Wednesday, October 7, 2015


As bad as the cervical MRI results were the lumbar MRI results are worse.  I am not doing a happy dance.  It's no wonder I am 2 inches shorter than my first 60 years!!

Years ago I had the worst experience of my life with a pain management doctor and an injection to 'help' with back and leg pain.  Picture taking a bundle of inflamed nerves, sticking a needle into the bundle and continuing, for what seemed like 15 minutes, to inject who knows what.  There was a pain killer given before the procedure, it was done with radiology guidance , it was done by a doctor who had a good reputation.   I prayed to pass out, didn't happen, but I prayed!

Well, yep, that's what is suggested for both the neck and low back.  Now, I know 10 to 15 years in medicine is like cave man to astronaut, but, everything I have read sounds just like what I went thru before and I don't mind saying, I am close to panic.

Now I weighed not being able to walk and constant escalation pain #'s and the chance that things have changed enough that there will not be a repeat of that horror from years past. Everyone I have talked to, is encouraging me to give it a try, so when I got the call this morning, giving me the scathing report and the doctor's suggestion for a chance for some freedom from pain, I put on my 'big girl panties' and said yes.  

The only regret is that I can't have both injections, cervical and lumbar, at the same time.  They will only do one at a time, I can, in 2 days, have the second one done, but not both on the same day.  Which to choose?  The burning in the neck and loss of function and depending how I hold my neck, having one or the other arm start to get pins and needles or walking?  Didn't take me 10 seconds to pick the low back first.

I won't be writing again, dear diary, till after the 13th, when I get the first shot.  I will just be hiding under the covers and wishing for a miraculous healing.  Short of that, I don't want to look back and  relive the mind numbing fear of the next few days.  Yeah for the 'Golden Years'....

Wishing health and happiness

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Guess it can't be too bad, for today I only have 2 complaints. One is ME, yep, I need to complain about me.  I have found that prolonged time in discomfort makes me a complainer, makes me crabby, grumpy and just plain hard to live with. 

 Where do I go to not have to live with me.  Poor hubby delights in my retreating to the basement craft/sewing room after morning coffee every day.  But, I have to go where ever I am.  I can't seem to get away from crabby me.  I will think I have me, in control, and something will go wrong, the color paper I need is not the right shade, the seam I just sewed was off kilter and needs to be ripped out and restitched.  I will start mumbling mean words to myself, yep, even 'stupid'.  I would never let the children use that word, but here I am being grumpy with myself and I can't send myself to my room, first, I can't walk all those steps and second, if I did go to my room, I would go with me!!

In my natural self, I love to see sunny skies and everything is always half full.  Now after years of escalating pain #'s I go around just like Joe 'Hapless' Btfspik.  Anyone old enough to remember Li'l Abner comic strip and the fellow with the dark cloud hanging over his head? that's me, Joe.  Must put, working on this, on my to do list.

The second complaint is that silly online posting of your tests and x-rays.  As I stated earlier, I am torn, as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.  We know the x-rays and the cervical MRI, are posted, correct?  Well the cervical and lumbar MRI were done at the same time, the results of the cervical MRI was posted before the weekend and the call from the doctor's office was already recieved. I even got the mailed information sheet on Cervical Epidural Steroid Injections, promised by the nurse.  What is missing???  

If both MRI's were done at the same time, why do I have one on Thursday and as I checked, thru Monday, I have nothing on the other.  Did one get lost, is one so bad that they are trying to figure how to tell me, did my doctor go on vacation??  Where is it? why isn't it on line? Don't they know this is a worry, a stress?? complain, complain, crabby, crabby!!!!

Wasted, worry, wasted stress, wasted crabbiness, yesterday evening (Monday) the test was posted.  Tomorrow, dear diary, we will note the words I had to look up and maybe even the reason for my turning into Joe 'Hapless' Btfspik.

Wishing good health and happiness....  

Monday, October 5, 2015


Yes, when you are really good at something, it is difficult to put it aside while doing a long term project.  Once started with my 'dear diary' journal of experiencing 'The Golden Years', I was sitting at the computer nice and early each morning, who can sleep in the throws of #8?  I had my coffee at my side and have been trying to put this experience in order while it is happening, or close enough that I still remember just what went on and just how I felt.

Today, it is getting close to lunch time and I have been looking for just anything, checking email, facebook, making some lists for hubby, paying a few keep from sitting and getting today's entry down.  OK, must focus.

