Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ta dah! Almost 4 Months Later . . . I'm Boot Free! (Catalan Tee Outfit)

Well, so much has happened over the last few weeks. I've been swamped at work dealing with report cards and setting up my room from the move, along with doing physical therapy a couple times a week after work, so I've gotten behind on my updates. The good news is though, I am making a lot of progress and have gotten rid of my crutches and my stabilizer boot. I'm walking!! A bit awkwardly, but I'm walking.

So, let's go back a few weeks, shall we? I've been doing well in physical therapy and have now progressed from practicing walking to riding an exercise bike and doing one legged balancing exercises, leg presses and squats. Last Wednesday, I went to work without my stabilizer boot, with the aid of a crutch. I made it most of the day before I had to put my boot back on due to swelling, stabbing nerve pains and the lovely purple coloring in my foot. However, this was the day after physical therapy, so I was already sore from that. I tried to keep this in mind so I wouldn't get discouraged. On Thursday, I felt so much better! I made it all day without crutches or the boot. I was swollen in my ankles but not golf ball sized swelling like the day before, and I had no stabbing nerve pain. Woo Hoo! (More CCRP/RSD updates below the outfit post.)

So, I put real shoes on both of my feet Sunday morning and went to church stabilizer boot free for the first time in almost 4 months. I can't tell you how giddy I was. ha, ha. I wore the Catalan Tee for the first time with my Steamer Trunk skirt.

Catalan Tee, Steamer Trunk Skirt, Mia Pali Boots




Scavenger Hunt bracelets

Here's another way I've worn the Steamer Trunk skirt in the past. This was a popback purchase from last year. This poor skirt got horrible reviews because it isn't lined and has a tendency to show lumps and bumps. Luckily, it works fine for me and I love the shape of this skirt.

Steamer Trunk Skirt with Pansy Scoopneck Tee
I've got a couple of backlog outfits while still in my boot that I will try to post in the next few days. Now all I need is a tan. ha, ha. The upside of walking is that  . . . I'm walking. The downside is that I have to wear tennis shoes at work, so this limits what I can wear. My outfits will be boring until I'm ready to wear normal shoes again. I'm really hoping to break out the flats and boots in a couple of weeks. I can wear them for "dates" and short outings, but am not ready to do so at work. :(

CCRP/RSD Update:

I went to see the Pain Management Specialist this past Monday to discuss steps for helping to get the RSD into remission. He told me the same thing as my foot specialist: He thinks that of all the patients he has seen with this disorder, he feels I have the best chance of fighting it due to my attitude and the fact we caught it early. Yay! I now have a special cream prepared by a compounding pharmacy containing Ketamine, Clonidine, Gabapentin, Imipramine, and Mefenamic Acid-lidocaine that I rub on my foot three times a day. I now take two Lyrica pills and am continuing to take Tramadol for the pain. 

Lumbar Sympathetic Nerve Block: 
Rebooting my Sympathetic Nervous System

While at my visit, the doctor suggested that we go ahead and do a nerve block that day as I had the day off and it is important to get aggressive in order to fight RSD. So, I did it! I really get nervous when I have to have procedures done, so couple that with the SUPRISE factor, and you can have an idea of why my blood pressure was 142 over 80 something. ha, ha. I was given some kind of IV sedation and some Versed to help with the nervousness. :) 

I rolled over onto the table and lay flat on my stomach with my head resting through an opening like on a massage table. They prepped the skin on my back and he then injected steroids and a numbing agent in my spinal cord. From what I understand, the procedure is similar to an epidural, but targets only the sympathetic nerves in my foot. (Yes, this is probably the lamest description of this procedure on the planet. ha, ha. Did I mention that it was a suprise and I was REALLY nervous? :) Perhaps, I'll have a better explanation after the next block.) It wasn't pleasant, but only lasted about ten minutes. I felt pressure and a little pain for just a bit and it was over. Whew! My blood pressure went down to a respectable 124 and I was set to go home. :D

The good news is that it WORKED! They put a temperature strip on both my feet after the procedure and almost immediately I felt a sudden warmth in my affected foot which they confirmed with the temp strip. This confirmed the diagnosis and meant that it will be possible to trick my nervous system into shutting off those pain sensations. I will get another one on Jan. 30, and then hopefully my last one will be on February 13. The hope is that each nerve block will turn off pain signals until I am pain free and the CRPS/RSD is in remission. I may need more than three blocks to achieve this goal, but hopefully not. I am so much more optimistic now.

My physical therapist works on improving the stiffness in the top of my foot in the ankle joint area, and so far there has been no improvement, but at my last session he looked surprised and said it had movement now and had softened up. I am also walking on my own and the pain in my toe pad area has improved. I still have good days and then VERY bad days with pain, color changes and swelling, but the good days are far out numbering the bad days now. I still can't make it without pain pills and often have to double up during the day, but hey, I'm walking!!!!

Lyrica and Tramadol update:

Both the Lyrica and Tramadol contribute to sleepiness throughout the day, but surprisingly, I'm getting used to it! I've never nodded off before, but I can go to sleep at the snap of a finger now, and then jerk awake suddenly. My husband bought me a Keurig coffee maker for my school room. I rely heavily on regular caffeine jolts to counteract the tiredness. :)

I'd also say that I'm a bit more forgetful and spacey than usual, so I'm relying on my wonderful teammate to keep me on track.

I weighed my usual weight until I started doubling up on the Lyrica. Now I've gained about two pounds and am in freak out mode. :) I am really watching what I eat, as I've read horror stories about major weight gain on Lyrica. My doctor said that it is mainly water retention, but apparently Lyrica also stimulates the old hunger response, so I'll just have to be careful, but ACK!, it is Girl Scout cookie season and I've ordered multiple boxes. What am I going to do? ha, ha. Other than that, and a cry session at school last week after a very bad day with pain and swelling, I'm not experiencing any more side effects -- knock on wood.

Hopefully yours,
V.B.