Musings and Amusings

If we were having coffee, I am and half of you aren’t!

I’d tell all of you that it feels like I’ve been waiting a month while you’re standing in line for your special tea or coffee-with-this-much-cream, or chai orders and I’m nestled here in our cozy corner booth sipping low-maintenance hot, black coffee.

But I know you’d laughingly scoff me out the door.

Instead I’ll tell you the truth. I’ve missed all of you, and I’m sorry I’ve been absent from blogging and somewhat absent from commenting on your blogs. P-A-I-N has been a lifelong, albeit unwelcome, companion. It comes; it goes; it has never achieved diagnosis (other than occasional hypochondria) and no remedy seems to be the magic bullet. After 12-14 months of triage treatment for injuries from my bike accident, I thought I was on the mend. But over the last three months, what was my typical before-accident daily pain progressed to full-bore, everywhere-in-my-body-but-especially-in-my-upper-spine P-A-I-N.

The kind of pain that:

  • Makes a grown woman cry
  • Makes me curl up on the couch all day
  • Makes me say to Hub, “Aieee, don’t touch my head; your gentle touch feels like a hundred-pound hammer.”
  • Makes me so cranky, I snap at Hub with nastiness when he so much as tells me he loves me

After years of the mysterious Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and undiagnosed pain, it becomes harder and harder to advocate for myself, especially when symptoms hurt the worst. Fortunately I had my annual physical in mid-March where I promptly broke down in tears and said simply, “I hurt everywhere, all the time.”

My new-ish doctor is the first practitioner to utter the “F” word.

Fybromyalgia.

The IBS-digestive equivalent for inexplicable neurological pain.

Along with a referral to a spine specialist, she suggested I switch anti-depressants to Cymbalta because it contains an ingredient that blocks nerve pain. After seven days of Cymbalta, I hesitate to say this (because I’m so afraid it’s the placebo effect), but I feel So Much Better. The past two days I spent the entire time in activities, including sitting at a table in a restaurant, which I haven’t been able to do in months.

My visit to my spine specialist was nothing but positive and hopeful news. My spinal fracture healed properly; I have no disc damage; but I have soft tissue injuries that were never addressed after my accident. He said it’s not too late to address those problems with treatments like ultrasound and dry needling, as well as working on exercises that will strengthen and realign my spine in order to support the weight of my head (no doubt all that brain power is a heavy load).

My fingers will be crossed as I go through the next six weeks of twice-weekly therapy sessions and pray the Cymbalta (or possibly another fibromyalgia medication) gets me back to significantly more ‘good’ days than ‘bad’. I know many of you suffer from a variety of life-altering chronic ailments, too. We’ve all lived with them long enough to know that’s the cycle – good to bad and back to good. But it’s best – even if it takes desperate tears – to ask/beg for help when the bad days outweigh the good for a measurable period of time.

Spring, oh spring, oh spring. Our most capricious season here in Colorado. I love that word ‘capricious”. I first read that word in an essay about springtime when I moved to Colorado and experienced a mid-May snowstorm. Yesterday and today we enjoyed spring – 70 degree weather with a light breeze; full sun in a blue sky as far as you could see; and bright green popping out in such rapid succession, you could almost hear those buds bursting.

That might be all the spring we get. Sometimes we get snow or rain right up until June. Other years April and May are so hot and dry we search the skyline daily for the dreaded wildfires, or the wind blows so fiercely our bikes and golf clubs gather dust in the garage..

But in the years when we have a true spring – when the redbud and magnolia blooms make me think I’m still in Michigan; when the lilac scent lasts for three blissful weeks – those are the years worth waiting for.

B-L-I-N-G

B-L-I-N-G

B-L-I-N-G

And Bling-o was his name-oh.

Oh, sorry … wrong song.

Yesterday was Hub’s birthday and we celebrated with the kiddos at Patsy’s, a local Italian restaurant where the garlic bread melts in your mouth without a chew. Raqi – bless her heart – always dresses up for our birthdays. Like so many who haven’t (yet, but someday I hope) learned the difference between comfort and bling, her closet floor is strewn with sparkly sandals and fashion-forward boots. How she walks in them, I don’t know. But that’s not my battle to fight.

