It’s been a while since I posted

It had been a while since I posted, I have been focusing hard on recovering from the recent double cervical fusion and getting back to work.

I am back at work starting an 8 week rehabilitation; I do 1 days worth of hours split over 5 days for 2 weeks, then increase a day a week and so on. I should be back in work full time by w/c 8/10/18.

It has been hard, I am fatigued, found it hard to concentrate at work and I still cannot get out of bed early. I have a nerve pain issue in my left arm which started a couple weeks ago. This is causing permanent pain with unbearable spasms. I have weakness in my fingers and hand too. I am back at the hospital next week to try to find out why this started 3 months after my latest surgery. This pain is multiple times worse than before the surgery. My consultant says this is NOT normal. It could be permanent nerve damage (but this would have started earlier), maybe something has migrated in my neck or one of my other discs above or below the double fusion is affecting my nerves (I bloody hope not!), or I’ve done something to flare it up (not that I know of).

Since the operation my fatigue has improved, in fact a range of my fibro symptoms seem to have improved. This is the conclusion from a study here…….The surgical treatment of cervical myelopathy due to spinal cord or caudal brainstem compression in patients carrying the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can result in a significant improvement in a wide array of symptoms. Minimizing those symptoms translates into a measurable improvement in quality of life. A detailed neurological examination should be incorporated into the evaluation of every patient considered to have fibromyalgia. The finding of cervical myelopathy warrants radiological investigation to exclude a treatable cause. More intriguing, in view of these results, is the possibility that, in some patients, cervical myelopathy may be the underlying cause of the fibromyalgia syndrome. Here is the full study here

My fatigue, cognitive issues, headaches, overall skin sensitivity (pain when being touched by anything including clothes), muscle aches and headaches have all reduced significantly.

This is amazing and I thought impossible, but studies have proved this can be the case.

Now I just need to find out what’s wrong with this sudden nerve pain and weakness in my left arm, hand and fingers and hope I don’t need revision surgery. Hopefully this is nothing nasty and will settle.

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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 πŸ˜– 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.

At home all comfy

I’m tucked up under a furry blanket at home. My mum bought me a triangle pillow which is really comfortable. I’ve started back on the morphine tablets today but they are only 10mg of morphine, not very strong to be honest, I used to be on more than that with the other meds. I’ll probably give the doctors a call later to see if I can increase the dosage a little bit more. I’m topping up with 10mg Oramorph every 4 hours too at the moment.

The daft dog is asleep under my legs

Do you like my sexy green stockings? I have to wear these babies for 6 weeks ha ha woo hoo!! That’s a pic of my thighs not my bum btw πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

Fibro isn’t doing too bad but I have been naughty and just ate some lemon cake for breakfast, I’m okay, keeping positive. Feeling a bit stiff and sore, feel like I’ve been in a car crash today tbh lol. My ribs, lower back and upper shoulders are sore. I also feel like I have a lump in my throat, the consultant warned me about this, it’s not majorly uncomfortable, it’s just annoying.

I’m having a chill day today, the naughty little dog has thrown up on the sofa πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. No idea why so will have to keep an eye on him…….

Cannot take any more pills

So far I’ve had 100mg IV Tramadol, 10mg IV Morphine, probably about a full bottle of Oramorph, or so it feels like it lol, but I was having 10mg doses (double the normal rate). Multiple Tramadol, Diahydrocodeine, paracetamol and nefopam. That’s quite a list. I only felt pain relief with the IV and actually woke myself up snoring a few times πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

My throat is very dry and I struggled with the large paracetamol and the last diahydrocodeine, getting them stuck in my throat and they melted in my mouth 😣. Now my tongue is white and very dry and I’m struggling to swallow anything.

I tried to sleep but just couldn’t, the pain in my neck is bloody awful

I tried chamomile tea, crap tv, rocking in bed!! Deep breathing; but that just hurt my throat.

I begged them for some more IV tramadol but I couldn’t as I’d took 2 earlier, orally. They aren’t allowed to give IV morphine on his ward grrrrrrrr. They should have just given me with my own morphine pump like the consultant promised, (I had one last time I was fused), but the new anaesthesiologist said I wouldn’t need it. Really? They broke my neck in 2 places (as collapsed facet joints had fused), a double fusion and fibromyalgia. Well it’s my body, I’ve had it before and did bloody need it!! Great, well I’ve had 2 hours sleep in 24 hours, 4 day before that and no way I’ll sleep like this!! I explained to the lady how fibromyalgia worked, in particular the increased pain! Plus making non painful things hurt!! She absolutely understood and I reckon knew someone close who had it……,,

I have now been given an intramuscular injection of morphine in the thigh. Hurt like hell and they take a while to work as I’ve had them before, last a long time too. Whoops I seemed to have bled on the bed from the injection πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

They look like bites! It’s been 20 minutes and I cannot feel it at all!! Great lol πŸ˜‚ I think I’m a machine!!

