Happy New Year!

Let’s welcome together a new year, a new decade, a new hope.  We’ve got a blank canvas ready for us to create!  Welcome to the 20’s!

giphy

 

It’s My Doctor’s Turn Now

In my last post, I gave a brief rundown of my work injury, the care of Dr. C. and Dr. S.  After my appointment with Dr. S. where she discovered the magical cure for my back injury was to stop being a victim, my injury became worse.  I was sent for a Cervical MRI.

I went to see my Primary Care Physician, Dr. L. to follow up on the MRI, since there was an unexpected finding.  She reviewed the MRI report and said, “Obviously, we’re going to send you for an Ultrasound…but what is the rest of this about?”

Where I live, the law states that once it has been 90 days since the date of your work injury, you are allowed to seek medical care with a doctor of your choosing.  Well, it had now been 90 days.  “I had an injury at work, and I want you to help me.” I told Dr. L.

As always, my doc is brilliant.  She zero’d in on the cause of my back and spinal pain as being nerve-related and prescribed an anticonvulsant which is also FDA approved to relieve nerve pain.

“They let this go on so long that your nerves are screaming.” She said emphatically.  “And we know, Nel, that it is dangerous for you not to get enough sleep.  We know that lack of sleep is directly related to exacerbating your depression.” Dr. L. wrote me on “no duty” off from work so that I could get rest and continue my treatment plan with PT.  She also wrote a script for an MRI of the rest of my back.

On the first night of taking the medication, I got 6 hours of sleep.  The second night I got 7 hours of sleep, and I’ve had 7 hours of sleep now each night for a whole week.  Yes!

The only drawback is come the morning, all the pain is back in full swing, since the medication lasts 8 hours.  Christmas Day and yesterday, I just alternated sitting, standing, and walking throughout the day because doing one thing for too long was ridiculously painful.

I got my Ultrasound on Christmas Eve, so now I’m waiting for the results.

My MRI is scheduled for January 2nd.  I’ve got a lot of internal communication to prepare for that, now that I know it’s such a huge trigger.  I’ve decided I’m also going to take my PRN because boy will I need help.

Well, I must go.  I am off to PT! Thanks for all your comments on my last post.  I expect to respond to you all as soon as I can.

On Feeling Powerless

Let’s travel back to September, October, and November. I had a work injury where I was moving my office belongings during a sudden, unexpected and immediate office move to have new carpet installed. As I was bent over under my desk, working with phone and computer cables, I had the sensation of a muscle pull in my back and muscle spasms. Within 24 hours, the pain spread across my entire back and neck and I was unable to move.

I was sent to my employer’s authorized provider for workers compensation cases. I was matched with Dr. C. He did a lot of “let’s wait and see.” And “you’re young!” As reason why we were not going to send me for any MRIs or to a back specialist. He did, at least, send me to Physical Therapist which did help a little bit in the beginning.

The days ticked on and I got worse. Finally, he retired from the practice. Before leaving, he said if I was still not feeling well in 2 weeks at my next appointment, he was writing an instruction for the new doctor to send me to a specialist.

I met with the new doctor, Dr S. in the beginning of December. [The husband] suggested the night before the appointment for me to write down all my complaints and symptoms. This is because with DID, you never know who is going to be forward and what kind of memory I am going to have.

I started going through my list with her to bring her up to speed on my case. She interrupted me twice, clearly not interested in what I had to say. Finally, she said to me that what we needed to do was to help find ways for me to stop feeling like a victim.

My brain locked up with all kinds of feedback. I had parts angrily spitting, child parts bawling because an adult was not believing them, and the adult me felt powerless. Could I get NO ONE to take me seriously?

I was in such pain that I never sat still in the appointments. I was rocking back and forth, and my eyes welled up with tears when I realized there was no way this woman was going to help me. Dr S. saw my emotion and pointed at me, “SEE? [Night medication that actually helped with the pain] is making you depressed. We’re going to stop that immediately.” Then, she pointed to my list, “And you need to stop doing things like that. I’m sure writing that list gave you a feeling of satisfaction initially but brooding on the negative will only continue making you feel like a victim.”

The first two weeks of December I crashed hard. The pain had all but locked my movements. I was having new symptoms I discussed in my previous post. Then, because the medication that helped with pain at night was gone, I was in agony all night. I dropped to an average of 5 hours of sleep per night, with the worst night being 3 hours. I was not able to swivel my body to check my blind spots while driving so I had to stop driving as well.

I know this was a trigger for RA and non-RA parts. It’s a whole-system shake up. What could probably have been easily treated in 30 days, has interrupted my life and triggered so many parts.

Tonight, [The Husband] gave me encouragement and gratitude. He does this everyday. It is so sweet and lovely. Then, he turned to me and said, “I’m so worried about you, Love. I can see how this injury has changed you, and I miss you. I miss how you were.” I started to cry and instead of reaching for him for comfort, I pretended I had something to do in the laundry room. I left him standing there and took off downstairs to the basement.

I’ve truly got to spend some time tomorrow going over my Crisis Continuum and Symptom Management skills. I’m barely holding on.

It Must Be Something Psychological

This is from my journal a little over 10 years ago…

It’s been really quiet internally lately.

Good thing?  Bad thing?  I don’t know.

Hello? Anyone there?

And that’s it.

It’s good to see that progress really happens.  Today, I have solid communication with about 5 parts.  Those 5 parts can communicate well with other parts I am aware exist, but I don’t have direct communication with.  This allows cooperative functioning among 25 parts total.

We’ve identified 35 more parts.  We don’t have communication with them.  Cooperation is non-existent.  But we’re still a long ways from: Hello? Anyone there?

