♪My Diagnosis Has a First Name♪

Hello, wonderful people! The last few months have been quite “eventful” around the world; how is everyone holding up? I realize I haven’t posted in a few months, and I’m sorry. I never intended to take such a long break, however, I think I needed it.
So let’s see, the last we chatted I was in the process of testing. Here’s a look at what it’s like to wear the ambulatory EEG.

The hat helped keep the leads in place.
The kids thought I looked like an alien.

I sported these fashionable wires (and the recording box/battery inside my purse) from a Thursday afternoon until that Monday Morning. Let me tell you, everything from using the bathroom, to changing clothes, to remembering my colorful locks were attached when standing, proved more challenging than I anticipated. You can imagine the joy I felt that Monday morning when I was able to remove all the leads and take a real shower. Now, I understand that a common aftermath of this test is skin irritation from having those little stickers on so long. I think I have really sensitive skin because I got to flaunt (insert sarcasm here) this lovely forehead rash for about a week.
In addition to the tests I mentioned in my last post, I had some bloodwork done. The result of everything? I have officially been given a diagnosis! I have Psychogenic Dystonia and Hyperadrenergic POTS. I’ll leave links at the bottom of the post, if you would like to learn about those. As for treatment, I have started taking a beta blocker and a new antidepressant.
The beta blocker seems to be helping. My legs are not as blotchy and purple as they normally are when standing. I’m also having less palpitations and feelings of being lightheaded. Want to know some more great news? I’ve only had a couple big episodes (Psychogenic Dystonia) in the six weeks I’ve been on the new antidepressant! That one was a bit trickier. The first few days, I was taking the old and new antidepressant. Then came a few weeks of just the new one. I won’t lie, I didn’t like myself very much during that time. In those days, I would have rather had my episodes if it meant I wasn’t irritable, cranky and feeling low. I called the doctor and he gave me the okay to go back to taking both antidepressants each day. I’m feeling much more balanced now. I’m thankful that my family was understanding and forgiving during that roller-coaster ride. Want more good news? Both new medications I’m on have caused weight gain and a better appetite. I have always struggled to put on any weight, but in those six weeks, I’ve gained eleven pounds! I haven’t been able to do that since I was pregnant. I’m feeling healthier with the added weight and less self-conscious.
So that has been my bit of good news for you all. You know, after trying for a decade to find a diagnosis, it is a relief to have a name to put with what’s going on. It is a reassurance that I’m not crazy. I could be upset that no other doctor has been able to figure it out, but I’m not. I feel like this was the path I was meant to be on and God used me for something greater than I will ever be able to understand.

Thank you all so much for the prayers  for answers. God is great!

With love,
J♡


Hyperadrenergic POTS

Psychogenic Dystonia

More Robot, More Human

Hi friends! How are you?!

As many of you know, I went through the SCS (spinal cord stimulator) trial recently. I have to tell you that overall it was a success! Here is how the week long trial went…

The day of the procedure if I’m being honest, was brutal. I was sore from where the leads were inserted, and it wasn’t particularly comfortable to lean back with the battery pack taped to me. The other problem was that I was in a ton of pain in my mid back. It wasn’t from the procedure or device however; I believe I pulled a muscle in the shower that morning. Don’t ask me how…I really don’t know…just that talented I suppose.

The day after the trial was amazing! The severe pain in my left leg was gone. My low back, down to my toes felt so much better. I woke up and moved about the house without waddling and wincing. I was able to lift my knees toward my chest without pain. I was able to lie flat on my belly without excruciating pain. I even stood for long periods of time without needing a pain killer. When my family checked in on me to ask how I was, I responded with “I’m good” and for the most part, really meant it. These are some things I hadn’t been able to do in years, and I was loving every moment! I felt so confident that this was the solution I needed, that I called my surgeon’s office to schedule my consultation for the permanent implant. His schedule fills up fast, and I didn’t want to delay things any longer. I will see the surgeon on the 30th of this month. With the last 3 surgeries, he was able to do them within a couple weeks of consultation.

