Had my long-awaited appointment today with Dr. Fourth Opinion today, the appointment I probably pinned way too many hopes and dreams to. I just want him to fix me; that's not too much to ask, right?
He redeemed himself from his status on my shit list and I once again think he's a good doctor. We talked a lot, a lot about long-range goals, short-range goals, what to do when I'm having a flare. His answer to that last one surprised me. He doesn't want to call him if I'm flaring. Wha?? He says these flares are normal and that I need to learn how to cope with them on my own, throwing in another reminder about anxiety management.
I wonder if he talks as much to his other patients about anxiety reduction or if he's decided I'm a stressball. I totally have a chip on my shoulder; I feel like as soon as physicians see that I'm taking Prozac and Ambien, they decide to give me The Talk, the one where they tell me (as if I've never heard of these things) that I need to be using other alternative modalities, ie, meditation. And I do practice meditation and I think I'm doing a bunch of other things to reduce my stress level, although there's room for improvement.
During my appointment today, we got into a circular discussion where he'd tell me to make sure I keep my psychiatrist in the loop and keep up those alternate therapies, and I'd somewhat miss the point and throw in a "but, how do I not freak out during a flare?" "By keeping up with these other therapies." "But what about when the flare is really bad?" Etc. And I felt a little ridiculous, but this has been my life lately. I've missed a ton of work, can barely function, and am just getting back to the point where I can reliably drive myself to and from work. I guess the point is that my case isn't that unusual. Dr. FO has seen tons of us, some of us for really long periods of time, it seems. I'm not going to die from this, even though I swear, I thought I would at some points during the last few weeks.
Oh, and as predicted, Dr. FO held his position that the Pill did not cause my flare. Interesting that he's so convinced and I'm so convinced the other way. Oh, well. It does suck that I'll have to deal with painful periods every month, instead of once every 10 weeks, but I'll take a few days of cramps over the incapacitating flares.
I wish we did still have the Pill as our means of birth control, though. Apparently I'm not a candidate for anything—my RE says that absolutely, under no circumstances should I ever get an IUD. (I concur). I don't want to do any other pills with estrogen, and Dr. FO doesn't recommend the progestin options. I guess there's always vasectomy (I'm sure as hell not going to have more surgery), but that seems so...final. A little too final for now.
So, the pain plan for now is focused on PT. My PT wants to try TENS this week, which is some kind of electrical stimulation. If it reduces my pain, I might get a unit for home use. Dr. FO also increased my Lyrica dose, so we'll see if that does anything. He tweaked some of my other meds and I'm happy with how we left things.
So. Lots more appointments in my future. PT, biweekly sessions or possibly weekly if my body can handle it. Psychiatrist for spazzing down lessons (which I had plenty of in my Alice Domar-modeled IF group therapy last year...I am schooled already). Follow-up with Dr. FO in 6 weeks. Fun-ish appointments with adoptive couples to help us make some progress in that direction.
I just remembered that I think I wrote a post a while back about a doc telling me to spaz down. I feel the need to add the disclaimer that the docs aren't using those words; Dr. FO is genuinely trying to help and exploring lots of options with me. I'm just touchy about them saying meditation etc will heal all ills. It's in the "just relax" category for me, even though I know there's truth to it in the case of my pain. I've come SO FAR in reducing my anxiety in the past year and I need lots of credit for that. Shout out to Prozac, meditating, and friends.
Whew. So that was that. Onwards with kicking pain's butt!