June 27, 2014

Ribs O Pain

I was going to write about my week today but I need to feel sorry for myself for a little bit. This is a long post, and it deals with my chronic pain and my fears of being able to be pregnant. I’d appreciate you reading it, but I understand that there are a lot of words and nothing in ways of pictures. 

I know that there are many, many people who are dealing with a lot more pain than I am. But that does mean that my pain doesn’t matter. It does. 

I’ve always had upper back pain. Okay, not always, but from about the age of 14. I’m a couple of months away from my 30th birthday now. That pain, though, would be strong some days and less severe other days. I was prescribed a muscle relaxant that I would take when the pain got to be too strong for me. I remember that from about 6/2014 2012 and before I was maybe taking it once a month. 

Then in July 2014 I got hurt. I don’t know how, exactly, though. The only thing I remember is zipping up a dress and feeling pain down my arm. I thought I pulled a muscle or something. Nearly a year later I found out that I had broken 5 ribs on my right side. During that year I was in so much pain I didn’t want to do anything. Towards the fall I couldn’t get up or lay down without help. I had to lay on my right side to have some type of relief.  The doctor’s I went to told me it was just inflammation and to take some anti-inflammatory medication – which never seemed to help. 

Finally in May 2013 a doctor at my new insurance through Kaiser ordered me an x-ray, which revealed 3 broken bones. An MRI (or was it CT scan?) later on revealed 2 other broken bones.  

I got the call at work and started to cry. I wasn’t imagining the pain after all! There was a reason that I felt stabbing pain under my right breast. 

Then came another problem. Why was I still in pain if my initial injury was nearly a year earlier?  

After seeing different doctors, having scans, blood work, and countless other things done I was given the sad news: if you’re still in pain you will probably always be. It’s unlikely it will get better. 

The bones had healed somewhat. They are still healing now, though, 2 years later. So the pain that I feel now is not the broken ribs, but the result of the ribs being broken. 

Nerve damage. The doctor explained that when the ribs broke they probably damaged the nerve that runs from the spine in between the ribs. While nerves do heal, they should have healed by now. 

So the answer is medication. I’m on a nerve pain medicine called Gabapentin. I’m at the highest dosage (800mg, 3 x a day) and I’m taking Tramadol along with it twice a day. 

I’m still in a lot of pain. I feel it all the way from under my right breast to my back. Sometimes, when the pain is more unbearable than other times, I take a Norco instead of the Tramadol. But I’m afraid that I’m hurting myself taking so many medications.

The last few days the pain has been worse than it has been (maybe the adrenaline of the wedding and honeymoon masked the pain?) and so I started thinking about when I have kids. 

When Thomas and I decide that we want to have a baby I will have to be taken off the Gabapentin. It’s not compatible with pregnancy. Thinking about this makes me cry. I want more than anything to be pregnant and have babies, but how can I do that if my body doesn’t agree with it? If my body will betray me and give be so much pain that I can’t handle being pregnant. 

I’m so afraid of not being able to have my own children. I worry about our finances. While I won’t lose my job (a positive of being a government employee), I only have so much paid time off, and it’s nowhere near enough to cover 9 months off. 

If you’ve read this, thank you. I needed to get it off my chest. I needed to talk about it. 

1 comment :

  1. Just take things day by day. What have the doctors said about speeding up your recovery and healing time? Is there another medication that you can take to replace the Gabapentin during your pregnancy?