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Calgon take me away

Preface: This blog is about me and my experience/feelings with regards to medications. It is not a judgement on or valuation of what anyone else does/feels with regards to their anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, allergies…etc.


Monday morning I went to physical therapy for my shoulder. I’ve been going for close on to six weeks I think, but only once a week because they are so booked they can’t usually fit me in twice a week. This past Monday, I actually cried during the appointment because the pain was a) so bad and b) so frustrating. For the first three weeks or so, I was doing my exercises religiously at home. Then the therapist started adding in more and more exercises–without giving them to me in written or picture form–and I got overwhelmed and lost. I still try to do stuff daily, but it’s not everything I should be doing. Even so, I’m continuing to progress with my flexibility, but the pain continues. And I guess because the therapist is trying to push my range, the pain is…bad.

I am extremely sensitive to medications, and have been for most of my adult life. I don’t even take OTC pain killers like ibuprofin or acetaminophen or tylenol because they either screw up my stomach or they don’t work. I will take anti-biotics when prescribed, but I hate the experience and it’s mentally very challenging for me.

So last night I was in the shower and thinking about how much my shoulder still hurt, how sore it was, and I was under the hot spray of water and thinking…if I only took pain killers this would be a lot easier. And I knew…I KNEW part of the reason I don’t take pain killers or cold medication or antihistamines or sleeping pills or any other medication is that I would cause a bigger issue for myself. It’s NO LIE that I have medication sensitivities…I very much do have them. But maybe if I searched hard enough I could find things that work for me. I don’t do this…and here’s why.

About fifteen years ago I had a bad cold…a sore throat that was horrendously painful. I started using these OTC throat drops that had some kind of liquid medication in the middle. It was probably Haul’s brand, probably cherry flavored. I used them constantly in the beginning and they seemed to help. Then my throat started getting better but I literally got addicted to them and was continuing to suck on them like they were candy. I had to use them. I was addicted and I had to have one in my mouth almost all the time. It was vaguely terrifying when I finally realized what was happening (maybe like 3-4 weeks later). I quit them cold turkey and made Hub take the bag to work with him to throw away. I knew if they were in the trash in my house, I would dig them out and eat them. I don’t buy those kind of lozenges anymore, though in the last two or three years I have started buying honey-drops for sore throats.

I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink any alcohol and I don’t smoke. I never did any of those things. I feel like if I did or if I started using something like pain killers or anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills, I would be using them constantly and for the wrong reason. I’d be in less pain, I’d probably have less anxiety, I might sleep more, but I’d also be zoned out and not living. I would just figure out the best way to shut myself off from everything and everyone in life by doping myself up on OTC or prescription medication. I would be gone, in every sense of the word. I’m not sure I’ve ever admitted this fear to anyone out loud, but in my heart I know that I’d use the medications to hide away. I’m not sure I’d be doing anything illegal or overdosing on the meds–or even overusing in any significant way–but I’d be using them in a way that would excuse me from life.

I feel like my anxiety over medications keeps me safe from all of this. Yes, I DID use some pain medication after my first surgery, but it was only a day or so (and so regimented!) and then I used tylenol. And then after a day or so I used nothing. The second surgery I didn’t use pain meds because I didn’t like the way they made me feel the first time, so I used tylenol as needed and I suffered through. I suffer through pain on a daily basis because I’m afraid of who I would become if I muted all the pain in my life…physical and mental.

Before I first got sick in 2001 (at 29yo), I’m not sure I ever really needed medications. Sure, I probably took cold meds on and off over the years, and never gave it another thought. Yes I did use Advil every month for cramps (which is how I ended up with stomach issues!) and probably occasionally for headaches. But after I got sick, everything changed, including who I really was. Who I really am.

The physical therapist said that I could go back to my Ortho doctor and ask to get a steroid injection to help with the pain as we continue with rehab, but I declined. I hate the pain I live with daily, and I hate the pain that reduces me to tears during PT, but the pain reminds me that I’m alive. I’m alive and I’m experiencing life.

This all sounds very fucked up. I guess I’m not surprised at that revelation.

