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Wednesday, 2/9 It flies when you are(n't) having fun!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

emoticon emoticon emoticon Yes, I'm talking about time!! It seems that things have been as I predicted in my previous blog and I have not had a second of rest until now--and here, before dinner of a nice slow cooker pork roast with veggies and warm bread on the side.

That PET stress test was a nasty little ordeal yesterday. I went through the gal having trouble getting my IV in place. After trying a couple of times to get the thing in, I had the ceremonial request not to look if blood bothered me as mine squirted all over me and my clothing and everywhere--but she got it. This new stress test was shorter in time but more uncomfortable with one long 40 minute scan. The rubidium was pretty horrid and I was too uncomfortable to be able to cry. I found their periodic warnings of how much time was left to be frustrating and when I finally got to get out of the machine, they wanted to take off the patches and take out the IV, but I have done enough medical stuff to know to tell them to simply let me sit up first. My poor back, flat on a hard table is not a good thing for 40+ minutes.

They finished so quickly that I had to wait 40 minutes for my ride. I got some paperwork for school done so that was nice--along with a small meal after fasting for so long--a power bar and a half banana and a bottle of water perked me up along with my pain meds and tens unit. I went over to physical therapy from there and had my doctor's appointment after that. This was not time off work for leisure.

I was sick after all of that and tried to get a nap, but pain of every kind would let me really rest or sleep--tears came and they flowed freely. The entire night was like that and this morning was equally rough. I got my act together and went to work. Children have been crabby and uncooperative all week, and today, my patience wasn't there for them. I was kind of glad to have an early dismissal day for a staff meeting and I treated myself to a couple of small cookies at the meeting as well. It is so hard for me to understand that I can have a treat once in a while that I always have to check my food journal and see that things are okay. Since my lunch was veggies and fruits, I should have known that they were okay for me.

I am heading for the pool now--and I am hoping that I get pain relief there. I am trying to make this tough week manageable, but if it takes a bit of crying and not being as accommodating, I think I am going to do so.

Time to get ready to go--I wish it wasn't staying between 2 degrees and -9 around here. That would help me a lot and I'm guessing it would help the kids at school to be more pleasant as well.

Gentle hugs to everyone,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You're in my prayers sweetie. I hate to read that you're in so much pain. Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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    Gentle hugs to you!
I hope that tomorrow is better for you.

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EMRANA 2/9/2011 10:21PM

  emoticon x infinity.

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WALKZWDOGZ 2/9/2011 9:53PM

    Wow. What an ordeal. Sometimes a cookie is medicinal. emoticon

Here's hoping the rest of the week goes better & you can get some relief. emoticon Sending Basset wags!

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Tuesday, 2/8 Please could I rest a bit more? :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hi Everyone,

It is no surprise to those of you who keep up with my antics that I am pretty busy, but I have been thinking about the value of rest--not only sleep but having some good old-fashioned "down time." I am guessing that others who might read this think that this is not a worthy topic here on Spark People and I just read a daily blog by Women's Day about obesity that points out part of the issue is that people don't move enough (along with eating too much and many other issues!)

However, this week--and I knew it coming into it--is already pushing my buttons. I am awake now because my pain meds wore off at the same time that my sweet basset decided to reorganize the way she was sleeping on top of me (after somehow that crazy girl managed to turn off the heater in the family room where I sleep in my recliner.) If you know anything about the size and anatomy of a basset, my Lady is a big girl weighing in at about 58 pounds and she is long and obstinate. She likes the idea of lying on my lap and of lying on the top of my heated blanket. Anyway, when she wakes up, she walks in circles and rearranges everything and when what she is rearranging is me--well, it isn't the best experience.

However, I digress--silly girl is now pouting behind my recliner.

Sunday is usually my day "off" from my hectic world but this Sunday was very different. After church, we had a nice luncheon for the "Souper Bowl of Caring." It is a nice way to collect donations for the food pantry that our church houses--people bring cans of soup for the pantry and leave monetary donations for a so-called "light lunch." I call soup, sandwiches, all of the fixin's and a spread of homemade cookies a bit more than light. I had an awesome bowl of vegetarian chili, yummy. I love luncheons at the church because my kids can eat such a variety of things that I simply can. I went from church to the fitness center with 2 of the guys to get my pool time in. I knew what was coming on Monday, so I needed to get there. After that, I got home, organized some and got the kids to fix dinner and went to school (yes during the Super Bowl--sorry, I don't do football) to work on my National Boards writing--I was too busy Saturday to do that. I spent over 3 hours writing when I realized that I had misread the page instructions and most of what I did is too generic and needs a major overhaul. I tried.... I got home around 9:30 and got ready for Monday.