About halfway down the block from our parked car to the restaurant door, she bent down to adjust her sandal, saying “this is rubbing me“. By the time we got to the door, she’d done it two more times.

On the way back to the car, she stopped suddenly saying, ‘Ouch!” and showing me the red spot on her foot.

When she commented on it again in the car, rubbing her sore spot, I suggested that it’s a fashion choice she’s going to be making the rest of her life. Comfortable walking shoes and bling-y high fashion shoes aren’t a matched pair I’ve found in my 64 years.

I clued her in that the runway models and singers and dancers – all those women that she so desperately wants to be RIGHT NOW – ditch their sparkly shoes the minute they are off camera. I insist that she wear safe, closed-toe shoes for biking and climbing on apparatus at the park.

But she’ll learn her own lessons and make her own decisions about B-L-I-N-G-O.

At least she listened with interest to what I had to say.

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Comments on: "Spring, Bling and Hurt-ing" (57)

  1. So sorry to hear that you’ve been in so much pain. Does it feel a relief that they have actually put a name to it? I know that it did when I was in a similar situation years ago.

    I wonder if Raqi will take your advice or whether the bling will win!!

    Take care of yourself and it is so good to have you back online.

    Eileen @ In My Playroom

    • Thanks, Eileen. It does help when doctor can put a name to it because at least I know it’s not in my head. Medical community is finally doing some studies specifically on women and pain, and finding interesting results about hormones, immune systems, trigggers, etc. i hope it will help younger women avoid what I’ve endured for so many adult years.

      Inspired by your ‘cleaning out’ photos, I’ve taken 12 bags of books to library for their spring sale and 2 trunkloads to Goodwill. And that’s just two rooms completed! It’s a start😋

      Thanks for being such a faithful reader and supporter.

  2. Glad to hear from you, Sammy, but sorry that you’ve been hurting.

    This line struck me: “it becomes harder and harder to advocate for myself, especially when symptoms hurt the worst.” – that’s a kicker, ain’t it? The more weak you become from dealing with pain, the less energy you have to take it up a notch to see that you get your needs met. You are now obliged to trust others to look after you and see that your needs are met.

    For me, that is a scary proposition, to say the least.

    Fingers crossed that long term relief is at hand.

    • Thanks, Maggie. Each time I go through ‘the rock bottom” I vow to speak up louder and sooner the next time, but the pain sneaks in and squashes everything, as you say. Hub is a great support, but he’s not equipped to be my health advocate.

      Hope you are seeing hints of spring, yes? Is school almost over?

      • If less snow today than yesteray = hints of spring, then the answer is yes. But it’s not green and it’s not warm. Nuff said. You don’t need a whine from this neck of the woods!

        Two or three assignments, and two exam and then two weeks of field school. Then I. Am. DONE!

      • Done. Kaput. That’s all she wrote!!

        I bet it will be a relief. Won’t ask (yet) about future plans.

      • Stay tuned for several blogs posts from Mining Boot Camp – thanks to our blogging buddy Joanne – she gave me something to look forward to!

      • Licking my chops 💋

  3. I was very happy to see a new post in my inbox, but so sad to find out that you have been in such pain. I hope the new med and the new doctor will continue to be effective. Good luck, too with the therapy. I have heard the expression “this is bad but it should respond to therapy” and just hearing those words was a relief. Listen to them, do what they tell you and complain (well, you know, keep them informed). As far as what name they give it, who cares? Pain is pain and if you can find a way to live without it or keep it under control, more power to you. Nerve pain, imo, is the worst.

    Best of luck, I’ll keep a good thought over here where we haven’t seen 70 since last fall 🙂

    • Thanks, Dan. I abhor disclosing my ‘poor me’ ailments because almost everyone struggles with something. But I didn’t feel like I could ignore my online absence. I’ll blow some warm sunshine your way – happy to share it – we have three more glorious days of 70+ temps before ‘flurries’ are in the forecast.

      • Don’t feel bad Sammy. I’d rather know (if you’re comfortable sharing) than not know. It helps keep me from saying something dumb (and you know how much help I need there). Thanks for the warm breeze – it’s 35 and snowing here at the moment.

