Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chiropractic..... No!!!

Curses! Oh cruelest and coldest of days! Oh, sweet lament and terror! Damn damn AND damn!


So, I am told that I really ought to do Chiropractic. As you may have already gleamed from the above (^), I'm not 100% thrilled about the prospect. Not 1% thrilled either. I have heard such awful things about chiropractic (and it's hard to spell to boot!). Word on the street is the CT (chiropractic therapist?... well, I'm sure as hell not spelling out chiropractor every single time!) makes you dependent on his/er services. So that you can't ever feel good again if you quit! This does not sound like a place I want to be!

But my MT says that if I want my muscles to get "reprogrammed" (I'm a computer now?), I must have my joints reprogrammed as well. According to him, one of my shoulders juts forward a bit more than the other, which contributes to my muscle pain. I wonder, though, because one of my PTs (phys therapist not phys trainer) forgot that I had been hit by the semi once and that that was the cause of my pain, and he started going on about how my lousy posture was to blame for the pain. As opposed to the pain being the cause of my lousy posture. So, I'm not sure if my MT forgot as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that he did.

I shouldn't be so closed minded about chiropractic. I mean, I had to look it up on Wikipedia to know that it wasn't chiropractry. My spell check just went crazy. Anyway, that must be a pretty good indication that I don't know much, and really, what do all seven hundred people I've consulted about chiropractic know anyway? Ha...

So, let's visit his website. It is on his business card. It is Bothell Chiropractic and is apparently really ridiculously close to my MT. And uses the exact same logo as my former PT. Coincidence? I think not.

He has a "Dr" title on his business card. Let's see what it's in. Hm, the site about him is conveniently "under construction." Will assume his doctorate is in Germanic Folklore and he knows nothing about limbs whatever. Except my happy pills won't let me be pessimistic.

Okay. What else does it tell us? Oooh, they used a metaphor. I love metaphors:

"Chiropractic care is like building a house – certain things have to happen in a particular order in order for everything to stand strong and work correctly. When building a house, if you tried to put up your walls before you had a solid foundation, your walls would be weak and eventually collapse. If you tried to put on your roof before the walls were ready, you would run into the same problem. The same is true for your body. Your body has to go through a particular plan of care in order to repair itself correctly and fully. There are three general phases of chiropractic care . . ."

Well, I probably will need to call tomorrow. Which means I really, really need to call the lawyer too (at some point, I really will blog about my lawsuit, I promise!). I wonder how I can put the herbal remedies on the "bill"?

Anyway, with chiropractic added to my schedule, that means I will attend the following appointments to manage pain EVERY WEEK:

Tai Chi (45 min)

Qigong (45 min) (as a side note, I heard some people in my office talking about a study involving Qigong as a cure for cancer pain. I'll try to find it and post it here later).

Weights (3 days a week, 45 min)

Massage Therapy (1 hour)

Acupuncture (1 hour)

Psychology- for pain-based depression and pain management techniques (1 hour)

Not including the weights, I already spend 4.5 hrs a week in pain management ness, with weights, it goes up to 6.75, with chiro it will be 7.75! A whole work day's worth of pain management! Plus, I really need to get into some sort of pain support group that actually meets at a time I can go. I should talk with D on Tuesday to see if she's interested (she has rheumatoid arthritis- ow.)

Here's hoping!

Reminding Myself Why I Quit the Vicodin

I can't believe I haven't posted this poem yet. I wrote it a while ago after I started hallucinating from the effects of Vicodin. I kept seeing this man leaning over me with a knife, and I'd scream and throw myself away. I actually ended up injuring myself- hrm. So, obviously I stopped taking the beloved drug for a reason (and by "beloved," I mean "accursed" and "wretched" and "god-awful").

