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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.

PRC day 1: The new kid

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i hate it when jesus rides a dino in my house

As some of you may know today was my first day at the Mayo clinic’s “Pain Rehabilitation Center”. I am still going through orientation and will officially start the program on Wednesday but have already met with most of my care team. Today we evaluated what health, social, emotional, and mental concerns I had and what I would like to focus on. I also had my first biofeedback session today and am practicing some of the relaxation and breathing techniques they showed me today. I met and spoke with a lot of the people on ‘Team 2’ which will be the team I start working with on Wednesday, they were all very friendly and had advice to help with the program. It was determined that I am the youngest patient on Team 2 by 10 years, I feel like an  [awesome] anomaly 🙂  After speaking with my care coordinator at length today I am even more excited for this program! I really look forward to making as much progress as possible in order to improve my quality of life. I [hopefully] will be updating on the program every other day. So excited for what has yet to come!

In unrelated news I am all done with the semester and seem to have made decent grades. I FINALLY have in state tuition and am returning to full time this summer.

Pre-flight Check [Mayo Round 2]

its a long road

Alright gang I am officially getting ready to leave for Mayo clinic round two! I have scheduled my finals for the semester to optimize the amount of time I will have to rest and see my friends before I leave. I leave May 10th and will be driving to Osceola, Iowa to stay the night, May 11th I will drive to rochester and check into my extended stay hotel. Monday is when the real fun starts. I will be at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehabilitation Center [PRC] bright and early for my first day. As I understand it the first day will be mostly evaluating my situation and planning a course of action. There are several core components to the program:

Core components include:

  • Medication management and chemical health education. 
  • Stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Recreational therapy.
  • Group therapy.
  • Sleep.
  • Biofeedback. [which costs roughly $300 a pop, I need 3 sessions]
  • Lifestyle management.
  • Complementary and alternative therapies.

I will be really interested to see how I progress as the program goes on, my mother will be coming to Rochester to see me during my second week there and will be attending the family portion of the program. I’m not terribly well informed on what exactly the family portion involves. I do know that family members follow patients through their morning schedules and are then taken to a class of their own on Thursday and Friday.


I will keep everybody up to date with how my treatment progresses, I am incredibly hopeful that this will help with some of the pain issues and social issues I’ve had [due to pain].


More information on the Mayo PRC:

Boom Boom Pow

i failed my wayLadies and gentlemen we have a winner! And may I say about damn time. As soon as they upped my Lyrica dose the “Hamster ball full of stalactites and lava” that I have been dealing with daily finally lost it’s bite. That is to say there is no more burning pain [which is a MUCH bigger deal than the average bear realizes] and the stabbing went from a firm shanking to an unplesant finger poking, progress. In all seriousness though the 100mg 2x a day in combination with my Tramadol, Orencia, Tizanidine, Amitriptyline, etc… has made a huge difference and I am feeling like I can function better now. Additionally I AM BACK OFF OF VICODIN! I haven’t had progress this rapid since they put me on Lyrica in the first place, though to be fair the weather has significantly improved as well. Even if this progress is just a small step in the right direction it’s still progress. On the down side it has made me a bit drowsy but I’ve been powering through like a complete and total boss.

Mayo clinic should be contacting me in a few weeks regarding scheduling my 3 week pain treatment program. On one hand I am so very excited that there is somewhere that hasn’t given up on me and just said ‘you’re trapped, sorry about you’ [looking at you cruddy ER doc] on the other I am not looking forward to 3 weeks in a Microtel by myself, a full week was tough last time. I’m hoping that a couple people can come visit me the first 2 weekends but we shall see. On the upside I get to eat at “Mac’s” which is a fabulous restaurant right outside the Gonda building at Mayo. Let’s be honest food is usually the upside to most situations.

Let It Go

i have loved the stars too fondlyWhelp this winter just keeps on punching me down. Everytime the weather starts to improve a massive cold front comes through and knocks me on my ass. This last front was no exception BUT I did do something pretty awesome yesterday, I woke up with burning/stabbing pain [as I do] and decided I was going to do life as planned. This happened to include work, a long meeting, class, and a massive test [which I got a 92% on]. I did all of them and then crashed hard. My sympathies go out to those who are also struggling after storms Hercules and Pax brought in these aweful fronts. ANYWAYS, so I started trying to get in contact with my neurologist [my rheumatologist thinks this is all Fibro no RA this round], after multiple calls I finally got a hold of the nurse and asked if we could increase my Lyrica due to feeling like I’m “in a hamster ball of staligtites and lava” [the burning sensation is new] and “brain fog that makes alzeimers look tame”. She assured me she would call me back ASAP as she talked to the doctor and FINALLY called me back today telling me that they were going to change me from 150mg to 200mg of Lyrica and see is it makes a difference, I really hope it does. While I fel like a boss when I play life on hard mode I would rather not. My most fabulous and awesome boyfriend will be with me Saturday and will be hanging out with me should the extra 50 mg knock me on my butt.

I have been attempting meditation as a way of coping with the pain [pain pills really aren’t doing anything]. In attempting to find some suggestions online I happened accross something called a  “float tank” [], it was suggested that this may help with the chronic pain situation, if not by helping the pain itself than by helping calm me. It’s a scary realization that you are literally trapped in a body that is trying to destroy itself. Knowing there isn’t a way to just walk away from the situation is enough to make anyone panic a little. On my last trip to the ER I started panicking when I realized the doctor was not going to help me and my boyfriend had to calm me down. Needless to say, I need to figure out a better way to deal with it. I am hoping to give the “float tank” a try the next time I’m in Dallas, the downside is it is roughly $85 a session… It’ll be great ya’ll 😀 I will update with news on the Lyrica adventure.

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