Ouch

Tried to shut the window and hurt my neck whoops. Chef closed the window as he heard me crying!! Don’t think I particularly hurt it, it’s just that the iv meds have worn off. I’m hurting like hell. It’s pulling, throbbing, can’t turn head to right, it’s aching……….

I can’t brush my teeth with my right arm, can’t push the bed trolley off my bed 😒. You get complacent with these things. ‘Oooooh it’s not that bad!! Then the meds wear off and me sitting in the chair, strolling around, brushing teeth etc. I’m now in a lot of pain’. Not much I can do as only so many meds you can take. I wish they had put on the morphine pump like they promised!!

Oh well πŸ˜” might have to get the music on my headphones and start meditating!! Can’t wait to get home and maybe ask the doctor for a pain patch!! Better than popping 12-16 pills a day; deffo don’t want to get up to 25 plus a day again……….. at least it’s constant relief πŸ‘

Fatigue and muscle weakness and pain getting worse

Sometimes it takes a while to realise that things are getting worse with your health.   I’ve been attending Download Festival now for 9 years and I noticed last year I was more tired and achy but this year was dreadful.  I only managed to walk into the arena once each day and I had to spend the rest of the time sat in the van.  I missed all the headliners.  The Disability camping was moved further away to a better site but it was a 50 minute round trip to the entrance on a hill.  I could not walk that far so when I went back to the camper I was done in.  Now I’ve always been able to walk around the festival but this year it was different.  I have took the decision next year not to go and I am going to start working on my fitness levels.  

I read an article about a woman that started doing intense interval training and it was by no means easy but she managed to reduce her fibro symptoms so much that she doesn’t feel that she has it anymore. I do believe this is possible and I can only imagine how ill she felt and how much blood, sweat and tears she shed.  Now obviously this is not an easy task but if one person can do it then it is possible and not impossible.  I used to do high intensity interval training even when my back was degenerating and it was only when I stopped training that my fibromyalgia symptoms started to come out.  I even trained after my fusion and it’s only when I started to hurt I slowed down training that I started to get more ill.  The less you move the worse it gets. 

Our bodies are not made to be immobile we were naturally born hunters always moving around, but as time goes on our lifestyles make us more unhealthy.  We have tv to watch, cars to move around, processed and fast food.  Drugs we can take to mask over health problems.

I am a real believer that food and exercise being the only medicines I need.  All medications have side effects and are not good for the mind or body.  I tried to come off anti depresssnts last year and use s more natural alternative and I became so ill after 3 months I went back into them.

Painkillers are not good for the body either and you get used to them so end up either on maximum dosage or on something stronger.

I have never suffered from such debilitating fatigue or muscle aches and weakness until this year and it’s getting worse.  Some days I can barely walk at all and I’m constantly having to rest after everything I do.  I have to plan all my activities to the finest detail so not to overload my nervous system.  I cannot stand loud music or bright lights and have to wear earplugs a lot, which is fine I have no problems with that.  I get sunburnt easier and my skin swells up so I bought some natural sun cream.  My scalp started to itch and I bought some special shampoo which reduced the itching.

The fatigue and muscle weakness is extreme.  I find myself doing less and less and from what I have noticed the fatigue, weakness and pain is getting worse.  It is a battle of the mind as our mind tells us to do less as we hurt, but it is the wrong decision.

The less you do the weaker the muscles get, but it is much more painful to exercise as muscle pain can be very extreme with fibromyalgia.  When I used to regularly work out I used to hurt from the gym but I liked it as I knew I was getting stronger.  But with fibro the pain is sometimes so bad after working out that it can make me cry and my whole body throbs and every attempt to move is excruciating.  In order to get stronger I have to keep pushing so the pain from working out will last weeks or even months.  You have to start slow, I have managed to do 3 ten minute workouts on the power plate this week.  Next week I am going to build up to 4.  I am also trying to walk every day and I have stopped using the lift at work and take the stairs.
Next year I am not doing the Download festival and I am hoping to get back into interval training.  I want to test out the theory of regular exercise reducing fibromyalgia.  Exercise can help reduce anxiety, depression, increase mental alertness, reduce insomnia, reduce muscle weakness and aches and pains.  Over time it can also help with fatigue.  In the short term it will get worse but what have I got to lose, I hurt anyway whether I move or not.  I have felt a dramatic worsening of physical symptoms from doing less exercise so my moving less to ease the symptoms have made it worse.  The only way to change what we have is to do something different so that it what I am going to do.  Here is some good tips of exercising with fibro here