Tag Archive | hell

Catch 22

Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed.  But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray.  Lord, what am I to do next?

That’s what has happened recently.  Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time.  I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate.  I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me.  Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.

He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk.  I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point.  Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing.  I thought, “But no!  That can’t be!  I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!”  He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs.  “Not fast enough,” he said.  He’s talking by the end of THIS year.  But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas.  I thought it showed good promise.

I left his office in a fog.  That fog turned into despair and then depression.  The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder.  You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old.  From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system.  Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine.  I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed.  I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time.  It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?).  It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die.  It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once.  Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death.  Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying.  I don’t know why.  So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades.  It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!

And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again.  Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed.  It has to be better now.  And I know I have to try this again.  I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery.  Last night I wallowed a bit.  But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray.  I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself.  I’m admittedly scared.  I’m no longer 29 years old.  It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well.  Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.

The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me.  I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  It’s the way to start.  I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery.  I should know in a few days.  I have to be optimistic.  Any other option is not acceptable.


The Blessings of a Featherbed ~


For those of you who do not know what it is like to live with pain, sometimes unbearable pain, 24/7, you may not appreciate what I’m saying here.  But I am so excited that I just had to share it!

Yes, I’m “one of those people” who have the handicap of living in pain all of the time.  Yes, it is a handicap.  Never thought I’d think of it in that way, but believe me, when you’re living it, there’s no other way to think of it.  It can direct your life.  I don’t have a wheelchair, I don’t have an artificial limb, I’m not blind and I don’t wear a cast… so you can’t SEE my handicap by looking at me.

I have an L5, T5, T6 & T7 herniated discs in my back.  Since 1988-1989 I’ve been dealing with on-again/off-again pain until the late 90’s when it became full time on-again.  I’ve run the gamut of chiropractors, pain specialists, orthopedic specialists, physical therapy and medications.  I have been medicated since 1991.  The list of prescription and OTC meds I’ve tried is too long to list… every type, color, size, shape, dosage, co-pay imaginable.  Surgery is not an option on this particular location.  My latest “thing”, besides continuing medication, is an ultrasound guided epidural cortisone interlaminar block, given in quarterly injections under mild sedation.  Most of the time they help take the edge off, but never completely alleviate the pain.  So, I continue to also keep getting my medications “adjusted” trying to find the best combination for relief.

The worst for me is bed time.  Laying down and trying to go to sleep is an absolute nightmare for which, oftentimes, I end up taking a double dose of meds and crying myself to sleep.  The pain of laying down is ferocious!  Like Satan is stabbing me in the back with an 11″ dagger over and over.  If it begins to subside, it begins anew each time I shift or move to a new position… all night.  Only a very few times have I ever gotten full relief from this hell on earth, and that was whenever we’ve stayed in a hotel or a B & B that has a featherbed “topper” on their accommodations.  Recently, for Valentine’s Day, we spent the weekend at a local Inn and they had just such a featherbed topper.  It wasn’t until we actually checked out and went on about our way that I actually realized that I’d slept comfortably and gotten up without pain!  WITHOUT pain!  Husband and I finally began to put some pieces together and decided it was either a new mattress and/or a featherbed topper for us in our near future!

Well, to make a long story short, we got the featherbed topper online through Amazon, and it was delivered yesterday.  We opened it up, fluffed it on top of our mattress (covered it with a sheet as we don’t yet have a “cover” for it), and last night was pure unmedicated heaven!  I was able to lay down and, instead of the excruciating pain of my back adjusting to the bed, it was immediate relief!  I could roll onto my side – EITHER ONE – and not whimper and feel that stabbing in my back that I’d become accustomed to.  When I woke up this morning, there was no pain!  None!  I could even stretch, for the first time in years, without wincing.  I could sit up without a struggle and stand up without assistance of some sort for the first time in decades.  And, I was still unmedicated!

Now, I don’t know the “ifs” “whys” and “wherefores” of this miracle in my life, but that 5″ featherbed topper is the best blessing I’ve had … I can’t even tell you!  I don’t know how or why it works for me, but it does.  Such a simple solution for a comfortable sleep!  I do still have constant pain during the day, but it’s much more manageable (most of the time) if I’m careful and conscious about my movements.  But the REASON I’m sharing this is to share my unadulterated JOY this morning, not to focus on the unseen handicap of constant pain.  I felt so good I had to restrain myself from dancing in my livingroom this morning!  But, I digress!

How did YOU sleep last night?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.  Hope to see you again soon.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt