Improving My Mental Health & Sleep With S+ By Resmed

To try improving my mental health & sleep I received the S+ by Resumed to test out and review. Anyone with any kind of mental health issues knows just how important getting enough sleep is. Add in Chronic pain & most days are a disaster so I was interested to see how the S+ could help me. The S+ is a sleep tracking device which is COMPLETELY wireless! No wristbands or pad’s to place anywhere. A plus for me as I don’t like wearing wristbands whilst I sleep or having any strange lumps in the bed.

I was interested in seeing how the S+ tracked my sleep and see if there were any ways of improving my sleep routine to help manage my anxiety mainly! It took me a while to remember to set the S+ to Sleep each night due to my medication knocking me out most nights! (Hence disappearing from twitter at random times each night!)

Improving My Mental Health & Sleep

The box contains:

  1. S+ Pod
  2. S+ Frame
  3. 59″ micro USB cable
  4. AC adapter with dual USB ports
  5. User manual

The S+ Pod sits in the S+ frame which allows you to adjust the positioning of the pod. The pod needs to be within arms length of where you sleep, I have a small bedside unit next to my bed so I placed the S+ on there and adjusted the position so that it pointed towards my chest. This allows the S+ to monitor your heartbeat.

S+ App

I downloaded the S+ By Resmed App & synched my phone to the device via Bluetooth. I looked through the S+ Guide to get an idea of how the app & monitor work.

 

Pre-Sleep

The S+ requires you to let it know when you are going to sleep using the app. This then takes you through Pre-Sleep where it asks you questions about your day. Questions include things how many caffeine drinks you’ve had, how much exercise you’ve done, how stressful your day was and a few other’s too. This helps the monitor to work out where improvements can be made to improve your sleep score.

 

Monitoring your sleep

The S+ records how long it takes you to fall asleep each night along with monitoring your sleep across the night. There is also an option to set an alarm to wake you up at an optimal time based on your sleep. Each night you are given a sleep score from 0-100. I started off quite low with a score of 65 on my first night with only 64% REM sleep & 70% Deep Sleep with 9 disturbances across the night.

Using the data from the first 3 nights helps the S+ work out what could help improve your sleep score. This also takes into account the room temperature & lux. My first night the temperature was 25c & lux 0 (light). These are considered good ranges for sleep so I didn’t need to change anything there.

Still tired but less stressed

Seeing all this information the S+ tracks made me realise just how hard I’ve been pushing myself. Even following the tips my sleep only improves by a tiny bit because I’m still waking in pain. It can be tough being a spoonie and always feeling exhausted, it sometimes makes you feel like maybe you are just lazy. Seeing on the chart how frequently I wake and just how much time I spend awake across the night made me realise it was no wonder I still woke up exhausted! My first score has been my highest so far this week!

 

Not being so hard on myself after seeing how little sleep I’ve managed each morning has helped my mood. Now I don’t feel quite as guilty saying I’ve had enough & I’m too tired for the day, especially when I see I’ve had a rough night. It’s one thing knowing you are exhausted it’s another being able to see exactly why. Seeing how many times I wake across the night I realised I wake more than I thought too.

Improving my mental health & sleep

I have actually been a little less anxious since remembering to set the S+ each night. I’ve felt less guilty about dosing up where I can see the pain is waking me regularly & it’s not just in my head. Following tips along the way has been helpful too & keeping track of my caffeine intake as I thought I actually drank more than I do across the day!

I’ve also felt a little less depressed each day as I don’t feel like I am just lazy constantly. I can see I’m not sleeping well  & as shown in the graph above shows timings too. I know I’m going to bed at a decent time & I know I’m at least trying to get more sleep & rest enough each day but I’m still waking which is obviously why I still exhausted every day.

I would definitely recommend the S+ as it shows the information you want to know & provides some really helpful tips too. I’m determined to keep using the monitor and try to improve where I can! I wish I had remembered to try it out much sooner, I may do another post soon to share with you all how continued use has helped!

Would you use the S+ or have you got one already?

#VicksTricks & Our Tips To Help Beat Colds

#vickstricksThis post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign. I was sent a lovely package to help us out including Vicks First Defence. Very comforting to have on standby in this cold weather!