Monday was simple enough--I tutored before school, taught all day, tutored after school and had two parent education sessions at 4:15 and at 6:00, leaving work at around 8. I had written in my journal that I was going to go to the pool after all of that, but my body was crying uncle and I knew I needed to get home and have some dinner. I did get in 20, 565 steps yesterday--so I was anything but sedentary which could explain what my back pain was about.

Today, I have to leave work early to have my PET stress test at the cardiology clinic at 12:30 which will be followed by physical therapy and a doctor's appointment. I will make it to the pool tonight and I can already feel the water absorbing the pain out of my back, ahhhhhhh) Wednesday is a simple day with a teacher's meeting after school. Thursday has me at an appointment for a meeting at my son's school at 7:30 AM and arriving to work a bit late with the rest of my day all tucked in there the best that I can and then physical therapy after work. Friday is another "regular day."

My "regular days" have gotten a bit out of hand as well starting with me tutoring before school to give a child a bit of needed help above and beyond what he was getting. In the morning, I see back to back groups of six children each at 8:40, 9:20. 10:00. 10:40 (3 of those groups being first grades which I am testing daily on sight word recognition, reading independently with at least a couple of children, teaching a phonics lesson, and doing a guided reading lesson with which is a lot of work to squeeze in my allotted time.) I have a ten minute break that sometimes, if nobody needs me gives me time to check my daily email and go to the restroom before I have a 40 minute group of 5 third and fourth graders which overlaps with my 30 minute group of 3 kindergarten students. I have 20 minutes of time for lunch and prep before my afternoon gives me 3 more groups of six--3rd and 4th graders at 1:00 and two 35 minute groups of more first graders at 1:40 and 2:15. At 2:50, I have about 5 minutes to clean up before I tutor another child after school. If my ride doesn't come, I have time to do extra work after our lesson is finished--I run copies or select new reading materials or whatever it takes to keep pushing my kids ahead. My kids are all behind their same-aged classmates, so it is my job to push them to do more than other kids have to do, that is the only way to "accelerate" their progress and help them to "catch up."

As for me, I am always on "high gear." When I can get one of my sons to come to school with me to lend a hand for a project or currently to videotape lessons as I work on my National Boards renewal, it is interesting to get their feedback. Last night at 8 PM. my son who came to school around 2 yesterday commented that neither of us had sat down the entire time. That is my world.

This week is excessive and I knew it coming in. However, I am almost always doing something in some capacity as mother and teacher. I understand the gist of the article I read here at SP today, but I am thinking I could do with a bit more "down time." I don't think I need to fidget more or be more active.

I'm a bit tired yet--I start fasting for the stress test in about 45 minutes. I am wondering if I could get in a nap sometime this morning too. It might work out, but I am skeptical.

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYSPARKS 2/9/2011 8:23AM

    I hope you got a nap in...I love naps!!

Wendy emoticon

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EMRANA 2/8/2011 9:21AM

  Sweetie, your life is beyond hectic! Those are some seriously long days you put in, and I love your dedication to the kids, but you should have some more time for yourself.

Start with small sacred increments and let your mind wind down a bit, then increase the amount of time as you can. Your spirit will love you for it!

P.S. What a sweet name for your church's benefit ~ Souper Bowl of Caring! Awesome!

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BLEGNER1 2/8/2011 7:58AM

    Honey, You are burning the candle at both ends and also the middle. I am a retired special ed teacher, so I know how hectic it can be. Some thimes you feel like you are running around like a chicken with you head cut off. What you need is ME time. Start with 5 minutes just for you. Log that 5 minutes in and don't let anyone or anything take it away from you. After you get in the habit of that 5 minutes increase it to ten. If you don't you are headed for big trouble. I would hate to think about your children at home and the ones at school being without you, but that is where you are heading. I will pray that this does not happen, but you are abusing yourself and you are the only one who can stop it and make time for your mind and body to rejuvenate. God bless, my dear.