To the man who surely would have killed me if he had just been real

Well, you’ve visited me almost five times now
and every time you’ve failed to impale me with your enormous knife

You have that jagged blade that catches the moonlight even when there is no moon
and dark clothing that I suppose is a mix between an undertaker and a ninja
though the silly bandana over your mouth and nose is more Western rogue-ish
and how the devil do I know you’re smiling when your lips are covered, anyway?

We’ve lost the passion of our early days, you and I, and fallen into a routine.
You lunge, I scream and propel myself away, and then you simply disappear
the cat looks at me irritably and you aren’t there to take the blame
which really makes you like every other man I’ve known

After all this time, I still haven’t seen your face, but I imagine you must be handsome
because, after all, why shouldn’t you be?
I can’t remember your eyes; maybe you wear sunglasses, which is just ridiculous
and might account for why your aim is always so far off

Oh, my mysterious visitor with your phallus-like choice of weapon
I am beginning to wonder if you aren’t the creation of a mind that hates the romantic
but only when it is sensible enough to be awake
and, if you please, if you couldn’t one day try to become some sort of erotic fantasy
I think that that would be just fine

Amanda Martin 2009

"Alternative" Medicine

I'm not 100% sure I'm okay with the term "alternative". Or "Eastern." Definitely not "Oriental." What a problem. I can't even come up with a way to describe the medicine I'm trying. Homeopathic? I will have to do some research.

Okay, so I do acupuncture (one c, why? Apparently I can't access the OED off-campus, but I will try to remember to look it up on Tuesday) at the East Wind Acupuncture Clinic in Bothell. The main page describes what she practices (with herbs and acupuncture) as:

Traditional Chinese Medicine using acupuncture, Chinese and Western herbal medicine and nutritional supplements.

"Herbal medicine." So, now we know. I have some herbal medicine from the acupuncturist, which was very expensive and tastes awful. You put two tiny spoonfuls (they provide you with a baby spoon) in a small amount of water and chug it down quick as you can (not because the directions say so, but because it tastes so nasty. Seriously. Like mud and cinnamon). And it cost about forty dollars, which I don't so much have as now owe.

But it worked, at least at first. I've taken it three times so far, and the first two times the pain went away. But now I have a terrible headache and I've already had as much as you can consume in a single day! Curses! I will have to go back to my tea . It is now brewing, and I will tell you how it goes. That one seems less potent, but it does help take the edge off.

A gal in class tonight told me about this place downtown. I promised myself I would remember the name without writing it down, but apparently I am an ass to myself. Oh... well, I remembered "rainbow" and knew that it's in Seattle, and apparently that was enough. It is called Rainbow Natural Remedies and is in the U District (the other U, not the Bothell one... or the Tacoma one...) That is very convenient. I hear that they will personalize your herbs and make a tea to soothe your particular ailment/s. And that it is CHEAP. Well, I can handle cheap (what I can't handle is $40 for a medicine that only works twice! Oh, it is called Qian Zheng San... and I can't understand any of the sites that give info on it.) I'll try to get a book from the library on these herbal remedies. Anyway, I should be able to get to the U District next Friday, so I'll let you know how it goes!

Anyway, that is what is on my mind. Crazy pain level right now, and all I want to do is take the Vicodin. I shall persevere! Rawr!

P: 9
M: 8 (oh, btw, I think the anti-depressant, Cytomel, is working!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What to do, what to do?

What is there to do about such great pain mixed with a work and school life? How much can I talk about the condition without becoming known as a "whiner"? How much do people know about chronic pain? Should I try to start a support group on campus? But then you have to go to training... ew.

Apparently it is Disability Awareness Month. Consider yourself "aware." There's also going to be some mini-documentaries shot about kids on campus with disabilities. I kinda just volunteered, but maybe they won't want me. I guess we'll see? Not sure if I really have the time to work on this project anyway, but maybe it will help with the whole "healing/dealing" process.

