So here’s the number two most horrible thing about being in pain all day every day (number one being the horrible pain): I’m totally gaining weight and it sucks really bad and I literally don’t know how to stop it.
And before you give me some crap line about moving more and eating less, let me explain some stuff to you.
The pain killers and the nerve medications both list weight gain as a possible side effect. Because of course I didn’t get the random chronic condition that comes with medications that cause unexplained weight loss.
And by “weight gain as a possible side effect” I mean, like I’ll go to the doctor on a Thursday and weigh one thing and then I’ll eat like normal amounts of food (maybe even a little less than normal if I feel particularly crappy) and do normal amounts of things and by my next doctor’s appointment on Monday I will have gained four solid pounds.
And yes, I know that part of this is because I spend so much time with my new BFF, the couch. But that’s because when I do things, like say, shower, or walk around a grocery store, I feel like death afterward.
And so, no, I’m not really burning off any calories. But when I do burn them off, I want to cry and die and drug myself to sleep.
I also know that my eating habits haven’t been the best lately.
But I’m just going to throw it out there that I feel like I’m dying more often than I don’t, and that kind of thing screws with your head in ways you wouldn’t expect, and so yes, many times, when I eat, I’m like, “Dude, whatever, give me another taco. I’m probably going to die tomorrow anyway.”
Like, honestly, I really think I’m going to die tomorrow, pretty much everyday. That’s how much pain I’m in.
Because this is my blog and I want to be honest in this space, I’m just going to go ahead and confess that since February I have literally gained over 40 pounds.
In six months I have gained 40-freaking pounds.
What the what?
I talked with my neurologist, and he switched me from one nerve medication to another, hoping it would help, but I’m still gaining like a pound a day.
Like seriously, I gained 10 pounds while I was on a mission trip, eating sandwiches and one scoop of noodles for dinner every night and painting houses all day.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, everyone in my life has been super amazing about it. My boyfriend has not mentioned it even once, not even in passing. And, neither has any of my family members. And I know that all the kids in my (soon-to-be former) youth group love me dearly, because they are so amazing that I seriously get the impression that they don’t even notice.
But I notice. And my stupid, stupid clothes notice. And the stupid, stupid scale at the doctor’s office notices.
So yesterday, I was like, screw this, I’m going to try to do something. And so I went for a walk.
According to my cell phone, I went 3.89 miles.
I mean, ya, when I came back home and sat on my couch, it felt like my ribs were literally going to explode off of my body because I was in that much pain. But the walk itself wasn’t so bad, what with the help of a the prescription pain pills and whatnot.
Anyway, as most of you know, I’m moving in with my in a couple weeks, and I’m hoping the change will help me eat a little healthier and walk a little more. (My mom seriously loves walks).
In the meantime though, I’m just trying to find lots of reasons to wear yoga pants, because nothing else I own fits me anymore.
I have finally convinced a doctor to order to an MRI of my ribs and my chest.
You know, the actual part of my body where the insane amount of pain is coming from? Ya. There.
You’re probably all, “But Crystal, you’ve been in pain for SIX MONTHS? How have they not already done this?”
Well, here’s the thing. While I have had two chest X-rays and two CT scans of my chest, the only MRIs I’ve ever had were of my spine and then a totally unrelated one of my head to make sure I didn’t have a random aneurysm causing my headaches. (I don’t).
My understanding of the situation is that the doctors thought that the nerve pain in my front right rib should be connected to my spine, and therefore would show up on a MRI images of my back.
Those all came back normal though.
And then my pain specialist (who I hate) told me that an MRI of my ribs wouldn’t show anything anyway, so I shouldn’t get it.
But in the back of my head, this whole time, I’ve been thinking I should probably get one just in case.
And now, my neurologist (who I love) has finally decided to order one.
The good news: It could show the nerves in my ribs and it might even show the problem.
The sorta bad news: The nerves are so small in that part of the ribs, and so close to the blood vessels, that there’s a chance the MRI won’t show anything useful at all. The neurologist says that doesn’t mean nothing’s wrong, it just means nothing showed up on the MRI. But basically, I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
In other news, he’s also upping my nerve medication. And then, depending on how that goes for the next week, he says I can call him and he’ll put me on another steroid pack if needed.
Ya, my neurologist is pretty awesome.
So now I just have to wait for the insurance company to approve the MRIs of my ribs and my chest, and then get them scheduled, and then get them done, and then hope something shows up.
Because the next test my neurologist wants to order is a spinal tap, and I’m not exactly sure what’s all involved in that, but the only times I want to combine the words “spinal” and “tap” are in reference to a parody rock band.
I’m not exactly sure what I expected to happen today at the doctor’s office.
Honestly, I genuinely thought I wasn’t expecting anything at all.
But when I looked at the man who’s been treating me for the last few months, and told him that I had indeed quit my job at the church, and would be moving in with my mom who lives near Rockford and that I needed a referral, I guess I just thought he’d have some sort of reaction.
But he didn’t really. Or, well, he didn’t have the reaction, I guess I wanted him to have.
He just gave me the same stupid nod he’s been giving me all along.
The same stupid nod he’s been giving me at every appointment for the last four months, no matter what the situation was. The same stupid nod he has used to say hello or to pathetically try to reassure me when my eyes were filled with tears of desperation, or to falsely tell me he was working as hard as he could when I couldn’t sit upright long enough to ask even one question.
That same stupid nod.
I don’t know why I expected anything different this time.
He said it was probably going to be a good thing for me that I’m going to be quitting my job at the church and moving in with mom. I’m assuming it’s because he thinks the extra rest will be good for me, but he never actually articulated that.
He rambled on about how I would need to request my records once I got settled in with new doctor and specialist out there. He told me how the doctor or the institution couldn’t request the records, but how I had to request them myself. And how I could probably fax a request, or if it was easier I could call in a request, but either way, I would have to make the request.
And then, because he was at least self-aware enough to know that he was rambling, he apologized for sounding so convoluted about something that neither one of us really cared about.
Then, he just said he’d be available if I had any other questions before I moved, and he scurried out of the room, like he was relieved to be getting rid of me.
I guess I can’t really blame the guy. Everything he tries to do to fix me fails miserably.
It’s just, I realized, in that moment, as my eyes started to tear up, and I was suddenly hyper aware of the constant stabbing pain in my lower right ribs, that I had hoped for something more from this man.
I hoped that when I told him I was quitting my job at the church, and leaving behind one of my true passions, that I would get some sort of a reaction. That maybe then he would finally understand the severity of the situation. And maybe he would suddenly remember some new treatment, or pull some magic pill out of thin air that he hadn’t mentioned before and he would try it on me, and it would work and I would be better and I wouldn’t have to leave the church after all.
Or maybe he would apologize. He would cry with me, and hold my hand and tell me how sorry he was that he couldn’t help me find relief after all this time. That he would tell me that he knew how hard it must be for me to go through so much at such a young age, and how being in pain all the time must be near impossible for me to deal with. And he would tell me he wished he could have done more to help me.
But he didn’t do do any of those things. He just nodded, and then he had his resident refill a prescription for a sleeping pill I’m on.
So I grabbed my huge medical binder, my tablet with all my questions for the appointment listed on it, and my purse and walked out the door with tears in my eyes.
And it hit me.
I really am quitting my job at the church and moving in with mom.