I am an Undergraduate Student who has Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and embraces the Vegan lifestyle. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a Chronic Neurological Condition that I hope and pray there will be a cure to one day. Until then I live my life to the fullest, embrassing the life the Good Lord has given me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tough Week

This past weekend has been a tough one for a couple of good friends of mine as well as me. My friend's grandma past away late last Tuesday night. She was also like a granmother to me as well. Growing up I only really had my Great-grandma and Grandma on my Dad's side. These particular friends let me call both sets of grandparents Grandma and Grandpa. Ive always felt like I was their grandchild so for me it was like losing a grandparent. Her memorial service was yesterday. To help out the family my mom, dad, and I helped with the food peperation and just helped provide moral support. Since I am on Spring Break this week my mom and I are going to try to stop and see her husband ("my Grandpa"). I am hoping to make and bring him some Vegan Brownies I found a recipie for.

On the lighter side of things I found a great recipie for Vegan Banana Bread which I am going to make tomorrow. I am happy to be home so that I am able to experiment with Vegan / Vegeterian Recipies. At Walmart tonight I found the meat substitutes for ground beef, ch'kn
nuggets, and even bacon. I know they are made out of soy but at least I will be able to get some protein and eatting healthy while not giving up some of the things that I once loved. I am eatting my green veggies too. My stomach has been bothering the last few days. I am guessing this is due to the death of "my grandma". Spring Break came at the perfect time.

I will let you know how the Banana Bread turns out once I make it.

Sending Healing Thoughts to all of you!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pain Management

I have always been blessed when its came to Pain Management. When I was first diagnosed at 12 yrs old by a Orthopedist I was referred to the Cleveland Clinic's Pain Management Dept, to the Orthopedic's college who happens to be the head RSD Dr. in the Department. Since then I have gotten great care.

My Dr. has always listened to me, my file is even red flagged, not by my choice or my mom's but my Dr's. He understands that if something is wrong that we would want to get in asap, and does his best to do so. He has fit me in between his scheduled appointments before. I am very grateful that I have my Dr. He's treated me for the last almost 8 yrs. He has never given up on me and as said by his Nurse Practitioner that Im one of his miracle patience, since I was able to re-gain my life.

I think its important that people are able to get the pain relief that they need. If its going with traditional western medicine, non-traditional eastern medicine or even a bit of both. Pain affects your body by causing other parts of your body to hurt. Having ways to help treat that pain whether it be pain medicine, SCS, acupuncture, or even food is not only going to help you feel good knowing that your doing something to treat your pain but actually reducing that pain.

I have had a supper busy week. For my pain I am back on my original medicine, ultracet and tramadol. My Dr has suggested I take two Tramadols since I haven't tried that yet. I have been on two ultracets but taken off because the amount of tylenol. I was then reduced to one tramadol and the pain was bad. I was then put on the one ultracet and one tramadol (taken together) to help reduce the Tylenol amount but get the benefits of the Tylenol). I am still deciding what I am going to do since it seems that my body needs the tylenol in the ultracet for the anti-inflammatory affect. It would also help if it stoped snowing!...lol Driving home today for spring break it looked more like winter break, especially when I got to my exit which is right were the snow belt is.

Here is a youtube video of my Dr, Dr. Michael Stanton-Hicks on Pain Management

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Affects Of Pain Medication

Pain Medication can be a RSDers best friend and worst enemy. For me I absolutely hate taking medicine. The more medicine I take the more I feel like my body is being stuffed with substances that shouldn't be in it.

On Thursday my new pain medicine, Nucynta arrived at my house. My mom brought it up to my school so that I could switch myself over. I didn't think I would have that much of a problem with it. I did realize that the Nucynta was stronger than my current medicine but didn't think much of it since my pain has gotten worse. I started on Friday and just simply thought my body was overly tired from my massage. I was entirely wrong. All weekend instead of catching up on studying like I normally do I just wanted to sleep. Since I wanted to sleep during the day my body didn't want to sleep at night. This has never happened to me before when switch or going on meds so I caught on very quickly. Since the Nucynta was every 8 hours I tried not to take any pain meds when I woke up in the wee hours of Sunday night / Monday morning hoping to get all of the Nucynta out of my system. Since most of it is out of my system and I am back on my original pain medicine I am somewhat starting to feel like myself. I should have went with my gut instinct and stayed with the original medicine.

