Tag Archives: back pain

Blips and botherations

Every time I write a post, I swear that the next one won’t wait until I am feeling fed up….and every time, I seem to fail!

So to update on the last blog post, my back is now perfect! I thought it would be…I was 95% sure that it had been caused by driving for 8 hours in a pick up truck! But the paranoid side of a myeloma patient meant that there is always that slight fear that it could be something else that has kicked in. However, the anti-inflammatories did their job and just before the time that my consultant might have re-considered the need for an X-ray, my back recovered.

I was so relieved. And so pleased to be able to get back into my circuit training, my netball and playing racketball with Sam and Nick. I love sport. I particularly like active, adrenalin rush stuff where I can push my competitive nature to the max. So I re-signed up for the racketball league and we got the in-laws ready to babysit while Nick and I went back to our Thursday night games (date night!). Alongside weight-watchers, I started to lose a pound or two and everything felt better.

Around this time, I decided to get back to fundraising and set up my new page (www.justgiving.com/thefinalcountdown) to start me off in my target to raise £10,000 this year. So I decided to give up alcohol, chocolate, crisps and nuts and I signed up to the Windor Colour obstacle rush with 3 of my friends. Life was feeling really good and I couldn’t wait to get fit….I was even thinking, in the back of my mind, whether I could possibly do the Great North Run in October.

But, then, in February, the rollercoaster started to go downhill again. It started when I rolled my foot slightly playing netball. But it wasn’t too bad and just felt a bit sore. So I carried on playing and booked myself in for a GP appointment to try to get a referral for it. Last year I had broken it in two places and it was the 5th metatarsal break that was still feeling sore now and again so I decided I ought to get it checked out. But I’m not the sort of person who takes things easy, so while I was waiting, I strapped it up and carried on playing netball and racketball. Then, one evening when Nick and I were playing, I lunged for a ball and heard the snap. I knew immediately that it wasn’t good news, and I couldn’t put any weight on my foot at all.

I have to say that for once I absolutely devastated. I sat on the floor of the squash court and sobbed my eyes out. Despite hating the phrases ‘It’s not fair or ‘Why me?’, I’m afraid that both were used. I had/ have totally had enough of it. Since my diagnosis in 2009, I have worked so hard to be positive, to find the best in my situation and to make the most of it through how we live our life as a family, and how I fundraise to try to make a difference to Myeloma UK and myeloma patients. But when, every time things start going well, you get hit with another illness or injury, it can start to become so wearing and depressing. It turned out I had yet again broken my 5th metatarsal.

Initally, when these things happen, I tend to just get on with it. Everyone is so kind and giving and even up here where I don’t know so many people, I had lots of offers of help. My lovely sister spent 5 hours overnight in A&E with me so that Nick could get some sleep and be able to go to work. Parents of Sam and Rebecca’s friends, Nick’s parents and my sister sorted out the school runs as it is my right foot and I can’t drive. My sister took me to hospital appointments for both my break and for my regular myeloma appointments. My old friends from Wycombe even came up over half-term as I couldn’t get to them like arranged – so kind as it meant the kids didn’t miss out on their friends yet again.

But now, nearly 4 weeks on, I’ve had enough of it. My foot is back in its boot and still hurts as much as it did and I am embarrassed to be asking people I barely know for lifts all the time for the kids. I’m scared stupid in case it doesn’t get better for months or in case I end up needing surgery on it….I can’t see how I can keep asking people for help….no matter how much they offer to help, I worry that with them not knowing me, that they won’t understand how hard it is for me to accept help. Or that they’ll resent me for asking. Part of me really wishes we were back in Wycombe where the kids could walk to school on their own had they really needed to (although, please know that we have all settled really well up here – I don’t want to be totally negative!)

I love where we live up here…in the Clent Hills. It is green and beautiful and while I write this, there are blue skies and no clouds to be seen. But at the moment that is all I get to admire about the area as I can’t walk anywhere and barely get out of the house. There isn’t a shop around so apart from hobbling to the letterbox 100 yards down the road, I can’t get out and about at all. It certainly becomes wearing and lonely, and is enough to put you off any house!

