October 04, 2018

The One When My Body Started Falling Apart

Well, I am just a big old mess right now. And for once, it's actually a physical mess instead of mental ;)

Mentally, I have been feeling pretty good for a while now. No depression, anxiety is under control, feeling relief after my candid post about my weight, finding excitement and joy in running again... it's so nice!

I've been staying super busy, which I think is the reason that my anxiety is minimal--my mind has been on all the good things I have going on right now, so I don't have much headspace to worry. The only thing I've been a little stressed about is my weight.

I've been doing good with my diet (by "diet" I just mean my daily eating routine, not a meal plan or anything that I'm following). However, I haven't seen any weight loss. I know I need to give it time, but seeing progress--any at all--would be really helpful to keep me going.

So, while I've been doing great mentally, my physical health is a different story. I have a chronic problem from my neck to my hand, and then yesterday... ugh. Yesterday just wasn't my day!

As you know, I've been working on my house--renovating the kitchen, living room, and dining room all at the same time. And I've been doing about 95% of the work myself (Jerry helps when he can, but because he works 12-hour shifts, the last thing I want him to do is come home and work some more. Besides, I actually really enjoy working on it!)

Estelle does, too. She feels like the queen of the castle while she helps me paint...


(I LOVE the living room color, which you can see a little in the background. After a couple of people commented that they thought the color would be too dark, I was worried... but I'm glad we went with it!) Oh, and if you look at the carpet behind me, you can see a dark blob on the floor. That is just one of many dark paint blobs from Joey stepping in a paint tray and then walking around the house. Thankfully, the carpet is coming out soon! Painting with pets in the house is a big challenge.

While this project has been fun to work on, it has taken a big toll on me. Remember when I was going through physical therapy last year because of my back problems and my shoulder pain? Well, the problem is back, and it's much, much worse. I have no doubt that all of the scraping, mudding, sanding, and painting are the cause of it. I saw my doctor last week, and he agrees.

From what I learned last year after seeing a spine specialist, I have a herniated disc in my back, which is the cause of my mid-back pain (that was nothing new). The shoulder pain was caused from a compressed nerve. The nerve runs from my neck through my right shoulder and down my arm, all the way to my fingers. All of the physical work I've been doing has really made it flare up, resulting in severe shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand pain.

And the pain isn't the worst of it. My fingers go completely numb when I'm using my arm at all (especially when raising it above my head), and there isn't anything I can do that relieves it. It's especially bad at night. I wake up several times during the night with a pins and needles feeling in my fingers and excruciating burning pain in my hand and forearm. I've been wearing a wrist splint, at the recommendation of my physical therapist, but it honestly doesn't help much.

I have an appointment with a neurologist on the 16th, but until then, I am just going to rest my arm as much as possible--which means no painting or working on the renovation. I'm bummed! I did manage to get the rooms and trim painted, but I still have to do the cupboards. The house already looks a million times better, but it won't look fully "done" until the cupboards are painted and we replace the flooring.

Anyway, not only do I have the issues with my arm, I had a bit of an accident yesterday. I was standing on a chair, painting the doorway trim, when the chair wobbled and as I tried to balance, I fell. The chair tipped out from under me, and my shin fell right on the edge of the chair. As I went down, my shin dragged across the chair's edge, and I swear I could actually feel the blood vessels rupturing. I knew my shin wasn't broken or anything, but the pain was horrible and my skin had a huge bruise immediately.

Check this out:



That's what it looked like just an hour after it happened! I can only imagine how it's going to look as it heals. But aside from the ugly color, it's also extremely painful to the touch and especially when I walk. That really sucks, because I had just gotten excited about running again! I can barely walk without a limp, so I doubt I'll be able to run on it for a couple of days. The Melanoma 5K Walk is on Sunday, but I'm sure it'll feel better by then.