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Bactrim blues

So I’ve taken six pills so far for what my doctor diagnosed as a sinus infection.  I wanted to make note of what has been happening with the bactrim, at least for my future reference. Here’s what my historical experience prepared me for:

Upon getting my ABs, I come home and go look up my blog post from when I had to take these particular ABs, and I apparently have nausea, bad taste in my mouth, and dry mouth (editing to add, and dry/itchy eyes near to the end of the course of ABs) to look forward to for ten days at least. Two pills a day over ten days.

I’m definitely getting a lot of heartburn/acid reflux. My appetite is nil and the nausea is there for sure. My stomach hurts almost all the time, but that could also be from the acid reflux/heartburn. What is also a bit distressing is that last night before dinner (after the 4th pill at 9:30am that morning), I had a really bad hot flush on my face and ear, and I had anxiety. I’m not sure if the anxiety came from the hot flush or from the ABs. So I took another pill this morning at about the same time as yesterday…and tonight the hot flush started again before dinner. I didn’t even wait this time, I just got a cold pack and put it on my face until I was pretty well frozen. I didn’t get the anxiety, but I also stopped the hot flush early on, so maybe I stopped the anxiety before it started.

There’s no discernible change in the smell issue, yet. I’ve been trying to use different essential oils to distract myself from the smell (I just realized I had some good oils downstairs I could use…brown sugar and vanilla!), but it doesn’t last long.

Last night we invited my father over for dinner since my brother (the one that lives with him) is out of town for several days. Then tonight we went out for burgers with him and my other brother. Tomorrow Dad’s going to the grocery store with us in the morning, basically because he’s tired of being stuck in the house alone. He and I talked about how hard it is to be alone in the house all the time (while his house-mate is out of town), and I told him how concerned I am about being alone when Hub goes away. I told him I might end up sleeping there at night and he said if I did then they would be able to help me with the dogs in the early morning hours. I said I’d let him know. I’ve been going out for walks every day and when I get to his house, I call him to tell him to send his dog into the yard with us…sometimes he comes out to chat at that point. It’s hard because I used to do this to go hang out with Mom…and it’s not as easy to find things to talk about with Dad all the time. But I’m trying t keep up with the walking outside, so if he wants to chat with me he’ll have the opportunity.

I’m really tired of feeling so crappy. I want to regain my energy. I want to move forward.

 

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What is that…smell?!

So I think it was Friday when I first noticed the smell. It might have been Saturday, it might have been Thursday. Initially, it was like, WTF smells funny? And I was walking around sniffing. Smelling my clothes, smelling my hair, smelling the blanket on the couch. Then I started thinking it was one of the dogs that smelled bad…because of course they do, they’re dogs. But no, this smell was not the dogs. And it wasn’t the Hub. I thought it might be an old bottle of shampoo I’d been using because honestly, I was smelling it everywhere I went.

I have a very sensitive nose. I think I’ve mentioned that before, either here or in comments elsewhere. I smell every-damn-thing. And there are some smells that just drive me crazy. This was one of those smells. I’ve spent hours trying to define it…it’s like smelling some hot, stale air that is being blown on you constantly. I briefly thought it was the fans on my laptop, but then I realized I was smelling it away from the laptop and even away from the house.

I changed my shampoo, I changed my clothes, I cleaned my hairbrush, I stopped taking the b12 pills that I’d started a few weeks ago…but I just kept smelling it. Sometimes it would go away, then it would randomly come back again. Then I realized that I had a weird taste in my mouth, too. When I wasn’t so intent on the smell, then the taste would bother me. So, like I should never do, I went to Google. I had trouble figuring out what to type in, but I tried a couple of different things and ended up with stuff like: medication side effects, tonsil stones (WTF), tonsillitis, sinusitis. I was fairly convinced that this was tonsil stones, mostly because I had no symptoms of tonsillitis and almost none for sinusitis. I’ve never had tonsil stones before and I couldn’t see any evidence of them, but seeing inside my own mouth is kind of difficult for me. So in effect, no matter what the diagnosis is, the SMELL was coming from me. BLECH. Hub swears he doesn’t smell anything (which the doctor later confirmed on her own behalf), but I SMELL IT.

As I’d mentioned, Hub’s insurance didn’t kick in until May 1st, so Monday morning I asked Hub to contact his HR department to get membership information so I could call my doctor’s office for an appointment. Unfortunately, she didn’t get back to us until late Monday night…and then I had a massage therapy appointment Tuesday morning that started before my doctor’s office opens (Tuesdays are late days for the dr’s office). After my massage therapy, I called the doctor’s office and got an appointment for the following day, which is today.