 

My girls are regularly coming down with some nasty cold or bug especially with Eva at school, it’s completely unavoidable! We’ve all felt a bit rough over the last week so our #VicksTricks package couldn’t have come at a better time. We usually know they are coming down with something when they get a temperature, something 60% of parents agree on according to research carried out by Vicks.  We use infant Paracetamol to help bring down a temperature. When the girls are ill we spend a lot of time snuggled up on the sofa having cuddles.

50% of parents agree irritability & tantrums are another one of the first signs their children are coming down with a cold. My girls do get irritable and rather emotional, it can be difficult to soothe them with just cuddles and other distractions are needed.

Here’s a few ways we keep them amused:

  1. Read books – My girls love being read to when they are poorly and occasionally fall asleep.
  2. Watch films – New or old favourites keep them occupied for an hour or so at a time. (If you’re lucky they’ll fall asleep haha!)
  3. Colouring in – I tend to find their favourite colouring book.

Almost half of parents agree another sign their little one is coming down with something is loss of appetite. It is most definitely a tell-tale sign with my girls as they LOVE food! It can be difficult to get them to eat but we do have a few tricks.

We offer these

  1. A small snack buffet – Kids are even fussier when ill so we keep it small and simple cucumber, cheese, breadsticks/crackers & fruit.
  2. Yoghurt! – No matter how ill my girls are they never turn down a yoghurt.
  3. Fruit smoothies – Tasty and filling!
  4. Warm Chocolate milk – Helps soothe them off to sleep.

We use Vicks vapour rub to help the girls breathe easier and to clear up any nasty coughs. We find tying a muslin square with Vicks on to the bed post helps them sleep much easier too! Did you know it’s great for kids aged two years and older, but it’s proven to work just as well for adults too.

The Mr cooks up his delicious magic soup in the slow cooker for dinner with meat, potatoes, stock, pearl barley, lots of onion & garlic and any other veg we fancy throwing in! It is a magically warming soup which has helped us get through soo many colds over the years. It can be kept over a few days too, it just needs to be warmed by the bowl.

Talking of magic, have you seen this magic #VicksTricks video?

What tips & tricks do you use?

ESA & PIP Assessments

Any #Spoonie will tell you ESA & PIP assessments are extremely stressful. Whilst I understand these assessments are in place to stop people abusing the system, it’s tough for someone who genuinely struggles day to day and needs that support to apply in the first place without going through an assessment too.

For example my ESA assessment, it was booked well in advance which left me worrying constantly about how it would go, what I would have to do and the outcome. I am grateful for the outcome as it has meant I have started to focus on my physical and mental health more.

Now I’m sitting here stressing about my PIP assessment which is tomorrow. I was told to apply once my ESA was in place but I was so worried about having to go through another assessment I held off for a while. With things getting worse over the last few months, especially my anxiety and struggling to go out, interact with other’s etc… I decided it was time to apply.

If I pass the assessment it will make things a little easier for us, where we have no car I have to walk or rely on public transport which is honestly both painful and stressful for me. I can do the bus to my brother’s as I know the route, times, costs etc but anywhere else and I panic and stress.

I know the PIP assessments are a lot stricter and it’s making me worry so much, it’s bad enough I will have to sit and tell yet another stranger my weakest points. Knowing I’ll then be judged by that is terrifying. It makes me wonder how many people just like me are sat panicking? How many people who need that extra help are refused? It also makes me worry what kind of impact that will have on someone’s mental health, my own included.

Assessments are draining, my ESA one left me a mess for days & I’m worried I’ll feel the same again after tomorrow. The last week or so has been a struggle anyway which is why I referred myself for CBT. Being discharged from the Pain clinic to Psychology and pain management sessions and going onto Tramadol this week has added to me feeling crappy too. Being told there’s not much more that can be done other than upping medications even more and going through therapy & pain management sessions was terrifying. I am only 26 and it feels like I’ve just been given up on. They may as well have said ‘Nope sorry Ember your just going to have to tough this one out and hope for the best for the rest of your life’.

