Monday, November 29, 2010


I've been a bit bummed today and yesterday, because I found a description of myofascial pain syndrome in Patrick Wall's Pain: The Science of Suffering while working on a paper.  It just kinda reiterated what all I knew, but didn't give much thought to, on account of thinking myself uneducated.  I actually only got my diagnosis a few months back, but I thought it was this all along.
Unlike fibromyalgia, myofascial pain is localized to one area.  There are tender points where pressing will often result in pain, which spreads to distant areas and imitates the pain of which the patient complains.  Under the tender points, a taut band of muscles can be felt… Myofascial trigger points may appear in the region of injury to the vertebrae as in whiplash accidents… When the pain has lasted for six months or more, the prognosis becomes progressively worse.  Local treatment of the tender spots provides temporary relief, but the tenderness returns… Because [the doctors] can demonstrate no local cause, they conclude that the disease does not exist. (104)
Anyway, today was a high pain day.  In fact, it is so bad right now, that I'm wondering if I can tough it out for all I need to do tomorrow: work, internship, reading group on human migration, class.  At least I don't have PT, though I think I will need to work out tomorrow.  I didn't today because of the pain.

Weird spasms in my stomach today too.  I'm not sure what's up with that, but if it happens again, I might need to call my doctor.  Nothing I've felt before, so I was more interested it than annoyed by the pain- but it was pretty bad.  Also, I keep losing feeling in my fingers again.  Most annoying.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I know, I know.  It generally is associated with war zone type things.  And I do not want to in any way demean those experiences, but I was actually diagnosed with PTSD a few years back.

The reason for my pain, as I have said a few times but not recently, is a car accident.  I was in the back passenger's seat of a friend's family's car when a semi truck lost control on an icy road and hit us.  (Side note: it is really surprising to me that I can write that so apathetically at this particular point.)  Anyway, it took me a while to be comfortable driving (like years) and then I was in another accident that totalled my car (girl ran a red light), so that made it worse again.  But the worst thing is driving in icy conditions.

Anyway, it doesn't actually have to be me driving, just having to be on the road when it's icy out plays mad games with my stress levels.  I don't get flashbacks, but I remember, and I get so angry.  Seriously angry.  Because it was so idiotic to be on the road in the first place, what with it being so icy.

But the thing is, we never think that something terrible is going to happen.  Sure, it's icy, but worst case scenario, we'll spin into a ditch.  The thing is, I know how bad it can be.  I can't even honestly say that I feel I lucked out, because maybe the alternative would have been better- who knows?

And I feel like it has to be something pretty damn important to get me on the roads on an icy day like today.  Like an emergency or having a baby.  Possibly the apocalypse.  Who knows?

Very very bitter.  Grr!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Terrible Pain Day

I'm really starting to think that alcohol does help with pain.  At least temporarily.  I was pretty tipsy all last night, and I was okay with the bad pain.  But then I was perfectly sober all day today, and it was rotten.  Serious pain situation right now.  But I'm going to have to tough it out tomorrow.  So here's hoping (once again) for snow.

It is a short week, so it is more or less just me toughing it out for work the next few days, plus PT tomorrow morning and Wednesday morning.  I'll need to make sure to get to the gym, though I find it never helps during a pain crisis, only with general pain management.

The worst thing about PT is that you have to cancel 24 hours in advance or you get a $50 fine.  So if I'm in a pain crisis, I have to suck it up and go in (where they make me work out no matter how bad it hurts, sadists) or pay the damn fifty bucks.  But today is Sunday, so they are closed, and I can't cancel for tomorrow.  Plus, I sure as hell didn't get up at 7:45 a.m. on a Sunday following a party.

I should be writing some poetry to actually better consider the implications of the pain-filled body, but the trouble is, the more pain I'm in, the less I want to think about anything.  It is hard enough to consider surviving the night-- sometimes, it feels like I will just slip away from the pain.