It has probably all been made to feel worse with it being Mothering Sunday yesterday. It’s 16 months since mum was killed…and it all came to a head yesterday. It took me a while to work out why I was in such a bad mood and finding the day so hard. The kids have made/bought me lovely cards and I should have been happy as larry. But I did really miss her and couldn’t stop thinking of how the car would have hit her and how that second of shock must have been. I kept thinking back to the autopsy report and how awful the injuries would have been if she had survived it. And I just felt a massive, empty space in my heart. I miss her voice, I miss her top trumping anyone and everyone (my family will understand that one!) and I miss her love for us all.

I’m sure this is just one of those blips…by the time I next write (knowing me, not for a couple of months!) I’ll probably have had 2 months of being on an upward journey again! We have had some quite exciting news in that we have had an offer accepted on a house so could have moved again within 2-3 months if it all goes through. In addition, my niece who lives locally, has got engaged which means that in 2016, we’ll have been lucky enough to see 3 of them get married – and I feel so lucky to get to do that as it was one of my sad worried in the early days of diagnosis.

So, I suppose the reality is I need to keep focusing on the positive things that are going on. That said….it’s not always a bad thing to acknowledge the things that drag you down….at least then you can work towards dealing with them.

 

 

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The ongoing rollercoaster

So it’s been nearly four months since I last sat down to do a blog post. Within that time so much has happened for us as a family, most of which I wrote about in my last entry.

We moved up to Worcestershire (Clent) at the beginning of September and are now starting to feel much more settled in the area. One of the major pulls up here was that Nick grew up here and his parents, brother and friends live here still. For me, my sister is here which is fab. So whilst I found it massively hard to make the transition initially, it has been so great being able to make up some lost time with family.

 I see my sister most weeks, dogsit their fab dog Jessi, and we regularly see Nicks family now..well in comparison to before – it’s been great! I’m also starting to get to know school parents better and that’s really important to me.

It hasn’t all been easy though. For some reason I’ve been quite ill a couple of times. The first was after we’d first moved. Probably not surprising as I’d worked so hard with Nick to get one house cleared, and move into our rental property…a feat we pretty much fully completed within 2 days with the help of family! Then I was ill again in the run up to Christmas! No flipping surprise there a I think I’ve only had one healthy Christmas in the last 5 years! Nick floundered just as I started to recover so our first Christmas in the Midlands wasn’t quite as joyous as we’d hoped! But despite that we enjoyed it and managed a small celebration for his 40th (we had to cancel the original plans)…the bigger one to follow now he’s better!

  

Through a lot of this, I have also been watching my bloods carefully. Many of my friends and family know I have been in remission for nearly 5 years now….pretty amazing given I was given figures of life expectancy of 5-7 years in 2009! I plan to smash those now but since the summer my figures have been trying to diminish that confidence.

They’re still very low so there hasn’t been anything to massively worry about. But where they had always been 1 or 2, they had crept up a little and on Christmas Eve I was told they were 4.9. Argh! Now, Nick and I talk about absolutely everything. No secrets. But for the first time, I decided not to tell him these results as he was ill, work was manic and I didn’t want to spoil his 40th. And blimey was I glad… In the New Year when my next results came back, I was back down to 3.6 – a number I’m far happier with! I’m not sure Nick was happy with me for not telling him but I still think I was right…just for once.

But the rollercoaster that myeloma patients live with, even lucky ones like me, continues. I hurt my back recently. Now I’m pretty sure I know how I did it and that it was self induced. But I can’t really explain to people who haven’t had cancer, how you become paranoid about anything and everything! I’ve spent a week and a half unable to walk properly and in a huge amount of pain. I was getting paranoid it was my myeloma back in a new way and that it was more serious than I wanted to admit. I was trying to stay calm. I was so careful with what I said to people. I think I’m fine. I’m now on strong anti inflammatories (not meant to have them but I wasn’t sleeping at night at all!) and they’ve definitely done the job. But, not wanting to cause a fuss I put my consultant off X-raying me and persuaded him to wait till next week to see what I’m like off the drugs! Hate the idea of wasting NHS money! But it’s not great for my mental state ;-). Hopefully it’s the right decision !

