Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Downward Spiral: Part 1

escalator at the end of a tunnel
Picture Credit

I feel like I have been spiraling out of control lately, health-wise.  One thing always leads to another and I can't seem to get over the hump.

It was one year ago this week that my abdominal pain started.

One year.
Not a pain-free day in all that time.

I've been through 5 different types of specialists now, with recommendations to go to 2 other types.  I've had 2 different physical therapists and a massage therapist, all trying to get me out of pain.

Just when I felt like my new physical therapist was making headway on the ab pain, my right shoulder started hurting (beginning of August).  I had been faithfully doing all the stretches that my first PT had prescribed and one of those started making my shoulder hurt (feel free to see the stretch here).  Like a good little patient, I stopped doing that stretch.  But instead of getting better, I started getting worse.

By mid-September, I could barely move my arm.  I became very well adapted with using my left arm for things.  Obviously, there are things that I couldn't really do with my left arm, like writing and putting in my contacts.  But my right arm was in so much pain that I didn't have a choice.

I visited my pain doctor, which is the doctor that diagnosed my Myofascial Pain Syndrome.  He brushed it off as arthritis and said it would go away in 4-6 weeks.  He refused to write me a PT order (even though I was already going to a new PT for my ab pain and for leg numbness).

I was not sold on an arthritis diagnosis.  I am 34 and I don't think I am riddled with arthritis yet.  The day might come when this is true but I didn't think it was right now.

I knew this was something different and I knew it wouldn't go away on its own.  In the meantime, he thought it would be a great idea to give me a pain patch. (Note the sarcasm.)  I know I shouldn't be too hard on him.  His specialty is pain and he is focused on looking for chronic causes of pain, not acute ones.

But I decided to get a second opinion.  One of our local orthopedic doctors' offices has a walk-in clinic, no referral or appointment necessary.  So I walked on in.  After an X-ray and an exam, I was reassured that there is absolutely no sign of arthritis in my shoulder.  There was, however, lots of inflammation and reason to order an MRI to look for a tear.

(Story to continue later...)

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