The cervical MRI was on line and would have been funny if it were not about a real persons neck.  For it started out with the first, I am not going to do the C1, C2,C3 thing, I am just going to talk people talk, few vertebra, not so good.  The next few, a little worse than the first, the next few really ugly, you get the gist.  I was tempted not to read the rest, I was understanding how this was going   And, before I could digest the results, I am answering the phone from my doctor's office suggesting an injection that could relieve some of the pain and even give, the nerves being damaged, a little relief.  I will be mailed a booklet about this injection.

Would this make it easier to use my fingers again, could I pinch well enough to not have everything I touch, fall on the floor, could I do some hand stitching again without the use of the pliers to pull the needle thru each stitch, would I be able to turn my head to the right or left without sending the tingles down one arm or the other ???????    

Wait!!!!!!!!!!  I went to pain management because I can no longer walk, sit or lay down for any length of time for the pain from my waist to just below my knee.  I loved the fast response, but, would this injection give me the ability to walk?   What was the most important, or maybe, why don't we start with the worst offense to every day living and work our way to next.  Kind of like peeling the layers of an onion, start with #8 to 10 and working our way to the #5 to 8 and so on?

I was torn between the speed of handling the problems she saw with the first result available, and the disappointment of having no results or solution for the worst of the problems.   

I have mixed emotions about weekends.  Even before retirement, when would the children cry thru the night holding an ear or tummy or when would be a good time to break or sprain something, or run a fever without a clue why??  It would have to be Friday night, right?  How do you get from Saturday to Monday to get them to a doctor, without the dreaded trip to the emergency room??  When do you get the note from the teacher about Johnny's naughty behavior?  Before online banking, when did you get the letter about the math mistake you made and you are short $2 of the amount needed for your last check you wrote, to clear, ??? Friday, always Friday, that gives you the weekend to stew over what ever the problem is and not being able to do a thing about it till Monday.

This was my dilemma, cervical was on line and call from doctor had been recieved, but what I was really waiting for was not available and guess what day that was??  Friday!  You know there will be no hope for any swift solution for walking !!! till at least after the weekend.

We have come to the, up to date post, dear diary, and I will just be on watch, with my phone by my side till the next post. I believe I will try to do some craft projects, to keep my mind and hands busy till I have more to add to this journey....

Wishing health and happiness

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I haven't decided if I like this new system of online sharing of tests and x-rays.  Guess we have all wanted to see these things and not have to wait for our doctors to share the info with us at our next appointment.  But, are we really prepared to see the results of these things and really understand what we are seeing?  

Don't we have enough stress in our lives, without seeing results with big Latin based words that we don't understand and that look so ominous?

I got an email letting me know my x-rays were posted and I could go see them.  Well, I am just nosy enough that I can't resist.  I logged in and started reading the results.  Now for the real work, to make my list of all the words I need to look up, just to see what the reports are saying.

Just for the x-rays of my neck, hip, low back and knee, my list consisted of: anterolisthesis, uncovertebral, osteophylic forminal encroachment, psteopenia, scoliosis, identulous, subcortical cyst and last but not least impacted tooth in maxilla posteriorly.  That last one through me for a loop till I remembered the last x-ray for my neck included my opening my mouth as wide as I could and he took, I guess, a picture down my throat???

After looking for all these words and trying to find a description that didn't include more words I didn't understand, I was left with knowing no more than what I had read on the original report.  Which is usually what happens.  

Back to the reason I agreed to see a pain management doctor, for the most part is that I can no longer walk without a walker and at that, on my right side from my waist to below my knee and just my knee on the left, provide me with my #8.  I was pleased that within one day of the x-rays I got a call from the nurse letting me know that there were some problems and that the doctor wanted an MRI study of my back, upper and lower.

Even though this would mean another 3 hours spent to ready myself for another trip to the hospital, it was reassuring that my doctor was right on the ball, not making me wait 3 weeks to give me that information.

The MRI was tolerable, but you are back on a cement like slab and you must close your eyes before they roll you into the tube so you don't know you are in such a tiny space.  They give you a little ball to squeeze if you start to panic, which I was determined not to use and put ear phones on you to listen to the music of your choice to try to block out the nasty loud noise the machine makes.  This was of no use, for the noise is so loud, you can't hear the music anyway, but I wasn't there to be serenaded, so no matter.

The neck took over 20 minutes and every time the little voice would say 'now don't swallow or clear your throat during the next set of banging' you all know what the results of that statement was, all I wanted to do was clear my throat or swallow.

I was offered a little sitting up rest before they started the low back, but I didn't want to prolong the ordeal, so off I went, eyes closed and back into the tube.  This was not as long, but being on the cement slab for now over 30 minutes, my back and right leg were starting to really move from #8 to #9.  