Seeing my "Capstone Adviser" (no more air quotes- have hit quota)on Tuesday, who is one of the profs in my class (yes, singular- I don't feel like explaining but let it be known that I am very busy with this class). I don't know if I feel comfortable talking candidly about how much pain I'm in all the time, because I really really really don't want to sound like a self-pitying little thing. But I also need someone to talk to about this problem and, being my adviser, it ought be him. Right? "Of course, right" (those aren't air quotes- I'm actually quoting from Fiddler on the Roof).

It must be obvious to some degree though. I went to the bathroom and got a paper towel then doused it in cold water and put it on my neck during class today (was that sentence as messy as it sounded in my head?). But I tried to be discreet about it. But should I? Gah!

I don't know how secret I should be about it, or if anyone really cares and I'm just being ridiculous. But then, if they don't care, then I think they should be more aware of this problem. It is a stressful thing!

Well, I guess I'll just plow into the meeting and tell you (hrm or me, because I don't think anyone reads this) how it goes. Cheers!


P: 8
M: 7

"How Relaxing!"

Bitch, don't get me started. Seriously, I am sick of people saying the above when I tell them I go to acupuncture and massage every week. Relaxing? Maybe for people who enjoy these services for the hell of it, but for moody, achy me and my sad, hallow-eyed peers, there is only inevitable pain. It takes pain to relieve pain, didn't you know?

Acupuncture. Oh my fucking God. (Thank goodness I don't send the link to this blog to anyone and am rambling on to myself). Everyone told me it would be so wonderful and wouldn't hurt and fairies would float around singing and flinging flower petals. Everyone was full of it, apparently, or had no reason to go to the acupuncturist in the first place. Acupuncture hurts, at least for me, and a lot. It is insanely unpleasant. They poke you with needles all over and the pain kinda radiates then goes away then comes back. Plus, you're alone and you can't really go to sleep because you aren't supposed to move. You just sit there with "Pure Moods" playing and every once in a while the acupuncturist comes in and adjusts the temperature.

Additionally, I think I had an allergic reaction of some kind to either the metal used in the needles or the fabric softener used on the hospital gown, because I was crazy itchy on my neck and hand after leaving. Had bumps where there were needles in my neck. I'm not sure what this is all about. I was going to ask some of the folks at Tai Chi today, but I forgot.

Now, massage, massage is the real killer. It hurts like hell and people are always saying how lucky I am to get to go once a week without paying. Sure, it all gets folded up in the pretty lawsuit/guy who hit me/his company will pay it all in the end. Assuming I don't lose my lawsuit. Ew. Anyway, I don't have to pay- huzzah? But shoot girl, shoot, it hurts like hell.

There are about ten minutes of every hour of massage that don't hurt. Everything else hurts and a lot. My muscles are being "reprogrammed" but more like I "reprogram" the route of my ball in a pinball machine- by hitting it as hard as I can. The MT's hands feel like knives- sometimes I really start to wonder if I'm being sliced open but am too dumb to realize it. There's no blood yet though. Hrm.

Plus, my MT plays Pure Moods too. So I get to hear the whole CD twice a week and, let me tell you, it ain't that thrilling. I was going to "take back my time" by making my own mix, but the whacked-out computer problem nixed that idea for now. Anything but pure moods though... I'm sure I must have something. I have random songs from that damn CD going willy nilly through my head.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Partners against pain

I saw a commercial for this organization, Partners Against Pain, on TV tonight. I have never heard of this group, but they appear to work to help people with chronic pain (like meee!). Naomi Judd was in the advertisement (and she looked great, BTW). So, let's find out more about this thingy.

Website is:

From the Purdue website (apparently they started PAP... worst initials ever...):
Partners Against Pain® is a resource that serves patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to help alleviate unnecessary suffering by advancing standards of pain care through education and advocacy.

In 1993, to raise awareness of the importance of pain management, Purdue Pharma L.P. established Partners Against Pain®, an alliance of patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers dedicated to pain management education and advocacy.

