Category Archives: Oh Life

Help Me Escape My Neck Brace Prison

In case you think I’m just trying to be humorous, I’m not. Get this death trap off of me and burn it to the ground. Tonight is going to be me complaining (shocker) about why I hate my neck brace so much. I have 2 actually. I have a soft collar, which looks like the people who are faking a neck injury from a day time court show. My other one has much more support, even a nice little resting place for my chin and there are a couple of openings so my skin can kind of breathe.

The soft collar is more comfortable, but not super supportive. The other one restricts my movements, like it should, but it is so uncomfortable and it makes me feel like I’m 90 for some reason.

The stupid neck braces prevent me from looking left or right; up and down. This is very dangerous  as I could be completely oblivious to a stalker chasing me. I could miss a parade going down the street, miss seeing on-coming traffic. I could miss that jackass bird that is trying to poop on my head. I know that neck support is essential, but someone should really come up with one that is both sturdy and comfortable.

The stupid neck braces are hot as hell! Of course it would be me having surgery in July. Both of them have my neck drenched in sweat and I overheat very easily. I feel like with all the walking I’ve been doing to try to lose the weight I gained from being unable to be active so much would help me with my weight loss journey. So far, I am seeing no benefits to the neck braces or walks. With my hot sweaty neck braces I can’t smell my neck. I know that isn’t a thing. But I’m pretty sure it smells like rotten feet. Or dirty refrigerator.

On the topic of smelling myself, I am unable to move my neck to gat a good whiff of my armpit. If you know me, you know I have to smell everything. I’m fairly obsessive with smelling my armpits, particularly the right one. That one is my anxiety armpit. I need to check it to make sure I don’t scare people away. Everyone tells me it doesn’t smell, but I know it’s a lie. I have no shame, I will smell these pits any time, anywhere. Sometimes you’ve just gotta know these things.

The next thing I hate the neck collars for is that I can’t lift anything over 10lbs. Do you know what weighs less than 10lbs? Nothing. Not a damn thing. I’ve already unintentionally lifted over the weight limit. How am I supposed to know what specific things weigh unless I put it on a scale. Then what? If it’s over I could destroy the neck. My head feels like a bowling ball being held up by a dandelion stem. I’m all nimbly bimbly.

And the last thing I want to address tonight, is that learning how to move your whole torso to look either direction is harder than one might think. I’m so used to using my head. Once there is an injury you realize how much we take each body part for granted. My neck used to be pretty cool and let me see far and wide. Now I’m like a horse with blinders on, except with even more limits because I can’t move my fricken neck.

I want to be comfortable. I just want to sleep. My scar is looking pretty cool though. I’ll show pics later. I’m too tired to add anything beautiful so this is all you get tonight. I promise you that I will recover like a badass and live an amazing life. I’m not going to let this injury or the debilitating depression beat me. I will most definitely have difficult times and complain, but my life will have a purpose. So if I can hang in there, so can all of you. It’s a bitch, it sucks, people suck, life sucks; but we can’t let that shit win. Let your inner fierceness thrive. XOXO

Help Me! I’m Trapped

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At least part of that statement is true. Haha! Not being able to drive is beyond frustrating. I feel like a burden to those that have to drive me around. I can’t do what I want, when I want. As a grown woman, not being allowed to do what I want makes me feel like a child again. I hate it!

I have two different neck braces. A soft collar that looks like it’s not really doing anything. It isn’t super supportive in preventing me from moving my neck. I like that one best because it’s more comfortable and I feel free. The downside is that I have been walking in the July heat and my neck has been sweating profusely. I dare you to smell my neck brace! It’s gross, and that says a lot coming from me.

My other collar is one that is to be used more for the shower. It gives my neck so much more support and my movements are restricted that is probably the best for my neck to heal. This thing is sweaty. It’s kind of a foam brace. It’s not comfortable at all and makes me feel super claustrophobic. I don’t care to feel like I’m suffocating and I feel that ALL the time when I’m wearing this neck brace.