The doctor pronounced this as a sinus infection. She said my tonsils look like a sinus infection and the “smell” and “taste” symptoms are also signs of sinus infection. I have no pressure or pain, no green gooey or globby snot, just constant post-nasal drip (which I have from allergies) and the smell and taste issue. I’m walking around with this horrible smell in my nose and this yucky taste in my mouth…and now I get anti-biotics.

I HATE PILLS.

Ten days of 2 pills a day–one in a.m. and one in p.m.–which means I get to have pill anxiety twice a day for ten days. Yay. The doctor prescribed bactrim, which I took last year after my cyst issue, and apparently once before that I think for my post-surgery infection. I found this from last year’s cyst blog post:

Upon getting my ABs, I come home and go look up my blog post from when I had to take these particular ABs, and I apparently have nausea, bad taste in my mouth, and dry mouth (editing to add, and dry/itchy eyes near to the end of the course of ABs) to look forward to for ten days at least. Two pills a day over ten days.

I took my first pill about 90 minutes ago. About twenty minutes in, I had an anxiety “flash”…which kind of means I had that ripple of anxiety wash over me and I felt like something wasn’t right. But Hub was with me, and I told him, and I went on trying to distract myself for the hour post-pill-taking. My mouth still feels weird, but I suspect that’s the yucky taste in my mouth bothering me. I’m feeling pretty relieved because Hub says he’ll be working from home both tomorrow and Friday, and then he’s home for the weekend as well, so I won’t have to take any of the pills on my own for a few days. Hopefully at that point I’ll be okay to take them on my own.

And hopefully this smell will go away FAST. It’s really been driving me pretty cray-cray.

 

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Probably TMI for most

Well, I won’t go into all kinds of details, but still, you’re forewarned.

I was talking about some anxiety in my last post. Here’s what is going on. I’ve been doing hypnotherapy during a few of my regular therapy sessions with T in order to work on my cardiophobia. We’ve actually been working both with CBT and hypnotherapy for my fear of exercise. Part of my fear is because of my heart, but part of my fear is also putting myself in more pain than my daily dose…on purpose. I’m in pain pretty much most days, but exercising means I’ll be suffering more pain because of strained muscles and such.

So part of my therapy is to exercise. Shocking, I know. We have both a treadmill and a recumbent bike in our house (the treadmill is like…oh, 15 years old, but it still works!), so I have options on what I can do for exercise with machines. The bike is newer than the treadmill and it has those little dohickies on the handles that measure heart rate, which is a no-no for me. Just watching the heart rate go up is an anxiety trigger. So many people say exercise helps their anxiety, but it’s actually a major trigger for me. I started riding the bike (I figured it was lower impact on my arthritic knees than the treadmill) every night, with the intention that I was riding it to work on my fears, not on my weight loss. It gave me permission to see the exercise as something different…not to be perfect at it, not to think that if I only ride it a few minutes every night that it was a failure because a few minutes is a waste in the weight loss world. No, it’s part of my therapy, part of my recovery, and even sitting on the damn machine is an accomplishment.

I started slow with the bike, literally and figuratively. And I met my first goal of riding the bike three days in a week…and then I just kept going. I’ve been able to increase by one minute since I started. I’ve learned not to put my hands on the heart rate dohickies…and if it is too tempting, I’m going to put socks over the handles to make them not work. I listen to a little music, I play a game or two on the iPad if I have it. I go in, I get on, I ride, I leave, I recognize the accomplishment of what I’ve done. I went ten days. Some of the days I could have talked myself out of it (the a/c upstairs died again…my knee hurt, I had another owie which I’ll explain shortly) but I didn’t talk myself out of it. My mental recovery seems to be so much easier for me to work on than my physical. I haven’t really ruminated on that very much, but I suspect that is coming in therapy soon.

