Invisible Pain Isn’t Always Physical

Those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are #InvisiblePainWarriors too.

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Very few realized how true these words were to Robin Williams when he spoke them.

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Article by WNDU

More than six million American women and girls struggle with endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes pain before and after their periods. It can also cause infertility. In some cases, endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, but a new imaging method may shed light on difficult to detect cases.

Twenty-eight year old Susie Veech has spent more than half her life in the kitchen. She’s a food service consultant and a budding caterer.

Susie also spent more than half her life trying to figure out the source of the monthly, searing pain in her side. Veech told Ivanhoe, “Eleven, on a scale of one to 10, the pain.”

Veech had endometriosis. The tissue normally lining the inside of her uterus was also growing on the outside and blocking other organs.

Gynecologist and co-director of the Endometriosis Center and the Minimally Invasive Surgical fellowship program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Kevin Audlin, MD, is studying a new imaging technique designed to help gynecologists detect endometriosis. Traditionally, doctors use a minimally-invasive tool called a laparoscope to look for tissue.

“Full spectrum light looks just as if we would see. If you’re looking into a belly, you’ll see organs, most everything is either a yellowish or a pink,” Dr. Audlin explained.

In addition, Dr. Audlin is testing special lighting called narrow band imaging. When he presses a button on the laparoscope, the light changes, making endometriosis stand out.

Dr. Audlin said, “The red hue tends to be the endometriosis, the green we see tends to be the actual vasculature.”

For Veech, finally a diagnosis followed by a procedure to keep the endometriosis at bay. She said, “When everyday pain goes away, you have tons of energy. You don’t realize how much it’s weighing you down.”

In a study of 150 women undergoing the laparoscopic procedure for endometriosis, researchers found the addition of narrow band imaging improved detection by 20 percent. Dr. Audlin says the narrow band imaging offers another avenue for women who have had chronic pain but are not showing signs of endometriosis with traditional screening.

To read the research summary, click here.

 

Oh Endometriosis, how do I hate thee?  There are countless ways.  Far too many to list.

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At the moment, I hate that I am still awake (painsomnia) after midnight on a Sunday night / Monday morning, when I have to be up in only a few short hours to start getting ready for another busy work week.
I worked 50 hours last week, and close to the same the week before, and my body is paying the price. I guess I can’t blame you for that, as I already know my limitations.

My hubby and I are going through some intense stress right now due to situations involving lawyers, the broken disability system, and doctors, which probably isn’t helping my pain levels.
I do thank you for staying away (for the most part) during the past few weeks, when I needed the ability to work and focus, especially since my evil ATN decided to morph into what feels like a migraine, in addition to the typical 24/7 pain that it has so generously provided for the past few years.

You also waited until after my Dad’s birthday dinner yesterday, so I was granted the opportunity to enjoy spending a little quality time with my parents.40c8c0662f5904301ba15b170abadcad

You probably know that I needed to work from home this weekend and I would have appreciated you allowing me the opportunity to do that, but I guess I can’t expect you to stay away forever since we are apparently bound for all eternity.

If I could ask of you one favor, it would be for you to ease up enough for me to get at least a little sleep tonight and make it to work tomorrow.

Seeking Motivation

Attention fellow spoonies!  We are seeking your thoughts, ideas, advice, coping techniques, and wisdom!

We all know that chronic illness and pain (invisible or otherwise) can and will steal endless things from our lives.

Sometimes it can teach us a few positive things as well, such as a different outlook on life, the ability to appreciate the small things, a greater sense of compassion, more empathy for others, a desire to advocate for our ourselves and others, learning to listen to your body, better eating habits, patience, etc. but what chronic illness takes from us often feels like so much more (because the reality for most of us is that it takes WAY more than it gives).

As I have mentioned before, one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching things that it has taken from my life is the ability to look forward to something;  ANYTHING!  This seems to be a recurring theme and problem that I continue to struggle with.

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The NeverEnding Story

I must once again apologize for my random absences, missed weakly features, and sporadic posts.  Since our main topic is chronic illness and pain, I am confident that our followers can relate to and sympathize with my recent occasional bouts of being bedridden, feeling incapacitated, sick, in pain, and unable to post as frequently as I would like or had planned.

My editorial calendar is filled with interesting, educational, and helpful topics which would better appeal to the masses but my rather unexpected and new health issues which have developed over the past few weeks have taken center stage and caused my blog to take on more of a diary format for the moment.  I am going with it for now, as I find it helpful and supportive to share our individual journey, as well as other topics along the way.  Some periods of time may lean in one direction more than the other but our goal remains the same.

During my last update about my current GI journey, I believe I shared and explained some complications or side effects that I experienced for several days following my recent ERCP and pancreatic bile duct stent placement.

My gastroenterologist, despite him being highly skilled and me being forever indebted to him for most likely saving my life, seemed to be lacking in the area of follow-up care after the ERCP procedure.  I was never given a follow-up appointment and did not know exactly what would be found or done during the procedure, which obviously will have an effect on a patient’s recovery.  The issue of follow-up care has since improved but at the point in my journey which I’m describing here, that is very much how I felt.

I believe I spoke with both my doctor and another GI specialist (the latter two, three, or more times) after I woke up but we all know how the side-effects of heavy sedation or anesthesia can affect eliminate your memory.  I have no recollection of speaking with my doctor and only remember two out of the three (or maybe four) times that I spoke with the GI doctor on-call at the hospital.

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Thanks to “painsomnia” I am awake in the middle of the night so I thought I would report on a slight recovery set-back.

I was doing okay, eating/drinking clear liquids, until today.  Well, actually I ate half a bowl of tomato soup and two crackers last night without incident.

I guess having not eaten (except liquids) in 72 hours caught up with me because on a whim I decided to eat half a bowl of potato soup followed by about half a bowl of Moosetracks 🍦 ice cream 🍦.  I only have one word for this choice – MISTAKE! Continue reading