Who would have thought painting could be so dangerous? ;)

Oh, and if the bruises and pinched nerve weren't enough... yesterday, I was in the waiting room at the orthodontist with Eli. They have free coffee, so I poured a cup and sat down next to Eli. A second later, Eli was called to go in, and when he stood up, he bumped into my arm. The entire cup of hot coffee dumped onto my legs!


So, I just added coffee burns on top of my bruises 😩 I had to go right to our cross country meet from there, so I had very wet, stained pants. It was just NOT my day yesterday.

Now that the walls are painted, I will try to get some pictures of the house progress and post an update tomorrow!


36 comments:

  1. I had a pinched nerve behind my shoulder blade a few years ago that was causing excruciating arm pain and going to a chiropractor for a few adjustments fixed it. My insurance covered it. I just had to pay the copay. My doctor had just given me a bunch of painkillers which didn't help and never tried to fix the underlying problem. Good luck!

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    1. I took your advice and went to a chiropractor yesterday... I was DESPERATE to get rid of the pain in my hand and arm. The doctor was very convincing, but I've always been a skeptic of chiropractic medicine. When I left there, I was very hopeful! But I still had excruciating pain last night. The doctor said it could take a few visits to notice the difference--I had just been hoping for a miracle ;) How long before you noticed it was better?

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  2. Oh my. Sorry about you fall and all of your pain. I love the color paint you use. We just painted our bedroom that color or close to it.

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    1. Thanks! I love it, too. It's very different from what I've always chosen in the past, and I love the freshness!

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  3. How about a massage or a few all over body massages?? Massages really helps loosen tight muscles for me! I think it might help with pinched nerves. Worth a try at least 🖤

    EX: my wrists/neck/shoulders get stiff at times. I immediately know my neck/shoulders are tight because I’m lifting heavy groceries and my body doesn’t like that. Massage really helps work out the kinks and I feel so much better in 1-2 days. Sometimes my fingers get tingly nervy sensation and it hurts. What do I do? Get a massage! It seriously helps!

    I hope you try it!

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    1. I think you are right about the massage! I don't know if it would help this issue with the pinched nerve, but I am SO tense in my shoulders and back all the time. Jerry massages my back and he can feel knots and just how tight my muscles are there. I think a deep tissue massage would probably help a lot! I just made an appointment yesterday.

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  4. I have the exact same problem with my left neck/shoulder. Thorasic outlet syndrome. I tried pt and it didnt do much and I've been dealing with it but it's hard. Somedays are better than others. I know I'll have to see a neurologist soon. Ugh

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    1. I keep hoping it's only temporary due to all the work I've been doing on the house. It really sucks! I'm sorry you're dealing with the same issue.

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  5. hey-- not a doctor or a health professional (of any kind) here, but...1) have you talked with your md about your meds being the cause of your weight gain? I only say this because I've been there. yes, of course eating more and moving less will do it, but psych meds can alter your metabolism. it's happened to me quite a bit over the last decade--generally I tell my doctor "no gainers," and we do the best we can. currently I'm on a med that is upping my metabolism and dampening my hunger...there's lots of trial and error with this (which stinks). secondly, you might ask your neurologist about neurontin. it helps most kinds of nerve pain, and is also a pretty good anti-anxiety med. please don't feel the need to post this comment-- I just wanted to share some of my experiences with you, because sister, I feel you, ya know?

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    1. Thank you for this! My doctor knows that I'm very concerned about weight gain, so we've always been careful to try meds that aren't known to cause weight gain; but unfortunately, there are few psych meds that don't cause gain! It's certainly possible that my meds are contributing to it. My diet is far from perfect, but I know I'm not eating enough to justify this large of a gain. I certainly think that the meds have increased my appetite. I've been ravenous!

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  6. would you mind sharing the paint color of your living room? it's terrific!

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    1. Thank you! It's by Sherwin Williams and the color is called City Scape. I really love it!

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  7. Ouch! That's no fun :( Your house is looking beautiful!! But I hope you feel better soon. All this pain can't be fun!

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    1. It's miserable! And I've been so excited to work on the house, but I really can't while my arm is feeling like this. I'm getting antsy while waiting.