I know I will learn a lot from CBT and pain management that will help me cope better but it still won’t stop the pain, it won’t mean I’ll cope perfectly 24/7. So it really is just a case of hoping for the best, going through these assessments and hoping I’ll get a little extra help to make day to day living more bearable. If I can even afford Taxi’s to and from my appointments it will help with my anxiety massively knowing I can get straight there and back with little hassle, without trying to drag someone with me when I don’t really have someone who can. The Mr has to do school runs and my appointments are always at awkward times & don’t allow children in so the Mr can rarely come as he has Izzy to look after too. This leaves me feeling very alone, I struggle to remember what I need to do or say so I worry about that too.

Assessment’s really are quite stressful but as I realised with ESA it is worth it if you truly need the help. My ESA decision has meant I’ve focused more on my health this year, I’ve pushed myself to ask for extra help instead of worrying how I’ll fit it in around everything. It’s meant the Mr could stay at home & do the physical jobs I’ve struggled with as well as support me when I’m feeling low and anxious.

If you feel you need the help then don’t let your worries stop you, yes it is stressful but just do it. Take someone with you for support if you can and just be completely honest. You can find ESA Contact numbers here.

 

Continuing Gabapentin

Some of you have been following my posts about my Gabapentin trial. I was given enough tablets to cover 6 weeks building up from 1 300mg tablet a day to 6 a day (2 tablets 3 times a day). 

I’ve now finished my trial and had to book a Dr’s appointment to discuss how it had gone and wether or not I should continue. So I thought about the benefits I’ve had since starting them and thought I’d share them with you.

  1. It takes the edge off the pain, it hasn’t stopped it but it gives me enough relief that I can ignore the pain better and do a little more.
  2. Sleep! I do have the odd rough night still and wake a few times but it’s not as often as before so I’m less tired during the day too.
  3. I can get out of bed in under 5 minutes now instead of 20 minutes with a LOT of moaning and I get to drink my morning tea whilst it’s hot haha!
  4. A short walk to down doesn’t leave me crying. (Although I tend to over do it at times which I am still trying to work on..) So I’ve been getting out more.
  5. I’m less snappy! Pain makes me quite angry and emotional/upset and it makes everything seem 100x worse & I stress constantly! You could literally ask me where something is and I’ll have a full blown meltdown but it’s happening a lot less now!
  6. My appetite has come back. I know the tablets are known to cause weight gain but so far so good and I’m eating two meals a day and actually enjoying it plus a few snacks in the evening!
  7. I don’t feel like screaming constantly. The pain still gets to me but not to the point I want to scream and cry like a toddler.

So far I’ve not had many side effects apart from falling asleep early on the sofa when I’ve had a busy day which I’m willing to deal with if it means I can do things in the first place. I’ve been able to a few things I’ve not been able to like joining the Mr or going into town which is only a 10 minute walk away.

I still struggle to carry things so I am going to get a shopping trolley so I don’t always have to take Izzy with me to get more than a few light bits.

After spending so long determined not to be on medication daily having to stick to timings etc and working out I’d be on over 400 tablets every 28 days was a bit of a struggle to accept but being able to do a little more has made me realise following a schedule isn’t so bad!

My anxiety about going out has eased a little now I know I can go into town and make it home without getting so stressed and upset from the pain.

So far I am happy with the results and decided to continue taking Gabapentin especially after spending a day and half off of them and hurting so much all over. I’m definitely benefiting from them which is something nothing else I have tried has managed to do.

Gabapentin - Shake your meds
Have you continued Gabapentin after a trial? Did it help?

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealthDay

 

Today is of course #WorldMentalHealthDay. I wanted to join in and share a few things with you all to help raise awareness and help those struggling to see that they are not alone, such a huge percentage of the population struggle & feel so, so alone & that really needs to change. We need to reach out to one another & share our stories!

Mental Health is something I heard a lot about as a child as a lot of the adults I grew up knowing had depression, anxiety, bipolar & schizophrenia, so it is something I’ve learnt a fair bit about different issues over the years. I was going to look into statistics and figures but honestly I don’t feel there is any need, so many of us don’t say a word which leads me to believe the statistic’s are unrealistic.

I myself struggle with depression & anxiety and for quite some time I struggled massively with ED’s which I’ve slowly discovered has contributed to my Chronic pain which of course has caused me to feel quite depressed, I also struggle with how my Scoliosis makes my ribs stick out but sharing my stories in my blog has meant I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from other people and that has made such a difference!