Since I had a bad reaction my mom is calling my Dr tomorrow to let them know how things went. She called today but my PM and his Nurse Practitioner both were not in the office. Hopefully they will be able to find a pain medicine that I will be able to function on. I need to be able to think clearly and not want to sleep all day, after all I am a college student.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My First Massage

Healing: the natural process by which the body repairs itself

Pain, Hurting: a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder

Pain is when the body is telling us something is wrong. There are many people out there that try to ignore the pain that their body is creating. Even with Chronic Pain disorders our body is trying to tell us that something isnt right.

I had my massage today hoping that it not only help my ongoing headache but my stressed muscles from my RSD as well. When the massage therapist was working on my neck she found my tender spot on the left side. After to the massage she did let me know that since I was so tender there that I could possibly have a deep knot that needs rubbed out slowly. She does believe that this could be the cause of my headache since I am constantly doing homework looking down. Also I carry my books on my left shoulder which puts extra stress on my left side. It was great to get the knots out of my back and shoulders and possibly find the reason for this headache.

I am going to be stretching my neck side to side to see if that makes a difference periodically during studying. I felt extremely tired a good couple hours after the massage and feel asleep for about and hour and a half. She told me this would happen and to stay hydrated.

After the massage I stoped at Target to get a few things for the week.


Tazo Green Tea with Honey

Sending Healing Thoughts!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let the Healing Start

It is now my turn to a natural way of healing as a way to help my body heal. My Primary Dr left me voice mail today and confirmed that massage therapy would be a good way to get rid of this persist ant headache. She also recommended acupuncture but at this time I am going to just go with the message due to the fact that my skin is extremely hypersensitive from my RSD. I do understand where she is coming from with recommending it I am just not sure I am ready to try it. I have my first message therapy appointment on Friday. I am looking forward to this appointment and Im very optimistic that this will help not only my headache but my RSD as well.

Through this all I have been able to keep up with my school work. I am extremely thankful that I have friends that understand that sometimes I just dont feel well and that sometimes I need to lock myself in my room to study because of my major. I just ask for everyones prayers that this headache goes away as mysteriously as it started.

Lets Start The Healing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

The heart is a complex organ, not only emotionally but also physically. The last week My Anatomy and Physiology Class has been learning about the heart and its functions. This past weekend I have been studying about the route of blood through the heart and the path it takes to go through the body to help us sustain life.

To me, Valentines Day isn't only about Celebrating the love a couple shares. It is also about showing our family and friends how much we love them and appreciate them. Last night I went to my sister's house to celebrate 3 Birthdays that take place in the month of February. It was nice to see my family and spend time with them but the increased activity made my rebound headache much worse than I could have imagined. I thankfully made it back to my dorm and after an hour of studying had to quit and decided to pamper myself.

Finally a week after this rebound headache has started it is no longer on the whole left side. I am hoping this means that it is finally starting to go away but I don't want to jinx it. I am going to call my Dr tomorrow if it is still present and to see what is going on with my Pain Management. My new pain meds are suppose to arrive on Tuesday and I am looking forward to some much needed relief.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Soy Milk vs Cows Milk

