I will be 68 soon. I have managed hip, back, neck and knee pain relatively well since I was in my early 20's. In September, 2011, I had papillary thyroid cancer and had to have my thyroid surgically removed. I do not know if it is pure coincidence or losing my thyroid triggered an extraordinary chain of events ALL leaving me at the point right now where I am all but crippled with pain - with extremely dangerous and complicated issues surrounding prescription pain drugs and surgery.
I have three wonderful specialists dealing specifically with my orthopedic problems. I see the #1 knee specialist in my town, I see a very caring rheumatologist in the same practice with the knee specialist AND I also see a neurosurgeon (with a pain specialist in his same practice). Miraculously, I could not be more blessed when it comes to healthcare professionals trying to help me but nothing is working - and yesterday I received a letter from my insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) that they are ending their association with my other specialist, an endocrinologist I credit with saving my life.
That's who I am - this is my dilemma! I have known most of my adult life that I have horrendous problems with almost all drugs. I had two trips to the ER just trying to adjust to thyroid hormone replacement. I don't just get headaches or nausea, I get so sick that it usually takes two morphine shots to ease the pain. In 2013, I had two biopsies on my pancreas because of such excruciating pain.
I feel like I must avoid surgery (spine as well as double knee replacement) as long as possible. My father died of a blood clot in orthopedic surgery and last Thanksgiving a 50-year old first cousin died of a blood clot immediately following orthopedic surgery after falling and breaking her leg. I have been tested for the MTHFR/METHDNA gene mutation test through the Mayo Clinic and am heterozygous for the C677T mutation. In an emergency surgery 25 years ago I had to have eleven units of blood.
In addition to my fear of blood clotting problems in any surgery, I'm also trying to manage my 93-year old mother's failing health. My husband has also had two open heart surgeries and is battling glaucoma and macular degeneration. We also have a 14-year old pug with very special needs.
I am so far beyond frustration and anxiety that I do not know what to do anymore. In the past 2-3 months, I've had cortisone injections in both knees, both hips and my spine to very little avail. I've been on Tramadol, Norco and Arthritex (?). ALL - ALL made me deathly ill! So much abdominal pain that I could not stand-up straight.
I'm existing (not "living" by any sense of the word) on hot, soaking baths, electric heating pads, knee braces, a TENS machine and Aleve...with every doctor AND my gastro-intestinal specialists both wanting me off Aleve.
I need advice. I need or hope, I pray someone else can say this is survivable! I used to enjoy life more than anyone I knew, now I'm virtually a homebound hermit. I feel so overwhelmed that I can't see a place to start a new quest. I've done rehab, I've endured excruciating pain attempting to "keep moving". I'm not overweight, I've never smoked, I don't drink!
My late father had the same problems I have. I have other paternal cousins who have similar problems and yet my two siblings (I'm the oldest) have no arthritis issues whatsoever...and therefore don't really believe I do!
Can anyone share an encouraging word? I loathe people feeling sorry for me and have done everything I know to do to put on a happy face and keep going but I'm exhausted, I can't do it anymore and I don't see anymore options. I live in a small city in Louisiana, we do not have a tremendous number of specialists but I truly believe my physicians are the best in town.