Monday night I went to shower and I realize there is a redness under my right boob. I’m endowed and…droopy. I’ve been that way all of my adult life, I’ve never gotten a heat rash or sweat rash under my boobs before (I am wondering if this is because of the surgical menopause and hormone issues). I don’t sweat like normal people. My first thought was oh shit it’s breast cancer because it was only under one boob and I know that there are some breast cancers that present that way. I managed to convince myself it wasn’t cancer even before the redness showed up under my other boob. At that point I was pretty well sure it was a heat rash (or sweat rash) from riding on the bike. So now I’ve got knee pain, foot pain (stupid plantar faciitis) and underboobs rashes. *sigh* I go buy these things that go under the boobies that is supposed to help wick away sweat. The are uncomfortable and weird and they move around. Joy. I also buy some tea tree oil and a powder for rashes and fungus, in case it’s a yeast fungus under there. The under-boobie wicky thing seems to help but not make it go away altogether yet.

Wednesday night I’m on the bike again (I’ve even been able to ride when I’m home alone, which is a big deal for me because if I have a heart attack on the bike…and I’m alone… shudder) and I’m like what is that pain? It’s in the crease of my left leg where it meets my groin. And I’m thinking it’s another damn heat rash. Great. I put some gauze in the crease and try to deal with it for overnight. Next day, I put another clean bit of gauze there to keep the area from rubbing and getting worse and I go about my day. I get on the bike again last night and I’m like … unh, that hurts. I finish my predetermined ride and go shower and suddenly I’m realizing it’s not the heat rash in the crease of my leg that was hurting. I have a cyst…my guess is an infected cyst (I get sebaceous cysts under my arms sometimes, but not for a while) or it could be an ingrown hair. It’s, uh, down there. Ya’ll ladies know what I mean. It’s in an unfortunate place, making sitting, standing, walking, lying down all very very uncomfortable. Dammit.

I tell Hub about the issue (he looks somewhat horrified), I go to sleep and wake up this morning first thing to call my doctor’s office. I don’t want to mess around with this area, so I beg them to fit me in today. They do and I go see one of the other doctor’s in the practice. She says “abscess” but won’t otherwise identify if it’s from a cyst or an ingrown hair. She doesn’t want to do anything with it but suggests I see my gyno to see if they want to drain it or what. I tell her my gyno is an hour away and not likely to be able to fit me in today, so she suggests I see the gyno in their extended practice and she goes to make an appointment for me. When she comes back, she tells me I’ll be seeing the nurse practitioner that afternoon, and oh by the way here is a prescription for bactrum (antibiotics). Oh how I love pills. And ABs are my favorite.

I go back later to see the NP, who tells me she can’t drain cysts and all the doctors are booked. But she graciously offers to do a lookie loo to see if the cyst actually needs to be drained. She measures it and says it doesn’t look too big, but writes down the info for future reference in case I come back with an issue next week. “Good news!” she chirps. “I wouldn’t drain this. It’ll drain on its own. Take your ABs and use warm compresses and a sitz bath as often as you can manage.” We talk about timing for when the pain will abate and what to expect from the “draining” and I go home.

The first time I saw the cyst last night, it was white. By the time I got home and everyone was done poking at it, it was a purple-red. Yay. (I told you, TMI.) Upon getting my ABs, I come home and go look up my blog post from when I had to take these particular ABs, and I apparently have nausea, bad taste in my mouth, and dry mouth (editing to add, and dry/itchy eyes near to the end of the course of ABs) to look forward to for ten days at least. Two pills a day over ten days. The NP told me to be happy, the other option is something like 4 pills a day over 20 days or something ridiculous. But at least I have experience with this AB, so maybe I’ll be okay with taking it more easily. (Prolly not, but one can hope.)

This is what I get for exercising? One time I went to vacuum my bedroom…I plugged in the vacuum and 10 seconds later the circuit blew. I reset it, plugged the vacuum into a different outlet across the large room and 10 seconds later another circuit blew. I reset it, used a plug in the upstairs hallway and THAT one blew. I decided at that moment that G-d did not want me to vacuum. I wrapped up the cord and put the vacuum away. So, is this what I’m getting about exercising? Multiple messages saying “don’t do it!” Well, another conversation for therapy, I guess.

Also, ow ow ow ow. 😦

 

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Guilty is as guilty does

I know that doesn’t make any sense. I just had no other way to title this post.

