November 5, 2012

Much as I keep expecting to sit down and write something substantial, I haven’t quite managed to get beyond sporadic updates. Oh, well.

Had my endocrinology appointment last week and the doctor basically seemed confused as to why I was even referred to her. The nodules that were spotted on my ultrasound are apparently so small that they aren’t even capable of being biopsied, let alone large enough to be felt. But she went through a whole exam and took blood for a thyroid test since there didn’t seem to be one in my file. Everything is normal, but now that she’s aware of the nodules I’m supposed to have a yearly ultrasound and check up “just in case.” Of course, none of that has anything to do with the pain issues so I couldn’t care less. I’m still waiting on the results of my latest Lyme test. I have no idea why it’s taking so long for the results. I keep being told that they might be in tomorrow and it’s been over a week now. I have the sinking suspicion that my blood work got misplaced or something. I blame Sandy.

I am noticing a decrease in the pain and stiffness in my neck, shoulder and back, though. I’ve no doubt that it’s more to do with starting up yoga again than the pain killers that I’m forgetting to take half the time. I’ve been diligent since returning to yoga and have continued to practice for at least 40 minutes every day. Uschi seems to be in favor of this and has also continued to leave me be. Honestly, I’m fine with this as a solution, but not knowing the source of the pain still concerns me.

In other news, I have a cold. :-(


Nearly a Week

It’s been nearly a week since I’ve had Uschi free while doing a yoga routine and she’s still holding strong with her no pouncing record. I’m still baffled by what exactly brought on this new, slightly mature behavior, but I’m certainly not complaining. Yesterday I did catch her inching towards me from her vantage point on her bed, but I gave her a soft “nuh uh” and she just nestled herself there and continued to observe me. So I was even more surprised when she didn’t move an inch while I was lying flat.

This morning she didn’t even bother with that formality and just hung out in her crate after eating breakfast. So, instead my mother was the one to cause an interruption and nearly scared the life out of me in the process. Thankfully I was basically done, but so much for that brief resting period at the end of a practice. Oh, well.

Have my endocrinology appointment later this morning and I need to call my GP and report on how the pain killer is working for me. I was in and out so quick on Friday that I didn’t get a chance to speak with her. Oh, and I should have test results today or tomorrow from the bloodwork that was done. Here’s hoping for some conclusive answers. I’m not entirely sure still if the daily yoga is relieving the stiffness and pain in my neck and left shoulder, but my back is certainly not bothering me even with the guide dog induced strain it receives from all the walking I’ve been doing lately. But I do think it’s probably more the yoga than the pain killer, which only really seems to be giving me a spectacular stomach ache.

Upward Facing Dog

During my last year of college a friend introduced me to yoga, which turned out to be one of the most difficult and fulfilling workouts I’ve ever done. Over the last decade I’ve kept up the practice, though, not always very regularly. And since the whole issue with my neck started I literally haven’t done anything. I’m sure if I had tried to find some specific movement or modification I could have maintained my daily routine, but for three months I could barely move at all and I definitely couldn’t be in any position for any length of time.

After the more excruciating pain subsided, though, I still didn’t start back up. Part of that was just plain laziness and it’s hardly the first time I’ve fallen out of the habit of working out because of that. But mostly I was scared I’d hurt myself further. Not from the yoga itself, which is virtually impossible to do if you pay attention to your weaknesses and don’t push past your limitations.

No, it was because of Uschi. See all of my guide dogs have shown some degree of interest in watching me while I work out. Dolly just wanted to be right next to me and no matter where I’d put her in a down-stay she would slowly creep her way right next to my mat. I think it stemmed from watching me go through physical therapy for my knee and having to lie by the pool but not being allowed in. She never got in the way, so I didn’t really feel a need to correct her for breaking the down-stay. Actually, there was a great picture I had of her lying across my mat between my legs in a Warrior II stance; unfortunately, like most of her photos they disappeared in the Great ‘Puter Crash of Aught Six. Yara and Uschi are much more obvious about their curiosity of the actual workout. Always the observer, Yara would just sit and watch me, often with her head cocked to the side as if trying to understand exactly what I was doing. Uschi may well be doing the same thing, but what had me so fearful of her injuring me was that without fail whenever I was done and just lying on my mat she would rush right up and happily pounce all over me. Even worse, most of the time she would come at me from behind my head, standing on my hair and pinning me to the floor while she exuberantly licked every inch of me she could reach.

Admittedly, post-yoga meditation is not the only time she does this and in fact she’s quite happy to pounce on me whenever she thinks I’m prone. I’ve mostly gotten her to be less crazy about it, but it hasn’t completely stopped this weird habit of hers and if she’s behind me I have no leverage to shove her off. And it’s really hard to give a verbal correction with the threat of a dog tongue in your mouth. Yes, I could just crate her when I’m running through a routine. For the record, I did expect that this was going to be how we’d start to fix the issue and for the first few days that’s what I’ve done. But for the most part she has the freedom to go in or out of her crate as she pleases and I’d rather not confine her just for this. And really it’s not resolving the actual behavioral issue.

