hankrules2011

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Health Frustrations

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 23, 2015

I’ve written about my health here before at times. I have health problems. In fact, I’m on disability for Trigeminal Neuralgia and several lumbar issues. The pain can be debilitating. Most pain medications don’t help. I’ve had to have a number of surgical procedures to help, but they’re limited in scope. I also have severe insomnia, which doesn’t help. I average about three hours of sleep a night. I used to try to take naps after lunch every day, for about an hour, so that helped, but I can’t do that anymore for some reason, so that’s gone. Well, this week I’ve gotten up between midnight and 1:30 AM six of the last seven nights, including midnight tonight. I’m so tired and so frustrated and I don’t know what to do. And I’m not asking for advice. I’ve already tried every sleep aid known. I have a sleep doctor. I currently take three sleeping pills to help. They get me to sleep. They just don’t keep me asleep.

Additionally, for well over a year now, I’ve been having nonstop head pain, different from the TN-type head pain I’ve experienced since 2010. It’s been more like extreme regular headaches. I don’t know how to describe it any better than that. And they don’t respond to anything except Percocet. I’ve been to a number of doctors about it. My pain management specialist is at a loss. She put me on two new medications in January, which I believe has helped with my TN-type pain, but not with this new pain. I went to a neurosurgeon, who didn’t really do anything. He’s ready to perform major surgery if and when I need it, but he doesn’t think I do at the moment and he’s probably right. And then last month, after pondering this for months, I went to a new neurologist. He seemed pretty good and pretty thorough and he diagnosed me with a cluster headache, which he said is also quite painful. I hadn’t known that. Apparently I have the symptoms. He put me on a couple of new medications, but I had reactions to one of them, so he took me off of it and put me on something else. I’m not, however, sure that he fully understands my situation because he seems to be treating this like a standard TN-type head pain, or in this case, cluster head pain, when in point of fact, they’re standard bilateral headaches that are extremely severe. I don’t know what to do.

To make matters worse, I’ve been experiencing ungodly back pain for about three months now. It starts about lunchtime and worsens throughout the afternoon into the evening. I usually take over the counter pain medications, which don’t do anything. Then I take a Meloxicam, which doesn’t do anything. Like my head pain, the only pain medication my back pain responds to is Percocet, and even then, not always and not fully. It’s very frustrating. And I don’t know what to do about it. I have no idea what’s causing it and I can’t tell if it’s skeletal or muscular. I went and had a massage a couple of weeks ago. It helped for a couple of days. I have an orthopedist, and I’ve thought about making an appointment, but I honestly don’t know what they could tell me. I don’t know that I’ve done anything new to my back and if they take x-rays or do another MRI and it shows nothing conclusive, I’m going to feel like a moron. All I know is it hurts to sit, walk, and stand. And it’s freaking horrible. Most days, it’s about an 8 or 9 out of 10. I haven’t even mentioned it to my primary care physician because I’m sure he can’t do anything about it. He would just tell me to make an appointment with my orthopedist. *sigh* So most days, I can’t do shit. I can’t go for walks. I can’t even go for rides with my wife half the time. It’s tough just to go to church and sit in the pews. I read a lot and it hurts to sit and read. I feel like a lump and it bugs the heck out of me, but I don’t know what to do.

I do have some good health news though. I’ve been overweight for far too long now. It’s largely the result of being on certain meds for years that have contributed to heavy weight gain. Well, back in 2011, my doctor put me on what I thought at the time was a low carb diet. I was wrong. I lost weight until January 2012. Then I started gaining weight and I couldn’t figure out why. By January of this year, I was a hippo. In February, my wife put me on a seriously low carb diet, which she had been on for a few months herself. It actually wasn’t that hard and it’s been good for me. So I’ve been averaging about 6 carbs per meal every day since then, whereas before I averaged about 36 carbs per meal. And I have now lost about 45 pounds, perhaps closer to 50. That’s not as impressive as some people I read about, but it still feels good. I’ve had to put five holes in my belt and buy some new pants that are three sizes smaller than my former size. I still have a long way to go, to be honest. I have a couple of target weights. I’m three pounds away from my first one. But I’m a very long ways away from my ultimate goal and I don’t know if I’ll ever reach it. But I can try, right? So this has been good and I’m grateful to Gretchen for encouraging and inspiring me to do this. She’s lost a lot of weight herself and has reached her first goal herself. Yay!

