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Category Archives: Mayo

Let’s Talk About Drugs

leslie knope your life.

Alright gang, as many of you know I completed a pain treatment program at Mayo Clinic PRC and discontinued my Vicodin, Tramadol, and occasional Percocet. For those who don’t have prior knowledge, I attended PRC to learn to better manage my pain not because I was addicted to pain medication [nothing against those who better their lives who are coping with addiction]. It has been 6 months and I have not taken any pain medication since completing the program. I had turned over all of the pain medication I had with me after completing the program but found duplicates of all the medications in my medication drawer back home that I had forgotten about. For 6 months I have sat on this medication due to either some sort of emotional attachment or because I was afraid I would legitimately need it. Today I turned over all, and I do mean ALL narcotics to the police station narcotic disposal. It may not seem like much but I got rid of my ‘safety net’ of pain medication and somehow feel more prepared to stay pain medication free.

Chronically Awesome

space tiger is best tiger

Hey folks! Alright so I’m a little over a month into school and I haven’t crashed and burned yet. Last week was a rough once as I missed a majority of my Math class however managed a high B on the exam. I need to improve my overall attendance again however regardless of this past week my attendance is still at an all time high. I’m very excited to be heading back up to Rochester, MN to go to my PRC aftercare at the Mayo Clinic. I’m hoping they will be able to help me get back on track with my PT or at least remind me of what I need to be doing to help myself. I’ve been slacking in that department as my energy level is depleted. However in spite of this my involvement in the Deaf community, my sorority, and my friends is at an all time high, however both my roommate and the boyfriend have expressed alarm at me beginning to overload myself as we all know I am extremely prone to do. What has helped my the most this year so far has been the amazing support system I have, I honestly do not know how I would do any of this without them. Knowing someone has your back and is encouraging you goes farther than anyone realizes, especially to those with chronic illness.

Additionally I have made the decision to discontinue my botox shot protocol temporarily, possibly permanently. It is just one more thing to deal with that has helped minimally and is honestly more trouble than it’s worth at this point. At this point in time is just is not hitting the “worth-it” line, Imitrex is a joke to my body and messes me up so I’ll revisit the issue with my neurologist as a means of handling acute situations.

My boyfriend has been fantastically helpful as of late with helping me get more active, there was a kayaking adventure yesterday with only one casualty [rest in peace boyfriend’s fitbit, the fishes have you now]. Prior to PRC I would’ve told him that it was not something I could do but by limiting our time on the lake and positive self talk I was able to allow myself to be excited for a physical activity. Hopefully more adventures to follow, I am considering getting a bike [which is kind of a big deal guys], I haven’t ridden one since before I got sick [one of the weird limitations I’d put on myself]

I’m going in!

                                                         weirdness

Alright gang by the grace of one or more celestial beings I managed to not only attend my two summer school classes but I aced both! I must say I was just as surprised as y’all are, my own family was surprised! I feel more prepared than ever to return to school full-time. This past year I had taken 6 hours of classes and worked 29 a week. I am going in at 12 hours and work 15 a week this semester and things are beginning to look much more doable than before. My grades are recovering from the past 1.5 years of extra health adventures! I owe a lot of this improvement to my friends, family, and PRC family that have helped me along allowing me to start to get my life back, mind you not as it was but as it realistically can be. Knowing that I can function without my illness being the center of my universe has helped a lot.

I will keep y’all updated on how things go as I continue on the ‘abundant adventure’ that is my life.

PRC Graduation!

patrick the wombatHello to all! I can now happily say that I’ve completed my 120 hours of chronic pain management courses and have safely driven back to Oklahoma. I apologize fo such a late update, I’ve been up to my ears in school work and rehab related stuff.

Alright so I graduated from PRC along with one of my good friends I met in PRC, there were tears and encouragements as we left. I was legitimately surprised by the overwhelming support I received upon my graduation from both PRC patients and the PRC staff themselves, honestly it was emotionally overwhelming but also the most support I’d ever felt in my life which really encouraged me as I prepared to go home. Prior to my departure I met with occupational therapy, physical therapy, and my care nurse. When I met with OT we discussed how I would adapt to life back home and how exactly I was going to moderate and modify my life. During my OT meeting it was determined that I am overly involved and needed to scale back, we identified what activities I partook in that could ne modified and what had to go. When I met with physical therapy I completed all the PT tests I had done when I first arrived and my improvement was drastic! PT helped me evaluate what tools I would need to exercise at home. Finally I met with my care nurse [who was fabulous]. My care nurse and I evaluated where I was at overall in terms of PT, OT, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication management. I chose to leave both my Tramadol and Vicodin at Mayo Clinic and go home pain-killer free. It has been a challenge but by no means impossible. Coming home was more difficult than I thought it would be. Not being surrounded by like-minded people who support you in a particular way that only one in a similar situation could provide is difficult. I was doing all my PT exercises until I over did the running aspect and appear to have developed a bunion [which I’ll deal with eventually]. I am still getting back into the swing of things and am worried that 2 summer classes overlapping will be hard for me [that started today] but I know I can get through it. I’ve had a couple bad days since being released from Mayo and I’m not going to lie, I wanted my pain medication. However I managed to get through it with the use of biofeedback and diaphragmatic breathing.