Days three through six were just as great as far as pain relief. With minimal activity, I was getting 80-90% pain relief, and with more activity, 60-79%. To give you a better understanding of how awesome those numbers seem to me, a trial is considered successful if a patient receives 50% pain relief. What drove me crazy was the desire to take a real shower and to get that dang medical tape off my back. Otherwise, I really didn’t have any complaints.

The day the trial leads were removed, I felt happy to get the battery and tape off my back. I was also a little sad because I knew the pain would be coming back soon.

The red dots near the spine, are where the leads exited. The redness on the left side is from the bandages that held the battery in place. I seem to have a sensitivity/allergy to the adhesive/glue.

These are the leads that were removed. I will spare you the picture of them dangling out of my back. The removal was uncomfortable because they gave a little resistance, but it wasn’t necessarily painful.

The device rep said I may continue to feel pain relief for a day. Sadly, by that night my low back began to ache, and by the next day I was hurting more. I am now back to the usual 8-10/10 on the pain scale. I am holding on to the hope of permanent pain relief being right around the corner. I just need to hang in there a little longer. I know that getting the permanent implant will make me a little more of a robot (with the hardware that’s already in place), but honestly, when the trial was in place, I felt more human than I have in a long time. Maybe you all can start calling me roboJ2019 😆.

As always, I appreciate all of your positive vibes, well-wishes, and prayers! Thank you for your love and support.

With love,

J♡

Good News and Bad News

Hi friends. I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first? Ok, we’ll go with bad news.

I woke up to a phone call today. I looked at the caller ID. It was from my pain clinic where my procedure is scheduled. I assumed it would be the the typical recording that always mispronounces words, reminding me of my appointment. Nope, it was a real person letting me know the doctor recommended I reschedule my appointment until next week. She said it was up to me, but if I kept my original appointment, they would not be able to give me the stronger sedation. Mind you, I was only partially awake and you know how anxious I’ve been for this, so I agreed to go with the lesser sedation and keep my appointment. After waking up my husband to get his opinion, and chewing on it for a minute, I decided to call and change the procedure day. When I called the office back, I found out that the reason for the change was because the woman who administers the sedative had a family emergency and had to call out. I have to admit that I was a little more than bummed out. Pain relief was so close, but maybe this was a sign. So instead of sulking, I will look at the positives and pray for the woman and her family. I only have to wait one more week. The new date is set for late morning on July 2nd.

Now the good news…☺

Because the plans changed, my husband and I decided to meet up with the kids and my in-laws on vacation. The best part? The kids had no idea we were coming, and their excitement when they saw us was priceless! It made my heart feel all mushy. Now we can all soak up the cool air and sand beneath our toes as a family. As a bonus, this will definitely help the time go by faster until next Tuesday.

Thank you all, for your well-wishes and support up to this point. ❤

With love,

J♡

Some Happy News for Me

I haven’t been very good with my posts this week; I’m sorry. It is partially because I’ve been busy. If I’m being honest…it was partially because I was pouting.

Tuesday was the day I was supposed to receive a phone call with an update about insurance approval and scheduling of the spinal cord stimulator trial. I waited, but no call. I don’t like to be a pest, so I decided I would wait until Wednesday and call them in the afternoon. Then I decided, no, I’ll wait until Thursday; that’ll be one week from the last conversation with the coordinator.

Well, I waited with my phone all day yesterday, like a teenage girl waiting for her crush to call on the landline. Nothing. I waited until about 10 this morning and gave a call. Answering machine…damnit. I left my voice message and true to my nature, apologized for pestering her. She called me back about an hour later, and guess what?! Insurance gave the approval and I am now scheduled!!! I will have the procedure done on the 25th and then have the leads removed on July 2nd. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for this! I have confidence that this is going to work, and that I’ll be able to get the permanent implant after, and life will be better.

There is a downfall to my good news though. It just so happens to be scheduled during the week we were supposed to go on vacation. The kids will still be able to go with their grandparents. I told my husband he should go and have a great time. He declined and is choosing to stay here with me. How sweet is that? I’m beyond blessed to have his love and support, even though I know this procedure terrifies him.

That’s all for now. I hope you all have something in your day that makes you smile. Take care.

With love,

J♡