Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hips and Knees

Well I had my knee surgery on November 14th. Doctor said things went well, but I will get a full report next week when I go for my checkup. This recovery has been so much harder than my hip. Oh wait! You were expecting an update on my HIP surgery weren't you. I bet you are confused. Let me back up a bit.

On September 29th I had my hip surgery. It went perfect. Recovery was perfect. I am so thankful I saw a new doctor and had this fixed.

Two weeks after hip surgery I had an appointment with my knee doctor as a follow-up. I have been seeing him every 3 months or so, hoping that my knee would heal. I can't remember if I blogged about it, but Last December, as in 2013, I slipped on a tray at Taco Bell (totally my fault) and I heard/felt my knee break. Six weeks of PT and finally I got an MRI. My patella (knee cap) was messed up. Four more weeks of PT and it was doing MUCH better. Life continued. I started exercising more over the summer with James. Walking, hiking and some bike riding. My knee kept getting worse and worse. To the point I was wearing a knee brace every time we did something. So I returned from my scheduled appointment (2 weeks after hip surgery) and ended up scheduling knee surgery. Yep. My 3rd surgery this year. sigh. Basically, my doctor did a Lateral Release. He snipped the ligament. I guess in this case it is better to cut it than repair it.

This recovery has been harder. I am non-weight bearing, so that means crutches. I HATE CRUTCHES. So I am spending a lot of time sitting. I am not even leaving my house because I have steps and me + crutches + steps = disaster.

I will hopefully be able to walk without aide next week!!

A whole new ME!

This past month I stumbled upon an amazing concept called Bible Journaling. In a nutshell you spend time in the Bible (devotional/quiet time) and then you express yourself directly into your Bible with Art.

Here is a great Example from Shanna Noel's blog : here The above picture was taken from the blog post I linked you too. I have also immersed myself into a Facebook group dedicated to this. Journaling Bible Community. Find it here. This is a closed group...just ask to join!

I haven't started working in a Bible yet. I am personally waiting until I can purchase the one I want. It is a BEAUTIFUL leather journal Bible. Here it is on Amazon. Since I am waiting I have been using my Art journal and my Devotional journal. And collecting lots of ideas and supplies! But, I have noticed since I stumbled upon this concept that I have a new excitement for the Word of God. For so many years I allowed myself to have a surface relationship with God. I was hurt so many times by the church or people from the church that I turned away. Sure I prayed everyday, listened to K-LOVE and other christian music. But I lost that deep connection that comes only from spending time in God's Word. Reading, mediating and searching for nuggets of truth and promises.

Last week I found a devotional site/app that really resonates with me. She Reads Truth. I now eagerly get up in the mornings and jump into my Bible. Spending an hour or more devouring God's promises. I almost don't recognize myself anymore!

And for that I am Thankful!

Give Thanks to the Lord, for his Steadfast Love Endures Forever! Psalms 136

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reckless words pierce like a sword. Proverbs 12:18

I follow an amazing blogger Holley Gerth, you can find her blog here. This week she posted an amazing post on Words. This really really spoke to me:

A Commitment of Words

We commit to using our words to defend and heal, not to harm.

We will not gossip.

We will not belittle.

We will guard our sisters by always speaking the best about them, encouraging them into all God would have them to be, and offering grace instead of condemnation.

We will be loyal and loving, remembering that even if we disagree we still fight on the same side–never against each other.

We will use our words to build up not tear down, to bring hope and not hurt.

We offer our words as a powerful weapon to fight for each other on the side of all that is good, right, and true.

I will definitely be spending time mediating on this topic. You can read her entire post here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

There is beauty in the brokenness...

Hand surgery was a success. Came home with a simple bandage, able to use it without much restriction.HOWEVER, (there is almost ALWAYS a However) 2 weeks after surgery, on June 9th I fell. On my way to San Diego with my parents, sister and niece we stopped to get gas. I was walking from point A to point B and instead of going around a small wall, I attempted to step up the wall. My left hip gave out on me and I fell down. Landing on my hands and knee. The moment I fell I KNEW. I broke my "good" hand. Of course. I injured my newly fixed hand a tad too. I spent the next 3 days icing my hands and limping around with a sore hip. I followed up with my hand doctor as soon as I got home and sure enough I broke my left thumb. Plus I now sport a lump under the surgery site and it is still swollen and hard. With time it should heal.