I guess that’s it for today. Cheers!

10 Responses to “Health Frustrations”

  1. I understand what its like to deal with chronic pain. I have Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy and cluster headaches and chronic insomnia. It can make life flat out suck sometimes. Sometimes just getting through the day when you have a chronic pain disease is an accomplishment. I’m glad to hear that you are losing weight, and yeah, 45-50 might not be a lot to someone else, but its amazing that you’ve lost that much.

    I hope the new neurologist works out. I stopped going to mine because none of the meds they were putting me on worked. I’m still trying to find a way to sleep easily. Unlike you, once I actually *fall* asleep, I have little trouble staying asleep. its the GETTING to sleep that screws me three ways from Sunday.

    Like

    • You have a lot, yourself, to deal with. You can relate. I’m sorry you have to deal with all of that.

      I’m not totally sold on the new neurologist yet, but I’m giving him a chance. So far, most other doctors have failed. Interesting how we have the opposite sleep problem. I would love to stay asleep. I fall asleep as soon as I turn over and hit the pillow. Three hours later, or less, I’m up. Frustrating as hell.

      Thanks for your input.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. dweezer19 said

    I’m so sorry for your continuing pain issues Scott. It gets so tiring I know. Sending healing thoughts your way.

    Like

  3. kamikazezealot said

    out of curiosity what did the new doc prescribe for the cluster headaches? my mother-in-law and my husband both have them. she takes morphine (but it’s not helping anymore) and he takes topiramate (i think that’s what it’s called). the topiramate is more of a preventative though. it doesn’t stop them, but it helps keep them from getting above a 5 on the pain scale, so it’s at least a little effective. for my leg and back pain, i’m on tramadol, but i’m going to have to talk with my doc about putting me on something else. i become a babbling idiot when i give in and take my meds. my problem is actually being able to function even half-way normally while on the meds. babbling idiots can’t exactly watch and take care of a toddler.
    also, did the new doc do an MRI on your head to find the clusters? that’s the only way they could find my mother-in-laws due to other neurological conditions she has.

    Like

    • Hi. Thanks for commenting. My new doctor put me on several meds. One is a muscle relaxer called Zanaflex. I don’t know if it’s helping at all though. For head pain, he’s put me on Vimpat and Relpax. I took the Relpax for the first time today and it took HOURS, but it eventually helped a great deal. It’s a migraine med, but he said it’s also used for cluster headaches. After about two hours, it had helped dull my pain by about 40-50%. I was discouraged. After four or five hours, it was about 75%, so that was good. However, it’s worn off and my headache has returned and he only gave me samples, so that sucks. I’m going to have to call him tomorrow to call in a prescription to my pharmacy. I suspect, though, that ultimately it will be the Percocet that will continue to be the most effective.

      The doctor did not do an MRI, but he did do an EEG, which also took a long time. He told me this week that my brain looked pretty good, which was good news.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kamikazezealot said

        Glad your brain at least is doing good! Something’s working the way it should. I’ll have to keep that Relpax one in mind and tell my mother-in-law about it so she can talk to her doctor and see if that’s an option for her.

        Like

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about all of your health struggles and especially the pain, Scott. 😦
    YAY and Way to Go! on the weight loss! You and Gretchen are in my daily prayers and continued best wishes sent you way! 🙂
    To add to my health issues, I found out two weeks ago that I have cancer. (I’ve written my last 3 blogs about it…sorta’.) After a bunch of tests, I saw the oncologist. I will probably put up a post this week on what I found out.
    (((HUGS))) and ❤ to you and your SweetG!!! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks so much, but good grief, your situation sounds terrible! I’m really sorry. My dad beat cancer twice and it was really hard. It’s the reason why I moved from a nice resort island up to Tennessee, so I could be nearby and supportive as I’m the only child. Ironic that he died of cardiac arrest two years ago. I hope you have a “good” kind of treatable cancer. I assume you’ll let everyone know? Cheers to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Dad beat cancer once and died the next time. And one of my sisters battled cancer twice and died the second time.
        Yes, I will be doing a post soon on what “new” news I’ve found out.
        HUGS and ❤ to you and SweetG!!! 🙂

        Like

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