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I just had dinner and I was struggling to eat. Then I remembered that the surgeon said that I’m allowed to take off the brace for meals. I’m glad I remembered because it would have taken me 2,476 hours to eat otherwise. I still only have minimal pain, but the nerve in the back of my neck is painful today. So far, I haven’t needed pain meds and only take the Valium or Flexeril to take the edge off the sore muscles. And they help me sleep which I love. I am thrilled I can sleep again.

When I was eating dinner my right side, a couple of inches higher than my hip bone is feeling crampy. I’m hoping it’s just gas. It doesn’t feel like it’s related to the incision site at all. It could be that I have only pooped once since last Tues. Don’t worry I won’t stick anymore lollipop sticks up there. I mean, I totally would, but my mom and some of my friends are horrified by that. It worked so I don’t care in the slightest.

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I want to be better now. I am not a patient person. If God wanted me to have patience, He would have built me that way. That’s my great excuse to never have to work on my patience. You can’t argue with God. I’m so sick of this neck brace though. I know it’s there to help me heal properly, blah blah blah. I’m going to burn them once I’m done!

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This is kind of what my neck looks like. This isn’t a picture of me. I wonder if I’ll get copies from my surgery, because that would be amazing. I won’t set off alarms at the airport though. I guess I’m not important enough to have enough metal to set off alarms. I know it’s all in my head, but I feel like I can feel the screws each time I swallow. It bugs me. It creeps me out to have foreign objects in my body. I will have to get used to it because these suckers aren’t coming out. Darn.

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The above picture shows what they did to my neck basically. Not having the disc pinch my nerve anymore is incredible. Seriously, I was in SOOO much pain and even though I’m bored, frustrated, inconvenienced, etc. I’m in such a better place than I have been in months. For that, I’m grateful. Don’t be fooled this will be a roller coaster and there is probably a good bit of complaining in the near future. XOXO

 

Today is a Good Day

Today is a good day for me. I’m stoked that my pain is at a 1/10. My pain level hasn’t been that low in months. The downside to having minimal pain is that I feel almost invincible. After my previous surgeries I have a tendency to over do it too quickly. I’m ready to get back to my life. I want to live again and do normal things.

I went for a nice walk with my mom this morning. Wearing the neck brace is a pain. It’s sweaty and doesn’t smell pleasant at all. I have to really focus on moving my torso instead of just my neck when I’m looking around. The restrictions are annoying. I have to retrain my body to cooperate with doctors orders.

My mom didn’t like my post yesterday about my poop problems. I still have no regrets writing that. It was awful. I didn’t know what to do so I MacGyvered that shit. I’d say I’m quite resourceful, and if anyone was in my position I feel they would attempt to relieve themselves with any options near them. Until you are trapped and that backed up, you don’t get to judge me. I heard that most people go to the ER in those situations to get it manually removed by a nurse. Gross. I also heard that hospitals aren’t supposed to discharge you until you’ve had a bowel movement. Another instance of the stellar communication regarding my hospital stay.

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My pain level has increased to a 4/10 because I thought I could do more than my body can handle. Simple things like sitting, standing and slow walking really take it out of me. I like to think I can do more than I’m allowed to do because I’m a bit narcissistic and feel that my ideas are the best.

I’m going to take a nap and try to let my body reset. My incision sites are so incredibly itchy. My skin is so sensitive and it looks like hives surround them. I want to claw my neck open.  Probably another idea that will be met with criticism from my mother and medical professionals. I do what I want! I’m too tired to do what I want currently so maybe I’ll do what I want when I wake up.

I’m grateful for a partially really good day. I will get better one day and that gives me hope. I have hope that I’m going to have some quality of life again. I’ve missed feeling like I have something to offer the world. I know the recovery process is going to be a long one, but if it means I eventually get to live instead of exist it will be worth it. It better be, because I can’t express enough how much hell this ordeal has been.

Wishing you all happy naps, no pain and wonderful quality lives! Muah!