A week after I fell and broke my hand, I tripped on small ledge in a parking lot. I immediately KNEW that I tore something in my hip. Oh the pain. I called my hip surgeon and was able to get right in to see him. He did his exam and decided I was wrong, I didn't tear anything. I begged him for a MRI and he reluctantly agreed. The results of the MRI?

Interval progression of mild left gluteus medius insertional tendinosis with interval development of small interstitial partial thickness tears of its anterior insertion.

In short, I broke my butt!

I had a 3-4 inch tear in the butt muscle. My doctor said it would heal on its own and there was nothing I could do for it. I PUSHED for physical therapy. He reluctantly agreed. For six weeks I went to pt twice a week, in addition to pt, James and I walked, hiked or rode bikes 5 days a week. I tried really hard. I pushed myself through so much pain. My hip and my knee (from an injury a year ago) continued to cause problems. I finally ended up using a knee brace anytime we were active. I returned to my doctor and he basically informed me he was done with me and referred me to his partner. I saw the new doctor a week later and he declared with 100% certainly that I would only heal with surgery. So over 3 months after injury I had surgery to repair the tear. Surgery was 10 days ago.

Next week I see my knee specialist. I have been checking in with him periodically regarding my knee and kneecap. The MRI of it (a year ago) said I had instability and a tilted knee cap. I did have nearly 3 months of pt. Time was suppose to heal it, but with activity it just got worse. I wouldn't be surprised to have surgery scheduled soon.

Also next week, I get to meet my NEW RHEUMY!! I have such HIGH hopes for this appointment.

Later this month, after I figure out what the plans are for my knee, I have to have a revision surgery on my right pinkie. The sagital band needs to be tightened a bit. There is much clicking when I use my pinkie. And after a period of using, like when crocheting, it will lock and I have to massage it to move it again. Fun times.

I TRY my best to not question the why's. I TRUST that GOD KNOWS my story. I am learning so much recently about myself, about MY faith. I am growing daily in my relationship with God. And am excited to start documenting this part of me too! There is HOPE in our tomorrow's.

"Life isn't suppose to be easy. Life is hard. Very hard. But there is so much beauty in those dark valleys. I believe God gives us more than we can handle, so that we are broken and have no choice but to rely on Him. I understand you are struggling and feel so very alone. And I am so sorry. My heart really is broken for you. But death in "your time" isn't the answer. Ever." -Me

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Another Day, Another Year

As usual the Good intentions to keep this blog updated just didn't happen. You would think that it would be simple to just type up a few simple thoughts. However, I never seem to be able to do that. I have great excuses, but they are just that... excuses.

So what is new? So much! Yet so little.

I have finally scheduled surgery for my right hand. On Wednesday I will be having my 4th hand surgery. Two things will be getting fixed. First the tendon that has been hurting for many years will be fixed. There is a bone spur that is rubbing it, so this will be shaved down. The sheath for the tendon will be opened up, allowing more room for the tendon to do its job. And if the doctor finds any damage to it, he will repair it. Also, the doctor will be tightening the joint to my thumb. And taking a look to see why it isn't working properly. I should have a simple recovery. I am looking forward to being able to crochet, write and use a knife again! As well as a few other simple activities!

I still haven't found a new Rheumy.... for the last 2 years my neurologist has done his best to manage my Ankylosing Spondylitis. But this is his last month in his current position. He is leaving for a new job in a new state. Living in a city with a million snow birds and retirees you would think we would have our pick of Rheumy's but we have only a dozen or so....crazy. Thankfully I don't need to find a new neurologist, yet. I plan one seeing the replacement doctor. Praying he is good and has some new ideas for my treatment. My headaches have been getting worse, so much pressure in the back of my head. And this last week I have felt/heard a pop in my neck, three different times. The first two times I was in horrible pain for the remainder of the day, by the next morning I was much better. This last time, yesterday, the pain was way worse and today I have not recovered. I can't bend to look down and turning either way is difficult. Come Tuesday morning I will be making an appointment with the new neurologist.

