Friday, July 10, 2009


Pain. It’s been controlling my life for the last two months. I haven’t been able to do much of anything except work on finding comfortable positions and taking pain pills.

Let me start by saying that I will admit to having a very low pain tolerance. I’m a whimp when it comes to things that hurt. Blood draws cause anxiety, paper cuts can require neosporin and bandaids, and pump site changes require some serious mind over matter.

About two months ago I was exercising. I was lifting weights, and decided to “add in” some time on the elliptical trainer between sets. I didn’t have any shoes on, but didn’t stop and think that might lead to a problem. Which it did. I fell off the trainer and felt a muscle twinge in my right leg. I had pulled my hamstring. I took advil and babied it for about 10 days. Then it seemed to be feeling better. I didn’t think about it. Until 3 weeks ago. I started having serious pain in my hamstring, specifically in the places where it attaches to my pelvis and behind by knee. I was taking advil in mass doses, but it just seemed to get worse and worse.

I am not a fan of western medicine. I don’t have a “primary care doctor.” I see my endocrinologist twice a year, and she has agreed to do the things that a primary care doctor would manage. (cholesterol check, liver enzymes, etc.) I’m lucky that I don’t get sick very often. If I do have an infection I generally just go to urgent care, get some meds, and go on.

I have a large circle of friends who practice alternative medicine. When my leg was really hurting I had someone kinesio-tape my leg. I had several sessions of mayofacial release. I took epsom baths. I increased some vitamins. I had some relief from all of those strategies, but not enough. I was nervous about seeing an MD. I was convinced that my problem was just a pulled muscle and low pain tolerance. I hate going to urgent care because I usually get the “oh.... you have diabetes. Your problem is because of that.”

Two weeks ago I dragged myself to urgent care. The doctor pulls up my records and says, “Oh, you have diabetes and have had it for a long time. Do you take insulin?” Um, yeah.. I have type 1. She asks if I took insulin this week. Crap. This week?!?! My pump probably gave me some basal insulin 30 seconds ago, lady! Then she asks if I test my blood sugar. Again I say yes. She asks if I’ve checked this week. Argh. (see my frustration with western medicine?) Now let me also share that I am standing in the room, and she has my chart pulled up on her computer. The first paragraph at the top (which I eavesdropped and read while she was reading it) says, “excellent controlled type 1 diabetes.” Seems stupid that she asked those diabetes questions with that information kind of information about me.

This doctor decides that I need a Doppler study to rule out a blood clot and cyst behind my knee. Of course, they don’t do that at the clinic, so I need to drive over to the hospital to have it done. They do the study and the doctor calls me on the phone in the lobby. She says the tests were negative and she would prescribe narcotics and physical therapy. Later that afternoon the scheduler calls with two PT appointments.

For the record, my clinic is about 50 minutes away from my house. There is another branch that is about 40 minutes away. I choose to do the PT there.

I show up for my first appointment. The PT has no idea why I’m in so much pain. He works on my for 30 minutes and then tells me to come back tomorrow so that he can do more evaluation. I do. He is still perplexed.

On Monday I called the orthopedic department. They offered me an appointment on Tuesday. I went in. The doctor thought that I had tendonOsis. Apparently that is tendonitis that has stopped healing. He sent me for an MRI. I did that on Tuesday night. Wednesday, I saw him. He said that I had swelling in my bursa where the hamstring attaches, consistent with tendonitis. The treatment for tendonitis is large doses of prednisone. Not great for someone with diabetes. Even worse for someone who is allergic to insulin and will have to take lots of it to manage the increased blood sugars from the prednisone. He was concerned the tendonitis diagnosis didn’t explain all my pain. So he sent me to another MRI for my lumbar region.

I had that done yesterday afternoon. Turns out that I have a herniated disc. (or is it spelled “disk” ... ?) The tech brings me back to a room and says that the neurosurgeon is going to give me a spinal epidural shot to relieve the pain and hopefully help the disc/disk to heal on its own.

Have you ever had a shot in your spine?!?!? It hurts. A lot. It also is a steroid shot so it does crazy things to blood sugars.

