Chronic Pain & Fibromyalgia

The last part of January and the first week of February have been a bit rough. I was diagnosed years ago with Fibromyalgia and for almost 10 years I spent a good majority of every day trying to just cope with the chronic and incessant pain. For the better part of the last 3 years though I have had a huge decrease in pain to the point it was not top priority anymore. However, the last 2-3 weeks has been a bit rough. I am sore all over, my muscles and joints throughout my body hurt. I think maybe the pain in my hip and leg and the falls are what brought it on/brought it back.  That and sitting 10 hours a day or more typing doesn’t help. I tried Lyrica again but at the same time my doctor also put me back on metformin to see if we could get better control over my blood sugar and the side effects of the two made me miserable. Lyrica causes me severe vertigo. To the point, I won’t drive, and I need to drive so I am not going to take it.  My doctor wasn’t thrilled that I refused to take any medication for the pain so instead, he suggested I look into CBD oil, which I am not thrilled about so after researching it a bit I decided that was a no-go as well. Too expensive, not covered by insurance (obviously), etc. Just not an option.

On the plus side, we were able to afford insurance, only for me though and not Eddie which I am also not thrilled about. He will have insurance in another 9 months through work anyways I think, so we were more concerned about me at the moment and making sure I can still afford insulin, my Libre, metformin, etc. The insurance is only going to cover 80% to a maximum of $1000 a year towards medications and for the medical equipment such as my Freestyle Libre sensors it will only cover 80% to a maximum of $1000 in the first year, $1500 in the second and then $3000 in the third year onwards per year which means the first year it will only cover about half of the year for my sensors, but hopefully at that point I will have secondary insurance through Eddie’s work which will cover 50% but again it’s better than nothing at all.

Since I am not taking anything at the moment for the pain which is pretty bad, like 8 out of 10 pretty much continuously all over, almost every muscle and joint, I have been searching for other alternatives and I think the only thing that seems to help relieve and make me comfier, or in other words 4 out of 10, effectively halving it, is heat. I had Eddie buy me a heating pad the other day and it seems to help. So does having the wood fire going, I think it’s maybe the dry heat. I want to get a heated throw blanket. I think I am going to get one next time I have a little extra if I can find one for a decent price. Tea seems to help too. I think it’s the cold. This cottage is so bitterly cold sometimes, it isn’t insulated very well and it’s damp. The weather has either been quite cold, like -20 with snow or it’s been around 3 and raining out. It seems to go back and forth between the two, which isn’t helping at all.

Work, Medication & Relocation

I am about half way through my third week back at work. I am doing six hour shifts this week. So far I am doing okay. Not great but okay. I am still having considerable pain but I am just glad to be back. I started Lyrica about the same time I started back at work (the night before). That is not going so great so far, not that I really expected much. It’s not really helping at all with my pain during the day. At night it makes me so sleepy that I am unsure if I am sleeping okay because of that or because it is helping my pain. I think more just that it is knocking me out

I started at 75 mg and was supposed to increase it after about a week slowly up to no more then 300 mg. I haven’t gone up at all. The reason is that I don’t think I would be a fully functioning human being if I did. I can barely tolerate the 75 mg. I tried last night just the one time to increase to 150 mg, today I struggled with every word at work, I was staring off into space and I felt as if I had cotton balls in my mouth. I am not doing that to myself again tonight so back to 75 mg I go.

I am going to see if I can get a prescription for 25 mg from my doctor and try going up more slowly from 75 mg. I can see why I hate this medication the first time I was on it. It really does a number on you. I am so dizzy as well. I am scared to drive and won’t drive right after I take it. So I take it at night. I am not sure it’s going to work for me but I need to give it some more time I think. It’s hard because I am tired of dealing with the pain which is still pretty considerable. I have pain which is sometimes feels like a stabbing pain and other times a burning or searing sensation down my leg. I have pins and needles and a numb sensation that happens often. I am also getting a lot of swelling still.

I want so badly to just ditch the crutches and walk but I am scared to as well. Sometimes I wonder if that part is in my head. If I am just limiting myself because I am scared. The medication is making me unsteady and dizzy, plus my leg tends to give out from underneath me but should I just stop using the crutches? I am trying to slowly come off them. I can put most of my weight on my leg with them. Without them though I tire so quickly and I hurt so much more. I really am not sure what to do there.

Anyway, so as you can guess from the title of this post, Edward and I have been considering relocating for a little bit now and guess what? We are moving! We’re doing it! Edward found out today he has a job in Digby at Gidney Fisheries! He starts November 19th and gave his notice at his current job today. He was concerned how his boss would take it but he took it pretty good and was happy for him.

I also put in my resignation at the bank today, or at least that was the plan. Instead though I am going to see if I can take a leave of absence at their suggestion. Apparently they have an option when moving to another city or town in the same or different province that you can take a transfer leave which gives you 90 days to apply to and get a position in the same bank with another branch, location or department. If you don’t get one then on the 91st day your employment ceases as if you resigned but it also gives you a chance to keep your benefits and seniority while I attempt to find something and 90 days in case nothing is available right away. I read somewhere I have to give 4 weeks notice to do this but they suggested it so hoping no one notices

When I mentioned I was resigning my manager asked me to give him about an hour before I put in my resignation and talked to his manager then came back and told me this. They said they hope I can stay with the bank. They have branches in both Digby and Yarmouth. Yarmouth is only about an hour’s drive. We could settle somewhere between Digby and Yarmouth if I got something there eventually. In the meantime my parents have offered to rent us the cottage they just bought for quite a bit less then what we are paying for rent here.