God is Good, All the Time!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Time for another update

Wanted to document what's new with me. This journey to a healthier me, that I am on. I am in a very frustrating place medically, however, it is also an exciting place. I have new hope.
Last fall my rheumatologist started making noises that she just didn't know what to do for me. She refused to discuss treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis, since my spine has not actually fused. This is backward thinking!! With this disease you want to PREVENT fusion. It WILL happen, it's just a matter of time. I left her office frustrated yet again. 

In January I decided to wean myself off of all my medications. The thinking behind this was two-fold: 1) I just didn't have the $1000 the meds would cost (new year, new deduction) and 2) They weren't really doing a great job anyways. I also canceled my spring appointment with my Rheumy, why see a doctor that isn't willing to do Anything and Everything to help me. So now I am kind of on my own.

So what is a girl to do? I started looking for healthier, more natural alternatives. What I have found has been wonderful. And something James and I have both embraced completely. Essential Oils.

For my birthday, James got me a variety pack of oils from Plant Therapy. One of my favorite oils is Pain-Aid. It has definitely helped with some of my issues. Unfortunately it hasn't been the complete cure I need. But I am so thankful to have this aide in healing.

We have also been using E.O's in all aspects of our life. From natural cleaning products we are making ourselves to beauty products like deodorant, lotions, soaps and scrubs. I will for sure be sharing some of my favorite recipes.

Well back to my health. I am really struggling with a few issues. My right wrist has hurt for nearly a year. I have a tendon that is nearly torn. Like most other injuries I never know how I get hurt. This tendon is kind of a spare part, surgeons often use it repair the thumb. So the plan of action is surgery to cut this tendon. It is possible to repair it, but the doctor believes that it is too injured. There is a slight chance that it will fix itself, and I can avoid surgery. Fix isn't quite the right word, we actually are hoping my tendon will burst on its own. I am waiting until the beginning of June to schedule surgery. We have a fun camping trip scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, while unloading groceries, a drink bottle fell off the counter and landed on my foot. Breaking the 4th metatarsal. Due to the location, I was lucky enough to skip a cast. Just have to wear open toed, flat shoes. Still hurts a bunch. But it isn't the worst thing I am dealing with!

One of my biggest issues, currently, is my lower back. Last summer I received several injections in the L5-S1 joint. Unfortunately, the pain never went away. I have a disc bulge in this area, as well as a mass. In the last month, I have started experiencing extreme calf pain and some numbness and tingling. My neurosurgeons PAC doesn't seem concerned, rolling my eyes.

So, with several doctors telling me I don't fit there checklists for treatments, I have applied for an appointment with a doctor in Phoenix. This feels like my last hope. But at least I have some hope.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How does time fly?

I know I say this all too often, but I can't believe how time has flown by. I keep promising myself I will post often and then MONTHS fly by and life goes on. So lets see if I can get caught up a bit. Bullet point style:

  • My hand healed great. I have amazing PT support! Every so often it starts to tighten up, but as long as I massage it and loosen the scar tissue up all is good.
  • My knee still has some issues. It likes to give out every so often and it loves to swell. But recovery can easily take up to a year. 
  • My hip never got better. We thought the knee was causing hip issues, or maybe arthritis. But it turned out I had a tear that needed to be repaired. However, it was too damaged and the surgeon was only able to clean up the fibers. It has healed great, except for the groin area. Still lots of pain there.
  • During the MRI for my hip, the radiologist discovered that my cyst on my right ovary was still present. We are keeping tabs on it, might have to have it removed, at some point.
  • Also found on my MRI was a mass in my lower back. After a repeat MRI to get a closer look, it was determined to be a Tarlov cysts. The doctor isn't too concerned, but we will be keeping an eye on it and monitoring my pain.
  • I have had 2 failed epidural shots into my lower back. And 1 successful facet joint injection.
  • I have maxed out my Lyrica dosage and determined that I didn't get any good results from it. Just gained a ton of weight. So I self tapered myself off of it and feel much better!! 
  • We bought bikes for James and Me and the kids have hand me down bikes. We take family rides often.
Do you see that last bullet point? I am active! I am exercising! We ride several times a week and average 8 miles a ride. Crazy!! Even though I still struggle with several things, this is the BEST I have felt in years!

My sweet family is doing good. Better then good! We are Exceptional!