I had to cancel my baby toof extraction because my incisions were looking bad and I watched to tear the flesh from my stomach because they itched so bad (for days on end, prior to even seeing the surgeon/gyn onc the week before). I had left a note for the surgeon over the weekend, and on Monday they said “they’re healing, no worries!”. But by Monday morning, I knew they weren’t right, so I made an appointment with my primary doctor (who is ten minutes from my house versus over an hour to the surgeon/gyn onc, an hour to wait to see him, and then over an hour home) for the following day. She took one look at my incisions and put me on 10 days of oral antibiotics PLUS topical antibiotic ointment. Let us not forget that I already DID seven days of antibiotics for the UTI that I had finished just the week before. So I’m back on antibiotics (another four days) and feel nauseated and my mouth tastes terrible all the time no matter what I do. I saw my primary as a follow-up yesterday and although *I* don’t see much improvement, she was happy with how the incisions looked. And as a matter of note, she said if she had seen me like this last week, she would have suggested that I was allergic to the dissolvable sutures the surgeon used. I asked how long before the sutures dissolve and she said SIX WEEKS is the norm. Ugh. I’ve been through the standard with Hub and my antibiotic pills…he’s stayed with me for half an hour after each pill until yesterday. Yesterday was the first day I took the pill alone.

Tomorrow we take Butthead to get her ligament surgery. We’ve been able to keep her pretty quiet 97% of the time. I kind of think the pain medication has been keeping her quieter than usual, but whatever. She’ll be in surgery for probably two hours tomorrow, then in recovery. I hope we’ll have her home in time for dinner, but we’ll see how it goes. Also, tomorrow is the first time I’ll have a chance to tell my uncle (our vet) about my cancer. Not looking forward to that convo, but I want his family to know.

On to the guilt…

My mother got the results of her PET scan (I went to the appointment with her), and unfortunately it wasn’t good news. Although the lymph nodes that were targeted by the radiation shrank, they didn’t go away (or back to normal size? not sure the terminology)…and there are new lymph nodes showing up in her neck, sternum area, and the back end of the pelvis. There’s no potential for cure anymore, only the possibility of shrinking the nodes and extending her life. We’re going back to looking into clinical trials (including potentially gene therapy) for treatment. This shit is so aggressive, and now that it’s in her lymph system, it’s going to keep moving around. This was just a couple of months since her last PET scan. And the initial recurrence after her chemo was three months. It’s so freaking terrifying, I can’t even find words for it. I know that it’s possible to live many years with cancer, if the treatments available can keep the cancer at bay, but it requires continuous treatment, basically. But I’ve spent many moments trying to push out of my head the thoughts of what might happen to her…what might be her path. What her quality of life might be. What suffering she might have during this journey. If I think too much, I would be constantly in tears. I do my best to push those thoughts away and stay in the moment. It’s been particularly difficult during my recovery because I don’t have a lot to do with the energy and stamina I have at the moment.

I feel guilty that my path with cancer is presently so much shorter and with a better outcome. I feel guilty that as I got good news, she got bad news. I feel guilty that I’m not able to spend much time with her right now as I recover. I feel guilty that I’m not able to be the cheerleader and distraction-person as I recover. I’ve been mired in my own issues with recovery and have barely seen her (though we talk on the phone several times a day). I feel that I am failing as her support. I doubt highly she has any of these thoughts, but I do. They are my constant companion these days.

I have been pretty lucky so far with the surgical menopause. I had one hot flash and luckily Hub was with me and I knew right away what it was. That doesn’t mean I didn’t clutch Hub’s hand for dear life, but it was over relatively quickly and it hasn’t happened yet again. I still get cold and hot (I pull the covers over me and then throw them off repeatedly all night) a lot, but I can deal with that. I haven’t been terribly over-emotional or moody, though I’ve had a pretty constant headache which could be hormones or it could be the antibiotics. It still very possible for the symptoms to ramp up, but so far it’s been very manageable.

 

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1 degree of madness

This recovery has not gone well at all.

The surgeon told my husband and mother in the hospital (while I was in post-op recovery) that the surgery went “perfectly” — it only took 30 minutes versus 90 and I lost no blood.

When I woke in recovery, I felt awful and dizzy and nauseated. They moved me to a cube where my husband and mother were waiting, but I couldn’t open my eyes and there was some kind of goo all over my face (forehead, cheeks, nose–which later I was told was from the tape from the breathing tube, but I didn’t have that issue last time). I was so dizzy that I couldn’t open my eyes. I hurt all over. I stayed in the hospital longer this time than the last time. They took me into surgery early (like 8:30am) but we didn’t leave until 5pm. That was over an hour more in recovery this time.