-- I'll look this site over more in the future but for now, I wanted to let you know that this sort of thing is out there! I am very excited because I feel like there aren't any support groups or much support at all for my condition. It's hard to go through alone!!!

P: 7
M: 8

¡Happy Pills!

Yes, yes, I have succumbed to the glory of artificial joy. My psychologist recommended it months ago, so really I haven't been on the ball, but my goodness I'm on a lot of medications now- even though I weened myself off of the pain killers (none of any kind for three weeks now! That includes stopping Vicodin. feel empowered and in pain hrm...). They add up, you know? And it would be nice to take something to help me sleep when I'm in pain too, but that'd be too risky, and I hear those are super addictive.

So, I have begun taking Cymbalta, which works both for depression and pain from things like diabetes and fibromyalgia. I take this tiny pill two times a day, and it should help the pain a little bit (but I didn't know it would... I guess I am taking something for the pain medicine-wise then :( ) along with the pain-based depression. Who DOESN'T get depressed when they're in pain anyway?

I don't know how it'll work, if at all, yet, but I will be sure to keep you updated. I just worked out so this hyperactivity cannot be attributed to the medicine yet!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


So, pretty much everyone has told me that acupuncture doesn't hurt, you don't feel a thing. Lies! You can completely feel the needles and they sometimes hurt, sometimes for a while and not such a small amount. It isn't as though you forget the needles are there, especially when they leave you lying there with nothing else to think about. Ew.

Really did not enjoy acupuncture. It didn't hurt that much but the lying there with nothing going on was crazy boring. The acupuncturist was probably in the room for two minutes total, putting in and taking out the needles. Felt like what my insurance was paying for was a short-term rental space, not a treatment. But we'll see if it works.

Speaking of boring things, my MT plays the same CD each week, Pure Moods. I know that it is Pure Moods because there were so many infomercials for the darn CD back in the 90's when I watched TV 24-7 (plus, I looked it up on Amazon to verify it). Good God! What do these people think, we enjoy the same ol' boring mix every time? The CD playing at acupuncture was equally unappealing.

I think I should just make my own "calming" mix CD and BYOCD. Make these experiences a little more enjoyable.

P: 7
M: 5

Would it Help if I Complained a Little More?

In general company I mean. I'm caught unaware by people in my circle who don't seem to know that I've been in pain the last three years, a lot of it terrible. How can they not know, right? It must've come up at some point- they should have seen me downing some pain pills or asking to borrow some or something. Should I have been more vocal about it, or were they just not paying attention?

I find myself getting irritated at people when they show the slightest impatience toward me. Or if they say they are too busy for something that I have made time to do- like a joint commitment that they back out of. I want to scream at them, tell them that I spend every goddamn Wednesday going from appointment to appointment to appointment, even though my psych. appointments are on Mondays but it works better verbally to put it all the same day. I still got acupuncture, massage, and Tai Chi- if I could have psych on Weds, I would, and maybe I will. Just would have to go to Issaquah, and that's kinda far.

I'm just so irritated right now. I'm tired of hearing about everyone else's problems without them listening or asking or caring about mine. You know? I probably mentioned my problem, and they weren't paying attention. Or they never asked why I take so many pain pills, or they just dismiss it. Maybe they think it's one of those little things so many people have. But it's not.

If I scream it loud or complain in depth, maybe give a little rant, maybe they'd get it. This isn't some little thing- it is my life interrupted and permanently. Even when I'm not in great pain I can remember what it was like and what it will assuredly be again. The memory is one of the worst parts - like in Buddhism one of the great sufferings is the realization that your happiness is only temporary.


Tired of hearing of other people's problems. Seems like the only people who care about my thing is my closest family. Getting tired of no one caring. No one much asked me how grad school started either. Or my new job. Big things, big things.

Tired tired of giving.