Today, I sat down and asked anyone who wanted to talk to write.  Here is what was shared in skinny/tall print that looks completely unknown, yet somehow familiar:

No words.
Speaking
Through Heart,
Movement, Body, Mind.

It Must Be Something Psychological – Katie Lee

 

Flashback & Emergency Internal Communication

Recently, we had a Cervical MRI related to the work injury.  This is an MRI of the upper spine which goes into your neck.  I had to get this MRI, because as my employer’s doctor unfortunately chose the “wait and see” method since September, my injury only became worse.

Through September, October, November, and into December, my back pain got worse and worse.  Eventually, it became a 10 on a scale from 1-10 on a constant basis.  Two weeks ago, I started having new symptoms:  pain, numbness, and weakness in my upper right arm.

I had a bout of numbness and muscle weakness while I was opening an overhead door at my cubicle. The muscle buckled and gave out.  My arm came flying down.  At the same time, the muscles in my hand and wrist were fine, so I continued firmly grasping the door.  The door came down with my arm, violently, slamming into the cubicle wall with a loud BANG.

Besides startling the whole office, I then continued to have on-and-off pain, numbness, and weakness in that same spot on the right arm.  Thus, my employer’s doctor finally acquiesced to the Cervical MRI.  

I was still concerned, because I was continuing to have pain up and down my spine and back.  However, I figured a Cervical MRI was better than no MRI.

We got the MRI scheduled.  On the day of, I went to the Diagnostic Imaging Center.  I wasn’t nervous in the slightest.  I had an MRI of my head before, and the experience was fine for me.

Cue the “Nothing is simple with DID!” card.  The tech takes me back.  We check out my bra which has metal clips in it, so off it goes.  Still not triggered, doing fine.  The tech gives me some ear plugs to lessen the noise of the machine.  I lay down on the table.  The tech gives me the “abort” button in case I have any issues.  She leaves the room to control the machine.

As the table starts to roll back into the machine, my chest gets tight.  My heart rate speeds up, and I hear the tinnitus (ringing) in my ears.  I also hear pounding in my ears which is a sign my blood pressure has gone up.  I consciously take in a few deep breaths, but internally things are starting to spiral.

I watch the process as I am backed into the machine to my hips.  There is no room for movement.  There isn’t even room in front of my face.  The machine is just at the other end of my nose.

I hear screaming internally.  I hear other parts crying.  I become fully connected to a part of myself stuck in the past, in the box, unable to move.  My chest is becoming painful now with the fast heartbeat.

“Nel,” Mina says patiently, but with purpose, “We have to calm everyone down.  If we don’t at least try, the only way this scan is going to end is by us going to the hospital.”

“I know.” I’m not nearly as put-together as Mina.  I’m feeling the panic, but I’m putting all my effort into managing DID so I can get through this MRI.  I’ve needed this MRI for months.  “Ok, help me, Mina.  Meg?  Kat?  Is anyone else able to help?  We need to get parts into safe places, like the sound-proof room, the Feelings Room, the Library, or the Music Room.  Some of these parts don’t know what safety is, let alone that we have safe spaces inside.  I have to focus on breathing.”

Mina steps in, “Meg, try showing off your Feelings Room.  Kat, can you take Janie to show others the Sound-Proof room?  I’ll be in the Library reading some new storybooks.”

If our panic attack was on a scale from 1-10 it would have been a 10, and we brought it down to a 9.  The whole ordeal was painful physically and emotionally.

The fallout only continued as the days progressed.  I started to become consciously aware of the obvious connections of being trapped and tortured in a box and being squeezed in the MRI machine.  Other things were shared with me as well, including the sheer terror of the abuse.  My chest wasn’t just in pain in 2019 from the panic attack.  It was in pain during the abuse too, while we suffered the torture.  While in the machine, I started singing in my head and playing out stories to the music.  It worked to distract me and calm me down in 2019 and in the past.  I became hyper-aware to every sound the MRI machine made when it adjusted my position or was conducting the scans.  When I was in the box, the rest of my senses were deadened, and as a result my sense of hearing was heightened.  There may not have been loud MRI noises, but I picked up on any whisper of wind, crunching of leaves, and of course the ringing in my ears.  As I looked up at the machine in front of my nose and eyeballs, I thought to myself, I’m going to die. If that isn’t a direct thought from my abuse, I don’t know what is.

It’s sure been an emotional rollercoaster.  Although I would say the MRI triggered the worst flashback I’ve had in some time, the results, though painful, have been helpful.  First came the 4 findings from the MRI. 

(1) Turns out I have lost the normal curve of my neck.  It’s supposed to curve like the letter C.  Mine not only has straightened over time, but has started to bend backwards.   Thankfully, that’s something that can be fixed over time with Physical Therapy.

(2) I have several bulging discs in my neck.  This could have been caused by the injury.  Again, we’re lucky that PT can address this.

(3) Pinched nerves – which wasn’t a surprise to me with the numbness and loss of use of my arm.  It looks good that this can be relieved as we fix the other things with PT.

(4) There was a fourth unexpected finding, which had nothing to do with my neck or back.  They just happened to pick up on it with the MRI.  This is something that has to be explored more, so my doctor has sent me for an Ultrasound.

Between the past stuff being triggered up, and the present-day medical stressors, I don’t know which way to turn.  I’m trying to take things one day at a time, but if I’m honest, it’s more like one hour at a time.

Since the MRI, I visited my Primary Care Physician about the fourth finding, and I had therapy with K. today.  Tomorrow is the Ultrasound.  We have more to update, and we’ll continue to have more to update, but we can’t sit here any longer.

Be safe over the holidays, friends.

-Nel

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