Saturday, April 15, 2017

Darn You, Scoliosis...

At my first chiropractic consultation, I saw my x-rays, showing a sharp turn just below my skull (instead of a gentle curve) and a curve to the left in my lower back. It's funny -- I didn't know I had scoliosis until my 40s, though I'd had the back pain symptomatic of it since my teens. (And no, nobody would take me to a doctor for it. I believe they just thought I was making it up, like my migraines. Ta da, they were for real, and likely due to malnourishment. So you tell me, is the person responsible the one who would proclaim “I'm tired of cooking, so we are having turnip greens for dinner.  Too bad you won't eat them”? Or maybe I'm being too harsh on the Saint? Or maybe I saw a side of the Saint those she actually loved never saw. Think it's possible a stepparent might play favorites against the stepchildren?)  All right, enough of that. Just understand that I had a much different treatment than the beloveds. It still hurts. So I have one affected leg, which burns with electrical fire or twangs with a physically irritating numbness on other occasions.  

The picture for all this pain has finally started to coalesce into visible conditions.  I'd stopped going to the chiropractor because of my husband’s iffy insurance, and now he's on mine, which I suspect was better anyway.  I couldn't go for treatment for my pain when he couldn't go for his.  It just didn't seem right to me.

I thought I was getting away with not going until my massage on Thursday. My massage therapist said she could tell I haven't been to the chiropractor in a long time because my back was all curved to the side and all the muscles on the right were knotted up together.  Sounds ooh la la and fancy to go for massages? Well, mine are pretty rough.  I'm not complaining.  Lol. I always feel bruised afterward.  Oh but there are some parts that feel great and never get tender, because they aren't injured to begin with, but even when you use a foam roller on yourself, the key is that you press into that fascia until it HURTS, and then you hold it there.  Yeeeouch.  

It's just another form of physical therapy, and I need it because I haven't been able to work those knots out myself, and I've tried a lot of things -- percussion massager, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, a Rumble Roller called a Beastie because of the barbs in it, resistance bands, foam rollers, stretching, and even a Marathon Stick.  She takes care of it for me, and I should probably be going more often, actually.  And I have to go back to the chiropractor too.  :(

Will this get better? I doubt it.  Given the arthritis in my spine, it's all degenerative. I guess I'll have to stick to weightlifting and just ignore the pain all day and night. At least I'm moving back towards where I used to be on weightlifting and doing a lot of exercises to strengthen my back.  I'm up to 95 pounds on deadlifts.  I know it isn't much, but it all helps. I'll let you know if I ever get to the spray-tan-look-at-me-on-stage day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Falling Apart

After waiting as long as I could stand it, a couple of weeks ago I took a trip to the orthopedist.  I needed to have both my left shoulder and my left foot seen about.

A little history on them: in May 2015, I took my dog for a walk down the street and back.  We were about two houses away from home when I took one step forward, into the gutter, with my left foot.  It wasn't much of a dip - maybe an inch lower -- but suddenly my foot folded in and backwards, and with an audible crack from somewhere down there, I was thrown forward onto the ground.  I'm still not sure how that happened, unless there was an existing fault in my foot.

Something similar happened to my dentist recently as well -- he stepped off a curb, and WHAM, four metatarsals broke and spread apart.  His was pretty catastrophic -- he had surgery and a bunch of metal put in.  He had to keep his foot elevated while he was working, which was a bit of an odd position for me to be in.  Lol

I was lying there stunned, with tears just pouring down my face and afraid to breathe.  I was lucky I hadn't landed in the broken glass-filled gutter, but in the grass just beyond in my neighbor’s yard.  For a couple of minutes I lay there, wondering if I would have to drag myself through the grass to get back home. It was only a couple of lawns, to be sure, but I'd have to negotiate my way around a fence pretty soon.