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  8. look for stretching exercises online for a shoulder with pinched nerve... I was able to get rid of awful sciatica pain that woke me up in the middle of the night just by stretching. It won't hurt to try

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    1. I think a good stretching routine will be very helpful! When I was in physical therapy last year, my therapist gave me a stretching routine to do at home. I stopped doing it after a few weeks, but I definitely think I should get back to it!

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  9. I love the colours you have chosen. Very Scandinavian and chic!

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    1. Thank you! It's different from what I would normally go for, but I absolutely love it!

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  10. Sounds like you just need to take a few days off to heal from yesterday and all the work you have been doing. I actually like the color in the living room. I can't wait to see the rest. Please take care of yourself. Back issues are not something to mess with. Listen when your body tells you it's too much!

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    1. I did listen, and that's why I'm so antsy while waiting for it to heal! I want to get to working on the kitchen again ;)

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  11. Hi Katie - I have followed your blog for quite a while but have never commented. I have also suffered from pinched nerved in my neck for a couple years. Same as you - pain runs from my neck along my shoulder and wraps around my arm into my wrist. Same numbness in fingers too. I recently had a baby and my posture while nursing made it flare up BIG time. I went to a chiropractor who was licensed to do dry needling. It was a miracle!!! Within 24 hours the pain was all gone. Something to look into maybe? Good luck!!

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    1. I've not heard of dry needling, but I am seriously willing to try ANYTHING at this point. I haven't gotten any sleep in days because of the pain (it's horrible at night). Thanks for the suggestion!

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  12. Ouch Ouch Ouch! Sorry about the various scrapes and spills. I'm sure the soreness will heal in your back and arms after you finish your remodel. All that ceiling work has to be murder on those muscles. My son, who has been training for months for his first marathon (he did a half a couple years ago), tore a muscle and the race is less than three weeks away. He went to a physical therapist who assured him he would be able to run by then, but any more training has to be pretty limited so the tear can heal. But he said he read a running blog where the same thing happened to the writer, and he actually had a PR when he ran his marathon, because his training had been so thorough for so long, he didn't have time to get out of shape in those few short weeks before the mararathon, and was actually feeling quite fresh on Race Day. So I hope your aches and pains work themselves out and go away. I have had lower back pain for over a year now. I blamed my weight gain, but I did get down to 180 lbs. last summer (from 215), and the back pain didn't go away. It really only flares up at night in bed. So if I can figure out a way to get comfortable in bed (I usually go to sleep in my recliner for a few hours every night for back relief), I'll be fine. I like the idea of a massage, or even a chiropractor. Never been to either, but they might help?

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    1. I agree, I think that he'll be ready to run the race--it's scary to miss training like that, but all of the running leading up to it preps the muscles well.

      Do you have a comfy bed? I have had back issues since I was kid, and one of the best investments I've ever made was in a Tempurpedic mattress. I love it!

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  13. Yeah I now have a permanent injury from doing yoga all things I knocked the rib out of place which impinges on my left shoulder which causes all kinds of issues and wish you well with your neurologist I hope they can fix it all I can do is physical therapy. It's not my day today either I keep dropping things on my foot and hurting it so I can't do my runs at I have a 5 Miler relay in 3 weeks

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    1. I'm so sorry you're dealing with that! I can't believe how many problems are caused by the pinched nerve in my neck. It sounds like no big deal, but damn, it's so painful in my hand! I am hoping for good news from the neurologist.

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  14. This might not be relevent but my sleeping position affected my shoulder. I now never sleep with my elbow above my shoulder. I always keep my elbow down so I don't hurt my shoulder while sleeping. Personally being stressed and sitting hunched at work pinched a nerve between my neck and shoulder. It can take weeks to get better.

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    1. I think it's very relevant, actually! My pain is TERRIBLE at night--I wake up from it, and I think it's probably because of my sleeping position. I'm so used to sleeping a certain way, I think my body naturally goes back to that position when I'm sleeping. But I need to work on it, because this pain is unbearable.