I talk openly on my blog about all these things, NOT for sympathy but to connect with other’s who feel the same, it can be very lonely and stressful when you feel worthless & too scared to ask for a little help and I truly hope that the blogging community sharing their stories helps anyone struggling.

My brother has Aspergers & PTSD amongst other things & yes he can be difficult to be around at times but that ISN’T his fault. He had very little support growing up and felt very alone, being pushed from one foster home or care home to another as a child and being sectioned as a teen and then suddenly being all alone in a tiny bedsit has been very stressful and hard for him.

He spiralled out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain, he was EXTREMELY difficult to be around during that time BUT the Mr and I made it our mission to help him turn himself round. And you know what? With a bit of persistence, love and a little bit of a kick up the bum he has become a totally different person over the past year.

Now he is dealing with his issues and facing them in counselling he is coping much better. Knowing he IS part of our family & our home is his home has helped him relax and realise he is loved and cared for. He still has bad days especially because of his past but now instead of trying to numb the pain & destroy himself he picks up the phone and calls me or jumps on a train and distracts himself or talks his problems through and bit by bit he has turned his life round completely.

Talking about our problems can help us more than most things especially if we feel someone is actually listening, we know people may not fully understand but it’s nice to be heard and it makes us feel less alone.

What’s your story? What are you struggling with? What do you do to cope?

Image result for you are cared for

If you need to talk please do, my DM, email etc is always open to ANYONE that needs to talk, day or night! If you prefer there are plenty of charities to help, whether its over the phone, by email or on-line chat, whatever method you prefer there is ALWAYS someone waiting to help you and talk through your problems, PLEASE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!

If you do need to talk to someone here is a small list of contacts:

The Samaritans are a well known organisation who are always there for a chat whether your just having a low day or you feel thing’s are much worse, get in touch!

Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We’re here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.

Another brilliant organisation is Togetheruk.org although I have no personal experience myself they offer a range of services around the country .

Together is a national   charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulfilling lives.

MIND is an amazing organisation that offers counselling & they have helped both my and my brother. My brother still currently has counselling with them and I can honestly say that has played a HUGE part in his recovery. They offer a range of services and support too.

Contact us

Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Even if you find ways to cope and manage and feel you have recovered well there may still be days you need a little chat to help you keep on top, please do ask for help if you feel thing’s are slipping again.

If you know someone struggling, make them a cuppa & share some cake & just be there to listen when you know they are feeling low. Sometimes just being there can mean so much, we don’t need to be told what to do or to just cope we just need a little love & understanding to help us through the bad days so we can fully enjoy the good days.

Week 3 of my 6 Week Gabapentin Trial

At my last pain management appointment I was asked to start a gabapentin trial over 6 weeks starting with 1 x 300mg a day & increasing by one 300mg tablet every Tuesday starting with 10pm then 10pm & 8am and now I am taking them at 2pm as well.

I know some of you are interested in how it’s going so I thought I’d keep you all updated.

Feeling good

So far I have felt some relief & I am now up to 3 tablets a day (900mg). It’s been a huge relief in the morning taking my 10pm tablet and I can get out of bed a little easier. In fact most morning’s I feel brilliant! Although the first few days I did feel a little spacey!

My mood has definitely improved & I don’t feel quite so depressed & anxious constantly. It’s been quite nice throughout the Gabapentin trial so far.

And a ton of other aches and pains 😂😂

Wearing off

By the evenings though it doesn’t seem to give me much relief compared to the morning. The 2pm tablet I started this Tuesday doesn’t seem to have made much difference but then I have also been quite busy this week & may have overdone it.. A little bit.. Or a lot.. 😂 So I have been very moody & snappy the last 2 days!

Lack of sleep obviously hasn’t helped much either this week and was up at very early hours yesterday! I’m still feeling pretty rough but not quite as miserable and snappy.

I’m looking at doing things like buying a shopping trolley on wheels (in purple of course!). That way I can go shopping alone without struggling so much and hurting myself more.

I guess I am slowly accepting this is only ever going to get worse and I need to start finding ways to do what I want to & have some freedom without trying to struggle with doing things the usual way. 

