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My Journey #32 -- My Weight Gain & More Health Problems

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hi to all my loyal Spark Friends,

It's been over a month since I have posted a blog which I have put off just because I did not feel up to it but now the time has come to be truthful and tell you what has happened to me. As you know from my last blog, I had a terrible fall and really did some bruising to both my legs. Thankfully, I did not break a femur bone or one of my kneecaps which the doctor told me I was very fortunate this did not happen.

I blogged this incident about August 5th. As I may have mentioned, I was discouraged because my weight had ballooned up to 262.3 on August 5th. I felt like some of it was from swelling and the rest was bad eating habits which I started in again with. I got off track the beginning of July when my daughter had a birthday and had company visiting from out of state for a week and I also had an old high school friend visiting from Florida. You know what it's like when you have company, you always make your best dishes and desserts and of course, I ate all of them. Hence the weight gain.

During July, I had several cortisone shots in my sacro joint in an attempt to alleviate the terrible pain I had shooting down the back of my legs from my butt to my knees. If you have never had sciatica or nerve pain, you cannot imagine how terrible it is or how much it hurts. The shots of cortisone by my family doctor did not work although he did everything he could to help me and for that I am grateful. During this time, I have pretty much been confined to my recliner because of the pain and the trouble I am having walking. The pain is so bad that I cannot hardly walk at times unless I have two canes, instead of my usual one cane.

The pain continued and never got any better and my weight kept ging up. By September 9th, I weighed 286.1 pounds......the last time I weighed this much was February 22, the week before all my abdominal surgery. I WAS HORRIFIED when I saw how much weight I had gained........that's about 40 pounds gained from my low of around 246 in June of this year. I was so discouraged and disgusted with myself for letting this happen to me. I felt like laying down and giving up but that is not how I am. I have always tried to maintain the mantra, "never give up". And I haven't. Plus I know that my faith in God & Jesus will get me through anything, I just have to BELIEVE.

It finally occurred to me that if I was going to get better from the sciatica and leg pain that I would have to take matters into my own hands. I was so impressed with the doctors at the clinic when I fell that I returned to them and they did more x-rays of my back and ordered an MRI for me. The x-rays at the clinic they did when I went showed an old compression fracture in my spine that I did not even know I had. I take steroids everyday because I have lupus and sjogrens (auto-immune diseases) and because of the prednisone I take everyday, I have osteopenia in my spine which is the last stage before osteoporosis. That apparently has accounted for some of my pain but not the pain that is putting me down right now.

I saw an orthopedic spine surgeon last week to go over the results of my MRI. It showed "very severe spinal stenosis" and bulging discs in my lumbar region (with L4 being the worse, whatever that means.....they also mentioned L2-L5). They did not even discuss the compession fracture since it is an old one and they don't think it is the source of my problems.

My first question was to ask if surgery is available to free up the nerve that is being compressed. There is but this surgeon said he would be afraid to do it because of my weight which that day was around 283 pounds and the fact I have so many other health problems including being on anti-coagulation therapy (taking coumadin every night because of previous blood clots in my lungs) which he was very concerned about. He said that my spine is so compressed from the stenosis that if something went wrong during or after surgery that I would either be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life or dead. Yes, he said death was a very real possibility with this surgery for me even though I reminded him that I had just come through 5.5 hours of serious surgery on my abdomen. He said there's a big difference between your gut and your spine and that he prefers to start out with some conservative methods to see if he canget me some pain relief.

So this morning (Wednesday, September 12,2012), I am meeting an anesthesiologist doctor at the hospital who does spinal epidural injections. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I had them about about 5-7 years ago with no success, but I am hopeful that with a different doctor this time at a different hospital, I"ll have better success.

Am I still in pain. Yes I am. I have sat here and just cried tonight wondering why all this has happened to me. Then on top of all this, I got a letter from the YMCA who have given me financial assistance since I cannot afford their fees that they are reevaluating so my heart sank as I thought, there goes the "Y" just when I need it most. They might be mad with me because I have not used my membership in the last two years because of the colostomy and the wound vac that I carried around with me for 7 months. I worked on a letter yesterday to send to them along with my tax returns and slips showing how much income I get from SS disability and my state retirement which was also based on disability. Guess I"ll just have to see what happens.

Thankfully, I've got a wonderful daughter who helps me as much as she can but she is a full time college student plus you may remember she had thyroid cancer last year and had her thyroid removed along with 17 lymph nodes that were affected. Thankfully, my son has come home to live with us again and helps out now that he has a good job. I have been very blessed with my children and I give the Lord all the credit for them turning out so well because I was a single parent who raised them alone, along with my mother's help when she came to live with us at age 87 when she had a stroke. I am truly blessed.

I love my little family and I love the Lord, but dear friends I love all of you too. Thank you for listening and if you have any advice, please email me. Thanks so much and hugs and love to all of you!!