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Saturday, 2/5 WooHoo, this program keeps working!!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Hi all,

It was my plan to go back to Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year so I could add in accountability for myself. I know it is silly to pay for someone to weight me, but I felt my motivation wavering. I went for the first week and got the program and 2 subsequent weigh-ins. However, things got crazy and them Megan was sick and now this snow. emoticon emoticon

One thing I found was a glitch in our scales and my doctor's scales vs. their scale. I have been weighing myself here before I went there and keeping track. Anyway, after all of this time, I am still losing (2.7 pounds today on top of a nice loss every week but the one I didn't weigh in) and I am down 14 pounds since the beginning of the year. emoticon emoticon

I just looked at my "Feed" page and I also had a milestone for Spark Points and for fitness minutes. I am thinking that my weight loss combined with those items is not a coincidence. I will try to get back to Weight Watchers in the next week or so, but the one thing I know is that as long as I eat properly--and tracking helps me to do that--and I get my activity in, I am going to lose weight. It just works. I know this seems kind of simple, but it is working for me on a regular basis. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

On one of my teams, there was a question posed about what we are doing for our heart since February is the month that we "go red for heart." emoticon I think the answer to that question is to do the Spark People plan. My cholesterol is in a healthy range and I am sure that eating well combined with activity is the answer.

Finally, the thing I am realizing today is that if you do the plan and stick with it--day after day drink your water,
emoticon start out with walking (if you don't really have a fitness plan in place,) emoticon and log in to SP and track your goals, get information and ideas and recipes emoticonand simply starting with a few small changes on emoticon that you will be successful. There is power in building these streaks around here and celebrating them as they grow. Not only that, but I have become a regular at the fitness center--and there is no way ever that I would have thought that would be my hobby!! As we start out around here, we just get better, almost magically.

The results are big--uh er small in another way of thinking, emoticon emoticonAnother side benefit is all of the very awesome people "Spark Friends" that you get to meet around here. emoticon

Gentle emoticon and thanks to my spark friends!! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Excellent blog my friend. You're right... this is the place to find lots of love & support! My heart is smiling right now! Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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EMRANA 2/5/2011 12:32PM

  You're totally right! People like to make it complicated but the simple plan works. This place is wonderful.

Congratulations on 14 pounds already this year! I am very impressed!!!


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REVERIE2 2/5/2011 11:03AM

    Great blog! I agree - you just do the basics and it works. That's what we hear and read about every day, but somehow Spark has helped me actually do it AND make it seem so simple at the same time. It's great to read a blog about the basics - thanks!

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Thursday, 2/3 Thanks Spark Friends!!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hi everyone,

As I am avoiding getting dressed for work on this entirely freezing cold day here in the heartland, I thought I should send a bif thank you for your comments on my blog and/or a related thread in my OA of the Lower Back group yesterday. You helped me to see that it isn't so complicated and that I simpky need to see another doctor for any number of reasons. It is good to be kind and get the understanding that my current guy has reached the upper level of what he can or will try on my behalf. I have an appointment coming with my PCP and I think I am going to call them with a head's up that I am looking for a referral out of the group I use for my orthopedic care. He can do that for me and then my ortho stays out of this for his sake. I don't know when I would have gotten to this solution on my own, so emoticon emoticon emoticon for your honesty and support.

Have a great day in spite of these temps--and if you are in a warm part of the world, well, I am jealous!!

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOLGRA2 2/3/2011 11:00PM


I am so glad you decided to get the opinion of another Dr. I am also glad you have that option. My aunt is having problems with one of hers, but the town she lives in is so small that he is the only option she has without driving for 3 hours. I think she has finally decided to take that step now that she does not need to spend so much time with my Nana's care. Best of luck. I hope you find some relief!

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BLESSED2BEME 2/3/2011 1:45PM

    I'm so glad your blogging about your frustrations yesterday helped you find a direction to go. Same thing happened to me with my anxiety blog. We can both find the support we need! Hope your day is great despite the fact that your schools should still be closed!

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LOULOUBELLE2 2/3/2011 9:48AM

    I think that you are making a great decision for all involved, including YOU. I didn't answer you on the OA team, because I wanted others to respond 1st...so I'm glad that their answers agreed with mine. Don't forget that all Dr.s have a level of expertise and maybe that Dr. Can't do any more for you but another might have more information and experience in something new. Lets hope so Sylvia, you keep fighting girl and find your answers.

