Author Archives: Kathy

New Doctor – Pain Mgmt

I never shared this but  back in May 2017 I walked in for my routine visit with my Internist and she announced that the DEA was sending her alerts on every medication (Opioid) she wrote.  I was shocked. She told me she would be sending me to a Pain Mgmt Specialist who she felt would be good for me.  I was not happy as it always seemed easier to go to the drs office – pick up my script once a month.

I made the appointment with Dr. Bradley.  He spent 30 mins with Tom and I and we both liked him a lot.  I read his bio before going, and was impressed.  He spent 18 years in the Army and had worked with wounded soldiers.  He knew about pain.   He ordered a MRI of my back (lumbar) as he wanted a good image of it.   He told me I was the classic case.  I had surgery at L5 S1 in 2008 after having a Discogram.    Dr. Bradley stated that after a few years you do start to have problems.  He was right.  I also had Degenerative Disc Disease which Dr. Rogers (Surgeon who did my surgery) told me I already had.  Of course I also had the painful RSD which is neurological.

We tried the epidurals but I got  violently sick- blood sugar spiked on me and I ended up in Urgent Care on IV’s for dehydration. I was a mess.  They got my sugars down before I left there.

Next time I saw Dr. Bradley we decided together to just stay on the Fentanyl as it seemed to work for me for now.  I was also given a low dose break through pain med which I have only taken a few thus far… It’s hard but I do not want to go any higher.  It tough – really tough.  I know they will help me if I really want it.   I am blessed to have a great team of doctors.  I really am.

Every month I go to see Dr. Bradley – we talk and I get my prescription.  Not a big deal.

Re-Check Mammo

It will be 6 months since my last mammo.  Am waiting for the approval for my ultrasound on right breast which they are watching.  I recently got a letter it was time to be checked again. I spoke to my Internist this week, and if it is still a “Probably Benign ” diagnosis (which means they still cannot rule out Cancer) she still wants me to see surgeon for a biopsy.

There have been three gals from the office I worked in for 16 yrs who developed Breast Cancer.  The company closed down in 1998.  It was an Oil/Petro Chemical Company that manufactured products for cars.   We were exposed to many chemicals namely Toluene and Benzene.  Tom, my husband was upset 6 months ago when they told me I had the mass and they did not do a biopsy.  They flat out told me the kind that I had – is one they worry about.

I have to be re-checked now… All these years I have been clean – no problems until 6 months ago.  I was on Estrogen for years after a Hysterectomy in 1993, and exposed to the chemicals.   I will keep this updated.

January 31, 2018  –  I am seeing a surgeon on April 5th to have consultation.  Needle biopsy and removal of mass was suggested by my Primary care doctor due to family history of Breast Cancer.  As I have stated I am not in panic mode but I do have a lot of anxiety over this.  Is it just a coincidence that a few girls I worked with got Breast cancer?  Perhaps.  Better to be safe then sorry in light of our history.  If the chemicals were part of the problem – it’s “spilled milk” and even if I could – I would not seek to sue anyone.  The owner is deceased and was a man I truly respected and liked.  I would not even go there.

 

October 4, 2017 – visit to hospital.

For a few days, my left leg was swelling up – deep red in color with blisters on shin.   I kept thinking it would go down.  My  sister-in-law pleaded with me to go in and be checked.  I finally did!

I went to the ER and the attending physician wanted to admit me but was also concerned that I might pick up a nastier infection in the hospital.   The diagnosis of my leg was Cellulitis which can be deadly and go into sepsis which I already knew.   They did an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot just in case.  It was negative.  They took a lot of blood and gave me medication for the pain.   My husband came up to the hospital later as I was more worried about leaving our animals.  Luckily he was off duty and around.

I was in the hospital for about 12 hrs.  This was my 4th bout with Cellulitis.  The first two times I got it- I was in the hospital for days on an IV drip.  Today they want you out.  I was given Keflex and Bactrim and finally finished it today.   My leg still has some redness and it is concerning.   It’s not going away fast enough for me.   I requested a home health nurse to come out and take a look at it but hasn’t happened yet.  I do not want to be in public places where people are sick as I cannot take a chance.

Being a diabetic makes this all more serious. People don’t seem to understand that but it is true.  From my knee to my ankle- my leg was so swollen it was horrible.  It was rock hard from the fluid and hurt like the dickens.  Normally when I got cellulitis it was a single red streak going up my leg but boy this time – it was red all over.   You cannot mess with this stuff.  It can be deadly and you can’t let it go as I did this time.  Very angry at myself.

10-27-17 Just an update.  Home Health from LCMH has been coming out checking my leg.  I have CVI (Chronic Venous Insufficiency)  along with Chronic Stasis Dermatitis.  We are trying to keep my leg clean and moisturized so bacteria cannot get into.  This has been by far the worse case I have had.  I am frustrated.   The Cellulitis cleared up with the medication but I am not out of the woods.   I want to get back to my old self and it’s just not happening fast.

Infection in Sinus

Had an appointment today to have some blood drawn at my doctor’s office.  I told the gal who was drawing my blood that I had planned to go over to urgent care next door.  She told me to hold off as she was going to tell Dr. D that I was in and not feeling good.  Dr. D said she would see me even though she was overloaded with patients.  I appreciated so much.

