Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Write What You Know....




Going on 4 months later, I did not expect to still be wondering why I have groin and hip and leg pain that often hurts too much to walk and stand in a normal natural way. Which is another way of saying I am not able to plot and plan my gardens this Spring, I’m not watching our puppy frolic on the beach, and I’m not gabbing and socializing with my family and friends as I love to do. Twice now JB and I have prepared ourselves for major surgery, 5 times I’ve had injections hoping to locate the problem and lighten up on pain, but here I am again, reasonably comfortable sitting on the couch and unreasonably unable to stand and walk normally, figuring out what to do next.

Every night I fall asleep in our newly renovated all-white master bedroom and every morning as the light shines in and Mattie the puppy wakes me with her joyful licks, I think this will be a day when whatever ails me has fixed itself. I know it’s true that sometimes things and circumstances do indeed fix themselves. That hasn’t happened yet, and my concern grows bigger that I’m not helping myself, that it’s not healthy or justified to be so sedentary. I’m thankful that 2 of the injections gave me almost total relief for a glorious one or two days, assuring me that the cause of my inactivity is pain, not passivity. 

From the couch I’ve had time to notice certain areas of my character and they are surprisingly comforting. For one thing, to borrow a scene from the bay, just a block down the street, I still see starfish and reject seaweed: I believe I will in time be on the move again. I have a lot to be thankful for and every day I review that list: JB is well again and cooking us these super meals, our puppy is a goofy joy, my Jessica and her husband are happy and healthy and so are my 4 spunky grandkids, my manuscript is done and ready to be shopped for publication, I’ve lost almost 30 pounds, I’m swimming to strengthen my back, I love my house and the nearby ocean, I'm almost retired, and I have terrific friends and interesting people around me. The point is I have a lot going for me.

Pain has a way of removing a person from day-to-day life but I’m doing what I can to ride through the worst of it and I’m lucky because the pain isn’t relentless. I also have a couple of doctors who are riding this uncertainty with me—we try one approach, evaluate, and move on to the next. 

I’ve had an unusual amount of time to sit and reflect. And for some reason that reflection has taken me back to the very day I graduated from high school.I remember that day so well. I knew everything would be different the following morning. A couple of friends went to college with me and stayed near by but mostly I moved on to a new life: I got married, moved away, built a career, raised a phenomenal daughter, fell in love again, learned to garden, traveled the world. Over the next fifty-plus years, I lost touch with my high school friends and I built a satisfying life. Then a funny thing happened. When I began to wind down my high-energy career and took more time to relax, I reconnected with some of the friends I‘d left behind so long ago. I found I am still the same person and so are they. Despite all the changes and good or bad circumstances folded into our lives over half a century, to quote the songwriter Paul Simon, “after changes upon changes we are more or less the same.”  I’ll be damned.

Which brings me to the point of this post, if there is one. Last night I learned that it’s time for my brother, 7 years older than me, to arrange for hospice care now, so he can comfortably stay at home with his wife. Because I’m a Case Manager and at his request planned to speak with his doctors he called me first. “I don’t want you to be surprised when you talk to them,” he said. “It’s grim but I’m alright. I’ll have time to take care of things.”

It seems my brother approaches challenges like I do. I’m not in the middle of the worse challenge life might eventually throw at me, but there’s evidence so far that neither I or my brother aren’t likely to fold or whimper. I look backwards again and I see my parents didn’t fold or whimper either, even when they were dying. It must be in my DNA. And it must be because I've been lucky. 


And I should add, a week after I wrote this, the 5th injection has so far worked! Pain is a zillion times less. I’m might be gardening afterall. 

Love
kj

33 comments:

  1. Glad you are doing better - hope the gardening follows!

    Have you read "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it. I yelled the "highly" so you'd know how much I love it. ;-)

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  2. cs, I will read it for sure. Thanks πŸ’œ

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    1. I ordered it. Coming tomorrow πŸ’œ

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  3. What a beautiful attitude towards your condition you have, Karen. Pain is a very bad thing and takes far too much energy. It is a pity that you cannot enjoy your new surroundings to the full, but maybe better times are ahead. I do hope so. Looking forward to your story about dear Mattie.

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  4. My dear Wieneke, I am still much improved so there is realistic hope my own efforts of exercise and weight loss will resolve my limits. Thank you always for rooting me onπŸ’œ

    Next post will be a Mattie puppy post 🐢
    Love
    kj

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  5. You have a wonderful attitude. I have a friend who is dying of cancer but she does not suffer. She enjoys her life. I'm not dying, I don't have cancer and yet still I suffer. My attitude sadly:(

    Aside from the pain, it sounds like you're doing well and it's always nice to read your posts. I've missed you.

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  6. Deb, your comment is so powerful. I wish all heaviness would pass you by: you do so much good and have so much good going for you. You deserve a nice light touch!

    It’s good to be back blogging and connecting. I’m glad to know how you’re doing
    Love
    kj

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  7. I am glad that you are hanging on to hope KJ. And I am glad that there is the prospect of pottering in the garden, that is a hope worth nurturing. I hope your brother spends this time with his family safe in the knowledge that there is time to do what still remains to be done ... and that the sun will rise tomorrow as always. Sometimes these simple facts can act as an anchor. My thoughts are with you KJ xx Jos

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  8. Gosh I miss you, Jos. Seeing your comment just now has made my day! I carry you in my heart, y’know
    Love
    kj

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  9. So sorry about your brother. And so glad the recent shot is helping you. And bravo for you for swimming and losing 30 pounds. I agree with the others. YOur attitude toward yourself and your situation is inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are with you. lOve, Suki

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    1. Thanks, suki πŸ’œ
      Love kj

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  10. It is a balance of good and bad things.....pain is awful, happy that last shot worked. You are on the good road to recovery. Taken care of by loved ones and coping with things with strength and dignity.
    Stay on this road and you will get better. Sorry about your brother. Life keep presenting us one challenge after the other. I find it hard to cope with all loses and challenges. I admire your strength. Get well dear and stay strong. I hope we can see the beach together .......
    Love and hugs M

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    1. I find it hard too, Marianne. So many twists and turns. Sometimes all I can do is hold on tight.

