What went wrong?

I was having a great recovery; pain was under control I was walking 3 times a day, managing a little bit of housework. Now here I am struggling to sleep, struggling with pain, unable to cook a decent meal, not been for a walk in days. Had 2 migraines over last 3 days…….

So what went wrong; entertaining a guest at the weekend, I don’t have the energy. Changed pain relief due to pressure from my doctors from Oxy to morphine, but I cannot sleep on morphine, so I switched to tramadol in the day and Oramorph at night, but it’s not strong enough. Once the morphine had worn off and it was just tramadol in the day, I went downhill fast. This is the worst I’ve felt since the surgery.

My hot tub pump has broke so I’m waiting for that to be fixed, this has made a big difference to my pain, so my daughter is running me a hot bath, where there is a will there is a way.

Doctors are so obsessed about reducing opioids/opiates, that for those of us that need them we have to fight tooth and nail to get them. I took the time to explain to the doctor step by step what they did on my neck and lower back and that my spine is aged 25 years older than my actual age, sometimes you just have to take the time to explain your personal situation to them, my 2nd double fusion was not a standard operation, my neck had to be broken in 2 places, my facet joint had to be removed as it was full of bone spurs, that’s before inserting the cage and implants. With having fibro; the pain is real, yes it is more intense and will probably last twice as long as someone without it. But I cannot change that, what I need right now are the right painkillers to ensure I get a decent quality of life and get back to my job. I cannot imagine trying to work right now………..

So I am waiting for them to ring back and I am telling them that I am going back on Oxy (I have about 2 weeks worth left) and they had better support me, or I’ll be leaving work and living off the state.

Rant over!!

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Bathing is hard workplace

So washing in the shower is painful, washing my hair causes pain for 2/3 days!! So I thought right stuff it I’m having a bath and I’ll wash my hair in there!! Even worse pain than the shower……..

That’s it I’m growing dreads!

I don’t use anything on my hair but organic products so it never gets to the point it desperately needs washing, I only need to wash it once a week so since my surgery 5 weeks ago I have washed it 3 times and every single time it’s been excruciatingly painful for a few days afterwards…….

My head used to itch like crazy when I developed fibro. I decided to switch all my hair and beauty products to organic ones and I’ve never looked back, no more itching, my hair seems to be growing quicker and now I only have to wash it every 5 or so days!! It’s a good job really as washing my hair is very painful.

I’m struggling to wash my body as I feel really stiff!! I bought a long handled brush to help me. I find it easier to stand in the shower than trying to climb in and out of the bath. I prefer baths though as I can soak in magnesium flakes, I find the shower very tiring as I have to stand in it. So it is best to alternate the 2 atm. It’s always best to look on the bright side, bathing isn’t impossible but getting dressed is a challenge as sometimes I cannot raise my right arm far or reach my feet. 😂😂😂

Practising mindfulness at work

Would you spend a few minutes each day practising mindfulness each lunchtime at work if someone told you you’d be more productive in the afternoon?

I’m hoping you answered yes to this?

I have been very strict at work since I changed jobs.  I book out 30 minutes of my diary each day to eat and practise mindfulness techniques whilst listening to music. The canteen is full of chattering people and I cannot stand to sit in there as the noise makes my head spin,but when I pop on headphones 🎧 I love it.  I get totally caught up in the moment.  I savour my food taking it real slow and mindfully eating.

I also watch other people eat, examine what they eat, look out of the window and watch nature in full effect.  I don’t day dream and I don’t spend my lunch break on my phone.  Maybe I might update my FB page but nothing more?

Before this latest fibro attack brought me to my knees and I had to step away from my job I never really had a lunch break.  Since I started to have one I cannot believe how much more productive I feel in the afternoon.

Try eating mindfully; savour every mouthful of your lovely healthy organic food, take your time.  It can take me 15 minutes to eat my lunch minimum.  You will walk away so chilled out!

More pain and spasms 4 weeks post op

So here we are it’s been 4 weeks since surgery, time flies!! I am in a lot of pain, the most I’ve had since the surgery. I am however doing more………..which I pay for days later.

Good points are that the left hand side feels great, not had a twinge since surgery, obviously the left hand side of my neck is tender, but not the shoulders or upper back. I can actually turn my head and bend it towards my ear, further than before the surgery.

Bad points are that I am struggling to sleep as I cannot get my head comfy, it hurts to sleep on the left even though I had surgery on the right, but I did have my neck broken in 2 places on the left!! The muscle and nerve pain is much worse in my head, neck, shoulder, upper back, arm and hand. It hurts to type with my right hand, I cannot lift heavy things, I am also getting bad headaches at the back of my head.

I have took the decision to stop Oxycodone as I do not want to be on it long term, as it will be harder to come off. The doctors won’t give me any immediate release Oxy anymore and the slow release is only lasting about 6 out of 12 hour intervals. I’ve gone back onto morphine and Oramorph for breakthrough pain. I’m in agony, all my head, neck and jaw feels extremely tense and the muscle spasms and nerve pain is pretty bad. My fibro is flaring up a little bit it’s not unmanageable.

I am taking short walks, I am increasing my targets on my Fitbit slightly each day. I am now managing 3 walks a day and take my cute little doggy with me (apart from noon as it’s too hot for him).

I have a PEMF pad that uses pulsed electrical magnetic therapy, I have been using this at the rear of my head, neck and shoulders. They use this technology in hospitals and it can aid the fusion of the spine too.