So, I am a believer in Jesus as my Lord & Savior and prayerfully ask for your prayers today that this injection will give me some pain relief for a long time. I feel like an old horse that needs to be taken out back andshot to be put outofit's misery.

Thank you all so much. Love and hugs,

ginger (robbgin)
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PS: I forgot to mention, please also pray for the terrible swelling I still have from the fall. My R leg is twice the size of the L leg and the family doctor kept increasing my lasix (I take 40 mg everyday) from 40 to 80 to now 120 mg a day and it is NOT working. I still have a fat leg and a huge ankle. Tomorrow I cannot take any lasix because of going to the hospital and I cannot take a chance on having to "go" when I'm on the table getting the injection. So on Thursday, he is starting me on a new medication to take and then take another different one 30 minutes later. Do this for five days and then cut out the first medication and just take the other one for five more days and then I see them again on Sept. 21st and they will re-evaluate me if there is no change.

Also,the spine surgeon has referred me to a vascular doctor and first appointment there is on October 9th. They (doctors) all harass me about wearing those compression stockings but when you weigh as much as I do, they have to be special made and they cost a fortune. Last time I checked, neither my Medicare or BCBS would pay on them so I could not get them. I hate to see what happens to us old folks if all the cuts they are talking about for Medicare go through. We need to pray for our nation.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have just read your Blog & lifted prayer for your concerns as I read them & afterwards.

    I am sending you a throught by Spark mail.

    God bless you, Ginger!

    2105 days ago
  • SHOES17
    Prayers Hang in there...Support is here ... emoticon
    2105 days ago

    Thinking of you and wishing you the best!
    2106 days ago
    Prayers for healing in all areas that you need it. I had sciatica pain at one time and my doc did a chiropractic move on me that released the nerve. But, she was trained in that. You've got a lot going on. Blessings for continued work that you are doing. Any work toward eating healthy can only help! xxoo
    2106 days ago
    I am sending prayers your way for healing from physical and emotional pain. I am here for you.
    2106 days ago
    Oh, sweetie. I really hope that the injection does giveyou some pain relief. I am so sorry to hear about how much you are hurting.
    2106 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/13/2012 11:33:38 AM
    Ginger, I can relate to some of what you are going through.
    While it would be painful for you it may help if you stretch to strengthen your back muscles. I have severe spinal stenosis and have been to Physical Therapy for the last few months to help. Once you have the shot you may be able to do this too. It has also been a great workout for me.
    Hang in there, today is a new day!
    Suz emoticon
    2106 days ago
    I'm sorry for all the pain you're in. You are in my prayers. I hope the Y lets you keep the financial assistance. It would be a shame for them not to.
    2106 days ago
    Thanks for up dating us. Will keep praying that something works to lessen your pain to the point where you can function. Hopefully the Y will not cancel you membership because they could be very beneficial.
    Water exercise can be wonderful when you are not able to use your legs well. If they do cancel maybe have the Dr or a physical therapist intervene.
    "Lord, please send encouragement to Ginger in the forms of cheerful faces, compassionate attendants and relief of pain." emoticon
    2107 days ago
    My Dear Beautiful Sister, I Know Something About Some of Your Afflictions. I'll Email You! Of Course, I'm Sending A Prayer Up For You. Remember that devil is a liar! Comes to kill steal and destroy our lives so we can't be Witnesses for Christ. Do What He Called Us To Do. It's Not Over! There Are More With US Than w/him. Thank You For Sharing Your Heart With Us! And One Thing I'll Say Now: YOUR WEIGHT GAIN IS NOT ON YOU! Most of Those Meds You Mentioned Cause Weight Gain. Love You Sis But I'm Going To Get An Email To You! emoticon
    Grace Upon Grace!
    2107 days ago
    Thank you for the update, Ginger, I'm sorry you were not able to have better news. We all care about and your comfort. Since it's so painful for you to move, you are probably eating a lot of convenience food which is not good for your weight. Is there a "meals on wheels" or similar program you might be able to get? What about a social worker or care coordinator at the hospital or one of the Dr.'s offices? I wish there was more I could do, but I'll be praying for you that your pain goes and the rest gets sorted out.
    2107 days ago
    Ginger, Thanks for updating us. I'm so sorry to hear of the pain you are going through. I pray you will get some relief from the procedure today. emoticon emoticon
    2107 days ago
    Keep Sparkin'!!!
    2107 days ago
  • LISA01605
    I hope you get some pain relief today! Does your Y have a pool? That might be a great way to get some movement in. It might be worth a try. I am sure losing some weight would benefit you even if it did not get rid of the pain. That is very hard to do if you can not exercise. Try not to be too hard on yourself for the gain. Right now it does seem like the deck is stacked against you. I am sure the swelling is contributing to the gain. Water weighs a lot.
    2107 days ago
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