Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Unpredictable Recovery

Please consider donating to my medical expense fund.  Surgery is expensive.  So is recovery!  http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/carolyn-s-surgery-fund/36820   Thank you!!!


It's not like this is my first major surgery.  But it seems like it, since my body is reacting so differently this time.  So many unexpected complications and problems.  The primary unexpected problem has been adverse reactions to medications that I tolerated only 3 years ago.  I have developed severe episodes of hypotension/loss of consciousness after taking several medications.  The medications that have caused this problem in the last 3 weeks are: Morphine, Oxycontin, Flexeril, and Zanaflex.  Basically, the good pain meds and the muscle relaxants are all out.  That makes recovery very challenging!!!  But these episodes are so scary, for me and for my family, that I am scared to take anything for pain and muscle spasms.

It is really hard to face this recovery without pain meds or muscle relaxants.  The muscle contractures and spasms are so severe that they are triggering migraine-like pain and actual migraines.  So, I'm in a lot of pain most of the time.  I use heat on my neck and shoulders, along with topical creams and massages.  If anybody wants to give me a massage, any day of the week, I welcome it!  I wish I could afford daily massage therapy.  It helps reduce the pain dramatically.  But, of course, insurance doesn't cover my massage therapy.  Also, when I am well enough to go back to Milwaukee, I have a physical therapist that does dry needling therapy on my muscle contractures.  I'd really like to get back to her as soon as possible.

The last complication to deal with is the POTS symptoms.  I wake up with my heart going 105 bpm.  It peaks around 140 standing, 120 sitting.  It's worst in the mornings, then gradually decreases throughout the day.  By the evening, my heart rate is at a happy 72 bpm, and I can finally catch my breath.  I'm taking Florinef and Midodrine for my POTS.  And I'm using the recumbent bike to try to improve my conditioning.  I also take salt and high fluid intake throughout the day...all just to get my cardiovascular system to calm down.  The POTS will take months to improve, but I've gotten better before, and I can do it again.

I haven't ever had to recover from this major surgery without pain meds and muscle relaxants before.  So, that is my new challenge.  It is a long, long road.  So, I'll just keep going.  My family has been amazing with their support.  I am so incredibly lucky to have them to help me through this.  Thanks to them, my attitude has remained quite positive most of the time.  As long as I can remain conscious throughout the day, I feel like I can get through anything.  Although I really hope to not get another migraine that reaches a 10 on the pain scale.  That would bring anyone down.