Since I last wrote a blog I've had more needles in my legs yet again. I had two types of nerve conduction tests done on my legs and again nothing was found. Yet I'm still in pain.
I constantly go in and out of thinking it's in my head and then being positive it's not.
Over the past year and a half I've been told to reduce my activity level more and more to the point where now I'm super sedentary. I've changed my daily routine completely and now spend most of my time sitting (this is not how I have ever lived my life). Unfortunately, my symptoms are now getting worse with the more sitting I do. I feel like whatever I do I'm not getting better. I always follow the advice of the professionals but it makes no difference.
I'm starting to feel like I have no escape. I've recently got to the point where I just want a break from everything. I want a break from the worry. I want a break from the mental turmoil of not knowing what's wrong with my body. I want a break from the pain. But I can't have it. Whatever I do I can't escape it and I'm exhausted.
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Last Monday, I had an appointment to see the surgeon that performed the compartment pressure test. Unfortunately, he'd been called to an emergency so he couldn't speak to me. Instead I saw another orthopaedic consultant. He had no knowledge of my history so I showed him the five page document that I constantly add to as I have more tests done. As expected, he said that I've had every test available from his department and there is nothing else they can do.
I cried my eyes out while I was in the room and continued to cry for the rest of the evening. I can't tell you how awful it is to have something wrong with your body but not know what it is or how to make it better. If there was a way that I could give up and run away from it all I would.
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The next day, I saw a doctor that I've been pushing to see for about seven months. He had been described to me as 'god-like'. He's been known to fix many athletes but I've not had the money to see him privately so I've had to wait a long time for an appointment.
As I've done so many times now, I recounted my story and symptoms to Dr Rogers. After frazzling the poor mans brain with excessive detail, he got me to stand and balance and bend and hop etc etc. Then followed the usual pushing and pulling of my legs before Dr Rogers said he was done.
Expecting another 'I dont know whats wrong with you' response, I wasn't really sure if I should ask. For so long all I've wanted is a diagnosis. Whether it's a good or bad one has become less important. I just want to know what's going on with my body.
I sat anxiously waiting for the same usual response. But this time it was different. In a calm and confident voice he said he's pretty sure he knows what's going on. I was in complete shock. He didn't give me a full diagnosis as he wants to send me for another MRI for confirmation but he's pretty confident he has the answer.
He thinks it's my spine. Something isn't right with the lower part of my spine and its causing symptoms lower down my leg and to my foot. This explains why I can't escape my symptoms no matter what I do. He didn't go into to much detail with me there and then as it's best to have the scan before discussing anything further.
Just being told by a well respected doctor that he thinks he knows what's wrong was such a relief. Knowing that I'm not going mad is a huge weight off my mind. And this is a big step forward. I know I've been here before, got my hopes up and then plummeted to the ground when it's not been correct so I have to reserve my excitement slightly.
Even though I have more waiting and more tests ahead of me I feel like I have a little more control over the situation now as there are things I can do at home to help myself. I've been prescribed some medication which may help to alleviate symptoms in the meantime and I've been advised I use a TENS machine on my back. As I've had no control over my own recovery for the past year and a half, just having these two things makes me feel so much better.
I still can't fully relax and feel like the end is in sight, as this still might not be the correct diagnosis. I have had too many peaks and troughs in this journey. I get my sights set on recovery only to find that the diagnosis was incorrect. I'm getting to the point where I can't cope with another downfall. The only way to deal with this is to keep some reservations, and focus on my artwork which I can control and occupies my mind.
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Over the past six weeks I've completed a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course. It's been great to build friendships with people experiencing similar feelings to myself although for hugely varying reasons. I've learned techniques to regain focus, calm my mind and set worry aside. I am far from happy and this injury is far from over but I've learned a lot of ways to cope better and be kind to myself.
This whole experience has taught me so much about the suffering people go through silently. The people that are close to me will know the extent to which this has affected my life but others that barely know me may not have seen the pain. If you know someone that's going through something challenging this Christmas send a little love their way. They may not look like or say they are struggling but they will definitely appreciate you reaching out.
Happy Christmas X X X