 

10 Worst Parts Of ACDF Surgery…So Far

It’s obvious that any major surgery is going to be a bitch, but so far this recovery is more difficult than I expected. Usually, I can complain about it, but handle it. I don’t feel like I’m doing so hot. I have been going for short walks every day, which is supposed to be great for recovery.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. Slight pain in my neck and that was it. I’m so lethargic and wait around until my mom can help me with basic tasks. If I drop something on the floor, I just wish it well as there is a good chance I won’t be picking it up in the near future. Here are the 10 things that I am struggling with the most:

1. Brain Fog

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When I have conversations with people, or even text them I don’t remember if it actually happened or if I made it up in my head. Especially with all the meds they gave me in the hospital I feel so out of it. I hate that feeling. It makes me sad and like I’m missing out on stuff. It’s like that crappy dream-like daze where you aren’t quite sure what is real or not.

2. Itchiness

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Every. Freaking. Thing itches! Especially around the incision sites. I want to claw at them, but I’d probably end up with some horrific infection. In the hospital the opiates definitely made me itch. When I asked the nurses for Benadryl they acted like I was asking for a chest of diamonds. C’mon ladies, this is literally your job.

3. Pain

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In case I haven’t said this before; I can NOT take pain meds. I told the surgeon, the anesthesiologist and nurses that I get violently ill with any and all narcotics, but they think they know my body better than I do. They said I couldn’t do the surgery without pain meds. I have an extremely high pain tolerance. When I’m at a 6 or 7, that is someone’s 9 or 10. Anyway, the loaded me up with anti-nausea meds and the patch behind my ear. Someone told me that in 30 years of doing these surgeries he has only seen 5 people throw up after the surgery. I told him I would be the 6th, and he said he highly doubted that.

So, guess what happened? I threw up of course! Do you know how shitty that is after neck surgery? It’s the worst. So to manage pain I’m prescribed Flexeril and Valium to take the edge off. It helps me sleep, but also contributes to the brain fog. I’m not having many appealing options here.

4. Being Bored

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Ok, so I know I was lying around a lot before the surgery due to pain. But this is SOOOOOO boring. I can’t do much. You don’t realize how much you look around and use your neck until you aren’t allowed to. I have to retrain my brain to move my torso and not my neck. I can’t look up or down. No BLT (Bending, Lifting, Twisting). I have to adjust myself a specific way to watch TV. Typing is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I just am right now. I exist but am definitely not living. Makes a good recipe for increased depression.

5. Constipation

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Ok, so this is going to be WAY TMI, but I had to suffer through it so you can read it. I’m also still a little loopy so I don’t care enough to be embarrassed, although when I’m put together again I may delete this part. For now, I have no shame in my game. I hadn’t pooped since the day before my surgery, (Tues. July 4th); I finally got it out yesterday, (Mon. July 10th). That is too long to go without letting that shit out, literally. HA!

I’ve been bloated from all the meds, fluids and being backed up making me look kind of pregnant. I was on the toilet (if you get grossed out last warning to avoid this nasty part!). So there I was, waiting for relief. Nothing happened for a while. I started to strain because I knew there would be a lot, it had been almost a week! I strained so hard I was worried I’d pop a blood vessel or pass out or something. Nothing. Not a damn thing.

I was sweating profusely trying to birth my butt baby, fully dilated but the pushing was no use. Well, my daughter leaves her trash all around the house and there was a lollipop stick. I was grossing myself out, but desperate to get relief. You can guess what I did next, ahhh sooo embarrassing, I tried to scoop out the hard as rock poop with the lollipop stick. You are absolutely allowed to be disgusted with me now, I am.

The stick didn’t work. Only got a bit out. There was an old photograph on the floor as well (I have another copy so don’t worry). And I ripped that into thin strips to continue the attempt to scoop out the poop. This is not my proudest moment. A very low point for me. After several attempts with the picture pieces it all started coming out! This was and is hands down the best shit of my life. I have no regrets…..

6. Trouble Swallowing

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They said this is a common side effect since they move your esophagus and trachea aside to get to your spine. It’s more of an annoying feeling, but I do get anxious when I really have to concentrate on it.

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This is what they did to me.