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EMRANA 2/3/2011 9:36AM


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JHADZHIA 2/3/2011 9:15AM

    I am so glad you are doing this. When one door closes, you must look for another to open. This is especially true with Dr.s They are starting to make the joke that I am doing the rounds of all the orthopedic surgeons in my city lol.
All the best with it,
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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Wednesday, 2/2 Groundhogs and I need your help

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

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There is plenty of snow here today--so much that they cannot accurately determine if we have anywhere from 15 to 18 inches on the ground because it is blowing hard. We have a predicted 4 more hours of snowfall too. My school district is closed today as is everything in the entire region and we never close for snow anymore. It has been a few years since we had a snow day, so I am reveling in the possibilities of the day--everything from writing to cleaning a closet to spending the day playing games with the kids. I have lots of choices and I am sure the activity of choice for the kids will involve their favorite electronic devices. I'm pretty sure I won't allow that choice! emoticon It is a pretty weird groundhog's day when I don't think any of them will be able to find their way out and I don't think any of them are dumb enough to come out in this weather.
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I had a tough time with the neurosurgeon yesterday, and am pretty sad. They started with painful x-rays, lying flat on a hard x-ray table is tough for someone who has to sleep in a chair and the other positions were even worse. The x-ray technician asked about the apparatus in my back and was astounded to learn that he had done that because she had "never seen an apparatus like that ever before." Anyway, the pain set up my ability to deal with the doc as he whooshed into my room smiling and announcing in an excited voice that my back has "really and totally fused." Then he asked why I was there and I answered because my back hurts and he gave me his standard answer "There is nothing surgical I can do for you." I quickly asked him what I could do for myself then and tossed in that I'd like to walk 8 steps down the hall without pain or holding on my walker to keep myself upright. His mood sobered up and he told me that he understood I was frustrated and he suggested pain management. I reminded him that I already have a pain doc and then he said that he could do a test to make sure that they weren't missing something in my pelvis and he walked out of the room before I could ask about physical therapy or injections or any of the other things people do to be stronger when they have a chronic back issue. I waited (in tears) in the exam room for just under 10 minutes when a nurse brought me in an order for lab work and told me their office would be in touch with me for a bone scan. I went to check out and he hadn't even cleared me to leave so the people at the office didn't know if I needed another appointment. I looked at her and told her that I thought he was done with me.
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What do I do next with this? I think I must definitely do the tests, but I think they were his way of ignoring the fact that I have other issues and that I don't want surgery. (Been there, done that and I can attest that back surgery is some of the most miserable of all surgeries to deal with.) I want to be better. I have done everything under the sun to help myself and I would like to fix the part that messes with every aspect of my life every day. For example, try helping 6 first graders around a table full of laptops who are learning to navigate a mouse like that are on MacBooks when they are clicking all kinds of stuff and it is hard to bend over and it is hard to stay on your feet for more than 8 steps. Try taking a turn to read scripture at church when I have to walk to the alter from my pew and climb 3 gentle stairs in front of everyone to get to the lectern. Try shopping or hurrying down the hallway to the restroom between groups of kids--or hurrying anywhere. I am definitely frustrated.
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I don't mean to whine and am grateful for everything, but I just think my back should be better. I also think that this doctor who has operated on my back twice and knows my anatomy and the "apparatus" he put in my back should be the one to lend a hand. I have done everything I know to help myself and I need some guidance as to what I should do next and his comments about surgery isn't what I need. I will call my pain doc again, although my last visit there was the gift of the tens unit and I take strong enough pain meds. He will at least talk to me about the PT or injections as a possibility. I can also call my ortho back and let him know what was said to me, but given the fact that they are in the same office, I don't know if he can refer me to anyone who would dare say anything else or to anyone out of their office. I don't know if I can do a self-referral to the University of IA or Mayo or somewhere else or not. I don't know what is possible--but that may be my special job on this snow day.
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One other thought came to me from my PT yesterday. (She watches me struggle to do my shoulder exercises, not because of my shoulder which is healing way ahead of schedule, but because I have trouble finishing my exercises because I cannot stay standing long enough.) I have lost a lot of weight and she is curious if the loose skin around my tummy area is pulling on my back and causing some of the pain that I deal with. I don't know if this is a viable consideration or not and I do not which of my doctors need to hear that question. I am not sure what can be done with that because I cannot do anymore exercise than I do and it is part of me. I do thank heavens for the pool because it is the one place I can walk and move freely in. Maybe I do have a few avenues to explore and do not have to accept that there is nothing surgical that this guy can do for me as an answer to my back issues.
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I expect some of you to weigh in on what you'd do if you were in my shoes with this back issue. I think I am too much of an optimist to accept this as being as good as it can get.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and support. I know that I can count on my Spark Family for honest and helpful suggestions.