On the way out, the nurse handed over prescriptions. We were both horrified to see the surgeon was sending me home with injectable blood thinner. I had to inject myself in the stomach once a day subQ for fourteen days. I HATE NEEDLES and Hub is so terrified of needles that when he has to have his blood taken for testing, he has to go to a specific lab that has a gurney because he has to lay down because he has passed out in the past. Hub tried to get the injections from the hospital pharmacy so the nurse could demonstrate the first injection, but when he got there they were closing. FUCK.

So we came home and he went back out to put the prescriptions in. The prescription said to start the shot the next day, so I tried desperately to ignore the thought. First night, Hub helped me clean the area with alcohol and I gave myself a shot while he was looking in the other direction. The shit burns…for like 20 minutes afterward. It’s bad. I hate it. I have four more to go.

Saturday night I went to give myself a second shot, but I was really cold. But my face was so hot. So I gave myself the shot, Hub gave me an ice pack for my face, and then he put a blanket over me because I was shivering uncontrollably. And then I had a full-on anxiety attack. I was lying prone on the bed, head covered with the ice pack and a towel, body covered with a blanket, feet up on a pillow, crying and shivering and it was terrible. TERRIBLE. Overnight that night, I was SO HOT. I was sure it was from the surgical menopause. I didn’t sleep, I sat up all night feeling hot and sweaty and miserable. The next day, Sunday, I was pretty miserable. I was able to do my shot that night without another anxiety attack, but I was so hot all the time. I finally started taking my temperature when I couldn’t sleep again. I have 3 thermometers… two oral and an ear one. Two of them were new because I thought my old thermometer wasn’t working right so before this surgery I ordered a new oral and decided to try the ear one. By 1am, all three were reading 101 or over. The surgeon said if I had fever over 101 to seek attention. I woke Hub and we had a long conversation about what to do…ER, walk-in clinic, wait for the morning. He HATES the ER because no matter when we’ve gone, it’s always been mobbed and we end up having to wait forever to get out of the waiting room. It’s a terrible process there…they always seem overcrowded and understaffed. Our choices were limited and I was so freaked out about the fever, that we headed out, leaving the dogs alone in the house because I didn’t want to wake my parents and scare them if we could get in and out at the walk-in clinic. So at 1am Monday morning we headed out, but the walk-in clinic was locked up and closed down, even though the hours showed them as being open.

So at 1:50am, I checked in at our local ER. My temperature on their unit was 100.8 and my pulse was high. I felt like I was burning up. The triage nurse offered me ibuprofen or tylenol but I said no because I had just seen the terrible new report on NSAIDs and heart issues (also the reason why I’ve taken NO pain killers after this surgery). So we sat in the ER while I was hot and cold, waiting for someone to call my name. They took me back for blood and urine and an IV, then sent me back to the waiting room. By about 4:30am, when the triage nurse came to take my temp again and it showed 101.3, I took the tylenol. It was another hour plus before they took us back to a cube. The nurse came in about half an hour later and took my vitals again…the fever went down somewhat and my BP was low. About twenty minutes later, the PA came in and said my bloodwork indicated an infection…probably a UTI. She did a physical, then decided to send me for a CT (with IV contrast) to make sure I had no abscesses from the surgery. Went for CT after giving more pee for a culture (which the next day came back inconclusive), then waited around for IV antibiotics. CT was negative, so they gave me the IV antibiotics and by 8:30am they sent us home with a week of oral antibiotics. Hub and I both went home and straight to bed. He slept

For two days I suffered with the fever, taking tylenol every six hours to keep it below 100 degrees. I’ve never had a UTI before, so I had no idea about the symptoms, even though the PA asked me and the surgeon’s office asked me (when I called to report in Monday afternoon). I thought I was just recovering from surgery and the pain was from that. I thought the fever I had was just hot flashes and night sweats. I just had no idea.

Did I mention also that my baby tooth and the surrounding gum has been irritated since surgery? Even though I told them about the tooth, I think he bonked it. And I don’t have the energy (or the immunity & stamina) to go to the dentist and have them rip it out. Plus, I’m on blood thinners, still, so I suspect going in to have the tooth removed right now is probably not a good idea.