I’m feeling less painful today. I guess it was worth it.

I’m supposed to being heading to Canada in less than three weeks for a canoe trip in the Quetico Provincial Park.

I’m hope that my body starts healing now.

I'm afraid of living with chronic pain.


Minnesota Nice said...

Yeah, I had a shot in my spine when they gave me spinal anesthesia before my broken ankle surgery. (I think I was doped up on oral pain meds, though, because I don't recall it hurting.)
So, did you go to a PNC Urgent Care? The one at the "big clinic" has all sorts of really mean doctors and nurses. I don't think any of them like their job. Sheesh.
Did you try acupuncture?
I am still dealing with the PF flare up on the bottom of my foot, and agree that it's no fun having a wrench in th gears. In fact, down right obnoxious.
Well, Molly, I sure hope the diagnosis was correct and the treatment effective and that you have a wonderful time in the wilderness.
I really like Dixie's little lounge mattress. She looks very comfortable.
OH man, you'll never guess what the word verification is "limpp".

Colleen said...

Sorry to read your crummy news - hope the healing begins and you're feeling much better very, very soon.

Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon:)

Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh man Molly! I'm sorry to hear that you're hurting so much - that is NO GOOD!

I'm sorry some more that the doctors are filling you up with steroids!

Let me know if you need some help with anything - I'm serious!

Holistic Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holistic Joe said...

The frequency of HEALING is a gift from The Divine -- available to all of us, regardless of the affliction or illness we may be suffering. The higher the frequency, the greater the healing.

Allopathic medicine, which vibrates at a lower frequency, was never intended for degenerative conditions; only for emergency care and stabilization of the body in life-threatening circumstances. ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE, on the other hand, relies on the curative effects of natural, non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical modalities that have been around for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years.

For the past 12 years, I've employed the very powerful and well-documented healing properties of THERAPEUTIC-GRADE Essential Oils. Just ask my 66-year-old mother. On June 11, her blood sugar registered at 277. I put her on an anti-diabetic regimen that same day. Today, July 10, her blood sugar registered at a jaw-dropping 105 -- an astounding 172-point reduction attained in just 29 days!! The daily amount of insulin she injects is, of course, dropping as well. Mom, with complete confidence and faith, aims to be NEEDLE FREE by her next doctor's appt. scheduled for September.

Let's examine that result for a minute. Despite her doctor's claim that Mom's 66-year old pancreas is "too old and beat up" to heal, the MIRACULOUS reduction in her blood sugar levels verifies the exact opposite. To me, it confirms what I have seen HUNDREDS of times in my experience: We are NATURE and only plants and an unwavering faith in their therapeutic properties can promote true healing.

I wish you MANY BLESSINGS and a full recovery IN LIGHT SPEED.

- Holistic Joe

Karen said...

Oh gosh, how terrible. I'm so sorry you have been in such pain - and that the treatments are just as painful. I hope you are starting to feel better now and are over the worst of it. I'll send you healing thoughts & energies!

Lyrehca said...

Sorry to read your post--may you be on the road to recovery very soon!

couponqueen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all that, what a pain to have to deal with everything (no pun intended). I'm glad you atleast got a shot to help with the pain! I hope things start getting better very soon and you're able to go on your trip. Good luck!'s-advil-fever,-ibuprofen-suspension-liquid,-blue-raspberry,-4-fl-oz.html

Colleen said...

Thanks for the encouraging words! Hope you're doing better.

worker said...

oh molly!!
im so sorry to hear this.
isnt it amazing doctors can know all kinds of stuff but dont know how to comprehend
whats written on a chart!!
i do hope you start to feel better quickly.since you are on vacation!!
sending good thoughts your way and when you feel much better hope to see you again.
please take care
dean t.c meetups

Kevin said...

I hope you are feeling better by now! That canoe trips sounds like it could cheer you up, even with a little pain attending...i work for, a user-generated site for health care videos. I read your blog post as a part of our outreach program and thought you might be interested in some of the work we are doing on icyou. Here's a link to a video that might peak your interest, check it out!