P: 4
M: 2

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Migraines vs Bad Ass Headaches

I know, I know, it's terribly petty but it pisses me off to no end how many people claim to have migraines. Then they go on to say how they "handle" it- tough it out and stay at work or whatever, never calling in sick. Like I'm a weakling for having to stay in bed with my entire torso encased in ice and a blanket over my head with earplugs in.

You know what I mean? A real migraine means you can't much do anything- not watch tv, not listen to music, not move. It makes you throw up it hurts so bad. Maybe my definition of a migraine is just too limited by my experiences of pain.

Maybe not.

I think that a lot of people want to relate personally to what I'm going to, if I've told them about my pain issues, but I don't WANT them to relate. Because I don't think that most people can, really. I've been in extreme pain so often and since I was eighteen-years-old! The sort of pain I have is comparable to what 70-year-olds must endure- age pains, you know? But I'm young, so I'm angry that I have to deal with it now.

What's worse is that my psychologist says she has migraines, but the way she talks about it makes me think that they're just really bad headaches. Who could give a lecture to UW grad students with a migraine? It's impossible to think! But now I can't tell her about my frustrations, because she does the thing that frustrates me. Psychology is tricky.

Okay, I'm wiki-ing "migraine."

From Wikipedia:

Migraine is a neurological syndrome characterized by altered bodily perceptions, severe headaches, and nausea.

-- so what does "altered bodily perceptions" mean? Ah, lots of stuff. Like excessive "urination" and diarrhea. Blurred vision. Extreme sensitivity.

There are no words to say how awful it is to be in a level of pain characterized as a 10. That's the point at which you think about going to the kitchen and slicing open your wrist. I think the only times that I am truly depressed are when my pain peaks above a level of 8. Then, you can't help but watch your mood decline to the lows- 3 at the highest.

So when people try to compare an achy knee or things like that, I get pissed off. I shouldn't, but I can't help it. There's so much anger and I just don't know who to aim it at. It doesn't work to be angry at God or whoever/whatever you believe in. I can't believe that I'm being punished or I get depressed. It's easier to be mad at people.

As Helen says in Diary of a Mad Black Woman: "I'm not bitter. I'm mad as hell."

Though I don't know why I rant now- I'm in very low pain levels at the moment. Had a migraine night-before-last/yesterday morning though, and it stays with you (app. called the "postdrome phase.") ugh.

P: 3
M: 5

Friday, October 2, 2009

Where did my modesty go?

It just feels like, at this point, all the modesty I once had has flown the coop. Seriously. Three years ago I would have felt insanely awkward being topless beneath a blanket in a room with a strange man- but massage therapy is really different based on the gender of your MT. At least, that has been my experience. I didn't realize I'd scheduled with a man at first- but it didn't matter much after the fact, right? I was already in there, so I was gonna go through with the massage.

I felt a little awkward, I guess, but he's a health care professional. At least that's what I kept telling myself.

Anyway, the massage was a lot different than those I've had in the past. I think that the reason is because the MT was a man (is a man... I'm seeing the same fellow again on Wednesday). The women MT's seemed much gentler, like you were poked a bit but not much really happened. With this guy, everything was painful and it has been hurting a lot since. But he really sounded like he knew what he was talking about- realigning my muscles and overcoming muscle memory and all that. He really seemed to think that he could make the pain go away after a few more sessions.

Probably too optimistic, but anyway, this post is meant to be about a loss of modesty.

I got a gift certificate to go to a spa for a massage treatment and some sort of full-body facial-type thing, which I went to last month. They had all these modesty protectors in place- a robe to wear most of the time, throw-away panties to wear in the shower, a zillion towels, and I was like "Shoot, girl, t'ain't got nutin' you ain't seen a zillion times befoah!"

Which may mean I could go in for a bikini wax and not mind- though I've been afraid and never gone before. Hrm.

I used to be so afraid of being nude in front of people I didn't know! Like, people never took showers in gym when I was in school! I can only guess that being semi-naked in front of MTS, PTS, MDs, etc. so often has lowered my inhibitions.

Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.....