I’ve been SO tired during all this. I assume it’s not just the (second) surgery, but also recovering from the infection. And also the antibiotics are making me nauseated 24/7. I get out of bed and within an hour or two, I can barely keep my eyes open. Then the rest of the day I’m struggling between trying to rest and being exhausted. I am not moving around nearly as much as I did after the first surgery, so despite the fact that I DESPISE the injectable blood thinner, at least it has helped my anxiety somewhat about the blood clots.

I’m also struggling from nightmares about the cancer and tomorrow’s follow-up appointment with the surgeon. I know he’ll have the pathology report, which will set me forward to the next step in this journey. At the very least, I made it through yesterday (Sunday) without a telephone call from him (which is how I heard about the cancer initially, with a phone call from him on a Sunday during lunchtime). It was harder than I thought to go through the day yesterday, as every time the phone rang, I was sure it was going to be the surgeon with bad news…

It has amazed me at how I could tell the different between 98.6 on my thermometer and 99.1. I can feel the heat start, I can feel the chills start. It’s not even a full degree difference, and yet I could tell when it was time to check my temp and take more tylenol. It’s the same with the house thermostat…there’s a major difference for me with 1 degree whether it’s the heat or the a/c. Is everyone else so sensitive? (this was the reason behind the title of the blog post, so I figured I’d better explain the non-sequitur.)

 

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Went to the doctor

Yeah, don’t get all excited. I went into the past weekend (sorry, this is posting later than it was written) with a sebaceous cyst acting up. I’ve had three that I recall in my lifetime. The first one scared the crap out of me because it grew pretty fast and was incredibly painful. It was under one arm and in a pretty lousy place. I went to the doctor (same doctor as today btw, even though I don’t love her) who sent me home saying the cyst hadn’t gotten infected enough yet. WTF. She told me to go home and come back when it was big and ugly and gross, and had a head on it. W.T.F. But like an idiot, I did. And when I went back to her, she gave me a local and cut the fucker open. It was so bad she had to pack it with gauze and I had to go back multiple times to have it cleaned and re-packed. Not a pleasant experience, all-in-all. Because I did it in her office, she said she couldn’t get the “pit” of it out, and it would likely recur. It hasn’t as of yet, but I have a little hole in my skin from the “surgery.” Fortunately, hub doesn’t care and neither do I.

The second cyst was on my back kind of up toward my shoulder. I don’t recall what happened with it, but I think it came to a head without being painful. I, uh, drained that one on my own. It was a painful, uncomfortable, bizarre procedure both because it was GROSS and it was in a weird location. It was difficult to reach and required a lot of pressure and a lot of time. I suspect this happened during a period of time where my anxiety wasn’t that bad, otherwise I would have not done it at home without considering that I could have gotten it infected. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the “pit” out of that one either because there’s a little bump that remains. It, also, has remained dormant.

Now I’m on sebaceous cyst number three. This one has been around and quiet for multiple years. I don’t even know how long. But over the weekend it started getting painful, and now is both red and painful. But apparently not red and painful enough for Le Doctore. She poked around and pronounced it “not ready.” Zuh. She wants me to go on anti-biotics to hopefully kill the infection, then consider having it surgically removed at a later date. She doesn’t do it anymore at all, she says. But her preference for ABs was Bactrim. Said I should be feeling better by Monday (it’s Friday IRL). If not, then it’s referral to surgeon time.

As I have said before, not only am I incredibly sensitive to medication, but I also have anxiety. ANXIETY. Over health and medications and food (mostly food reactions/sensitivities). And thanks to Prilosec I am incredibly paranoid about taking any drugs. My go-to for ABs when absolutely required is a Z-pack, because I know my response to it. At least, I think I do. But she said Bactrim was broader based, better for those nasty “super-bugs” (OMG did you just say that to a health-anxiety ridden person?), and less likely to cause side effects. So like a doormat, I said, “Okay.” I did ask her about Z-pack, but she said Bactrim would be better.

Hub brought me home from the doctor (RX sent directly from dr office to pharmacy) and said he’d pick up the RX after work. Meanwhile, my throat has started to ache. Hub has been sick for over ten days…a nasty one. That has meant no hugs, no kisses, no sharing hand towels, lots of hand-washing… So I’m not sure if the throat is because I had a swollen gum and it’s just extended to the throat, or if I’m starting with allergies that I’ve never had before but am susceptible to…or if I’m getting sick. So I’m thinking, okay, Bactrim will zap that cyst infection AND knock out whatever might be boiling in my throat. And I tell hub on the way home from the doctor that I’m going to struggle not to look up Bactrim on Google. It’s not good for me, it really isn’t. And I’ve done pretty well over the past couple of months.