Anyway, I’ve got a fun few weeks ahead so that’s great. We’ve just had my youngest sister’s 50th in London. Then it’s my niece’s wedding in a few weeks too….ooh and my niece in Australia also got engaged on New Year’s Day so we’re looking forward to next Christmas in Australia and hopefully I’ll be well for once!

I’ll try to remember to update this in a week or so.. I’ve been rubbish recently though. I seem to have gone off the use of Facebook and social media. I can’t decide if that’s because I have less to share, whether I’ve overdosed on it and just needed a break, or whether it just doesn’t feel interesting any more. I’m sure I’ll get back to it….I hope to start fundraising again soon and it is invaluable for that!! A type of cupboard love I suppose!!

(P.S I don’t know if people would do this, but I’m taking a page out of a friend’s book (so to speak!). If you do want to make comments, could you make them on my blog rather than Facebook…it will give a full record for the whole family in the future.)

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Post 20: Paranoid City

Anyone who has myeloma probably understands exactly where I am coming from with this title. In fact, probably anyone who has suffered from a serious illness or cancer understands.

As I say so often, my myeloma, touch wood, doesn’t seem to be aggressive. I am very lucky. I know that I am likely to get lots of warning before I fully relapse. A bit of time to get my head around it. But that said, I have still spent the last week feeling nervous. I have been living in paranoid city.

A week or so back, I mentioned on my Facebook page to friends and family that I was exhausted. My bloods had all come back fine from my hospital visit a matter of days beforehand, but I had spent a week or so feeling like I was exhausted as soon as I got up in the morning, and exhausted as soon as I allowed myself to feel it in the evening too….I quite easily could have gone back to bed…in fact I did one day! The rational person in me said that I hadn’t had enough early nights, that I am running round like a headless chicken trying to do these challenges whilst now also doing all the cleaning and ironing in the house (since I gave up work), taking on extra things at school, etc etc. The irrational person in me knew I hadn’t felt like this since I was fresh out of my Stem Cell Transplant, knew that extreme exhaustion is a key sign of cancer, and had it fresh in my head that I had recently had a conversation with my consultant about the fact there is a small chance that revlimid can cause secondary cancers. With some bowel issues too, and the fact that my mum had bowel cancer a few years back, I was becoming worried to say the least. But saying out loud that everything was fine. Because that’s what you do.

And then on Friday, I suddenly developed a back pain in my lower back. Again, the rational part of me was pretty sure that it was muscular. I think I know what bone pain will feel like when I get it. This didn’t feel like that. I should have been fine. But the irrational part of me was saying that there was no reason that I had this pain, that you can get bone damage with myeloma without having a high paraprotein (even though it is REALLY rare!) and that could this with the tiredness be a sign that I was relapsing…before my 40th Birthday!

Before people worry, I am 99.5% certain that none of this is related to my myeloma, cancer or some serious illness.

But that 0.5% is slightly worrying me in that slightly mental way. And no-one, not even the doctors can stop me from worrying. I can only talk as a myeloma patient, but with bone pain being one of the key symptoms of disease progression, you start to read into every little ache that you develop. When I get a cold, I worry that I am neutropenic and going to get really ill. And when I’m tired, I worry that this awful cancer might be trying to fight back.

So, what I need now is for the back pain and the tiredness to show some improvement. I went to netball tonight. Mad I know. But it was our last match and I wanted to try. The last few days have shown that being active is better than being sat on a sofa. And netball hasn’t made it worse or better. I had really expected that I might have to stop after one quarter, but it didn’t seem to impact the pain at all. Weird. And even now I have finished, it isn’t worse and it isn’t better. I’m not sure if that is good or bad. Something else to worry about perhaps….in that paranoid world that I now live in!!

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