Chicago, Illinois, US
October 15
I enjoy riding my bike around Chicago in my free time, perusing art and gardens, enjoying good beer, and musing on the wackiness of life.


DECEMBER 23, 2011 9:15AM

starting over

Rate: 5 Flag

For the last year or so, I feel like I've been dropping in and out of real life.  I started having serious injuries at 14, after a major growth spurt - knees, lower back, knees again.  In the coming years, a foot and ankle injury turned into plantar fasciitis - in both feet.  I was thrown from a horse and landed on my head.  I was lucky that I landed in a pile of leaves and didn't end up paralyzed or dead.  Over the next years, I had more knee and ankle problems, elbow and wrist problems, a broken tailbone (twice), broken toe (twice), and a bike crash that left me with a crunched-up neck, hairline tibia fractures and torn cartilage in one knee.  I've had arthroscopic surgery on both knees to clean up torn cartilage.  Yes, I'm officially a busted-up mess.

On Monday, I went to visit with my regular doc because the chronic pain
situation had gotten out of hand and was spawning or aggravating other
problems.  We talked about my medication situation.  I explained how all the ibuprofen I've needed just to keep pain at a sometimes-bearable level has really done a number on my stomach, which has made acid reflux worse, which has affected asthma symptoms, all of which have affected sleep.  

I mentioned that a friend with even worse chronic pain issues has had decent luck with Celebrex and asked if he thought that might be appropriate.  He wrote me a prescription, and I'm trying that out to see if the switch from all the doses of ibuprofen will let the stomach calm down, or whether the reflux medication needs to be adjusted, too.  

This is the 4th day of the change, and it's been very good so far.  Pain is significantly less.  Stomach symptoms are calming down.  Asthma symptoms are calming down.  It's very encouraging.  

I didn't realize exactly how much all that pain was affecting my range of movement in some body parts.  Freedom from that pain is letting me do things like go out and enjoy taking a walk.  Pain was waking me up at least 2-3 times per night, often from multiple body parts.  Now it's not waking me up.  It's amazing to get a full night of sleep and actually feel rested in the morning.  That hasn't happened in a very long time.

Since Tuesday morning, I've walked about 2-4 miles each day and I feel fine.  A week ago that would have left me really sore and tired. This is encouraging, and I hope it will continue.

One thing that I didn't mention is that the poor quality of sleep has severely impacted my ability to function on many days.  It's been difficult to concentrate, difficult to get motivated, and at times difficult to care about anything.  It's not something I've wanted to whine about, because whining wouldn't do any good.  On too many days, I haven't even felt like talking to people.

It's a big reason why I've been so invisible on a lot of days (other than some random easy stuff on Facebook).  It's also been a factor in my job search, and lack of motivation there.  If this medication keeps working well, I'll feel a lot more optimistic about next year.

On the second day, I started noticing another positive change.  My error rate in typing was getting pretty high, unusually high for me, and my typing speed was way down.  Before the pain got so bad, my typing was fast - like 100+ wpm.  In recent months, it was difficult to concentrate long enough to compose a sentence on some days, especially with all the errors I had to go back and correct.

I've gotten 4 nights in a row of really good sleep.  I have more energy during the day because I'm not hurting all the time.  My typing is fast again, almost effortless, with few errors.  I feel like myself again, instead of the brain-fogged alien that's been inhabiting my body for months.  

The sun is up.  It's a beautiful day.  I'm going out to take a walk.  This is one of the best Christmas gifts I could possibly get.

Author tags:

hope, sleep, relief, pain, renewal

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Best wishes for continued over-all improvement of everything!
This made me smile. I am so happy to hear things are improving. Happy New Year~r
Thank you. It's wonderful and miraculous to be feeling so much better after so long.

Wishing you both a fine new year.
I'm glad you're getting some rest! Chronic pain can be so debilitating and exhausting.
I'm learning how much of a difference in waking life a good night's sleep can be as well lately...
I hope you continue to feel better !
I had no idea you were in that level of pain :( sorry Bikes. I hope Celebrex is your wonder drug, the right med can be.
Thanks for your positive thoughts. Sleep is one of those things we take for granted, until we're not getting it. Hopefully this will be the magic bullet. Better living through chemistry.... ;)
You're so right about what havoc sleep deprivation can dotoone. I'so glad to read that you have been sleeping well and are looking to the new year with renewed hopes and positive feelings. May 2012 be great for you!

Thank you, Fusun. Looking forward to another year of reading your OS posts. I hope the new year treats you well.