But listen people, I’m human, you know? And I feel the paranoia creeping over me, so I do it. I type “Bactrim side effects” into the damn Google search engine. And I don’t even have to click on a page because I see it all in the search results….anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, racing heart, palpitations. ZOMG. So I type in “Bactrim anxiety” and I open one page. And it’s ALL OVER FOLKS. People telling me they’re not feeling recovered from the anxiety and paranoia and panic even after months off the medication. I know, I know, I’m a bad girl. But the thing is, if there’s a side effect, I’m likely to get it. And I’m already fucking prone to anxiety and panic, I do not want to do it to myself, on purpose, with full knowledge of the potential.

Did I mention my therapist is on vacation at the beach? Ye-ah.

So after hemming and hawing, I call the doctor’s office and tell them to send in a prescription for z-pack. I haven’t decided if I’ll take it (by now I either did or didn’t) or not, but I did do some research on the sebaceous cyst. People have suggested Castor Oil to draw out the head on the cyst, and to help it drain. I figure I’ll try that and see what happens. Of course, that doesn’t address the throat thing, but I have dealt with that in the past by gargling (and drinking) apple cider vinegar and honey mixed in warm water. It’s gross, but it does work for me most of the time. I already started that regimen, so hopefully that’ll help me without the ABs.

Good news, my blood pressure was disgustingly normal. That’s pretty unusual for me at the doctor’s office. And my pulse was a very nice number…also not usual for me in the doctor’s office. I get white-coat syndrome, and should have had it full force considering I really thought Le Doctore was going to slice and dice that cyst right there in the office using lidocaine and epinephrine (of which I also fear–the epinephrine, not the lidocaine). So that was strange for me. I am starting to suspect the blood pressure deal is because I’ve lost a good amount of weight over the last three years (don’t get all happy for me, it’s mostly been because of diet restriction because of illness–although it’s not like I’m wasting way over here). So hey, good blood pressure and pulse, go me. This is the third time I’ve registered so nicely in some not-so-nice situations, so I’m almost starting to believe that it’s a real number for me. Almost.

We’ll see how this all turns out. Either the cyst will be alleviated without ABs or with. Either I’ll take the ABs or not. Either the throat will hurt or it won’t

Funny, my nutritionist called so we could discuss the anti-biotics. Normally she’s against them because they fuck with your “gut” and that’s what we’ve been trying to heal because my tummy’s all in trouble. And when my tummy is all in trouble, it affects every other damn system in my body. ANYWAY, she said if I (and Le Doctore) feel I should be on the ABs, to go ahead and do it. But I get to anti-whammy it by upping my intake of probiotics. And as I’m on with my nutritionist (who is also a nurse), hub messages me to say my RX for z-pack ain’t in yet, and might not be until tomorrow. *sigh* Hey, at least I’ll get to try to castor oil without feeling guilty that I didn’t start the ABs.**

Wow, this wandered around, didn’t it? If I remember, I’ll come back and drop an update as to what happened. Although, maybe I will have already blogged about it. Gotta love the scheduler on wordpress…blog one day, publish two days–or weeks–later. Fun!

(I feel like I sound chipper, but the truth is, I’m annoyed and frustrated. I hate feeling sick, no matter what kind of “sick” it might be. I feel like I’ve spent way too much of my adult life feeling “sick” in some way. Grrr.)

**Sad to report castor oil didn’t work…did absolutely nothing but make my skin feel softer. Actually kind of felt like it burned a little, but that really could have been the rubbing of the gauze pad against the sensitive skin of the cyst. Meanwhile, due to miscommunication, doctor didn’t put in my RX for z-pack until Monday morning. Hub picked it up after work and I submit to it tonight after dinner…when hub is here and can sit and stare at me to make me comfortable taking pills. I hate taking pills, I always worry about having a reaction because I had a bad reaction to an anti-depressent thirteen years ago given to me for pain relief. I never take a new medication unless hub is home with me and can sit with me for at least an hour. It sucks. I do have experience with the z-pack in previous years, but it makes no difference…I cannot be alone to start a new course of medication.

 

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