Not a Good Fibro Year.

by on December 31, 2012

Post image for Not a Good Fibro Year.

I cannot express how much I have looked forward to posting this first in an ongoing series of blog updates focused on my wife Michele’s personal battle with Fibromyalgia. Why? Because it means that FINALLY the FibroTrack application is out of the planning / building / testing phase and actually out there being used by real people. For me that represents the culmination of almost 2 years of work.

This year has been crazy for her fibro. Yes, all years are crazy with fibro…  but this year has been over the top insane. How insane?  How about no less than 3 surgeries! Yes fellow fibro warriors, we most certainly met the insurance deductible this year.
Michele Smiles

Michele - THIS is how I like to see her!

This year, we started ripping toward that deductible right out of the gate. Michele’s neck pain, which has persisted for years, was terrible. She has tried everything including chiropractic, massage, injections, various therapies, TENS and more but the radiating pain up around her head and down her right arm had grown truly horrid. She was prone on the sofa wrapped in heat packs for hours every day, often in tears. Watching the one you love suffer like this and feeling powerless to do anything to help is tough for guys to take. Men are programmed to see any problem as something that must be solved. We feel some ingrained need to “do something” about it. So what do you get when there is apparently nothing you can do? Despair.

No - That is not a Halloween Costume! A Nurse did that....

In March she got Cortisone injections in her neck. This was made more fun when (once again) the total medical bills came to more than 200% of what was originally quoted. This always happens. It seems that getting an accurate and complete up front estimate on total costs for pretty much any medical procedure is more complicated than a NASA shuttle launch. The Cortisone injections made her sore for several days and then did nothing at all. Over $2,000 in total for one injection that did nothing. Thank you sir, may I have another.

The next bit of fun had nothing to do with fibro and everything to do with basal cell carcinoma. Michele has had to have a number of moles removed due to this over the years. This year she went for two! One on her lower cheek and one right on the end of her nose. Take a look at the picture – how is THAT for a bandage!

As the year progressed and Michele’s neck and headaches got worse, we jumped back on the medical test merry-go-round. MRI’s are always fun so we went for a healthy dose of that. Bad disc, nasty bone spurs, direct nerve interference, abnormal pressure, alignment issues… the neurosurgeon was packed full of fun tidbits like this. So what did the surgeon suggest?  Uhhhhhh surgery. Shocking I know.

Neck Incision

Disc Fusion Surgical Incision... they go in from the front to remove the disc

So with shots, therapy, tons of testing, 2 outpatient surgeries, 1 major surgery, a throat infection no less than 3 times and massive headaches far more often than not… what more fun could we sign up for? How about a sleep study! With the insurance deductible met it’s a free for all health care frenzy at the end of the year! We actually had 2 full nights of sleep study and now Michele has a nifty new CPAP machine to help her breathe better as she sleeps. She has only had it a week, but so far so good she is sleeping well with it. Even if she does look like Darth Vader.

With the new year almost here our blissful days of “free” health care are coming to an end. The insurance deductible resets and the game begins again. This year though, we definitely feel we are in a better position than we were a year ago. It has only been 2 months since her fusion surgery so we know she is still healing but so far the neck pain and headaches are greatly reduced in frequency and severity. Hopefully the improvement will continue and the CPAP machine will work to improve her sleep. Going into the new year the focus is on losing weight, working back up to exercising daily and reducing the mid back pain.

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