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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Little Guardian

He watches over Mom's garden. All seasons, through rain, snow, sunshine and foggy days. He's there, quietly pondering some unknown thought. Protecting the flowers whether they're hibernating for the winter, starting to poke through the dirt in the spring, or in full bloom come summertime.

I don't think he has a name. Not a formal one, at any rate. He's just The Little Guardian.

With Spring just ushered in through the door, it's hard to believe there are already such vibrant colors in the garden this early in the season. Yes, I do realize it's near the end of April... But still... Up here in New England, it tends to find its way much slower than elsewhere. Enjoy the pictures I've taken for you- with permission from my little stone friend- and hopefully it will put a smile on your face.

Little Grape Hyacinth

Lambs Ear
So soft to touch!

Little Johnny Jump-Up!

A Little Pine Cone

Red and White and Yellow!

Hens 'n Chicks
Succulent Heaven!

As a personal update... I'm hoping very soon to be able to start working on my jewelry again. It's just been difficult, seeing as I'm not really able to concentrate very long, and my patience level is next to nothing. I want to create beautiful things- but, still, my hands shake too badly to make anything. The good news is that I see my own doctor next week- and I know he'll be able to help me with the back thing that's going on. I can't describe to you how badly I miss making my jewelry- but then again, I wrecked some chain and headpins just trying to wrap for a new piece. So, I'll keep to things that don't really require fine motor skills for now!

So glad the end of the week is nearly here- and I get to see my fella this weekend, which has me tickled pink. I'm hoping now I have more time to devote to getting better at blogging. I miss it!

Thank you everyone that's sent me kind thoughts, prayers, wishes and good feelings my way.
It's very much appreciated!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Featured, and an Update

I can't tell you how glad I am that I can leave my windows open during the day and evening, and have it be comfortable! There's nothing quite like waking up listening to the chitter chatter of the birds- but most mornings, I'm up well before them!

I'm finally awake enough to sit an concentrate, and to tell you the truth- I miss blogging! I know the last post said I'd do my best to post at least once a week... But that's before life got in the way. I'm sure once things settle down, I'll be back online more frequently!

To kick things off, I want to share with you a Pixie Lily. I bought two for Easter- and gave one to a friend of mine as a hostess gift. She got the amazing yellow one, while I held on to the pink blush plant. I like them since they're miniature versions of the beautiful white Easter Lilies, and they don't stink up the house or make my allergies go absolutely haywire! They're about a 1/3 of the size of the regular large lilies, and bright! So pretty I couldn't resist.

I've also been featured on my friend Joyce's blog today- it really cheered me up! Come on by and check out her blog at Happy Cloud Moments. She did an absolutely gorgeous display of how "Link Love" works- and it's one I look forward to featuring this upcoming weekend as well. Why?! Because "Link Love" rocks!!!!

And now to update everyone as to why I've been a bit... Absent lately.

I've been living with bad back problems for going on 5 years, and up until this point I've always been able to manage the pain and spasms. About 4 weeks ago, I had a bad knot in my back... Which turned into a full blown spasm... Which did not ease up over the course of 2 weeks. Every day- pain. This time was different, though, because I noticed that my leg was getting pins and needles often, and would go numb. About 5 days into this new spasm, I fell. My right leg, without warning, just gave out on me. I didn't think much of it... Until it happened again.

In my rush to be seen by a doctor (which down here in DC is no easy feat- I swear the orthopedic clinics have never heard of an emergency or sudden injury) things have been absolutely chaotic. I had an x-ray done first (after my initial MRI request was denied by insurance), and it reveals in there that there's a little bone chip that's fractured off my L4 vertebrae. The X-ray "technician" said there wasn't anything wrong- but I'm sorry, if my chiropracter/Sports Medicine doctor says it's a bone chip- not a calcification like the tech said it was- I'm going to tend to believe the doctor over the other quack. He said it was also something that I did recently- as a traumatic injury, which I figure... Falling. It's been often- and landing the way I do, it wouldn't be surprising if that's what ended up giving me this new injury. Great.