I have been not feeling good since latter part of June but like we all do, I just let it go to the wayside.  I thought I would get better.  Well I have a bad infection – fluid in my ears which I knew because they hurt like heck.  So, it’s antibiotics for the next 10 days and hopefully we will kick this stuff to the curb.  (grin)

I have the best Internist and her staff is fantastic.  Always nice towards me.  They deserve a gigantic big box of See’s or one of those “Edibles.”

Mammography

Back on June 20, 2017 I went in to have a routine mammogram.   One week later I get a call from the Women’s Imaging Center that I need to come back in for further testing.   They end up taking two views on right breast and ask me to wait.  The gal comes in about ten minutes later after talking to Radiologist and he wants an Ultrasound done.

After the ultrasound, the gal told me there are two types of Masses they see- the first one is not one they worry about too much .  The second one, which is what I have they do worry about. Just great I thought to myself.  My anxiety level went way up.   They want to see me back in 6 months and said it’s “probably” not malignant.  How would they know this if no needle biopsy was done?   So confusing… And the word probably does not sit well with Tom and I.  We are worried.

Have not had a chance to discuss this with my Internist yet.  I see her in October.

 

Neurologist appointment-January 30, 2017

I went to see Dr. Laura Jong on January 30, 2017.   She did an extensive evaluation on me.  Tom and I really liked her.   She confirmed what two of my other doctors have stated and always thought, that I do indeed have RSD.   Right now I am waiting for authorization to have an MRI done on my spine.   It has taken me years to get a real diagnosis aside from the mild Peripheral Neuropathy I have.  We have known for a long time that something was not right with my legs/feet.  Getting this diagnosis meant a lot as Dr. Jong is highly respected in her field.

I’ve been on a pain medication for years but decided to see a Pain Management doctor which I will do after I have the MRI.   People have a hard time understanding where I am coming from when I tell them that I am not feeling well.  I look fine from the outside.

I feel blessed that we have good health insurance and I do not take it for granted.  I try not to go to the doctors unless I really have to.

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that the MRI came back with nothing significantly wrong.  Dr. Jong’s final diagnosis was RSD   Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome.  Well it took years to get that diagnosis but I am glad we found out for sure what it is. 

MRA Aorta test

Have an appointment for a MRA Aorta runoff this Thursday.  Have never had one before.  I had an endoscopy back in August 2016, and my doctor found something that was a bit off.  He decided that it would be worth it to have this test just to make sure all was well.  My Gastroenterologist and Vascular doctor got together and decided this is what I needed.

Have had stomach issues and have been experiencing nausea and vomiting which I have never had issues with.  As always, I am sure there will be nothing and all will be fine.  Life is an adventure…Ha!

Update:  I did have the test and actually the test did not reveal anything out of the ordinary.   No problems – Blood flow in small veins are still a problem but all looked good with my arteries which I was thankful for.  My physician wanted me to be seen by a new Neurologist, and that appointment was made and carried out on January 30, 2017.

Follow-Up with Vascular Doctor – October 19, 2016

Went to see my vascular doctor to go over my results from ultra-sound.  The large arteries are doing just fine.  In fact, Dr. Kaviani told me to rest assure that they are perfect.  Now, he does think all the pain I am dealing with in my legs has more to do with neurological problems no doubt related to my RSD and Peripheral Neuropathy.   One thing he wants me to do is to see a Neurologist and I am currently looking actively for a good neurologist.  Cedars Sinai has great doctors and I may look into that.  I was never really happy with the neurologist I did see here in the South Bay.

My doctor also stated at some point I may need another surgery in my leg (smaller veins).  So, we just keep on going and working on things.  I dislike going to the doctors but I also know at my age it’s important no matter how much I dislike it.

Having Venous Insufficiency is a real pain literally. I have already had surgery in both legs to do some re-routing of veins.

October 1, 2016 – MRA Angiography

Today I received in the mail and response from my insurance company about a test that my Vascular and Gastroenterologist doctor  want me to have.  When I had an endoscopy recently certain things popped up that Dr. Lee felt needed to be addressed.  He knew I already had issues with my smaller veins but my new Podiatrist did a doppler test on my right foot which showed only a faint pulse.  That of course is not good.

I never throw up yet this has been happening to me as well as being nauseated.   My right leg has been hurting a lot more as well.  Something is going on.  My vascular doctor put in for the MRA and they approved it.  So happy about that.  Maybe we can get to the bottom?

Our mother – and all her siblings suffered from Vascular disease.  Mom, had to have both legs amputated due to vascular disease. She passed away at the age of 66.    I have developed bad varicose veins which our mother had as well as venous insufficiency.

I am just so glad my doctors are communicating.  I have good doctors and feel blessed.

 

Vascular surgeon today…

Had appt today with my vascular doctor.   He scheduled me for an ultrasound on both legs.  We’ll see what is going on.  Never ending…just never ends.   Did a rotor rooter on both legs back a few years ago but right leg is bothering me more so need to check it out.