Anyway, better get to sleep so I can get up at 7 for PT.  I really should get up half an hour earlier, but I'm not going to.  They don't fine you for being late (yet).  There you have it.

lame gym day

Well, today I certainly did not get my money's worth at the gym.  I knew I was pretty tired from trigger pointing yesterday, so I went a medium mellow route and did the stationary bike.  Anyway, it didn't go so well.  I was so exhausted and achy that I burned fewer than 300 calories (which is not so good).

The good news is, I did stretch a bit today.

I don't really much feel like writing right now, especially not retrospectively.  In any event, I got 60 of the 90 midterms graded, and will finish up tomorrow.  Obviously, this did not help much either.

Too tired to be awake.  Good night!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Eye Hurts

The trouble with trigger point injections, day one, is that you have numbness and massive migraine-like (i.e. behind eye, light and sound sensitivity, wanting to burrow under you blankets and die-ness) switching back and forth.  I feel fine and think it's over, then suddenly I have to go diving under the covers because the light is burning my eyes.  Right now, I ache all over.  I got an injection in my bicep on my left side too, and it hurts all the way down the arm.

It did not hurt as much when she was giving the injections this time.  Except the one into my arm.  That one hurt all through my arm.  It felt like she was making my muscle take in liquid past capacity, and it was going to explode.  Really hurt.  The others weren't pleasant, but a lot less UNpleasant.  Which is something, I suppose.

Plus, for once she didn't leave the room (for fifteen minutes!) while I changed from a shirt to a hospital gown (which is really unnecessary in itself).  I really am not THAT shy about a woman doctor seeing me in my bra.  And anyway, she turned around.  And I think I posted earlier about how this whole process has made me a lot less self-conscious about nudity and all that (and all what?  really?  am I seducing my doctors, no).

Also, I found out that my PT really did mess up my left shoulder.  Week before last, one of the PTs had me doing whatever their calleds where you pull straps down from over your head to about chest level (weights are on both side on floor).  Anyway, I kept feeling this kinda snappy sensation in my shoulder, somewhat like the cracking of a knuckle or better yet your jaw.  Well, I asked her about it, and she said not to worry, it was just the joint, and keep going.

Well, my doctor told me today that it was not my shoulder (she pointed out where shoulder joint stopped and shoulder muscle began) joint cracking, but my muscle, which is a sign of overstress.  So that's one of the reasons the pain has been so bad lately.  Plus, she also says I need to focus MORE on stretching and LESS on strengthening, which is opposite of what they are saying at PT.

I'm going to go with her opinion, on account of she was recommended by my primary care dr., and he always knows what he is doing.

Suffice to say, the Mandy is pissed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

busy busy busy

Last weekend, my pain was pretty bad on account of I had so much to do (long weekend= how much work can I get in?).  Anyway, this weekend will be crazy too.  On account of midterms number two for the class I'm TAing.  80 students.

I know that may not sound like a lot to you, but I went to a small Catholic school for undergrad, and the max I have in class for grad is 18 (i.e. the whole cohort).  Class sizes at Seattle U were tiny in my program, because it was new (Asian Studies- one other person from the program graduated with me).  In one class, there were six people (actually... in two classes).  The biggest class I have ever been in was about 30 students.  So this is a big class.  The prof speaks with a mic.

Anyway, it is also bigger when it comes to grading.  Because it takes forever.  I spent almost five hours grading yesterday, and that was just a one page response (I make comments... because they pay for a top grade education, and they deserve notes... even if no one reads them, as evidenced by the same error by the same student in every paper in about half the cases.. sob).  I expect that grading the midterms (to be fair, I am only grading the ten identification questions, but it took me all weekend last time) will take at least ten hours.  My back already hurts.  So let's see where this goes.

Side note, the point of me making this blog separate from my other one was to create a space to bitch and moan in.  So those few of you who suddenly found my blog and started judging, please leave.  Seriously, I did not start writing this thing for fame but for THERAPY.  Real therapy got too expensive and time consuming.  There you have it.

I do not want to leave the house tomorrow.  Please snow please snow.  Am not looking forward to more trigger point injections.  They hurt so bad last time.  And then I had the GRE, so there's all that terrible association.

