It was never my intention to go this long without writing. I know that I don't have a long time before my project ends, and this is the last time to start slacking on my notes of the project.
In the past month, I have been visiting doctors. I have actually visited a few different specialists, trying to get an answer to my pain. This intense pain has been going on for over three years, but it really peaked in the past two weeks.
One day at work, while I was standing up teaching, I burst into tears. The muscle in my leg had contracted so fiercely, I was barely able to breathe. The pain was shooting through my leg, and I felt unable to move. This is happening while taking muscle relaxers and pain medications. I was not sure where to go from here, but I had to do something. After my history of the wheelchair, braces and cane, I was NOT going back to using a device to help me walk. I am NOT giving up my independence without a fight.
The problem of pain meds is that I need to remain alert while teaching. The goal is to find the medication that relieves the symptoms while allowing me to stay focused on my job. This is hard when the spasms are so strong they are causing bruising.
Leaving my job is not an option. I love teaching, and I also have to provide a home and a life for my children. I am their only source of support (besides the obvious "support" from my family and friends), and I cannot bend on my work because of discomfort. Even on days when I am miserable and can barely move, off to work I must go.
I try to be mobile, and do as much as I can. It actually helps to exercise (within reason), so I am working on exercising with my students. I need to keep my body active but rested, and this is a fine line I teeter along. Until a treatment comes along that will help me with the pain, I am forced to toss all the plates up in the air and try to juggle.
A treatment was recommended at my last visit with the physiatrist. It was actually a treatment that was discussed years back, but I really didn't think about it since I didn't believe I was getting out of a wheelchair or returning back to work. The treatment is a spinal cord stimulator, nor neuromodulator. The device is implanted in my back, with electrodes planted along the nerves in my spinal cord. The goal is to send out electrical signals that block the pain signals of my back and legs. Instead of feeling pain, I will feel a steady buzzing or humming feeling. I remained skeptical, because all treatments before have been miserable. I am either too doped up to function or screaming in pain. There have rarely been days that I have a feeling in the middle.
So, now I get to decide if this is something I am ready to try. I wake up throughout the night, screaming in pain. I find myself limiting my activity because of the pain it might cause. I can feel myself becoming prisoner again. I think it's time for a change...
I have continued to work on the project, but have taken a bit of a mental break while I dealt with these issues. I do have one bit of news to provide: To reach the goal of raising $1,000 for charity, we did decide to hold a big birthday bash and collect donations. There is a local band I am talking with about playing a concert at the party. This could turn out to be quite a shindig that would raise money for increasing creative experiences for all students in Moore County (in light of the fact that art is gone...).