I would like to thank my friends and family for being so supportive of me and helping me get through. Additionally I would like to thank the wonderful individuals I met in PRC who have encouraged me and supported me through my struggles. Without the support of certain individuals I met at PRC I’m not sure I would have made it through the program, I’ve kept in touch with several of them and intend to offer support to them as they did to me.

My ukulele got here in the mail, her name is Penelope and she is bright red. Regrettably my hand stiffness is acting up so learning to play has been temporarily halted BUT I shall prevail eventually! Additionally when I have time I hope to add copies of my graphs showing my progress at Mayo Clinic soon.

PRC: Week 2 Recap

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rdj on changeSo this week has been an interesting one. About Wednesday I started experiencing [unanticipated] withdrawal symptoms from my Tramadol, on the upside that only lasted about two days and I was doing better by Friday. This is what led to my run. I had talked to Physical Therapy [PT] prior to the Tramadol withdrawal and asked if it was possible for my to attempt to run due to all the hip and leg exercises I had been doing, they agreed to allow me :30-1:30 minutes to run under close supervision. On Friday it was agreed that I was looking well enough to attempt to run. I warmed up and started running on the treadmill with a physical therapist and a student watching me. They stopped me 30 seconds in and corrected my stride in a way that they believed would lead to less impact on my knees. I then ran for a 1:30 AND IT WAS AWESOME! I was sore the next day but that minute 30 was so worth it. PT says I was grinning from ear to ear and even snapped a few pics of me. I was honestly so excited to move that fast again [especially after being told I’d never be able to run again due to the impact on my joints] I was almost in tears with happiness.  I’m not sure if/when I’ll be able to run again due to my pain still not being in control but I’m going to talk to PT about it. In other good news my hand function has increased through use of a “Bow and Arrow” made out of resistance bands that one of the PT’s made for me, having almost a full range of motion in my hands again feels damn near magical. Now for all of the good news so far do know that PRC is still pretty tough. Life feels a lot harder when you don’t have your pain meds to fall back on and I have a lot left to work on.

 

On another note I am looking into new hobbies as a means of distraction per PRC suggestion, I’m thinking of going the ukulele route. Be excited ya’ll!

PRC: Let the tapers begin

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why do we grarSo I have completed 2 OFFICIAL days of PRC programing and let me tell y’all what, it’s exhausting. I’m fairly sure that I could actually fall asleep standing up prior to us doing Tai Chi today. The program is rigorous and exhausting but so far it’s been worth it. The people I’ve met and the support they’ve offered even in the last couple of days has just been incredible. If I get nothing else out of this [which I highly doubt] the support and relationships alone will have been worth it. The physical therapy [PT] program is unlike any other that I have attended in that it addresses your body’s issues head to toe instead of focusing on one particular area. I like the idea of it by and large but also woke up feeling it in a very real way this morning so we will see what it accomplishes. Occupational therapy [OT] is interesting to attend as an adult [I went when I was very young],  So far in OT we have covered self-care and moderation and why they are critical to us leading happy, healthy lives [more on that later]. In other news today my care team and I discussed what steps we would begin to take towards reducing the medications I am currently on. It was decided to start with Tramadol as they want me off it the most and I am taking a fair amount of it. They also want to take me off of Vicodin, Tizanidine, and Amitriptyline. I begin the tapering off process tonight and the plan is to be off it completely by next week, I will report back with results as the program continues.

Quick Spoon Theory Recap

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do not waste spoons
At the PRC today [which I will be posting about later] a woman in group brought up an ideology that I have become very fond of called “the Spoon Theory” while discussing moderation in group. I haven’t addressed this in a while so let us recap. The spoon theory is formed around the idea that an individual with chronic illness wakes up every morning with a certain amount of energy [AKA spoons], the individual then has to carefully choose how their day will be based on how many ‘spoons’ certain activities take. I have found this to be an IMMENSELY helpful tool when speaking with friends and family about my situation. I suggest that everyone takes a look at the original article [link below] whether you’re a patient or a friend/family member.

 

The original author: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

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