7. Everything Takes FOREVER

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I’m not even kidding. I can’t bend down to brush my teeth. I sit on a stool and have this little plastic tub thing that I hold just under my lip to spit into when I’m ready. Then, I take a sip of water to rinse out my mouth and spit into the tub again. Getting dressed is a pain. I’ve been wearing the same thing for 2 days now. I don’t even care. I am allowed to take off my neck brace to get dressed, but I have to be mindful not to move my neck when placing clothing over my head. Showering is dumb too. I’ve only showered twice since last Wed. I LOVE to shower every day. I don’t care at this time. I’m struggling with this recovery so I couldn’t care less about my personal hygiene.

8. Migraines

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For anyone who suffers from migraines, I am so sorry for you. I never had them until my car accident in Sept. On top of the nausea, neck pain, hip irritation and general recovery; a migraine is the last thing I need. They gave me an injection in the hospital to help with them and it actually worked. I think it’s called Imitrex. Anyway, they sent in a script for this med. Guess what they did with it? I got vials of the medication and a bunch of needles. Never in my life have I injected a needle into my body. WTF? Are these people serious? Why would you send someone home with an injectable medication without informing the patient? They could have at least told me. And then they should have shown me how to do it. I get migraines every night and almost break down and take it, but I’m afraid I’ll do it wrong. I’m pretty frustrated with that part of it. People don’t think sometimes and I’m usually understanding of it, except when it impacts me directly.

9. Puking

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I loathe throwing up. I have a super weak stomach. One of the major reasons I can’t do narcotics. So when I say no they give me multiple opiates. Makes sense. I said this earlier, but throwing up after neck surgery is a real bitch. I’ve been throwing up on and off while writing this post. I’m sure I moved my neck, how can I not? I have tears running down my face because of this misery and my lack of understanding while I’m still puking. I haven’t taken any pain meds since I was released from the hospital. I’ve even been taking my Zofran (anti-nausea med) regularly. Yuck! I don’t have a big appetite either, so I don’t understand what my body is trying to get rid of. Maybe my serial killer hip ghost?

10. Not Being Able to Snuggle my Buggle

Favorite part of my life

This one is not the least important because it’s last, it’s the one that breaks my heart. I did get to have her come spend some time with me today and she was pretty good about being gentle with me. She wants to touch my hip and neck and continues to ask me to open the scars to show her the screws and my bone. I love every moment with her, but get frustrated when she’s being super wild and it hurts me. I know she doesn’t intend to hurt me, she just doesn’t understand completely. Then I feel awful for snapping at her or hurting her feelings in any way. I’m worried I’m going to scar her for life, because I’m in so much pain and I can’t pick her up or do things for her that a mom should do.

She has been helpful about getting me some stuff though. I asked her to get me an ice cream sandwich, it’s one of the few things I feel like eating. So she goes and gets one. I thank her and she says, “this is for me, silly.” Really? So rude. My mom got me one, but what the hell kid? She’s definitely my daughter. I won’t get to spend the night with her alone for a month, possibly longer if I’m not healing very well. Once the neck brace comes off I still have the weight restriction. We shall see.

Today sucked. I’m itchy and nauseous. I’m sweating and have a migraine. I can taste the puke in my mouth and my cat licked my ice cream sandwich just now. I’m going to retire for the evening. TaTa for now!

Neck Pains and Vagina Games

My surgery almost got postponed. Just a tad before 5pm this evening I got a call from the surgeon’s office telling me that insurance FINALLY approved my surgery. They are only approving a 23 hour stay in the hospital. Laughable. At this point I don’t care. I’m having the surgery. I will be on the road to recovery in a little less than 36 hours. I would have been so livid if it had to be rescheduled. Nothing like waiting until the last second and making me so nervous I almost threw up.

It’s so hard to fake it. I hate the “fake it ’til you make it” saying. One, because it isn’t genuine. Two, that takes a lot of energy. And three, I don’t think I’m that convincing that I’m fine when I’m really not. Chronic pain and mental illness are so misunderstood. It isn’t easy to pretend you’re fine when your head and body are at constant war.