I have looked on a few sites at community posts and there are plenty of people still struggling with pain a double cervical fusion after weeks/months so I don’t feel so bad about it now. I need to be patient, take it steady and learn to relax more. I restarted my meditation yesterday and that should help me relax and focus. I always forget to do it anthem after a few weeks I feel stressed, when I meditate I feel less anxious and more, well normal.

3 weeks post op

Well what can I say? I feel pretty darn good! I know for those of you that may be reading this and potentially getting mentally prepared for major surgery yourself, you may be thinking really? Yes, really!! I have also managed to cut both meds; immediate release and prolonged release Oxy down by a lot!! Half on the prolonged and more than treble on the immediate release.

Much of recovering from surgery is your mindset!! Don’t be too hard on yourself, talk through issues with a friendly face, arrange to keep work informed, meditate every chance you get, even if it’s just deep breathing……….

The medication can however make you complacent and temp you as it has me, to do more than you should; when the meds wear off I hurt, ache 😖 then I know I shouldn’t have done it. Like stretching over and shutting the windows above my head, or pushing or pulling something like a clothes basket or shaking blankets out to dry etc…..

Don’t do any exercise until after your 6 week check up and always check with the physio first. I couldn’t do much at my first physio appointment as I was still sore. My consultant doesn’t believe in neck collars as they restrict movement and can actually delay recovery, causing stiffness. Car journeys are painful and I’m not allowed to drive yet, I possibly should be okay from next week.

My neck feels much more sore and achy now I’ve cut down my meds, which is probably a good thing as it stops me doing too much. But it is particularly annoying at night time. I’ve been using ice packs and am now able to use heat on the rear of my neck, upper back and shoulders, but not on my wound.

My fibromyalgia is not too bad as the Oxycodone is keeping it under wraps, but I know that once I wean off it will return and as I still need my lower back fusing I will still have pain. The Osteoarthritis in my neck isn’t cured either, it will still also still cause me neck pain and stiffness.

I have found a great website with information on fitness post fusion with a blog of useful information. The reason I had this surgery was not only to reduce pain, but to allow me to restart exercising again. Yoga yes and I’m hoping to restart HIIT too, with either light weights or just bodyweight exercises. The website I mentioned is here.

Me using my PEMF machine to help fusing.

My Fitbit targets complete…..

I can not recommend a Fitbit Versa enough, my old Fitbit got wet and broke and I lost the other somewhere lol. This new one is waterproof and is more like a smart watch.

Reducing pain meds

I’ve never took Oxy and personally I would never consider this medication for fibromyalgia. It is much stronger than morphine and much research has shown that opiates/opioids are not effective for chronic/long term pain. They can also increase fatigue and insomnia. For the post operative pain I’ve had it’s been a double edged sword. I managed to cut out 90% of my pain but then on the flip side it makes you over complacent, so I do ‘stuff’ then afterwards I’m in agony! I wash too many pots or do some clothes washing 😂.

I am now weaning off; I’ve reduced my immediate release Oxy by half, I’m only dosing 3/4 times a day with 5mg dose. I’ve reduced my slow release dosage from 40mg x twice a day to 30mg x twice a day. The pain has increased quite a bit but I’m using heat/ice alternate to help. I have shooting pains down into the right hand side of my body down my arm and it’s hurting to text which is why I’m not posting often.

I’m walking twice a day, up-to 5000 steps a day. I’m also lightly jogging a little with the walking. Taking my little dog with me but holding the lead with my left hand. I’m doing my physio twice a day;

  • Sitting in a chair twice a day for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Turning my head to look over both shoulders
  • Bending my ear to my shoulders both sides
  • Lifting both arms straight over my head then back down to the sides
  • Squats with arms out front of my body

I am feeling confident with my physio and recovery, but I do also know that without the Oxy I would be in agony right now. I opted to go onto this medication as the doctors kept raising my dosage on morphine and it was slowing my heart rate right down and I was struggling to breathe. I have had no such problems with Oxy, I don’t feel high, I just feel great, it has however blocked out my fibro symptoms, I am not looking forward to these returning. I guess this is why they are abused so much. I don’t feel high at all as my opiate/opioid tolerance is very high. I have had a few weird dreams but nothing major. I’m taking 35mg liquid laxative a day as my digestive system stopped working and is excruciating otherwise.

My little doggy is really helping me.

I am proud that I’m now sleeping well, it’s took 2 weeks post surgery to get here, my exercise is walking only at this moment as I cannot manage anything else.

Two weeks post op

Car journeys are painful, every time the car jerks around it’s hell. Physio was rough; I cannot do much, so going back in 10 days. I’m starting to sit in a chair each day and I’m walking and doing neck exercises. I managed to go for a walk today with the dog; I just held the lead in my left hand. I was shattered when I returned and was snoozing all afternoon and slept for an hour.

My little doggy has really helped!! He has been really careful round my neck wound.

It’s important to be careful and not to overdo things with the side of your neck that’s been cut open.

Also keep the scar covered in the sun ☀️

Mentally I feel really good, I think some of that is down to the Oxy, everyone knows they make you feel great. I’m hoping that I can continue this without taking them……..but I know the pain is going to be tough to deal with once I’m off these. I tried cutting back yesterday and was hurting. I’ve cut down the immediate release by half today, still dosing at the same times just cut down by half dosage.

Been out a couple of days, to mums in a taxi and back, felt ill so had to come straight home, went to a gala near our house, let Dave hold the dog lead.

Took him for his first walk today since the operation and looking to increases this to twice a day shortly. Need to take it slow as still recovering.

Still have issues swallowing, still have to look down to swallow. Still having to use a straw, but it’s all good.

So far so good, it’s important to make a plan with goals for recovery, but don’t forget to reassess daily and listen to your body, not other people 😍