Gentle hugs,
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUGRAD1995 2/3/2011 8:39PM

    while I love my back doc, he is an orthopedic surgeon and not a neurologist. Maybe try a different specialist group?
I was referred to pain management when we had 6 months before we can schedule surgery and keep myself financially stable. The pain management doc has been very helpful and referred me to PT and changed my pain meds so I could help myself with the best control. It has worked well. I still have pain and can't walk very far without bending over, but I am functional right now until we can do the surgery.

These guys have been great. But it took 2 tries to find a good knee doc and I basically stumbled onto him. Keep asking for references from people around you and see who they go to.

Good luck!

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60SIXTY 2/3/2011 2:58AM

    See my note on the team.

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JHADZHIA 2/3/2011 12:02AM

    The Mayo clinic has the reputation of finding miracles. You do need a 2nd and new, fresh, look at this..Its obvious this Dr. can't help you any more..
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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JRSWHIMSY 2/2/2011 10:21PM

    My very first thought is a new doc in a new practice! I know this is easier said than done though.

If I doc recommends it, would your insurance pay to have the extra skin from weightloss removed? Looking good and feeling good, not a bad idea!

Best of luck *hugs*

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EMRANA 2/2/2011 4:42PM

  I would have suggested that you consult a good neurologist, but your current surgeon is one. I got zero help from the orthopedist, other than "you need to lose weight." When I asked him how I was supposed to do that when I could barely move (I had a badly bulging disc then), he gave me a blank look. You can't question their authority.

I get facet joint injections at L5-S1 every three months, by a neurologist (not a neurosurgeon). I get four of them at the same visit and they help very well for the first two months and then moderately well for the third. I won't lie. They hurt. The doctor does inject a numbing agent, but it always still hurts me a lot. He says that's indicative that my facet joint degeneration is a big pain generator.

You're supposed to get facet joint shots three times a year, but I'm getting them four times. The general epidural did hardly anything and completely wore off in four days. That was disappointing. The injections are done outpatient in the hospital so they can use radiology to guide the needle placement.

I haven't had a spinal fusion though. They won't do mine even though the orthopedic surgeon said I needed L4-S1 done. He says at my age (39 at the time, 40 now), it would cause the rest of my lumbar vertebrae to over compensate and they would need fusing well within ten years. That would leave me completely disabled with no movement in my lumbar spine.

I do half an hour of yoga each morning, and ab core physio at night. But I don't have the same shoulder issues and other problems. Mine is focused at L4-S1, and then I have a forward disc bulge at T11-12. I don't notice it unless I attempt to do yogic forward bends. Then I am stopped like I bounced against a wall. I literally *can't* do them anymore even though I used to excel at them. My body won't.

The big send-off to pain management is the doctor's way of telling you that they're not willing to find answers for you anymore. That would be my cue to find someone new. If you're not going to help me, I'm not going to generate any income for you either. We need real help, not a brush off.

I know how you feel with the walker. I've tested to see if I can go back to my cane, and it always exacerbates my pain significantly. I can move pretty well with the walker sometimes but there's no getting around the fact that I'm missing a disc at L5-S1 now. Even if we could get you up to more stability with your walker, that would improve things a lot for you.

Please keep us posted how you are doing. I wish I had better answers for you. The facet joint injections are what is making the difference for me. We'd exhausted our other options while I was on disability leave, except the narcotics that I flat out refuse.

(sorry this is so long)!


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    You obviously do everything that you can to help yourself. You also use prayer as a tool. The only other alternative that I see is to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion from a doctor with "new eyes" who might see something that the other one has missed or is missing. I'm not knocking the first doctor, just saying that sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees as the old saying goes and a fresh perspective may help. Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 2/2/2011 10:58AM

    Finding another doctor is the best suggestion I can make. Since I've never had back pain, I cannot even imagine what you must be going through. I know from what you said, a referal or self-referal to another doctor is probably easier said than done. I had to change primary care doctors just to get somewhere with my depression and anxiety. Best thing I ever did. I know that you have lost a lot of weight. Is it possible that you need surgery for extra skin removal? I'm praying for peace in your heart and back over all this! So much is always on your shoulders Sylvia and you take care of so many people. Sending you gentle hugs!

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PARKERB2 2/2/2011 9:35AM

    You don't seem to be getting much help from anywhere you turn. I've never had back trouble so I don't really have any suggestions for you but I just want you to know I am on your side. There should be something someone, somewhere, can do. Good luck and hope your successful in finding solutions. emoticon

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