach churns. I feel depressed. I feel sick. I feel shaky with fear. Tory needs food in his system before I can give him his insulin. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what to do. So I do what I know will work. I reach over and grab the bag of treats and take out just a few. I hand them down to him as he gobbles them up like a starving feral feline. And I hang my head in defeat.
I know that I have done irreparable harm to this cat and I feel horrible. He is a sweet boy, they are both sweet boys. They are brothers and they are beautiful and they are like my own children. I guess it’s a good thing I never had real children, I would probably have given them cookies and cake for dinner. I’m such an idiot. All I wanted was to make them happy and give them something tasty to enjoy. Little did I know that I was harming them.
Now I am trying to make amends and halt the damage. I am trying to get Tory back into a healthy realm and trying hard to make changes to their diet. It is slow going. Some days are better than others. Some days they eat the food and some days they don’t. Some days they are hungrier than others.
What I am learning through this process is this. What’s done is done. I have to live with what I’ve done. I am in control now and I have to get this figured out. But there is one thing I cannot do. I cannot force these cats to eat the canned food. I cannot force them to do exactly what I want. They are cats. Cats are the most stubborn creatures on this earth, besides humans. Cats will do what they want, when they want. They will not do what you want them to do, unless THEY want to do it. And they will not eat canned food just because you set it in front of them. Even if they are hungry. They want what they want. And therein lies the rub. We are at a stand off. Cats on one end of the spectrum, me on the other.
I have come to this conclusion: either he will or he won’t. Either he will eat the food or he won’t. Either he will cooperate with me or he won’t. He is a cat. And there is not a damn thing I can do to change it. I can offer him 15 different canned foods in a day, and if he doesn’t feel like eating any of them, he won’t. When I realize this fact, it is liberating. I feel the fear and the anxiety leave me. It doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore. It means that I realize that ultimately I have no control here. He is the one that will choose to eat the good stuff or not. I will continue to offer it to him, several times a day. I probably scrape more food into the waste can than he is eating. But I will keep buying it and keep serving it. But it’s up to him to start slurping it up. I cannot force him. And that gives me a little peace.
It is my fervent hope that somehow I can persuade these boys to develop a taste for the good stuff, and forget about the bad stuff. Actually, we have drastically reduced the amount of treats consumed and that makes me feel good. They are not thrilled but it’s a start. I am hoping that we can get to a place of more healthy eating and lower blood glucose levels. It breaks my heart that this has happened, but we are working toward getting better…..all of us.
Originally posted on EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome):
Out of 238 million American adults, 100 million live in chronic pain. And yet the press has paid more attention to the abuses of pain medications than the astoundingly widespread condition they are intended to treat. Ethically, the failure to manage pain better is tantamount to torture. When chronic pain is inadequately treated, it undermines the body and mind. Indeed, the risk of suicide for people in chronic pain is twice that of other people. Far more than just a symptom, writes author Judy Foreman, chronic pain can be a disease in its own right — the biggest health problem facing America today.
- Based on interviews with hundreds of scientists and many hundreds of research studies
- Written in an informal, conversational tone, and accessible to anyone interested in pain
- Includes a thoughtful analysis…
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