If your a spoonie what things make your life with chronic pain a little easier?

Pain Management – Trying Something New

Pain Management

I had pain management today and was quite anxious about going. It didn’t help that I had to go to the Dr’s first where I didn’t get seen until half an hour after my appointment time but the main reason was that I needed to bring up the fact that whilst my First steroid injections for a little while things had gone down hill since.

After explaining I’ve been getting electric shock type pains all over, the burning and tingling I’ve had, how everywhere seems to constantly ache especially when I’m cold, my memory has gotten worse and I’m struggling to keep my balance amongst other things The Dr decided the injections weren’t going to be helpful as I had 3 injections at once not just one so it should have helped for a lot longer and instead, I was offered a trial of Gabapentin.

Gabapentin trial

I had to think about it quickly.. I don’t want to rely on yet more tablets but I’m struggling so much to cope with the pain. Everyone must be as bored as I am with all my complaining. With the cold weather setting in I’m honestly scared to think I could feel the same as last winter. I decided to give it a go.

Pain management - Gabapentin

I’ve not really read much about Gabapentin up until now and I still don’t know a lot about it but it sound’s like it’s worth a go so tonight I’ll be taking my first dose of 300mg and gradually up the dose over the next 6 weeks & hopefully it will help.

Have you tried Gabapentin for Chronic pain? Did you find it helped much? What dosage are you on or are you trialling it yourself? I’d love to hear from others too and find out how they get on!

ESA Assessment

On the 22nd I have my ESA assessment and I have to say it’s really making me nervous. It’s so hard trying to explain to people how much I struggle on a daily basis with both my pain and mental health and I’m terrified as if I’m refused I just don’t know how we are going to cope. I tried to write on a ‘support’ group how I am feeling and was surprised to find so many people making horrible comments towards me, I know there are people a lot worse off than myself and I can appreciate it is so much harder for them but to me this is difficult too and I need to ramble about it somewhere safely… I guess this is kinda what the blog is for after all!

I didn’t expect to get as far as actually going through with the assessment, I guess part of me hoped the steroid injections would have helped ease enough pain for me to start getting back on track and start looking for a part time job but after a good week everything has just gone back downhill and I’m back to where I was before the injections so I have no choice but to go through with the assessment and hope for the best but my anxiety is getting the better of me and feels like it’s eating me up.

How do you even begin to explain to a total stranger that although you look fine on the outside apart from walking a little funny that every step requires so much effort that even a 5 minute walk leaves you exhausted physically and mentally at the age of 25?

I know being completely honest is necessary but it’s also scary to think I’m going to have to admit to a stranger that I can’t pick up my baby at just 20 month’s old, if I take her out on my own I have to get the Mr to put her in her stroller as I can’t even do that without causing more pain, I cant even lift her onto a changing table so have to lay her stroller flat if I’m alone! How do you admit that you can’t even manage walking your 5 year old the 10-15 minute walk to school and back every day and have to rely on the Mr to do it otherwise I’m left in so much pain and feel so drained that I’m left completely useless for the rest of the day?

I guess a big part of it is me feeling like I am admitting I am a failure as a mother, I cant lift and rock my baby when she needs it, I cant walk my daughter to and from school and get chatting with the other mums, I cant take the girls to the park regularly, I cant bend down and pick up their toys properly, hell I cant even wash their damn clothes because the bending, lifting, and stretching to hang the clothes sends my back into spasm!

How do you admit all this to a stranger face to face? How do you explain that your basically useless and break down several times a day just trying to do the most basic of things? How do you explain that simple tasks make you feel so queasy because of the pain & a sharp bolt can make you vomit & leave you feeling so shaky and weak without sounding like a drama queen?

I’m also terrified my emotions will get the better of me on the day, I’m an emotional wreck most day’s as it is and if I get too worked up I get queasy and struggle to breath without throwing up! Any time I try to explain to someone what I’m going through it makes me feel like crap reeling off a list of basic tasks I struggle to do, how every time I struggle I become so upset and angry with myself for not being able to do such a ‘simple’ task etc. It all just sounds like I’m over reacting!

I guess I’ve tried to hide the pain and how it leaves me feeling from people for so long that now I need to open up and be honest so I can get the help I need it’s much harder and it feels like I’m about to go to confession to admit all my failures instead of sins.