      • Egad – go have another cup ‘o joe to ward off the chill.

        I haven’t thought ‘dumb’ once with your utterances – not even the tales you tell about yourself (unless dumb is just another word for “that’s SO like a guy”)

      • I guess it’s the later 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you are feeling better, and even happier that your spine is completely healed. Yay!
    Ay yes, shoes…I’ve worn comfy ones for the last 30 years, ignoring critical comments. Not only do those fashionable shoes hurt your feet NOW, they also are doing damage to your back and spine that will show up later.

    • Hi Shelley – i stopped wearing heels after bunion surgery on both feet (!); fortunately working in a firm where flats were not scoffed at. I look at women on the street in today’s shoes – obviously wobbling uncomfortably – and wonder if they ever ask themselves who they are doing that for.

      When’s your next adventure?!?

      • My husband and I go to Iceland in July, but I have a little weekend bike trip to RI in June with the biker chicks. The real adventure, however is the kitchen remodel we are going to be undertaking. I may blog about that–it may help me to stay sane–or at least get some sympathy!

      • Great; both places I’ve never been so I’m glad you’re covering those bases!! The photos I’ve seen of Iceland are stunning – i imagine the terrain is somewhat like that at the altitude if our gighest paved road -alpine tundra – only with charming little fishing villages and midnight sun.

        I’m shamefully ignorant of what Rhode Island looks like!

        Why don’t you hire those cute ‘PropertyBrothers’ from that tv home renovation show? Sanity plus a coupla hunks and a kitchen you’ll love – guaranteed 😊. It’s almost as good as biker chicks with wine !!

  5. The first thing that came to my mind when I started reading your post was fibromyalgia. So sorry to hear you’re dealing with it. It was a poorly understood condition for years, but in the last several years, significant strides have been made in both its diagnosis and treatment. I hope you continue to do well with the new medication. Pain is such an evil intruder in our lives. Here’s hoping you have a bright and pain-free (or at least pain-tolerable) spring.

    • Thanks, Carrie. I’ve long suspected that would be the eventual term, but it’s hard to go from doc to doc finding one who will pay attention. Especially when you’re aging, things get chalked up to that and not explored separately. You are right that progress in diagnosing and treating has come a long way. Thanks for the well wishes. I hope spring is a salve for many others after such a harsh winter!

      • Yes, sadly there are still doctors who have trouble managing something that doesn’t present itself with an obvious physical finding like a festering wound or a broken bone. Such a shame.

      • It’s hard on both ends. I can understand how lack of specific lab or test results weigh on doctor’s training and beliefs. And I also know the frustration as a patient about not being able to pinpoint pain because once you are ignored or doubted by a couple doctors, it’s hard to continue seeking relief. It was the same way during the years when my IBS was at full-throttle. Fortunately I finally found a holistic doctor who ‘saved’ me. Of course their treatments are never covered as ‘standard care’.

        Thanks for your understanding and support, Carrie.

  6. Austin Starr said:

    yeah fibromyalgia is very very unpleasant. I had it for (really) decades. I can recommend something called gabapentina. You might ask your doc about it. It helped me a lot with the pain. Didn’t know that Cymbalta blocked pain somehow. Good luck. Feel better.

    • Thank you, Austin, for your suggestion. I will look into it, and am sorry to hear you’ve struggled with pain yourself. If you google Cymbalta, you will see the ingredient that blocks the pain messages in the nerve pathways.

  7. Back when I lived in the condo, there was a really sweet girl who lived upstairs. We took care of each others pets when we were out of town, we looked after each other’s places, we were the best of neighbors…..then her Fybromyalgia destroyed her life. She couldn’t work, so she couldn’t pay her bills and lost her car and her condo. She eventually had to live with her parents.

    It is a horrible condition. I hope this medication works for you.

    On another note, I feel so fortunate to be a guy….. We get to wear comfortable shoes. 🙂

    • It is unfortunate it took so long to find some helpful medications. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I just hope more family doctors are hearing the word ‘pain’ as a possible medical issue in and of itself because that’s what it takes to have any hope for proper treatment.