I ended up hopping pretty horribly on the other foot, which has a rubbery ankle after too much damage, and wailed my way to my bed with several ice packs.  I felt absolutely nauseated from the pain.  Almost unable to walk the next day, I went for an X-Ray,  but I was told that the clinic’s machine was broken. After a quick once-over by a random nurse, I was pronounced unbroken and with a simple sprain, as there was no blood or swelling present. Maybe she should have compared to the other foot to see that it was swollen.  I do have small feet, and my ankle and foot were both swollen.

I've had trouble with painful walking ever since.  The chiropractor couldn't fix it by wrenching it around, but as it turns out, that was the wrong thing for it anyway. Because I will be going on a mostly walking tour of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland this year, I need to be able to walk with as little difficulty as possible.

My shoulder… well, trouble with that began on my last trip over there, on the Eurostar to Paris.  I had too many heavy souvenirs in my suitcase, and when I attempted to hoist it over my head into the luggage rack, my shoulder said NO.  The bag came back down, and something gave way in my shoulder.  It got a little better, stopped hurting constantly, and I started lifting weights again.

This fall, I was getting ready to bench press a whopping 70 pounds (my max) and didn't do a warm up set first.  When I lowered the bar, I couldn't push it back up the first time and something twanged in the shoulder again.  This time it really hurt.  So afterwards, I iced and babied it, took ibuprofen, and hoped it was ok.  But I kept rolling over and sleeping on that side.  Every morning it was worse.  Then I started feeling pain down in my deltoid all the time.  Anytime I reached backward, it hurt insanely.  The weight of my arm hanging down was too painful.  I started losing the use of my arm and could not lift it from the front.  So I went to the orthopedist to see what was going on.

After a little research, I had already figured the foot pain was a problem with my cuboid bone.  It turns out that I was right.  After looking at the X-rays of my foot, the doctor said, “Tell me if this hurts” and jabbed her finger right in the cuboid, which made me jump and yell.  She said that when I sprained my ankle that last time, and my foot inverted, my cuboid bone moved out of place, and now there are a bunch of arthritic spurs growing out of it, referring pain to nerves all over my foot.  Apparently, that's just a weird thing that happens.  Cuboid subluxation.

What it means for me is that I'm currently in a post-surgical boot and waiting to see if that helps, not knowing if I'll ever be able to run again.  So far, it isn't helping, and I suspect I'm going to have to learn how to tape my foot very well from here on out to keep that bone from moving.

My shoulder was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, going by the weakness and pain she saw.   I got a cortisone shot for that, which seemed so much worse than the ones I'd previously gotten in my hip, but it was quicker, fortunately.  I honestly thought I was going to start babbling and crying in front of my husband, but then it was over.  (I almost cried during my shoulder x-ray too. I felt like such a wimp, but if there was no pain, that might mean I was imagining things.)

For about four days after the shot, I hurt worse and had more trouble using my arm, just like she said I would.  But then it suddenly felt like it did just before my bench pressing injury. Almost okay.  It still hurts badly when I try to reach backward, but I can tell there's some improvement.  Maybe I won't have to have rotator cuff surgery this summer.  Maybe it's just a small tear and it will last a while longer.  Maybe.  I'm back on Meloxicam, too.

So anyway, I have become the Biofreeze Queen, and we won't be going anywhere without it.  Fortunately, there are travel sized packets, but I'm not sure how many will fit in my 3-1-1 bag for the flights.  I may just have to force hubby to carry some for me, but chances are, he will need his own packets for his back, so…. We will both be carrying Biofreeze packets, and I'll be wagging KT Tape with me all over Great Britain and Ireland. Yay.  And still trying to travel light. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm not happy that I am so full of arthritis at my tender age, but I probably had it in my neck and back, before I was 20, due to the accident in my sister’s car.  I do wonder how long it will be before the rheumatoid arthritis starts making a nuisance of itself, since arthritis hit me early.

It seems I'm getting rather fragile.  I guess I'm going to have to drink more lattes, and boost my calcium levels.