It’s terrifying to think they could decide to deem me fit to work when I can’t even load the dishwasher daily, climb into the bath, push a hoover around and all the other thing’s most people do without thinking. The worst part is if they do say I am fit to work I have no choice but to try and find a job as there’s no way I could cope trying to keep on top of school runs, looking after Izzy etc so I need the Mr to be at home to carry on doing it all as I can’t.

Then there’s the added fear of how my health will affect a job as just 5 weeks doing 4 hours a day work experience at the job centre was draining and one of the day’s I had to be sent home as I was in so much pain & everything felt too much and I arrived in tears! I tried so hard for the first week or two to hide it but eventually the staff I worked closely with were picking up on it and I was made to go sit at a desk several times. One of those times I was struggling so much I buried my head in my arms on the desk to hide the tears whilst I tried to stretch my back out that one of the managers walked past and thought I was being lazy and told me to sit up which of course led to me feeling even worse and having to excuse myself to go hide in the toilet for 5 minutes to calm down.

I’d love to work, I’d love the chance to socialise with other’s and actually make some friends around here and do something to be proud of and show the girls the importance of working but I know realistically I just wouldn’t cope,I cant even keep on top of the blog on bad days because I just can’t even focus! It’s fairly easy to get this all down in words but how on earth am I meant to explain all this to a complete stranger and have them take me seriously? So many questions and I know on the day I’ll only feel worse and again afterwards waiting on their decision. I guess time will tell but I needed to get it all off my chest instead of letting it carry on eating me up!

Steroid Injection Recovery

On 8th march I had my steroid injections as some of you may know and I posted about the procedure and the first 24 hours and thought perhaps it would be helpful for other’s if I share the following few day’s too.

By the second evening I really felt exhausted after doing very little all day and the injection area was extremely sensitive and sore making it a struggle to get comfortable at all but surprisingly I woke up the following morning feeling slightly less discomfort and managed a short trip around town. I did really feel it having walked for a while and a cheeky stop at the pub probably didn’t help as the chair’s weren’t the comfiest and on top of that Izzy decided to jump and pull me to the floor and Eva managed to knock into me so hard I was almost in tears so again on the third evening I was really uncomfortable and tired. (Moral of the story actually rest for the 2-3 days following and avoid children 😉 haha) I did have a slightly earlier night in the hope I would feel better the following day.

Luckily by Friday morning I really did feel so much better and although I wasn’t completely pain-free the majority of the pain was the injection area again. My burning knees and tingly legs seemed to have stopped for a while. Unfortunately I just can’t stop myself trying to do thing’s I feel I’m supposed to do instead of resting otherwise I think I may have recovered a bit quicker but by Saturday morning I sat straight up in bed without even thinking and got up and dressed before I realised I wasn’t struggling to do so!

I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it felt to suddenly realise I was almost completely pain-free! I still felt a few twinges across the day but nowhere near as bad as usual. The Mr suggested taking the girls to the pub for lunch as the weather was warmer and nice enough for them to play in the garden. Normally I dread it knowing after 15 minutes sat in the pub my back, hips and knees will feel like they are on fire and I wont be able to concentrate or enjoy myself but for a change I felt up for it and we spent an hour or 2 there having some lunch chatting with a few people whilst the girls watched a bit of the rugby before coming home for dinner.

Usually I get back and feel exhausted and just want to die on the sofa but instead I came back feeling just slightly achy but over the moon as we had managed a lovely lunch out where I didn’t spend the whole time trying to ignore my pain and getting stressed. We even received a compliment as we were leaving from the staff as we always tidy up after ourselves and the girls behave well too. Apparently they really notice the difference when we visit, we have visited several times over the last week or 2 with friends to try and stop feeling stuck in the flat and I was worried about taking the girls in there and annoying customers & staff so to be given such a compliment really cheered me up on top of the pain relief!

I expected to wake up Sunday morning and regret going out Saturday yet instead I felt amazing and managed to walk to town as well as tidying when I got back. It was so strange being able to do things without thinking again, I’d do something silly then get overly excited because I managed it so easily!

Again Monday morning I woke up feeling great and had the dishwasher loaded and on by the time the Mr & Eva had left for the school run at 8.20am! I put some music on to motivate me even more and managed to scrub half the kitchen before the Mr was back from the school run. I’m so pleased the injections have done something for me. Bolts of pain that were bringing me to tears feel like little tiny shocks now and are so much easier to ignore. My walk doesnt look as awful and im slightly faster than a snail again. Even if it only lasts a few more days I’d happily go through it all again just for the relief I have had already!

Have you had steroid injections? How did they work for you? If at all? How long did the effects last?

 

First steroid injections

I finally had my first steroid injections yesterday at Orsett Hospital after what felt like an extremely long wait. In the end my consultant decided to give me a Lumbar epidural steroid injection, Left L5, S1 Dorsal root ganglia and Right S1, S2,  S3 lateral branch diagnostic blocks.

image

I was so nervous but somehow managed to keep fairly calm on the surface. I arrived at 9am where I was shown to a bed and given a gown and the most stunning see through granny knickers going (haha!) to change into. I had my blood pressure taken once the nurse finally found a small enough arm wrap for me  & she checked my temperature before I signed some forms and was given my hospital bands and told someone would come and see me soon. I sat and skimmed the book I took along with me whilst trying to stop myself thinking of anything and working myself up. Then the lady next to me was called in after a while and I was told I would be next and someone would collect me in about 20 minutes.

I felt ridiculously nervous and mentioned on the way to the operating theatre that I had a bit of a needle phobia and was trying my best to ignore it. I had to be propped up with 2 pillows under my stomach as I am slim. They cracked a few jokes about but by then I had already began to panic and was trying to focus on not jumping off the table but my consultant Dr. Thompson noticed my heart rate and asked for me to be sedated and  I felt calm almost instantly and although I kind of felt something was happening it didn’t hurt and I wasn’t really aware of what was happening. I remember rolling onto my bed to be taken to recovery and slowly coming round fully a little while later.

Apart from a few tingles I felt very little to begin with, in fact I was amazed I had no pain! After I had been back on the ward a little while I was given tea and toast before attempting to stand. Surprisingly I felt fine standing and walking just a little stiff so the nurse let me change and called our friend Steve to come and collect me.

I felt a little stiff walking to the car and struggled to get comfy but didn’t feel too bad until I was almost home. Luckily Steve stopped and popped into a shop just in time for me to throw up. We managed to get home before I was sick again and I had a rest on the sofa. I tried to make sure I got up regularly and moved about to ease the stiffness although the pain gradually crept back over the afternoon.

first steroid injections

Over the next few hours my hips, back and legs felt like they were stiffening more and more and bolts of pain were taking my breath away and making me feel nauseous. By the evening I was in so much pain I felt so sick with each bolt of pain and struggled to eat. I spent most of the day on the sofa cuddled up with my pillow and wheat bag feeling exhausted and sorry for myself.

Before bed the Mr ran me a nice warm bath so I could de-tango myself and try to ease the pain a little in the hope I could get some sleep. I dosed myself up and although I did wake several times I had a fairly OK night but woke up very stiff again. Unfortunately I was sick a few more times when I got up due to bolts of pain and felt exhausted still but I tried to move around gently across the morning having a few rest periods on the sofa.

I decided to look Dr Thomson up on-line to see if there had been any feedback from his other patients and was surprised and pleased to find out just how successful he is in his field. When  I came across this page I really was impressed reading about Dr Thomson’s work and the 5th paragraph reminded me how it amazed me when he actually listened to me at my first pain management appointment and I had a feeling he really knew what he was talking about.

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http://www.basildonandthurrock.nhs.uk/media-centre/747-pain-consultant-highlights-international-work

 

Having read this I am so glad I am under such a great team and although I am struggling with the pain I am confident that whether the injections work or not I am under a great consultant who will continue to help me. From the very few people who were able to share their experiences with me it seems I have been very lucky so far and hopefully the pain will ease up soon and the injections work even if its just a few day’s of relief! I will be sent another appointment in the next 13-18 weeks so I guess for now its just a case of resting and seeing how things go. I think I’m going to set up the Catch My Pain app to remind me to track my pain levels again now I have the G4 back so I can monitor everything until my next appointment.