      You are so right about men’s shoes. You guys have the advantage, hands down, in all clothing areas as far as I’m concerned. I’ve often thought women are nuts to “buy into” what fashion designers present as desireable women’s clothing.

  8. I am so sorry about your fibro. So sorry you are in pain — and yes, you are right, many of us live with pain. I’ve not been posting because of kidney stones (but they get to be done with sometimes soon.) A good friend of mine struggled with it for years. I kept telling her to go see an acupuncturist in tandem with her AMA doc, that they might be able to help her pain. Finally a year ago she did — and it turned her life around. She has been able to cut back on meds, and antidepressants are gone for good. Seems they were not a good thing for what she was doing, and the acupuncturist was able, in tandem with her AMA doc, to pull her off those. I offer this because so often docs are throwing anti-depressants at us for things that are not part of our condition (I am not “suffering from depression” when in fact I am unable to move from pain and THAT is a bummer. I’d have to be mentally ill not to be bummed if I can’t go for a walk with Mitchell, or unable to paint because of the dang pain! Anywho, hugs to you and post when you can because we miss you.
    PS I found a site a year ago that my AMA friends also approve of, called RXisk. It was started by a shrink who was dissatisfied with the information given out by doctors to patients. It is a good site to check on drugs AND it is an empowering site because it is very much about not feeling intimidated by any doctors who is a buttinski if you are asking questions.

    • Thanks, Katie. I’ve heard those K-stones can be very painful as well. I hope it is a short-lived ailment and they don’t return!
      Thanks for all the info – if I continue to feel better, I correspondingly do more research and reach out to docs (just the opposite of when I should be doing so), and I always appreciate recommendations for alternatives and sites. Get better soon, dear !

  9. I am so sorry for your recent suffering. I suffer alongside you, and I got my RA diagnosis when I was young, so I’m sort of…adjusted. It’s not really a big deal UNTIL IT IS.Then, oh, it’s a very big deal. Getting a diagnosis is very helpful, so I understand you’re happy about that. Sounds like Cymbalta is your friend, at least for now, and like your spine specialist can fix a lot of what ails you. Hopeful 🙂
    The Mister had dreadful pain, and tried to suck it up for a long time. He ended up in traction with pinched nerve, slipped and herniated discs — he had spinal fusion surgery and all is well enough now. I’m glad you sought help!

    Raqi will figure it out how we all did. I am no longer cruel to my feet. They endured years of dancing and then years of looking grown-up and professional, and now they look like they belong to a woman who values her comfort (and her spine) hah!

    • Thanks, Joey. We ‘chronic’ers’ know the cycle well, but the rock bottoms are still really hard. I’m terrified of any back surgery and always glad to hear of a good outcome like your husband’s ( and we always wonder why we waited so long to seek relief, but that in itself is an ordeal). Our heels looked sensible compared to today’s selections, and they still wreaked havoc on our feet and posture.
      Thank goodness for reaching an ‘age of sensibility’!!

      • The Mister says he wished he’d gone earlier. If he’d known how much better he’d feel, he wouldn’t have put it off. (He was surprised with how much was really wrong!)
        So here’s to an age of sensibility and hindsight! *raises coffee mug*

      • Click, sip, cheers to you and The Mister 🎶

  10. Sending you blessings of health and healing, Sammy. I wish I could take it all away. I really do.

    With heart, friend,
    Dani

  11. I hope you find the relief you need. Fybromyalgia was the first thing I thought of. Enjoy your coffee and your spring weather! We’re waiting patiently for ours here in Ontarioland. Okay. Not so patiently.

    • Thanks, Elen. Huge flocks of geese flew overhead northward on Saturday chanting LOUDLY, “make way; flying sunshine to Ontario”.

  12. So glad you appear to have found help at last, Sammy. I really can’t imagine living with this level of pain and believe me, there wouldn’t be many smiles on my blog. Gentle hugs 🙂

    • Aww, thanks Jo. Sometimes when I look at some of your photos I imagine myself there taking in the bracing sea air (I seem to remember people in older novels always taking their ills to the seashore for either the air or the salt water). But in reality I need warm air, not ‘refreshingly chilled’.