Anyway, I recently had a doctor’s appointment and was quite displeased to discover how much weight I’ve apparently gained. It’s not an alarming amount of weight, but it wasn’t a surprise either given how my pants have been fitting lately. Given that I tend to walk much less during the colder months this was a big motivational push to get back into an exercise routine. So, I started my morning yoga again earlier this week. I did the most baby routine imaginable and even so I felt it to the point that I seriously thought I might have pushed myself too far and hurt myself. I could have let that be my excuse to stop, but I am happy to say that I’ve diligently done at least 40 minutes of yoga every day since. I can’t quite tell if it’s helping the pain issues since it’s still a bit early and I’m also on a pain killer. I can say that I definitely feel like I’ve been working out in pretty much every area of my body. But the most remarkable thing I can report is about Uschi.

On her birthday I gave her a huge raw meaty bone to nom on after breakfast and she contented herself to the task so completely that I didn’t crate her while I went through my routine. When I was finished she was lying on her bed sort of lazily looking at me as best she could from her vantage point, but she didn’t hop right up and maul me with puppy gusto. Now one time is just a fluke, but I did remark that it was kind of amusing that she turned four and suddenly became enough of an adult to realize the taboo. On Thursday she was still on her best behavior and has continued to leave me be. She’s still pretty interested in watching me. In fact yesterday morning she spent a good portion of time doing her own version of Upward Facing Dog while I was stretching that I’m giving serious thought to training her to do it on command and get a photo of us both.

A Bit More Promising

Talked to my doctor today and I’m officially off the zombie pills.1 She prescribed a pain killer, which I have yet to fill. I’m not expecting much, but I’m supposed to report back next week on how things are on that med.

I inquired a bit more about the possibility of at least some of this pain stuff being due to Lyme or another tick-borne disease and she agreed to run a different test and I’m going in Friday afternoon to have my blood drawn. She also gave me a script for Doxycycline, which is an antibiotic that is commonly prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as Lyme.

I also have my appointment with the endocrinologist on Monday.

Last week I walked a lot, which is really saying something coming from me, and it was not without a lot of pain. Since my last appointment I’ve noticed quite a lot of pain in my left leg through my glute, hip flexor and groin muscles. It’s the first I’ve really been aware of any significant pain in my legs since March when basically every part of my body was in pain and it concerns me deeply. I’m more concerned about my left shoulder and the left side of my neck where the main source of my pain is located. It’s been almost ten months that I’ve had a stiff neck, though, it’s varied in degrees of severeness and painfulness. But I work my dog on the left, as is common. I’m not about to speculate on whether working Uschi caused this because it has yet to be proven that the pain is from an injury and honestly, aside from the day when she ripped off half my index finger, I don’t have any memory of her jarring my arm or anything of the like. And even though I don’t notice any significant discomfort from her pulling out in harness, it’s a simple fact that the nature of being guided is putting some kind of strain on the pained areas. I can’t help but wonder if I may be exacerbating the issue.

I don’t know. The whole thing is so baffling. At this point I’d be surprised if it turns out to be just one single thing causing it all.

Anyway, I was going to post about some other stuff, but all this droning on about pain — or possibly the act of typing it — has me very aware of how much my left arm is bothering me so it’ll have to keep for another time.

  1. Unofficially, I stopped taking them a few days ago because I literally couldn’t function. And, for the record, I still have a wicked case of dry mouth.


I’ve been on a muscle relaxant the last week. The small percentage of time I’ve not been passed out in a coma-like sleep, I’ve been stumbling around like a zombie. I’m constantly exhausted and my mouth is basically a miniature version of the Sahara, except I think there might be more moisture in an actual desert. I suppose all that would be something I could cope with if the knockout/zombie pills actually did something for my pain, but no such luck.

I called my doctor’s office first thing this morning and I’m waiting for a return call to discuss all this. Specifically, I want to talk about the Lyme test a bit more and again push to be put on antibiotics. As well as looking further into the possible nerve damage that was mentioned during my last visit. On the thyroid side of things, I have an appointment with an endocrinologist next Monday regarding the nodes that were visible on the ultrasound. At this point I’m kind of meh on all of this, but I’m going along with it because it’s still more than anyone else has done.

As for Uschi, the growth on her foot came back already. It looks about the same size and maybe a smidge darker in color. Uschi doesn’t seem fazed by it at all, but I called the vet and I’m waiting on a call back from her as well.

I’m sure there’s other stuff going on that I could post about, but I’m going to blame the zombie pills for my inability to think of anything.