Since October of 2009 I have had several digestive issues. Thankfully I am being treated with a medicine called Levsin that relaxes my stomach before I eat. Since it relaxes my stomach and the nerves at the end of the stomach the food is able to go into the intestine and be digested from there. If I dont take my pill before I eat or immediately after I get excruciating stomach cramps exactly where my stomach is located. My Primary Doctor and Pain Management Dr isnt sure if this is my RSD or if this is something else at this point.
I have noticed though that I am not able to drink cows milk due to the fact that my body isnt able to digest it normally, or like it one did. I notice one day over Winter Break after I drank a nice glass of milk my stomach ached and ached. A person proposed that I should try Soy Milk even though I was extremely nervous about it. After the first glass I haven't looked back. I am hooked on the goodness of soy. I have done my research on it and I know that people are especially hesitant about it because of the amount of estrogen in it. For me I do believe that Soy Milk is the best choice since I have been raised on Cow's Milk for the last 20 yrs. I am happy to know that Im not supporting an industry that abuses its animals by injecting hormones to make them produce more milk when humans especially adults were meant to be lactose intolerant in the first place. Somehow our genes got manipulated and adults were able to start digesting milk. Does it make since for humans to be able to drink milk when the rest of adult animals are lactose intolerant? For me its Soy Milk, I dont miss the aching, cramping stomach pain that I once had with Cows milk...yippy!

***I still have my rebound headache it is getting slightly better though. My Primary Dr said it should feel much better 48 hrs after the start of the steroid which is tomorrow. I have been a little nausea's because of the steroid due to my weak stomach but thats not a big deal. I may call tomorrow to see what the plan is Pain Management wise since my RSD pain is worse.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rebound Headache

I have finally found the name for my 3-4 day headache. I also found out that the headache that I have been suffering from is actually common. It is common in people who have chronic pain conditions that take pain medication to treat it. Cruel isn't it?, I believe so. Since I was 12 I have been off and on pain medicine to treat my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. When I was 17 I went on the pain meds pretty much all the time. How else was I going to manage the stabbing and burning pain I feel every minute of every day? I do have a Spinal Cord Simulator implanted but it only helps relieve the burning pain I feel.

In my last post I did mention that I had a headache exactly the same as this almost a year ago. Instead of going to my Primary Dr I waited it out and ended up going to the ER, a Neurologist, and my Pain Management Dr. Finally my Pain Management Dr came to the conclusion that it must be a virus that got into my brain and it was causing it to spasm. This time around though I wasn't going to go through 6 weeks of sharp stabbing headache pain on top of my RSD once again.

Last night I was diagnosed with Rebound Headaches. Rebound Headaches are headaches caused by the pain medicine I have been taking, even migraine sufferers can get them by taking their preventative medicine. Our bodies get use to the pain medicine that we are taking and essentially need more of it. It doesnt mean that we are addicted just chemically dependent. Since we need more to get the relief we once needed we take more and therefor end up causing these headaches. In my case I do not take an opiate for pain reliefe. I take more of an non-narcotic-narcotic mix so it surprised me that I could get these headaches.

For my treatment I am currently on a tapered steroid and anti-nausea medicine at night. My Primary Dr is going to talk to my Pain Management Dr so that they can see what is the next step in my pain treatment. I am guessing I will be changing to my new prescription on pain medicine sooner than my mom wanted (she wanted to finish out my current prescription). I do believe that getting on the new medicine will help prevent these. Due to my RSD and because I am so busy with school I cant get off of my medicine which is the best preventative measure. My Primary Dr did mention that I might have to go on a steroid taper whenever I get these headaches for the time being. I will let you know more when I do. I thought it was interesting that these headaches can occur just because a person is treating there pain. Especially pain so bad like RSD where the main treatment is pain medicine.

Here is a website explaining Rebound Headaches:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It is Still Here

It is the third day and I am still stuck with my migraine like headache. In the Semester of Spring of 2009 I was hit hard with a headache exactly like this one that lasted a good 6 weeks. Even after a trip to the ER with an IV of 3 different Migraine medicines nothing helped to relieve the pain. I went to see a neurologist and even had an appointment with my Pain Management Dr scheduled around then. When I saw my Pain Management Dr he had concluded that it was due to a virus that had went into my brain from a chest cold that I have had 2 - 3 weeks prior. It thankfully went away two weeks after I came back to school. The total duration of the headache was around 6 weeks.

I am scheduled to go to my Primary Doctor this afternoon. Unfortunately I have to miss my evening class for this appointment. I am overwhelmed and exhausted from this headache and cant imagine it going on 6 weeks at this point. I will post more details when I get them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And Here Comes The Migrain...

