On Friday I went into hospital to have the pressure tested in my legs to see if I have chronic exertional compartment syndrome. It has been a year and a half, almost to the date, since the onset of this leg pain. I have had so many tests that it's starting to get quite ridiculous now. The symptoms I'm suffering with pretty much match up exactly to compartment syndrome.
The test involves having long needles pushed into each of the four compartments in each leg to test the pressure inside. You then head off to do some exercise, when you return the tests are done again to see if there is an increase in pressure.
The test if often done by itself and then you would be referred for surgery at a later date. As my consultant was doing the tests in theatre in the hospital, he booked out the surgery in case the results were high.
I had read so many horror stories about how painful the pressure test is that I was terrified. My heart rate and blood pressure were seriously high even though I was laying down.
The first set of test were done and I had completely overestimated the pain. It was absolutely fine. I experienced basically no pain at all. All the acupuncture I've had has been way more intense. The results of the first test were all very low. In fact, one of the compartments that I've been having a lot of trouble with was extremely low.
I went off for a run and then came back to the hospital to wait to be called back to theatre. As I waited I continued to jog on the spot. As I was exercising, the burning and aching that I feel was there but any time I stopped the pain disappeared instantly. I knew that my legs weren't responding as they have in the past when I've been training hard. I was advised to stop running back in June so it's been a long time since my training has been at the normal level for me.
Back in theatre I lay down and waited for the needles to be inserted deep into my legs again. The first reading that came back was lower than the original test. One by one each of the compartments had its pressure read. They were all pretty much the same and only one had increased a tiny amount.
So surgery didn't go ahead which felt like a relief for about half an hour until I broke down.
What on earth is wrong with me?
I've had so many tests done and nothing has been found. I've had so much physio treatment and nothing has worked. I've stopped training and every time I return to running the pain comes back. I've had my biomechanics looked at and made adjustments which has definitely improved my running but the pain is still there even with standing exercises.
Maybe it's all just in my head.
This isn't the first time I've thought this. I completely understand that the mind is a very powerful thing. That's how I've managed to battle through previous challenges. I am completely happy to accept that it's in my head if it is. I just want to get the problem fixed.
I feel like I'm starting to go mad.
My consultant is going to send me for some nerve testing but if that comes back with nothing then he really doesn't know what it could be.
I just feel so lost and like I have no control over any of this. Over the past year I have done all of the exercises and adaptations that professionals have advised me to do. I've worked so hard and done everything in my power to try and sort this out but it's not worked. I feel so helpless and it's not something that I'm used to. I've always worked hard to achieve anything I set my mind to and this is something I can do very little about.
I feel so fed up and I just want it to all be over.
My mind keeps flipping between just accepting that I can't do much exercising and accepting a more sedentary life or continue to keep fighting, staying as strong as I can and searching for an answer. This whole experience has been such a roller coaster of emotion that it is really wearing me out.
For the moment I am going to throw myself into my art work as it's something that I have control over. As hard as it is I'm going to try and take my mind off of my leg (this really is impossible but I'll try). I really want to be back in New Zealand but that isn't a possibility for now. I'm beginning a CBT course this week to help me deal with everything and hopefully make me feel better.
Fingers crossed something is found soon. :)