The low back was to be done without dye and then I was pulled back out to have some dye injected into my arm and eyes closed and back into the tube.  Now the #9 had gone to #10 and I was feeling tears starting to drip down my face.  I wanted to know if anyone could see me crying, so I took a chance and peeked with one eye to see if anyone in the booth could see me and low and behold, I could have had my eyes open the whole time, for my head was sticking out the far side of the tube and I didn't need to be afraid of feeling panic stricken.  AND, no one could see my head from the booth, so I freely, let the tears fall till the voice said, we are done, and we are bringing you out.  Yeah!!  Home to an Aleve!!!   

I am also encouraged, that even with my propensity to put things off, I am almost up to date with the happenings, on my quest for relief in 'The Golden Years'.

Dear diary, tomorrow I will tell the silly story of my call after the cervical MRI findings were released.  And, I will be up to date with reporting on my quest.

Wishing you happiness and good health

Saturday, October 3, 2015


On to the x-rays....This was mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out, after returning to the reception area, that if I wanted, and had the time, I could just go to the x-ray dept. and have the x-rays done.  Since I was already registered as an outpatient with the pain center, I would not have to go home, call to set up an appointment, go thru the 3 hour getting ready process and travel back another day and fill out all the important forms.  So you know this is the 'good'.

Down the hall we went with my little 'bracelet', you have to have a little 'bracelet'.  Within minutes a young man came for me and off we went.  How great was that?

We got to the room with some light covers of hot air balloons on the ceiling, I guess to watch while you lay on the table. Then came the bad.   Yes, I no longer can 'hop up' on the table, that I believe is made of cement, it is a long process of sitting, lifting the bad leg up and then having to have help from the tech, to get the leg that is like a dead, fallen tree trunk lifted to the table, lay down on my side (as directed years ago, by my neurosurgeon) and then roll on my back.  Phew, have accomplished the bad.

On to the ugly, yes, after a few minutes of  'hold your breath, OK breath', we started to have to turn and twist, especially the knee, to the right, a little more, hold it!!!!!!!  Did I mention I live in #8 and turning my back or my legs, to far in any direction, moves me to #10.  Now, you can't cry, so I grit my teeth, and held!!!  I will say, that my tech was very good and fast and I didn't have to 'hold' for very long in any position.  Good job!! 

As I was wheeled back out to leave, I was already a #10 and hubby and I still had to get some groceries before going home.  What we discovered was that if we shop when I am in the throws of #10 we have a lot of pre-prepared dinners and cold cereal for breakfast and our bill is a little less than when I am an #8 and can stand to shop a bit longer to buy the meat and ingredients for home cooked dinners.  Hummm,  a little less money, no prep, throw it in a pan, microwave or oven and poof, time to eat.  I think we made it back to 'the good'.

Dear Diary, tomorrow I will share the results of a few of the x-rays and the MRI that the results prompted my doctor to order.  We are on the way to week 2 of  'The Golden Years' with nothing done to help me walk yet.  But, I still have high hopes.

Be Happy and Healthy    

Friday, October 2, 2015


In order to keep this diary honest, I guess I need to go back to 1972, which was the beginning of the 'pain years'.  The hoops I jumped thru for the next 30 years, is just more than I could convey.  Lets just say, tests, psychiatrists, medication and not one full nights sleep in those 30 years.  This was over after a surgery on my cervical spine and I commented to my surgeon that I felt better, but wished he could fix the creeping jerking that went on all night every night and he said he could, by sending me to the very office I tried 30 years earlier (who after tests, sent me to a psychiatrist).  But, he was correct, just walked in (by this time there were new Dr's) sat down told my story, doctor said that's restless leg syndrome, gave me a pill to take, poof, all fixed!

Now off to the disc degeneration, first in the cervical area, that prompted the first surgery.  That was scary, but what is a gal to do, who is degenerating?  Several years later, yep, the same diagnosis at the lumbar area and, yep, another surgery.  Now, we can travel to the right knee, yep, degeneration and got a new knee.

We are now getting to the 'Golden Years'.  We all know, those of us old enough to remember not knowing anyone who didn't smoke, everything that was wrong with you, from a cavity to an ingrown toenail was caused by smoking.  I was hooked to the point that it took me to my 60's to finally quit.  Being someone who just trades one bad habit for another, I just swapped smoking for eating. Ending up in the category of morbidly obese.   So, you got it, everything wrong with me now*see cavity/ingrown toenail* is due to weight.