Anyway.  No more whining.  Must finish Nanowrimo words for day.  If you don't know it, look it up.  Or not.

Pain Mapping

I am mapping my pain on a geography type map (Google mapsian one) for class.  Well, and for me and my autoethno paper.  Anyway, charting my pain at least once a day, mood, weather, and linking it to a blog post that gives more details.  I'm hoping to see how weather and location affect my pain.  That is the genius plan anyway.

Here is the description from my map-
Pain Mapping
A project to connect pain with conditions such as location, weather, activities, and other factors.

Key: Red= high pain levels
Pink= Medium pain levels
Blue= Lower pain levels
Aqua= Treatment

Weather reports from Google Weather.

View Pain Mapping in a larger map


Well, there we have it.  The pain progressed because I was stupid.  Really, I would like to blame any number of things, but it was all of them together, I'm sure.  And it was all my stupid stupid fault.

What idiot things I did yesterday to bring myself to such a high level of pain today:
  1. Did not work out
  2. Did not ice my neck
  3. Pushed a friend in a wheelchair, even though we both knew I should ask someone else to help.  Genius that.  She straight out told me I shouldn't, and still I did.  Shame on the me.
  4. Sat for a very long period of time without break.  On account of I needed to get 80 papers graded for today. I'm getting 80 midterms to grade this weekend in about five minutes here.  So I really wanted to get those papers graded.  But if you really want it done in a day, you gotta sit for a big part of that day.  Also went to GSA meeting.  Lots and lots of sitting.  Brilliant.  Especially when combined with 1.
  5. Forgot to take pills 'til midday.  Genius again.
Anyway, today is high pain, and I am trying to tough it out.  Only four more hours at work, and at some point, I'm going to get a lunch in.  Eventually.  Well, here's hoping anyway.  Need to stay at desk until 80 midterms are dropped off.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

stupid pain

Well, I have to wonder if maybe the rain has something to do with it (or maybe by not having taken any pills yet this day, which I've only just remembered), but there is an awful lot of pain right now.  Good thing I can still take my pills (including morning pain meds), plus still have both doses of emergency meds I can take today.  I also must admit I did not go to the gym.  Did in fact get to gym but had forgotten clothes (perhaps a Freudian slip-of-the-mind?).

Anyway, the new PT seems very nice, but I'm starting to wonder if they haven't told her about the whole was in a car accident cause of this pain.  She was focusing a lot on posture, which the last PT who didn't read my medical history did.  I should probably ask her.  Also, need to make sure that my insurance actually pays them.  If not, I'm not going any more.  Too expensive!

So, I will take my pain meds, and hopefully that will help.  And eating.  Tricky that.

busy day, low pain- what can it mean?

Possibly it just means that I have taken a number of pain medications today.  Including my emergency pills.  I think I'm okay taking up to two a day, which is what I've taken, but I can't take any more.  I suppose that's fine, on account of it somehow became tomorrow.  Which means, I can take my pre-going-to-bed pills.

There will be a new PT for me tomorrow.  Guess I'd better update more often, because things change quickly.  I usually go to two different PTs in the same office per week.  Well, one of them seems to have been fired.  I can't be sure, on account of no one will talk about why she's suddenly gone (I know she hasn't died, but I think people would tell me if that was the case anyway), but I reckon the not talking thing is pretty indicative of a firing.  I imagine it might have something to do with her talking about Jesus all the time at work and people in chronic pain being pretty irritated in him even if they happen to have been Christian in the first place.  Anyway, it was always a bit awkward.

Me: The pain has been pretty hard to deal with lately.
PT: The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Me: .... o...kay...

So, I hope the new PT is good or at least nice.  I've got to suck it up and make sure my insurance is paying tomorrow too.  Ew.  Plus, my other PT asked me to bring in all the exercise sheets they've given me in the past few months, and I've lost them.  So I'm hoping he won't ever remember.  Good plan.

I am (more or less) doing the exercises.  I know them by now.  So none of that.

Anyway, going to have a go at finishing High Fidelity (book not movie), then go to bed.  'Cause the pain seems to be seeping back, little bugger.