      We will be thrilled to see you!!!!!!
      Love
      kj

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  11. I am thinking of you and will continue to think of you and wish the best for you. You already have the positive vibes that are inspiring to anyone who knows you (or reads your blog.)

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    1. Thank you, Kay. May my positive vibes keep me moving!
      Love
      kj

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  12. So sorry to hear about your brother. I hope your health does a speedy recovery. Love and hugs. xoxo

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    1. Hi annieπŸ’œ I hope your brother is doing better. I’m proud of how strong my brother’s been so far.
      Love
      kj

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  13. I have a rather strong opinion on pain management, which is not relief, that simply says to me about your current state--"been there done that."

    Injections into the spine, rhizotomy, trigger release therapy, rest, and on and on and on. To me it sounds like you're now in the trap of medical billing and experimentation.

    The pain in the groin and leg? Has anyone ruled out sciatica? The L-4-L5 disc pressing up against the sciatic nerve? Doctors are very good at let's try this or let's just do a couple more of these...GAH!!!!

    A GOOD doctor will KNOW what the problem is, and if they can not resolve it they will say so or they will refer you to someone who can.

    No more for me kj, I can not conceive of any other treatment, surgery, or protocol I am going to subject myself to.

    Be well and remember to tell your doctors shit or get off the pot, you have some living to do yet.

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    1. Ah mark, L4/5 has been evaluated extensively: mri, ortho, neuro, Rehab medicine, pt, injections. There is bilateral bone slippage worthy of a laminectomy and fusion. The story began there.

      But it appears there is a secondary problem involving inflammation that may be the actual cause of pain and I surely won’t have extensive major surgery unless I know the L4-5 repair can be successful.

      I know have several good doctors and the truth is not everything can be concluded. Life and medicine have mysteries, and it appears my current symptoms are that. You can be sure I am pursuing all possible avenues. I’m also taking things in my own hands via weight and exercise. You and I both have some living to do yet! πŸ’œ

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  14. I always love your attitude, and the fact that you're able to garden...wowowow! Good for you my dear Karen.

    Glad that JB has recovered and is showing her cooking talents.

    About the fact that even after fifty years we don't change. You're right. My girlfriends and I are always amazed that we are, basically, the same as we were in high school.

    Sending love to you and JB. (from Jeff too)

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    1. Hi honey πŸ’œ a thrill to see you here on our blogs. I am planning to see you in Maine this year if only for lunch so pencil me in πŸ€—
      Love kj

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  15. KJ, as limited as medical care still is, I often reflect upon the fact that it at least gives hope where there used to be none. Imagine that you were living even 100 years ago. What would you do--kill yourself. I think I would.

    I hope with all my heart that this relief continues.

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    1. Hi snow, 9 days later, the worse pain is gone. I have to see if weight loss and exercise can handle the bone slippage and impingement. Patience and persistence is my new roadmap. I’m hoping the comfort of warmer weather and spring in New England add to my treatment plan 😜
      Love
      kj

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  16. Am I right in assuming that the pain will most likely return, but that the shot will have done its job by directing doctors to the right area to operate on?

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    1. No snow, the cortisone shot reduced the inflammation in my bursa area. That was the cause of the high level of pain i’ve had and the relief may hopefully last months. I could have another cortisone shot in a few months. But this is/was separate from my L4-5 bone slippage. If I can’t successfully address that problem on my own, a laminectomy and fusion await. I hope luck and determination are on my side.

      Ha! No doubt Too much information!
      Love
      kj

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    2. KJ, no, it's not "too much information." I ask questions because I'm interested in the questions.

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  17. Hi KJ
    I am so sorry to hear this news of your brother - I admire his attitude and wonder how many others could feel this way in his situation. I worked in hospice and saw how people managed end of life issues differently. Your attitude about your pain is also noteworthy in that you are able to see your situation philosophically and can still see how much of life is also wonderful. Kudos to you and blessings as you continue to seek help for your medical issues. xoxo
    P.S. Some gremlin is eating my comments when I try to post them – it’s happened with the last several posts so I try but the comment disappears! I finally wrote this in a word doc and cut and paste to get around it ☺

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    1. Thanks Amanda, so nice to hear from you. I’m glad i’m Able to hang in, though I admit pain πŸ™„ sometimes take over 😑i’m Hankering to move on!
      Love
      kj

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  18. ps I agree with Secret Agent Woman that Atul Gawande's book is well worth reading

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    1. I have the book in my hands!

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  19. You must stay well enough, long enough, for me to make good on that lunch I owe you. Here's hoping the shots continue to give you relief.

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  20. You bet, 8. I'll gladly accept your paying for lunch in order to see you!
    love
    8

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  21. Hooray for no folding or whimpering!
    Sincere prayers for your brother.
    (been praying for you and JB a long time)
    and I hope your pain is still at bay.
    XO Babs

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