Monday, October 10, 2016

Chronic Pain Update (A Crack In The Door)

I haven't been writing on my blog like I should. Life happens. I do a ton of reviews (which I love). But, I want to get back to writing on this space of mine. I wanted to give an update on the chronic pain issues that I have and also let you know what we have been doing in our homeschool journey.

Last year I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This was after 13 other doctors told me I was crazy, had "new mommy syndrome", and needed some rest. Finally, a doctor actually listened to my symptoms and ran the proper tests. I am so glad to have a diagnosis but not very happy about the type of illness I have.

You see, there is no cure. There are medications to mask the pain. But, there is no cure. I not taken any medications for the pain (even though it is unbearable at times) because they are opioids and I don't want to be addicted and strung out all the time. After going to several "pain specialists" (who just wanted to drug me up), I decided to see an actual Thoracic Surgeon.

The one I chose was a 2 hour drive from my house. I was so relieved when he told me that I wasn't crazy and had TOS. He told me I needed to have a first rib resection (have my first rib removed), a scalenectomy (my scalene muscle removed), and I needed my pec minor muscle clipped. Yikes!! It sounds as scary as it actually is. That is major surgery. But, this doctor is not the one for me. He only does this surgery once or twice a month. I need a more skilled and specialized doctor if someone is going to rip my body apart.

The reason for the surgery is to release the nerves, artery, and vein that are trapped in my brachial plexus. They are all being crushed by my first rib and my collar bone (that is called the brachial plexus). My body reacts by having my muscles tense, my arm to go numb, and so much more. It has been 4 LONG years of constant, debilitating pain.

My journey took me to a support group where I heard about a wonderful doctor at Johns Hopkins. That is the closest one to me that has a doctor who specializes in TOS. I immediately began the process of getting an appointment with him. After months of waiting (the local doctors and hospitals here took their time releasing my medical records) I finally have an appointment with the TOS doctor. It isn't until December, but I have hope.

Now, on to our homeschool journey so far this year. We just celebrated my oldest son's 8th birthday. I cannot believe I have an 8 year old. My middle son turned 6 over the summer and my youngest is 3 1/2. He thinks he is 12 though.
We are doing Classical Conversations this year again. It is such a blessing to be able to do this curriculum. We meet on Wednesdays at our own church building. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays we stay home and do our normal school work (which usually takes about 3 hours total) and chores. I leave Fridays open for field trips, library visits, family visits, and catching up from the week with school work and chores.
We have started reading all of the Chronicles of Narnia books. We already read The Magicians Nephew and are on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe right now. I have never seen my boys more excited to listen to me read. My oldest son has taken off with his reading. He is so smart. My middle son is just beginning to understand that letters actually make sounds that form words. It is amazing to watch them grow and learn.
Jensen Family Academy has already been on one field trip this year to a pumpkin and apple farm. It was so much fun! Our Classical Conversations group went (well, a few families) and we had a ball.
We did just go through Hurricane Matthew but it wasn't much here in VA. I am praying for those going through the aftermath right now with flooding and loss of life. We are truly blessed that we didn't take the brunt of it. I have actually been very ill for two weeks. We didn't do school work at all the week before last and last week was bare minimum. Not sure what I came down with but now I have a cough that won't go away. Oh, the beauty of someone sharing their germs. The children have escaped with no signs of illness, Praise God!
Life is pretty much routine around here.We are enjoying all of the fall activities, festivals, and weather. It has cooled down here and is now sweatshirt weather. I hope you have a great fall! It is my favorite time of year. 

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