Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Because it Wouldn't Be My Blog without Talking about...

My Stupid Leg! (trademark pending)

Longtime readers probably have noticed a strange thing-there have been very few mentions of RSD/CRPS, Venous Stasis Ulcers, Plantar Faciitis and all the other things that go along with the valve incompetency, Factor V Leiden lately. Far be it for me to not mention something positive.

I think I'm turning the corner with this thing. No, it's never going to be normal. I've accepted that. I will live the rest of my life with pain-but I'm learning how to deal with that pain without the need for vicodin every eight hours. Thank God for that-because that crap SUCKS.

Here's a status report on the issues, with a rundown on the improvements:

1. Venous Stasis Ulcers: The open wounds are gone, but the affected area is still road rashy and may be for another year. Once you have the darn things, it's not a case of IF they come back, rather it's a WHEN they come back. It's a bummer, but I've still got two legs to stand on. Through trial and error, we've found that the amazing Oasis heals open wounds quickly. Thank you, Cook Medical!

2. RSD/CRPS: Still a bear to deal with and it is likely it always will be. However, I have found a couple of things in combination have brought it to a level that is tolerable without painkillers (and Joyce, Donna, Jeff, Rich and Giggles know how hight that level actually is). What is working? A compression stocking (40 weight) on the leg almost 24 hours a day. Keeping the road rash (for lack of a better description) extremely moist is also a must.

If I let this thing air dry, within a half hour, I've got the nasty shooting pains that have indicated Vern Troyer came back with his machete and is using my calf for a pin cushion. However, over the past few weeks, the diligence in keeping that stocking on has definitely helped. So what if I looked like a freak at Aquatica recently? I am a freak!

3. Plantar Faciitis: I am unwilling to go under the knife for this one. Some days, it is what will drive me to the vicodin. If this flares bad, it won't go anywhere without it's friend RSD. My podiatrist had recommended icing it four or five times a day and felt the Crocs were making an improvement. Small problem: Ice exacerbates RSD. It was a vicious cycle. I took a leap of faith and decided that maybe, just maybe, treating the Plantar Faciitis would keep the RSD down to a dull roar.

It worked. Well, that and the fact that work finally acquiesced and allowed me to wear the Crocs (despite the three previous doctors notes). Some days, the ice pack sits on the floor of the car on the way to and from work and boy, it helps.

4. Valve Incompetency: See, if I was smart, I'd put a little PayPal widget on my blog with a cute "pay for Suzanne's leg surgery" type banner. I'm not a beggar, though. The issues above all originate from the faulty valve. They won't go away until it's fixed. That requires a trip to Hawaii, to the top doctor doing the surgery.

Insurance will pay for the surgery, but not the airfare or hotel accommodations. I've got to start saving pennies for it and I'm hoping there's a Ronald McDonald house that'll let me bunk there for a couple of weeks. So we are at an impasse, the valve and my psyche.

5. Factor V Leiden: If all the above issues were caused by the valve incompetency, Factor V is what started it all. It's the ticking time bomb of clotting abnormality that could drive me insane if I had the mind to dwell on it. It's what caused that DVT in 1996 (blog about that fateful day coming in oh, about 6 weeks) and three clots. It's what made my belly a pin cushion when I was pregnant with Chef Jr (blog about that experience in July).

I can't do anything about the Factor V, other than taking an asprin a day. That's all I can do. It's a humbling experience to know you have an health issue and you can't do anything to fix it. For now, I'm lucky, but Dr. J has told me another clot and I'm out. This means lifetime Lovenox, Heparin or Coumadin for me. Most people would opt for the pills, but they work too well on me. I'll take the shots, thanks.

That's it, in a nutshell. I may have missed something here or there, though. It's a lot of problems for a short stubby leg, but it's MY leg (said in that same overly possessive voice Kate uses on Jon and Kate plus 8).

Yes, it hurts. It always will. Yes, I may seem crabby sometimes because of it. However, I'm not going to let it rule my life-just a small portion of my blog.

5 People talked back:

projectmommy said...

You have every right to go on about it! I'm sorry it hurts so bad. ; (

Mike Golch said...

truth be told we all have our little problems 5that we deal with,some dont share the troubles,as the saying goes a problem share is cut in half. there was a place I was going here and it just popped out of my thoughts.sorry I'll shut up.

imaginary binky said...

My body aches just reading this. I wish I could make it all better. I suppose kissing your booboos won't work.

Kevin said...

Hi Suzanne! I'm so sorry for your myriad of problems, but your sense of humor is, as they say, the best medicine. I work for the Cook Medical company that makes Oasis. I was one of the first people to sell it some 10 years ago when I was in sales. Anyway, since your blog is in the public domain, I thought I would use it for the- Improving Life- segment of our Team Meeting this Friday (May 9). Your story is the type that inspire my colleageues who are the very people who make the product. Thank you for your blog. God Bless you, and please don't ever lose your sense of humor. Kev

Suzanne said...

I've been remiss in commenting back. Oops!

Shannymar, I think it's a case of we all have our crosses to bear. You have quite a big one to deal with right now. You handle yours with such grace, I'm trying to do the same.

Mike. You are SO right about sharing the trouble lessens it.

Sarah, just think of your comment as kissing the booboo in cyberspace.

Kevin, by all means, feel free to share. I spoke with some PR people at Cook a while back and gathered the links to the blog that relate to the leg. If you want the links, just pop me an email. You can do that at blog name at gmail dot com.