Day 124. Like Sands Through the Wormhole

Things have been so icky for the last several weeks I have (obviously) been skipping my blog writing, journaling, and painting.  I just haven’t felt like any of it. I had one medical test that made me feel so bad, I was just flat on my back for days and days….and do you know what?  They haven’t even bothered to give me the results yet.

Then it has just felt like things have been moving so fast.  There is a doctor appointment downtown every day, and then I have to get to the tanning bed; when you don’t feel quite 100% yet, just getting this stuff down sucks up all the resources.

I write my blog in my head sometimes.  Even then, the narrative trails off.  I’m tired.

BUT, I have a gorgeous tan, mind you, since I keep following the advice of “Kate Middleton,” my biologist-medical consultant to get an hour’s worth of sun each day (or its tanning bed equivalent).  By the way, by her permission “Kate Middleton” may now go by her proper name, Dr. Kaye Blee.  It’s thanks to her I am truly a bronze goddess, the envy even of the women who work at the tanning place.  I keep meaning to have someone take a picture, but I take such rotten pictures.  Still, if you saw me you would agree that even my multi-scarred legs look good.

Things have taken a turn for the better, however.  I mentioned not being able to gather any enthusiasm for going to the newest pain doctor. Turns out new pain doc seems to be a keeper. Within an hour, he saw the mistakes the old guy was making and laid out a treatment plan with OPTIONS.  He has some ideas for treatments that I have not been offered before that seem like they are very promising.

I had a minor one late last week (cortisone injections in my Sacroiliac Joint, which made a dramatic difference).  In the future, I will have Botox injections in my shoulders and forehead (oh, so sorry, buh-bye wrinkles!) because of my myofascial/migraine pain.  Most interestingly to me, though, is the option for me to take part in a 3-day infusion of Ketamine.

Long past my Ecstatic prime, I was aware of Ketamine as a disco-drug in the 90s (see users’ descriptions of “going down the k-hole” here).  Someone offered it to me once in a bar, and I asked my brother about it.  He said, “Uh, dude.  Those people are so stupid.  That is an animal tranquilizer.”  Ironically, Ketamine is now used as a human tranquilizer–or anesthesia, that is.  But the newest use for it is as a “reset” for pain receptors.  There’s a topical pain cream that is much like the great pain cream I have been using, only with Ketamine in it.  Thanks to new pain doc, I have the new Ketamine cream already and it is very effective. Apparently, a three-day iv trip down the k-hole (at controlled doses, of course) can reset one’s pain receptors considerably. Research on the topic is enough to make me want to sign up for three days as an inpatient. Still, I reserve optimism about this treatment, this doctor (I won’t even name him yet) because I keep becoming so effusive for no good reason.  I’ve decided to conserve my easy ejaculations of exultation.  You never know when you’ll really need ejaculation.

So to review, I‘ve started with the SI Joint injection, which I’ll stick with for a while.  The Botox injections are on the table as I understand it and will happen shortly. Wiggling down the k-hole will be some time in the future.

It’s really nice to have a list of possibilities to anticipate when pain is a permanent fixture.

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Day 178. Dr. Francomano, Wonder Geneticist

A visit with Dr. Francomano is like being loved very much by one of your most cherished relatives for an afternoon. Really.

I look forward to it fiercely, and while I’m there, I smile the whole time and pat her frequently, and always, always hug her.  She is just so good to me.  I realize why I am so needy:  I spent ten years being blown off as a malingerer. Finding someone who didn’t discount my claims felt so good, I couldn’t stop hugging her.  She must think I’m an affection-starved goof, when in fact I just can’t figure out how to appreciate her enough.

I ran right home and wrote myself a list of all the reasons why I love her. Dr. Francomano is a unique sort of doctor, meaning that not every general practitioner has the time or ability to stop and talk with patients the way she does. The kind of investigation and analysis she does (and the difficult cases she has) requires time we are no longer accustomed to in U.S. Medical care, meaning that she must do careful diagnosis and talk with the patient at length.  She:

  • Listens to my digressions.
  • Discourages invasive tests and surgeries that will just make me sicker.
  • Supports my trying alternative treatments like the 10 min daily tanning booth treatment (with 100 mg. Niacin, 1000 mg magnesium, and 1500 mg calcium supplements) and Medical Qigong weekly.  Also supports use of compounded supplement drinks like green smoothies.
  • Suggested that I take a class on Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction (alá John Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living a book I’ve been not reading since before my aneurysm!).  I think a class is what I need just this minute.  Turns out there’s an online one I can take in a few weeks by the miracle of microphones and computer movie cameras.  Sweet.
  • Agreed to have my testosterone tested.  My medical consultant wants me to have compounded testosterone cream made to rub on my wrists.  The result is increased energy.  Dr. Francomano says that as long as my testosterone level is low, she will agree, but if it is not low, too much can weaken blood vessels.  Yikes.
  • Makes sure I get a refill of the pain rub that comes from the compounding pharmacy.  I don’t think she invented it, but she introduced me to it.  It’s a mixture of a group of prescription and nonprescription medicines by a compounding pharmacy.  It requires a prescription by your doctor.  An outstanding pharmacy I recommend is Russellville Pharmacy in Russellville, AL (888-705-4990).  The contents of the pain rub are the following:  Diclofenac, baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, gabapentin, lidocaine, and magnesium.  These are a mixture of muscle relaxers, nerve-pain meds, and topical anesthetics.  Because you don’t take them by mouth, they don’t put you to sleep, and because you put them right where they are needed, they REALLY do the trick.  I am not kidding when I say that it is the very best thing ever for nerve, muscle, and joint pain.  What else is there?  The only thing I don’t like about Dr. F. Is that she won’t raise the dose and let me take a bath in it. 🙂

Dr. Francomano is genuinely interested in the cockamamie symptoms that can drive me bananas, ones that cause everyone else in the world (even one’s mother, some days) to roll eyes.  She has heard of everything, like the cracks in the skin of my fingertips, a phenomenon that sounds mild, but which becomes excruciating, because the abrasions are deep.  Even though they’re little cuts, they are forever exacerbated by salt, dirt, and stretched in various directions.  One of the cuts on my right index finger has been there for four months at least.  I know it, because it has been there since my last visit to Dr. Francomano.  I meant to ask her about it in January and forgot; there was so much to talk about, and it seemed so insignificant I left it out.  This time…there was time.  And, amazingly, she had some suggestions about what to do (she suggested that I work with my Medical Qigong practitioner, and take the supplements of my choice, with the goal of improving circulation to the extremities).  Fair enough.

Baoding Balls / Qi Gong-Kugeln

Baoding Balls / Qi Gong-Kugeln (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t do Dr. Francomano justice in this disjointed (no pun intended) entry.  I have had a migraine all day.  In fact, I had enrolled (already) in a Mindfulness meditation class tonight, but I canceled because of my Migraine.There was no way I could have participated in a class (as well as driven to and from)—I realized after I had enrolled.  What was I thinking, in fact?  I’m going to take an online one instead.  Gathering my thoughts is not an option.  I can’t even locate them in my scrambled brain, so I apologize if my writing is rambling, rather than something of a narrative.

I promise  I’ll make more sense this week.  I have lots to talk about….I may even post a picture of my progress on my suntan.  It’s looking mighty, mighty good.