Photo Credit: www.boredpanda.com
Artist: Al Margen

People really struggle with understanding others if they can’t see something obviously wrong with them. It’s like no one actually believes that you are suffering if you don’t have the blood shed to prove it. Once I have the surgery, I’ll have all sorts of people sending me well wishes and prayers. I absolutely appreciate it, but I wish it could be acknowledged that the struggle is real right now.

I keep snapping at my daughter. Pain makes a person so grumpy. I have no patience for her and it makes me feel like a shit mom. I also feel like the most non-fun parent in the world. She has a great dad who spends quality time with her and they have a lot of fun. They do a lot of active and adventurous things. He’s exciting. I’m grateful he is like that, but it’s hard not to compare yourself to that. He is the literal Disney dad (he’s taken her to Disney World twice, one time with me but that’s not the point). I’m boring and tired and in pain. I could happily (well depressedly) stay in bed all day and lay around with her. Apparently, that isn’t much fun for an almost 4-year-old.

When I was watching videos online of the surgery I’ll be having, I found that the inside of your neck looks like BBQ ribs. I can’t get that thought out of my head. So I asked my Dr. at my pre-op if he eats ribs. This is after I asked the essential before surgery questions of course. He kind of looked at me like I was a weirdo. I am. I told him that the inside of the neck reminds me of ribs and I was curious if he ate them after seeing so many gross things during surgery. He responded; “yes. I’m an omnivore.” That was a disappointing response. I did get a hint of a smirk, but that’s about it.

Photo Credit: The Metapicture

My bladder is still trying to calm down. I think I’m finally starting to feel better. I’m not sure, I can’t ever tell. Sometimes I think I’m all better, then I’ll be living on the toilet for the next 2 days desperately trying to pee. I was hoping after the whole bladder debacle I would actually be fine in that area.

I have another story related to this. Last week I was feeling like I had another UTI. So I took some antibiotics and AZO to calm it down. I was on it for several days and it wasn’t getting any better. I thought something else might be wrong. I was at my parents’ house and decided to take a gander at the ‘ol vag. It’s not a pretty picture down there. Might help if I knew my what’s going on down there, but hey web MD told me all I needed to know.

I decided from my vaginal detective skills that I had a genital wart and HPV. I called my ex and accused him of giving it to me. I asked him if he knew that he had an STD before he infected me. He denied, denied, denied. I took pictures of my nether region so that I could inspectigate more closely. I looked for similar pictures on google.

When I found what diseases I probably had, I showed my mom the pictures (of MY vagina, not the pics on the web). Don’t worry it was zoomed in super close. She said it looked normal, but that there was maybe a little sore or something, confirming that I did indeed have an STD. I got an appointment with my gyno the next day.

I go in and tell them that I believe I have an STD, HPV to be specific, as well as, a genital wart. I then told her that I am concerned my vagina smells and that my labia is too large. I asked if she could check it all out while she was down there. With the bladder issues and past trauma they had to use the pediatric speculum, by the way. That still hurt me.

This woman got in real close and searched the whole situation. She inspected all the caves and caverns. I was very chatty. She was super supportive and reassuring. I told her that I took pictures and asked if she wanted to look at them to see what I was talking about. She told me she was good, as she was looking at my actual vagina. Fair point.

I got an anatomy lesson that day. I do NOT have genital warts. I do have some extra tissue. I do NOT have HPV. My labia is normal, she would not classify it in the large category. My vagina doesn’t smell bad, and I believe her because she was right up in there for a good amount of time. No mask.

All the tests they ran for STD’s came back negative. The only thing that showed up was my E. Coli infection. My pee did smell bad. It was that and not my vagina. The pee most definitely did smell like a barnyard. I’m not kidding. It was potent.

I had to call my ex and embarrassingly admit that he “most likely” did not give me a STD. Then fully admit that I was wrong and jumped the gun. I learned that my vagina is normal. I probably shouldn’t search down there too often as I might scare myself again.

All in all the gyno trip was very informative and eased my anxiety. While I thankfully don’t have any STD’s, I have to admit that I just might be a hypochondriac. Thanks a lot web MD for the stressful information. Who would have thought that you shouldn’t get medical advice from the interwebs? Shocking!