I bruise easily!

Just for reference, this isn’t about Natasha Bedingfield. It’s actual bruises (and a healed surgery wound). If you’re squeamish, you may not want to look. Also fair warning, most of the bruises are caused by needles, so if you’re not good with those either, run away. (For what it’s worth, I’m pathetic when it comes to needles.)

Excessive bruising on slight contact is a characteristic of HMS. It isn’t apparent in every patient, but it definitely does for me! I’m not sure why it happens, but it’s probably to do with the fact that our blood vessels aren’t as strong as most, so they damage easier. I’m often covered in coffee table bruises, door handle bruises, and I-have-no-idea-where-that-is-from bruises!

Generally I cover these bruises up, people feel uncomfortable when they see them and ask awkward questions. (Ranging from “What did you do this time?” to “So, your partner… is he an angry man?”- don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the awareness on the part of people in cases of potential domestic violence, but it’s not the case here!)

So, why do I bother sharing these unglamorous photos? Because I feel pressured to cover up my bruises because people stare, because of the questions. I’m always covered in bruises or scrapes, all over my arms and legs so I wear long sleeves /trousers to cover them up. I also won’t wear vest tops (unless I’m with very good friends) because I have eczema and dermatitis scars on my upper arms. I have stretch marks all over my back, stomach and legs so I cover those too.

I’m tired of being covered up. It’s uncomfortable and unpleasant, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ve spoken to lots of people about it, and I’m going to be brave. No more covering myself up. Nobody’s perfect!

I’m going to try to be okay with the way I am.

Love from your battered & bruised,
but hopeful little Hypermobile Hobbit.

I’ve always bruised quite badly, but I will share some beauties from post-surgery now. (For reference, the Surgery was the 30th June.)


2 days post-surgery:

Blood sample bruises 2nd July

Blood sample bruises 2nd July

Cannula Bruises! 2nd July

Cannula Bruises! 2nd July

3 days post-surgery:

Blood sample bruises 3rd July

Blood sample bruises 3rd July

4 days post surgery: At this point my fingers also swelled like crazy!

Cannula bruises 4th July  (Happy Independence America!)

Cannula bruises 4th July
(Happy Independence America!)

Seriously swelled up fingers! 4th July

Seriously swelled up fingers! 4th July

Blood sample bruise 4th July.

Blood sample bruise 4th July.

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Nerve block injection site bruising – lots of holes!!!

1 week post-surgery: The blood sample bruise was really painful by now, affecting how I could rest my “good arm”.

Blood sample bruises 7th July.

Blood sample bruises 7th July.

Blood sample bruising (wrapping around my wrist!) 7th July.

Blood sample bruising (wrapping around my wrist!) 7th July.

Cannula bruises 7th July - almost all better!

Cannula bruises 7th July – almost all better!

The stitches were removed on the 7th, one week after surgery. It wasn’t fun, but I may blog about that later. I was a bit surprised the incisions were so tiny! They had healed up nicely, and I was finally allowed to have a shower!!!

9 days post-surgery: There was surprisingly little bruising around the incisions, a lot of swelling though! The vertical line in each case was the incision, and the horizontals were stitches.

The front scar - 9th July

The front scar – 9th July

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The back scar.

Two weeks post-surgery: By now the blood sample bruise is yellowing, so is harder to get photos of, but extends from my thumb to my elbow, and wraps half my wrist. It took about 3 weeks to fade, but photo’ing your own arm when you only have one functional arm is tough, so I stopped.

Blood sample bruise. 14th July.

Blood sample bruise. 14th July.

18 days post-surgery: I started to get bruises on the backs of my legs, just below my knees. This was because I wasn’t able to lift myself out of chairs or up from sitting on the bed easily, so my knees were hyper-extending to compensate and pushing the furniture.

Calf bruise  16th July

Calf bruise 16th July

20 days post-surgery: The problem is, if you keep hitting the same area, the bruises get worse…

Calf bruise 20th July.  What a beauty, right?

Calf bruise 20th July.
What a beauty, right?

On the plus side, the horizontal scars have faded pretty quickly.

Scar 20th July

Scar 20th July

3 weeks & 1 day post-surgery: The bruises on my legs were fading, mainly because I was being super-careful.

Calf bruise 24th July

Calf bruise 24th July

So, that’s some epic bruises on me! The calf ones are literally just repeated pressure, so it’s easy to see how huge bruises can be created from repeat small pressure on people who bruise easily. They took about 2 weeks to clear up, because I kept repeatedly catching my legs (lightly) when balancing myself.

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Getting there!

More packing done, legs feel like they are going to drop off.

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I do have a rather nice bruise-blister on my thumb from my crutches.

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At least the tramadol is mostly working, even if I do feel like a pill popping granny.

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Can’t wait to move, unpack and just finally rest. We still haven’t got a contract or signed anything. I guess we will get there… Eventually!
I have to admit I am excited about being able to make the new place all cozy. We will be doing it on a budget, so there will be a lot of second hand, upcycling and craft. I want to reclaim my mosaic stuff from my family home to make coasters and stuff. Maybe some embroidery and stuff. I will definitely photo my efforts for you, my loyal followers. You deserve a pretty reward after listening to me whine about my knee for two months!
PhD application will be sent off tomorrow. Wish me luck! Keep things crossed for me, since I can’t cross my fingers anymore. 🙂

I have an MRI appointment!!!!!

The title kinda gives it away, huh? I’ve got an appointment for an MRI on my knee , 2pm on 19th September. That makes it nearly 2 months since the initial “incident” or “accident” or “trauma” or whatever they want to call it. It crosses my mind that if I didn’t have good friends and an outstanding partner to help me, I’d have run out of food in the first week. I’d really struggle to have done the shopping since it took 6 weeks before I got any real painkillers. 

