Thursday, June 25, 2009

meds, etc

I saw Dr. C, my TMD/headache doctor just before we left AZ. He was interested to hear that the neck issues I had been having were caused by cervical radiculitis, and when he heard that I'd been taking ibuprofen to keep the head and neck pain under control, he recommended a therapeutic dose of 600 mg, three times a day. I checked it out with Dr. S, my spine doctor, who OK'd it, and I've been on it ever since. It helps tremendously with the neck pain, which has subsided considerably.

It also has helped alleviate almost all my Sjogren's symptoms... and the gastroparesis, too. I haven't taken any Domperidone in over a week, and while I do have the occasional feeling of queasiness, it's nothing that I want to medicate. Taking Domperidone at this point is a guarantee of the return of "rapid transit" issues. While this is not conclusive proof that the gastroparesis is auto-immune (it could just be coincidence that I'm recovering at the same time I'm taking the anti-inflammatory), it is really nice to be able to stop taking a prescription, even though I have started taking another medicine.

I was going to say that surprisingly, my rheumatoid arthritis has been very quiet this trip, in spite of the cold and damp -- but then I remembered that 600 mg of ibuprofen three times a day, and surely that's helping. Last year I took Aleve all summer just to survive. Ibuprofen works better and it doesn't mess up my blood sugar, but I think that long-term it's going to wreck something else, so when we get home I need to give my rheumatologist a call and see what she says.

Meanwhile, the neck: I have a back-of-the-skull headache right now and I don't know why. The neck itself rarely hurts, what usually bothers me is my left shoulder muscles, and I don't know why that should be, either. I feel best on days I don't spend sitting in front of the computer. Driving for hours isn't so great, either, and I did two hours today, broken up into 4 half-hour chunks. I use my neck pillow while driving and it helps tremendously.

I'm pretty good about doing my physical therapy for my neck. Most of the exercises and stretches are easy and I do them at least once a day. One is killer and I try to do it at least once a day but sometimes I don't. I think I am making progress, but I am using Biofreeze a couple of times a day on my tense shoulder and neck muscles, and that helps, too.

My neurological symptoms have abated significantly. I no longer have the dead/numb/tingling feeling in my right shoulder or arm, or along my right side. I am conscious of right-side weakness from time to time, but I don't know if that will ever change given my surgery. My neck still feels numb and today my right ear was hot for about 15 minutes after one of the drives (that's a strange, annoying feeling), which is the worst neuro symptom I've had since we arrived. In general, I think things are going pretty well.

Noting something that's probably nothing, but I want to have the reference: about 2 inches below my collar bone, there is a lump just to the left of my sternum. On the right side, there is nothing. At first I thought it was just muscle tissue overlaying the ribs, but since it's absent on the right, I think it's weird. It's a little tender if I push on it, whereas is if I poke the (non-lumpy) right side, it feels just fine. I don't know what the heck it is and again (I tell myself) it's probably nothing, but I noticed it and I wanted to record it here so I remember to ask my endo about it when I see her in August. (Why the endo? Because I had metastases to my upper chest, that's why. Of course they got it all, but still.)

Last -- my last refill prescription for Cytomel came in as generic. It's only 10 mcg a day, I figure it's not going to kill me, and it's much less expensive than the branded Cytomel. Besides, I need a new prescription, which I will get ... when I see the endo in August.

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