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    2. I hope the pain goes down. Good luck finding the right positions for day and night. I tried not to move my neck as it didn't hurt if still and straight then gentle stretches working back to normal after that. There are lots of suggestions in the comments you have looked at already. Be patient with the painting you will get there eventually. One question do you use a roller on a stick for latge areas?

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  15. How crazy that you mention this. I've had pain in my shoulder/neck sinceid August and it just gets worse to the point I went to the ER twice and even tried a massage. I've been sleeping in a recliner since then but I can't recline too far or it just shoots pain down my arm. I saw a neurosurgeon who said that he wants to try pt if insurance will cover it but also scheduled a surgery to do a cervical disc replacement because the pain won't go away. Weird thing is that there is no known ingury on it so it's all baffling. I hope that you can get some relief soon.

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  16. That is EXACTLY why I hate standing on chairs, ladders, anything. I am so clumsy and I just know I'll fall and injure myself. Good luck with the arm pain. I have had very good luck with chiropractic care and acupuncture for my pain issues...arms included! Just something to consider as alternatives. :)

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  17. Hi Katie - I love following your journey and really admire how persistent you have been despite all your setbacks. It's really inspirational. I've been there in terms of weight fluctuations. Right now, I've somewhat stabilized after a decent weight gain recently, and I'm working hard to get down to my normal. I feel your pain sister! I'm sure you get way too much advice, and you have the challenges of your bipolar disorder, but I offer some advice to see if it's helpful at all. You know your body best, so if this is all useless jumble, then please ignore. I stopped counting calories about two years ago and never went back. Too cumbersome, too discouraging, and left me very hungry. I started sticking mainly to healthy foods or minimally processed foods, with treats here and there. In fact, if I was going to have treats, I would have them with no guilt, knowing that I would only put in my body what was healthy or simply delicious! I try to keep processed carbs at a minimum, I've really learned to enjoy vegetables (raw or sauteed with olive oil and seasonings, fresh fruits of the season, and delicious proteins. I do still enjoy my carbs here and there but I really try and keep the carbs either complex or lessen the carbs and add more veggies and protein. I started reading the website Summer Tomato with Darya Rose and found her writings and journey to be helpful. My life is so much simpler and happier with no more calorie counting and just eating what makes my body feel good! I do run regularly and lift weights about 3 times a week (nothing too intense). I gained some weight recently when I started using food to cope with stressful situations at home and at work. But I've gotten back on track and feel so much better. Also, getting extra sleep has been REALLY helpful.

    I really hope you are able to heal soon and get back to feeling like yourself soon! You are very courageous for putting yourself out there and subjecting yourself to scrutiny like this. I live in Oregon, so I hope if you ever come to visit here, you might do a meet and greet!

    Rooting for you in Oregon -
    Anna

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  18. Holy cow! What a week. I hope you are feeling much better! I LOVE that color!

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  19. I may have to take a picture of my black and blue marks right now......I don't know what is happening (but I have always had vericose veins and spider veins ~ thanks grandma!) but lately everyone my muscles ache I rub on my legs and end up with marks for days.

    Not sure if I am off on vitamins or if its just my thin veins/skin and thus blood vessels pop easily.....at least that is what the doctors say about my veins after having 3 surgeries on them. Any way, the weight gain doesn't seem to help me either....I think the fat cells push more on my veins ...who knows? ha!

    Get better....but I am kind of not surprised by your issues....that has been a lot of hard work on your shoulders/neck etc....at an old angle and all....

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  20. Hi, Katie, I thought I would put my two cents in about the nerve pain. My mom has back issues that prevent her from going to a chiro, but she swears by her acupuncturist. Her issue sounds very similar to yours (on top of the back injury), and the acupuncturist was able to alleviate the pain. I hope you find some relief!

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  21. My mom had what sounds like a similar injury. She has chronic back issues that prevent her from seeing a chiropractor, but she swears by her acupuncturist. Her pain was almost completely alleviated. It might be worth a thought.

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