Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Latest


On Sunday I woke up with my right leg hurting from the top of my hip bone down through the thigh and into the shin. The pain persisted all day and none of my medications seemed to suppress it. It seemed like the old sciatic pain, but different. After a couple of weeks on the Lyrica, I thought that was all behind me, then out of the blue, this. As a result, I had difficulty sleeping that night. I had felt some mild constipation all day and had become convinced that it was somehow linked to my pain. It has happened before where the pressure on my bowels triggered some other pain that went away once the constipation was relieved. By 4:00am I was desperate for both relief and sleep, so I got in the car and drove to the 24 hour pharmacy to buy an enema, hoping that would bring both. By then a heavy snow was falling and I drove in blackout conditions all the way there and back, barely able to see the road. Interestingly my pain was a little less by the time I got home, apparently due to the ride in the car, but it quickly increased back to it's original level after a short time. After administering the enema, I almost immediately thew up.

Given that I had eaten nothing in the last 48 hours save a bowl of ramen noodles, I threw up a surprising amount. At this point I felt utterly drained, between the enema and the retching, but the pain in my leg was gone. I now wondered what caused me to throw up. Was the enema too much for my system after having had so little to eat? Was I finally succumbing to the baby's virus? Did I have something else going on that caused it? Was that it or only the beginning?

Once my system calmed down a little, the pain in my leg returned. So much for my theory about the cause. I sat on the couch for a while and somehow managed to fall asleep until 8:00am. When I awoke my stomach didn't feel right, and I wasn't sure whether i should try to eat, so I chose not to.

The unease in my stomach and pain in my leg continued throughout the day. Because of the night I'd had, I decided to take the day off at work, telling my employees that I would be out of pocket most of the day and hoping that I'd find a way to get some rest, but that was not in the cards. Emergencies popped up that required my attention throughout most of the day so I pushed through, perhaps it helped to take my mind off of other things. My pain doctor called to check on me in the afternoon. I had emailed him a report of things on Friday. After filling him in on the weekend's activities he asked me to up the Lyrica dosage. That seemed to have done the trick as the pain in my leg had mostly subsided by 8:00pm. I even managed to eat a little of that pulled pork that evening. Tuesday was much the same as Monday with the exception of some pretty severe bowel issues in the afternoon. Needless to say, I still didn't have much to eat.

Wednesday was a little better. The pain in my hip and leg persisted at one level or another throughout the day, but I did manage to eat 3 meals today, so hopefully that trend is broken. I still don't really feel hungry. It's weird to go 4 days without eating and not feel hungry much less starving. I did eat a few things here and there throughout those 4 days, but it probably all amounted to the equivalent of one good meal.

I attended a local prostate cancer support group Wednesday evening. They meet once per month and this was my first time to attend. I'm not sure if this is for me, it will take another meeting or two for me to determine. I had expected it to work a little like an AA meeting, or at least the way they show them on TV, but it didn't. At one point, they did ask me about to tell my story, but they mostly just wanted to know my diagnosis, stats, and what treatment I'm getting. There are apparently quite a few and the men there have been through several of them. I was the youngest one in the room by a long shot. The rest were all my dad's age or older and it sounded like most of them had options for surgery that they had either already had or were considering. Some had had it come back afterwards. Some had been through a couple of clinical trials. It didn't sound like anyone in the room had a diagnosis like mine where it has spread to the bones, at least there wasn't any discussion of it. Several of the men there have had it for a number of years, so that was encouraging to some degree. Primarily the room was dominated by two know-it-alls. One of them has kind of earned it because it sounds like he's been through it all and has studied it quite a bit in the process. The other guy was the anti-guy, telling everyone that the doctors don't know what they're talking about and that some alternative treatments are much more effective, etc... With the two of them having their say, there wasn't much group discussion to be had. We'll see what happens at the next one. If nothing else, it did seem to be a good source of information.

Today I'm going in for another bone scan. My pain specialist is concerned that my pain hasn't been better under his care than it has been. He has done pretty well at giving me medications that suppress my pains, however new ones seem to keep popping up every time one is taken care of and with this pain in my leg returning, he's a little concerned so he ordered the scan to compare to the previous one and determine next steps. This is the fun one where I go in the morning to get a radioactive injection, then come back in the afternoon to sit in a tube for an hour and a half. Hopefully it will reveal something useful. Perhaps the results will also be useful to the folks over at NIH on Monday.

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