Good morning all! I've been a lurker for some time and trust me when I say there have been many posts that have helped me cope on days such as today. Today I thought I'd reach out because I'm just having one of those days where I'm having a very hard time focusing because of my pain. I cannot seem to accomplish anything today. Thankfully much of my work is caught up and today is just a day of waiting for items to return to me before moving forward on my projects.
At any rate, I will give you as short a rundown as I can. But I'm incredibly long-winded so it will probably be long despite my efforts...my apologies in advance and thanks to anyone who takes the time to read it.
I am a 33 year old mom of two children (my son is 10 and daughter is 6). I live as active a life as I can manage...we love to be out and about...no one in my family enjoys "vegging" on the couch. I have been experiencing knee pain for several years...getting progressively more painful each year. My knee pain is connected to my time in the military so I go through the VA hospital system for that treatment. It's better than anything I had experienced on the outside. It seemed every doctor I saw didn't believe me because x-rays did not show any issue. I started seeing the VA doctor last June. I was put on tramadol and anti-inflammatories to manage the pain (daily). I FINALLY had an MRI for my knee this past Thursday (June 20th). I am hoping and PRAYING it discovers the problem. I have gone to the VA emergency room ONE time..this past February when I was in such excruciating pain, I was crying uncontrollably. The doctor who saw me was not impressed...told me if I ever came back to the ER, I will not get any pain medication because he's putting a note! WTH??? I had never gone there EVER before...for ANYTHING! Honestly I had never been to ANY ER because of my knee!!! Anyway, he sent me off with tylenol 3...which did ZERO good so I just threw them away...the tramadol worked better than those things. They STILL did not order an MRI. 2 x-rays in the last year showed nothing remarkable (as my orthopedist knew would be the case). I see her next Tuesday July 2nd.
Today I just cannot take it...I threw my back out last weekend and it is still bothering me. But definitely getting better, thankfully...was worried I'd have ANOTHER chronic pain issue. Anyhow, I woke up on my back and must've been that way for the majority of the night because my knee was simply excruciating...I winced when I tried to bend it! It tooke me 1 hour to get ready for work after taking 1 tramadol and 4 ibuprofen (Advil, 200mg each). Today, the combination of my back and my knee have just put me over the proverbial "edge." The VA healthcare system has a secure messaging feature where you can email your primary care physician "care team." I sent an incredibly LONG email...not sure if that was a good idea or not. Maybe it'll make me look desperate but, in a way I am. I don't even care anymore how it looks...I am just TIRED of this...tired of being in pain day after day after day. Tired of the treatment of physicians who think I am making it up...like that ER doctor I mentioned in my email. I am praying as hard as I can that the MRI shows the problem so someone will FINALLY believe me! I'm praying the results are in and that my doctor reads them after reading my email. I received a response that my message was forwarded to my doctor. I feel like she likes me and believes me.
Last year, around May, I went to my last "private" physician for my knee (before I finally received VA medical benefits). It was a surgical consult. The orthopedist who had been seeing me and had given me several cortisone shots (the last of which I had a steroid flare and no more for those) thought there might be a surgical option to consider. That appointment was the worst I have ever had in my life. The doctor was a jerk. He said he could do nothing for me and did not think an MRI would show anything. Approximately 1 minute after the appointment began, he got up to leave. I kind of "lost it." I told him I couldn't believe he was wasting my time like this. I told him he can bill me but it would be a cold day in hell before I paid his bill. I told him he was a quack. I complained to the State medical board but never received a response. Needless to say, I was quite jaded. I didn't even want to ever see a doctor again. I hesitantly went to my VA appointment, not expecting anything. It was great and things got rolling for treatment but, it's a type of "socialized" medicine so it took MANY bureaucratic hoops to wade through before the MRI could be ordered. I did get a pretty awesome brace to wear and, while it helps a little, I still feel constant pain. The only thing that changes each day is the AMOUNT of pain I'm in. Some days really are better than others.
I know it is "flared" today because we had an active weekend. I always seem to suffer on Mondays after a weekend where I did a lot of walking. But I believe my sleeping position also played a part in why today is MORE painful than most days...I generally always sleep on my left side with a pillow between my legs to support my right knee (the BAD knee). I almost never move much...usually waking in the same position I fell asleep in. Not today and boy am I paying!!!
I do or have done pretty much anything you can think of...physical therapy (several rounds), vitamins with glucosamine/chondroitin (sp?), hot packs, cold packs, both...elevation, resting, support, bracing, creams, anti-inflammatories, etc...the list goes on an on. I've tried acupuncture and massage (to help relieve stress and make pain more manageable), reiki and meditation. While some of the methods help me cope, nothing has actually relieved the pain besides medication and rest. The tramadol is losing effectiveness and that's a real bummer because they had worked pretty well for this last year...I had always "felt" pain but it was generally manageable. Now I don't know what to do. I feel like reaching out to my doctor is going to look bad. I have read so many articles or seen news reports about how doctors are scared to help people with pain medications because there are so many people who are just trying to feed their addictions. That's simply terrible to me! It makes me ANGRY at these people...who make people like me/us look bad because we are asking for RELIEF for our miserable pain...while these idiots are just playing games to feel good. It's horrible but I suppose there isn't much that can be done.
Anyway, I am pretty down in the dumps today. I feel discouraged and sad. I just do not want to feel this pain anymore...some days I just want my leg to be chopped off above my knee...no knee = no pain! That's ridiculous of course but, still...some days I cannot help thinking it.
I hope my doctor calls back to say the MRI showed the problem and they can do surgery and I'll be FINE forever! I hope that's what she says....not that anyone WANTS surgery but, heck, if it will help, I'm ALL for it! I just have a feeling it won't...she'll call back to say go home, rest it, and ice it. Like I've never tried that before or anything...
I'm sorry for rambling on and on...I got caught up in my frustration. I'm simply miserable and hope to comiserate with others who understand chronic pain...it's certainly something who hasn't experienced it just couldn't understand. People just think I should "get over it," or "walk it off." Ha, like it's THAT easy.
Anyhow, nice to "meet" everyone and I look forward to talking to anyone who understands just how depressing this is.