I love the weekends, but what college student doesnt? On Friday I dont have classes so I usually spend the day catching up on homework. Saturday is pretty much the same, except I didnt have much to do this weekend except starting to read for the upcoming chapters in my classes.

My brother decided to have some people over for the Super Bowl and since I didnt have much to do I was going to meet my mom and some of my family out there. I had a slight headache before I took my shower and it just started getting worse after. I took two Motrin and took my migraine medicine. After awhile it became unbearable and I had to grab some ice and lay down. After forcing myself to sleep the migraine finally went down a little bit. I am hoping that by morning my migraine / headache will be gone.

I haven't gotten one of these horrible headaches in a long time and hope I don't experience one again for another long time. My Pain Management Dr's Nurse Practitioner think it may be allergy related but I don't see how it can be when I got it in the middle of winter and I know its not a stress headache. Its been busy this semester but has been going well so far. I also wonder if this has connection to RSD since migraines are neurological based too. I guess I will have to ask at my next Dr's appointment.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spreading Awareness

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome aka Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome; is a chronic neurological condition characterized by

severe burning / stabing pain
extreme sensitivity to touch
tissue swelling
excessive sweating
pathological changes to bone and skin

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) has changed my life. It has changed my life in ways I could never imagine. I never thought at 12 yrs old that a sprain of my left wrist could leave me in unbearable pain that tops the McGill Pain Charts. It will be 8 years this March, that I have had this syndrome. Due to the fact that there are several symptoms of RSD (above) and the Dr's and Researchers are not able to pinpoint the exact cause of RSD it is classified as a syndrome. Due to the fact that there is no exact cause, the treatments that RSDers are given are mostly experimental. Some treatments are routine by now but not every treatment works for every RSDer's pain. The same goes for medication. Every person's body isnt going to react the same to the same medicine therefore finding a treatment that works is very hard.

People who have Pain or even Chronic Conditions are seen as depressed or end up developing depression due to the fact that family members and friends don't believe their pain. I have been blessed in the fact that I have not developed depression. I have kept myself active by being able to go to College and have been surrounded by people who support me in my fight with RSD. I am able to openly talk to my mom or a friend about my feelings about how I feel especially if I get stressed over a test or just how my day went.

This morning I was awoken by the familiar pain of my constant companion. Everyday I am reminded how badly we need awareness of this condition when I talk to RSDers online about how much pain they have experienced that day, it absolutely kills me inside. We can modify our diets all we want to but RSD will always be prevalent. It will be rearing its ugly face until a cure is found and Doctors and Politicians are Educated about how much PAIN people are living with day in and day out.

*RSD Symptoms (Above): www.rsds.org
*McGill Pain Index: http://www.rsdhope.org/ShowPage.asp?page_id=116

** Im still sticking to my vegetarian diet, its actually proven that red meat increases inflamation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Human Body

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me". Erma Bombeck

The quote right above by Erma Bombeck is one of my favorites. I have always believed that God has given each of us a Talent and we are suppose to embrace that talent for the good of others.

I have wanted to be a Nurse since I was 13 yrs old. It started when my Uncle was in the ICU at the VA Hospital in West Virginia. He had complications from two major diseases. The nurses who took care of him in the ICU were absolutely amazing. You could just tell from their domineer that they loved their job. Since my Uncle was so sick they let us stay in the ICU as long as we wanted to. One nurse in particular helped my family. We were scared and exhausted. This nurse had found out that I was spending my 13th Birthday in the hospital with my Uncle and she went to the gift shop and got me a card and Crispy Cream Donuts. She didn't need to do that but had went out of her way.

Being a nursing major, I have to learn how the Human Body works. It has helped me understand why nutrition is so important to maintain health, especially if someone has an illness or has had surgery. It has also helped me understand what is going on with my RSD. When I learned about the nervous system it made since in some people that the pain signal could keep on going if a nerve is damaged or hit the right way.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can help the patient and the patients family too like my Uncle's nurse helped my family.