Although I am a "newbie", I have accessed this site many times and have gained a lot of useful information from it. Now I could use some help and support from your members as I really am struggling my numerous isues and chronic pain.
I am 45 years old, married for 22 years and have 3 children, one of whom has autism. I've sufferd from chronic pain since 1992 due to an auto accident which left me with chronic neck pain, myofascial pain syndrome, TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia. After that injury and many years of therapies and medications, I eventually was able to return to work as an Orthodontic Dental Assistant, although part time, and was able to manage and somehow live with my constant pain. In 2004, I began to have problems with both of my shoulders which led to impingement syndrome and tendonitis and bursitis. I had arthroscopic surgery of my left shoulder in 2007 to repair a rotator cuff tear and impingement syndrome. In 2006, I was diagnosed with sinus migraines. I suffered a workplace injury in February 2007 which caused a large L4-L5 disc herniation. I was treated with a medrol dosepak and pain medications initially , followed by a series of epidural injections. I attempted a return to work a few months later and noticed an increase in pain, especially down the left leg, with tingling an dnumbness as well. I had symptoms of Cauda Equina which led to microdiscectomy/laminoforaminectomy L4-L5 in July of 2007. Immediately after surgery, I awoke with severe nausea & vomitting, severe headaches, pain, tingling and numbness and I couldn't feel my first three toes in my left leg. 1 week post surgery the neurosurgeon felt that everything looked fine and that it would just take me longer to heal and referred me to a Physiatrist.
It is now almost 2 years post surgery. My most recent EMG shows moderate, chronic LS poly (L4,5-S1)radiculopathy on the left side and mild chronic L5-S1 radiculopathy affecting the right lower extremity. I am currently experiencing back pain and sciatica in both the left and right legs now. I am currently being treated by my PCP, my neurologist, the pain management center, my physical therapist (and aqua therapist), and my chiropractor. I have also recently consulted with a rheumatologist who has diagnosed me with fibromyalgia as well.
I continue to struggle with my health issues but I am trying to do all I can to at least try to get the pain to a manageable level. I find that it’s gotten to the point where it has affected so many aspects of my life. I now have to rely on my husband and children to do most of the household chores, like cleaning and doing dishes. They help me with grocery shopping and cooking meals. Socializing with friends or a night out with my husband happens infrequently due to the pain and lack of interest. Some mornings I lay in bed, in tears, waiting for the pain to lessen just enough for me to be able to get out of it (it generally takes about 45 min-1 hr after waking to get out of bed). Most nights I’m lucky if I get a 2 or 3 hour stretch of sleep as I usually wake every hour. I can’t sit for long, can’t stand for long, hurt all over, can’t get up at the same time every morning, and the list goes on….
I am curretly taking Topomax 100mg twice daily, Lyrica 100mg twice daily, Percocet 10/325 every 6-8hr as needed, Zyrtec and Mucinex D daily. I have gained a significant amount of weight from some of these medications and have recently discontinued Elavil and Celexa and have begun treating with Cymbalta. With these changes, I have experienced a significant increase in pain, and a flare-up of my other medical issues (migraines, trigeminal neuralgia pain, neck and shoulder pain). I also have been experiencing severe nausea, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, all over muscle aches, memory loss/confusion, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, and diarrhea/constipation to name a few. After consulting with my psychologist and my primary care physician, they both felt that these issues were due to the fact that I discontinued the use of Elavil and was not yet at the therapeutic dose of the new medication, Cymbalta, and that the side effects should lessen with time as I begin to tolerate the drug. They suggested an increase to the therapeutic dose faster. After 2 months of taking this drug and a Rheumatology consult to determine if I had fibromyalgia and if this was the cause of feeling like a mack truck hit me, he decided that I definitely had fibro and intimated that I was a doctor seeking patient that had to learn had to deal with my pain....
I decided to hold off on increasing the cymbalta dosage and now realize that some of my symptoms seem to be severe side effects of this drug. I now wonder if it is the right medication for me as I'm in more pain than I was in before and wonder what my options are now...(I hear that weaning off of this medication is worse than adjusting to it...GREAT!)
Sorry for this long sob story but I just don't know what is now in store for me. I feel as though I'm destined to a life of intolerable pain and things just keep getting worse no matter how hard I try to get better. I'm dealing with the stresses of worker's comp, SSDI and the denials and appeals process, health insurance issues, my husband being unemployed.....so many other stresses on top of being in chronic, constant pain. Any help, suggestions would be so greatly appreciated!