Finally, it has come to the point, that, for pain, I can't walk, stand, sit or lay down for any length of time with out crying.  I live in the world of '8' on a good day to a '10' on the bad days.  (see the little faces on the chart at your doctor's office for the pain chart)  At the last physical, I was no longer able to rationally explain how I felt and my doctor really listened.  How many of you can say that about your doctors????

All this to get to my adventure with pain management and the Golden Years.

Need to record the first visit in this blog because it was about 2 weeks ago and I have a very short memory span.  First, you get a 13 page form to fill out at home, with pictures to draw your pain spots.  The whole time I am working on it I am betting with myself as to whether  anyone will really read this short story, or if it is just to make me feel like I am important in this examination. 

 Finally the day arrives and you have to be there 30 minutes early.  This means that I will have to start at least 3 hours early to get ready, (refer to the places that hurt) including the 20 minutes it takes to get my pressure stockings on, for the lymphedema I just up and got, out of the blue, a year and a half ago.  

At the point of my needing a nap we arrived and signed in and had more papers to fill out and sign.  We didn't wait very long in reception before I was called and taken to the exam room, where the normal weight, blood pressure and pulse was taken.  He left, saying the nurse would be right in.  7 minutes short of an hour later, in a small exam room with no windows, nothing to read and not even 'mu-sack' to hum with, the nurse came in.

Are you remembering the pain level 8 to 10, after sitting for an hour on a nasty little chair, the only bright spot was that the nurse was asking me, with my 13 pages in front of her, questions about the things I had checked off.  Within a reasonable amount of time after she left the room, the doctor came in.  Again, we went over the things wrong and the places and severity of pain in each place.  No matter how bad I hurt, I still have to smile when asked to squeeze their hand and pull their fingers.  I just have visions of the old grandpa with his young grandson, asking that same question.  What an old joke.   I am not sure I passed, because she said the first thing she wanted was x-rays of neck, back and knees.  And, she would see me in 3 weeks.

Wait, 3 more weeks ???, I was so in hope that we were all on the same page about my, 8 to 10, and the fact that getting ready to do or go anywhere was always pushing the #10 and we are just going to take pictures and see each other in 3 weeks????  Oh, well, I was on the road to the Golden Years so might as well give it a try, could I hurt any more??  

Tomorrow's post, the x-rays.  Just how exciting is this journey? Dear diary, will see you tomorrow.

Healthy and happy wishes 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


I just can't believe more than half a year has gone flying by with out a post.  Could be an indication of the most boring life on the planet or that my PhD in procrastination is so advanced, even I can't comprehend my genius.

This will end up being my own diary of the loss of movement especially on the right side, but before I start my journey into the 'Golden Years'.  I want to share a few things I have been doing to keep myself out of trouble.

First, the most fun I have had in a year, of course, would be the visit of Flossie and Mr Wonderful.  We, for the first time since they moved to The Villages, FL, did not get to go visit, Disney Land for the over 60's.  But, God is good, and they, just so happened, to feel the need to make a visit here, to connect with family they have not seen for several years.

We had so much fun and a great domino tournament.  Of course I won with no one even close.  Oh, wait, the one with the highest score isn't the winner, oh rats!!!!!  We visited, ate good food, shopped, laughed and cried when it was time to part!

We needed some plumbing work done and one of the gentlemen, who did the work, saw my sewing machine.  He and friends had been saving Crown Royal bags for years and he was looking for someone, anyone, who would make a quilt for him.  He had been looking for someone for a while and was about to give up.  I said I would give it a try, having never made a quilt before, let him know I couldn't promise it would turn out like a pro.  

Well this turned out to be an, all summer project.  Not that you will ever need to know, but the pretty gold stitching that holds the 3 pieces of fabric together will melt, so it all needed to be cut away, before I could wash and iron the pieces.  Then, cutting each bag into 4x4 squares, as Pinterest advised me, took over 2 weeks of solid cutting and many cutting wheels.  Then came the math.  Yes, I said math!!!!  How to configure the # of squares to get 2 pillows, one valance, and a queen size bed spread.  It couldn't be done with the squares I had, they would have needed to collect for about 3 lifetimes to have enough for that.  After a month of drawings and measuring and purchase of backing/coordinate material, I started sewing and piecing and in the end this is what I ended up with:

He said he was pleased, but I knew each little square that was off a bit and each little stitch that wasn't straight as can be.  Maybe he will never notice :)

As for my craft online club, Creating The Crafty Life, these are a few things I made:

I made, maybe, only one video all summer, just wasn't up to much and will explain, if you follow my 'search for a cure' diary.  

Signing off to start my diary, and hope this finds you all, healthy and happy,

Barb, aka Tilly