      I did go to the Florida coast for a week in early March. The warm air and beach walks helped, but mostly I stayed in my lounge chair on our balcony (great view and breeze).

  13. Very, very sorry to hear about the pain you’ve been suffering – but glad to know that the new medication seems to be helping. Here’s hoping that continues and you have FAR more good days than bad (but really, no bad at all would be my wish for you!).

    • Thanks, Laurel, fir your well wishes. You and so many others came to mind when I wrote this since you’ve experienced similar medical issues that I’ve understood only too well,

  14. Sammy D., so sorry to hear of your pain problem! Yes, I missed you!!! Hopefully the Cymbalta will help. Also Lyrica is prescribed for Fibromyalgia. Maybe a jetted tub or jacuzzi would give you relief, along with light stretching exercise (yoga?) Gabapentin is quite sedating! Keep us updated on how you are doing. Even if it’s short posts! Spring with warmer weather is coming! Good wishes for many good days! Christine

    • Thank you, Christine. I appreciate all your warm wishes and suggestions. I will keep you posted – hopefully with healing progress !!

  15. I missed you Sammy and wondered why you were so quiet. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling. I really hope that the relief you’ve experienced continues to grow and the change of seasons signals a change for better and stronger health!!

    • Thank you so much, Joanne. I’ve missed you, too. It’s no fun when any of us suffer and I always try to remind myself that everyone has challenges even if they aren’t readily apparant.

      Can’t wait for your upcoming ABCs 😋

      • You’re so right Sammy. I’m often reminded that so many in this wonderful community of bloggers struggle with challenges that puts my life in perspective.

        Thanks so much for your encouragement with the A to Z. It all starts tomorrow!!

  16. Oh Sammy, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been in so much pain. That sounds absolutely terrible, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like. I’m so glad to hear that you have (hopefully) found something that works to treat it though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will work long-term and that soon you’ll be able to look back on this time as a bad period that is completely finished and behind you.

    Looking forward to the next coffee catch up post, I hope it will be all about how well you’re healing and how much better you feel 🙂

    • You are so sweet, Celine, and you came back online at just the right time to cheer me up. I feel fortunate to have an understanding circle of blogging buddies because we can pick up right where we left off no matter the reason for temporary absences. I just had my first PT session with some neck traction and it felt great ☺️

      • Oh that’s great news!! What’s neck traction by the way is it a kind of stretching?
        Yes, you have a wonderful community of blogging buddies around you which is wonderful, you never have too much love and support 🙂

      • Exactly – an evil-looking contraption that is a very subtle pulling. One of my’issues is getting my head to realign properly on top of my spine instead of being hunched forward/downward which has happened with time and trauma. It will be a combination of manipulation like traction and exercises to retrain my body to use a different position as ‘normal’.

        I love a challenge – especially if less pain is the reward !!

      • Ouch! that sounds painful.
        I’m going through a watered down version of that for my back, getting it stretched (just by a person, not by a machine) to sort out my back problems. It’s working wonders so far, so hope it works for you too!

      • Celine, I hope you continue to have good results. It is remarkable how soothing ‘hands on’ therapy can be if we just let ourselves seek help!

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about all the pain you’ve been going through. It makes life so hard. I’m glad the Cymbalta is helping you, and I hope you continue to improve. Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way!
    I wish spring would hurry up and get here. We still have snow on the ground, and it’s supposed to snow again this weekend. Ugh.
    I’ve never been much into bling. I don’t do heels. Flats for me. I’m glad Raqi listens to you. I hope she realizes how lucky she is for the shared wisdom.
    Happy Birthday to your Hub!

  18. What a gorgeous couple! Your humor is fun.

  19. cardamone5 said:

    Dear mom:

    How I have missed you.

    I am so glad you found a medication that helps with pain, and I hope it continues to work. Your whole vibe is so much happier sounding.

    Just wanted to reach out and tell you you mean a lot to me, and I am uplifted to know you are feeling better.

    Love,
    E

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. There has definitely been improvement but I’m almost afraid to say that for fear it will reverse itself. I appreciate your concern. Hope all is (relatively) well with you.

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