Well, the X-ray had to be first because my insurance company wouldn't approve the MRI to be done until they had results. I'm pretty steamed by the radiology tech's report- because there is obvious degeneration in my lumbar area, in addition to that bone chip. And funny enough- you can see the "squishy" material of disc in between each of my vertebrae- except for the last two right before my tailbone. There's no clear outline of the disc material which shows as a faint gray, and the L5/S1 (last vertebrae and beginning of tailbone) disc was "black". As in empty space...

I spent 10 days calling my Dr's office trying to get the authorization for the MRI. The woman/receptionist was awful- telling me that she'd call when she had an answer, and that I had to be patient. She also said it didn't look like anything was wrong with my x-ray... To which I told her "Thanks for your opinion, but you're not the doctor." So, finally, the day before I have the MRI scheduled- she and the second "quack" realized how much pain I'm in. And I'm falling down, frequently. She asked me if that was the case- to which I stated that I did in fact put on my "check in sheet" that was one of the problems I needed to be seen for: back spasm, back pain, falling down. They didn't even read my chart.

Mind you, while having to deal with this weeks later, I haven't been on any sort of medication other than ibuprophen that I've been eating like candy. This isn't good for your liver, but it was taking the edge off the pain I was in. Upon talking to said receptionist- she was shocked I wasn't taking any medicine (Uhh, hello! I left their office empty handed, because I'm sure the "Dr" thought I was making a bogus reason to be seen...) and they ended up calling in a prescription for me. It's a weaker narcotic, and it's barely taking the edge off for me... But it's better than eating the ibuprophen the way I have been. And do not worry- I'm absolutely not taking it when I have to drive somewhere. Yes, that's right... Most days at work now I'm suffering through the 8 hours on sheer determination and anger- I'm not letting this get the best of me.

I was able to get the MRI done last Friday- and while I'm no doctor or certified, I did a little research of my own. I Googled regular spine pictures, and ones of herniated discs. Made sure I looked at an array of them, to make sure I wasn't jumping to conclusions. I realize this isn't an official diagnosis, but I wanted to get an idea of why I'm in the incredible pain that I am. It turns out with a lot of detail being shown with the MRI pictures- the L4/S1 disc is not level. There is degeneration in my lower lumbar spine, which I already knew and have been maintaining, but this was different looking that low. Instead of the disc between L4/L5 and L5/S1 being equal in spacing- they're pinched a bit. It's most evident on the lower one, where the "front" side- looking in from your belly- is much thicker than the back side. And it appears that the "bumps" (sorry, I'm too tired to remember the technical term!) you feel on your back when you run your hand down your spine, those two lower ones appear to be "rubbing" and touching. No wonder I have pain...?! I'm assuming that whatever is happening in there, the nerves are being affected as well... Which would explain why my leg just stops working and I fall.

For certain, though, I get an answer tomorrow.
I was able to find an orthopedic clinic that's not far from home, and I'll see the doctor tomorrow morning. I've already decided that whatever is going on, I'm going home to New Hampshire to have it fixed. This visit for the doctors is for work- so I'll be able to take time off to get home and be fixed. My family is around 24/7, and I'll be able to have the surgery, recovery and not worry about pain anymore.

That's a novel thought...
It's sad when you block out pain for so long, it just seems like it belongs there, it's a part of you. I'm looking forward to the day- very soon- which is coming, and I won't have to hurt like this any longer. Dealing with this type of pain literally takes everything out of you... I'm tired all the time, I have absolutely no energy, I don't sleep well, any movement wakes me up, walking is more like shuffling, I drag my foot without meaning to. The day is soon here I don't have to worry about any of that... And I can go for a walk and not have to worry about how sore I'll be later that evening.

I haven't been ignoring you, my readers and fans.
I've just been too tired and foggy to really sit down and complete a regular thought- nevermind try and attempt to write about it. But I managed to do ok tonight! I'm not looking for sympathies either- just words of kindness and encouragement.

One of my favorite sayings: This too, shall pass.

And to soon be fixed, to me, is exciting to look forward to.


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