I hope that nobody gets stuck like that, and that everyone has friends and neighbours that would help them out if they were stuck in that situation.

I’m always up for helping neighbours, even if I barely know them, because I’d like to think they’d do the same for me. My friends say it’s because I come from a village (even if it’s a village inside a big city) and everyone knew each other, so everyone helped. I think it’s because I’m fundamentally nice.

Anyway, now I have an appointment on the horizon (even if it’s only days before the interview!!) and I can more or less walk without crutches if I’m careful for the PhD interview (I hope!). If all else fails, by then I should hopefully know what I’ve done. I’m planning on submitting my PhD application tomorrow. 

The side effects of the tramadol have calmed down a bit, still feel a bit dizzy, and poor temperature control, but it’s ok so long as I don’t have to leave the house!

Pain medication that works!

So, I went back to my GP, and she actually apologised for how messed around I must feel, being bumped from one service to another and struggling to get my pain recognised.

I’ve been given Tramadol to deal with the injury pain, but I’m taking very little of it. The type of injury I have mostly hurts in the evening and at night (gets worse with activity basically), so I’m only taking it with dinner and before bed. Paracetamol will cover me for the rest of the day. 

I’ve also been suffering with fibromyalgia flares because I can’t do the physio I normally do to keep it all under control. Generally, my fibro is quite mild, but it grabs onto any little “over-tense” or sore muscle and will make it into agony. As it is, I can’t do my physio which is causing my shoulders to sublux in my sleep again, and causing a lot of general physical tension from over-work. As such my fibro’s going crazy and everything is exhausted and hurt. To treat this, I’ve been put on low dose amitriptyline which is a low dose tricyclic antidepressant. In low doses it’s been proven to be advantageous for people with neuralgic pain such as fibro’ as well as insomnia.

The two medications together aren’t ideal, but I’m taking them under supervision of my GP, and she says I should be fine. I slept properly for the first time in 6 weeks last night, which is amazing. I woke after 2 hours feeling totally refreshed and wonderful, but with a shoulder that totally wasn’t in it’s socket – so I put it back in and fell asleep again.

My plan is to get up whenever my body wants me to tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll feel a bit less worn out generally. I plan to list a lot of eBay stuff, do some speculative job phonecalls (because the job centre told me to – even though it won’t get me the kind of job I’m after!) and polish off my PhD application.

One of the blogs I read mentioned the use of music for pain management. I’ve put together a playlist on Grooveshark of all the songs I liked when I was a teenager, before my legs fell apart on me, and I’m going to try listening to that and see what happens. I’m mostly a wuss-rock kinda girl.

Hopefully once I get used to the meds, my body will learn how to regulate temperature a bit better and I’ll be less of a sweaty betty and more inclined to blog.

Not so lonely.

Today, I am stuck in bed with pain (both the leg injury and a fibro flare), but also nausea and stomach cramps from the codeine last night.
Previously I would get really depressed because I hate sitting being useless, but also because I’d feel really isolated and left out. I knew of no other 20-somethings who were laid up with pain and side effects as much as me. I felt like it was my fault because I was the only one like this.
But then I started blogging, because I wanted to share what its like to live with a body that won’t work when you’re still young… And what did I find? All you guys blogging out there sharing advice, care and support in a similar situation to me.

Thank you all.

I’m going to have a nap now.

Advice for living with loved ones in chronic pain.

I find myself apologising a lot for getting injured, for being unable to do simple things, or even just for feeling worn out because of pain. I sometimes struggle to communicate what I really mean. I’m not necessarily apologising because I think it’s my fault. I’m more apologising because I’m not successfully dealing with it. This site is useful, it was shared on a support website that I’m on, and it’s made me think.

https://www.naidw.org/groups/viewdiscussion/1195-23-tips-for-men-on-supporting-a-partner-with-chronic-pain?groupid=25

I don’t like the “men supporting a partner” because it furthers the misconception that only women suffer from chronic pain disorders. That’s not true. Things like CRPS and Fibro are more common in women, I believe… but men have them too.

Anyway, I often feel like the pain is “mine”. It’s a part of me that I can’t walk away from, while everyone else can. It’s tiring and exhausting but I can’t make it go. I’m often reluctant to share the burden of the pain, and bottle it up. I know my partner knows I’m in pain, but I don’t sit there and whine about it a lot. I talk about my pain and injuries, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

Right now, after an afternoon of hunting through job sites and finding *one* job that I can reasonably apply for (excluding my ever-hopeful PhD application), I feel worn out. I want to crawl into bed and sleep for a few hours and it’s only 5pm. My throat’s swelling up too, which isn’t a good sign.

I’m so exhausted. Someone come find me a job?

The Hobbit: An unexpected torn-knee.

Heh, a Hobbit pun! My knee is slowly getting worse. It is getting a lot weaker and more consistently painful. I did a day off codeine today, as the box directs. My leg feels a bit burny… Not to the touch, but inside. As such I am avoiding heat and cold therapy which is the way I normally deal with pain.
I have a meeting tomorrow to help me prepare for my weds job interview. Then I have to get on with my PhD application too.
It is hard to find the motivation to do anything when I am this wobbly, but today I shredded old paperwork (and saved it for the house move for ornament packing), sewed up the big hole in the peg bag, folded all the clean laundry and sorted the kitchen a bit. It might not be much, but it is the most I can do. When standing I now need one crutch, so I can’t do two handed tasks while standing.

That could prove awkward in the group tasks in the interview… Better phone up and explain that I will probably be on crutches… That will not be a fun conversation.