They bought it outright so no mortgage. We would pay the utilities and a small rental fee all in one, the utilities will be on budget plans that will be the same each month, they plan to keep them in their name I think and we just pay them one amount to cover it all and even if we don’t and we pay the utilities ourselves in our name we will still be ahead. We’d be looking at half to two thirds what we are paying here once everything is said and done. About a $200 to $350 savings a month over our current living situation here. Edward will be making a bit more then $2/hour more there then here, plus after 6 months he will have full benefits.

If I stay with the bank I will still have everything I have here (full benefits plus lots more) but be $1 to $2 less then I make here. So in the long run it would even out pay wise. I have a lead on a job outside the bank as well and have been talking to a recruiter for a domain registration and web design/hosting company that has an office in Yarmouth and one here in Halifax, they are really interested in me. I have actually worked for them before.

They are looking for both domain specialists (sales) and technical support in Yarmouth. I enjoyed it the first time I worked there but I left to go to Afghanistan and when I came back they weren’t hiring and I moved on to somewhere else and honestly never considered them again till now. I know a few managers and other employees. In the meantime I can do some transcription work for my mom who has a lot of work right now and could use my help.

Overall this is a move in the right direction for us I think. We will be getting out of the city which we both want. We are tired of it here. We will be living in an area we love doing things we love. We’ll miss our friends in the city but plan on still doing a once a month game night with them and they can come visit and we will be in the city a lot still. We have to keep our doctor in the city as there is currently a shortage and over 50,000 Nova Scotian’s who don’t have family doctors. Plus we like him and want to stay with him anyways

So anyway, in the long run though it will mean saving more and much faster. We can save a down payment now, it would actually be possible. I plan on taking the full amount we would pay for rent up here each month, pay my parents what they want and take the rest and put it in a savings account. Something we can’t easily access. Also it will be good as well because the cottage is 2 bedroom, or will be in a few months when we make it back into a two bedroom. So we will start the process again for fostering/adoption. We are so excited!

Valley, The Lookoff & Cape Split

Today (well as it is after midnight technically it was yesterday) Edward and I hiked Cape Split in Scott’s Bay, Nova Scotia. It is 8 km each way out and back which turns out to be a 4-5 hour hike. It took us 4 hours and roughly 15 minutes. It was a beautiful but exhausting walk/hike. Neither of us had ever done it before. We love walking and hiking but have only every really done easy ones. This is classified by the provincial park system as a moderate hike. Now I know why. Wow was it ever long!

We started out at a place called The Lookoff which was on the road to Cape Split. I have taken pictures there before but not for a long time. You can see the whole Annapolis Valley from The Lookoff.

 

Next we drove on to Cape Split, we had some sandwiches and pop and chips that we brought with us as a picnic lunch in the car before we set out. There was no picnic tables out yet or we would have sat outside. We started out walk at 2:45 PM.

The trail went through a very woodsy area which was nice and cool and blocked out most of the sun. The weather wasn’t all that hot anyways. Only about 13°C and sunny which was perfect weather for a hike. We made sure to bring along sweaters with us and I had a windbreaker/raincoat as well.

In the beginning the trail is very rocky and uphill. I’ll be honest we thought about turning back since no washrooms were open and after 15 minutes we were already tired from the steep uphill but I was determined I wanted to keep going. There was lots of buds and some flowers. I decided to try out some close ups with the macro settings on the computer. For a first try I don’t think they turned out too bad. What do you think?

The rest of the trail evened out and turned into a lovely woods that was filled with squirrels and birds and other small animals as well as more flowers like the ones above. It was really quite beautiful and serene. It was so lush and green and honestly one of the most beautiful woods I have ever been in!

I honestly loved it, it felt like we were in a whole different world from our every day city lives

I love trees. Especially gnarled old twisty ones like the one below.

Not long after I took a picture of the tree above the woods opened up into a field of green with cliffs and ocean. The picture below was just before the green fields and was part of the path we were walking on I am standing right at the edge of it when I took the picture. I figured my vertigo and fear of heights would kick in but honestly I was fine. It was Eddie that was more cautious and he actually was telling me I was getting to close. Which I wasn’t. I was fine and was not off the path.

There was a lot of birds everywhere. Seagulls mostly. Which I love. This is my first picture of a bird in flight that really turned out and somehow I actually got 3 at once! I was really impressed with that.

The view was just amazing! I couldn’t believe I had never hiked this before. My parents and brother and I used to hike all the time when we were younger. Especially during the time we were in Germany and Calgary.

The tide was going out when we got there as you can see on the rocks. It was about 6 PM by the time we got to the edge of the cape. It was really pretty but cool and windy.

I took this next picture when I went down to get the one above, on my way back up Edward was sitting looking out over the ocean so I decided I snapped a quick picture of him before he noticed

Overall I was really happy we kept going. Even though the way back was awful at one point because I was hurting so bad, my back, knees and ankles that I didn’t know if I could go on. On top of that my blood sugar dropped suddenly but we were prepared with glucose tabs, candy (rockets) and with lots of water, peanuts, crackers, chips and popcorn. So I managed to bring it back up to a safe level and continue on. When we saw the washrooms at the end it was such a relief

On the way back we stopped in Scott’s Bay and I took a few more pictures along the road and beach area. It was starting to get dark and we still had a 2 hour drive home (yes it was 2 hours each way so on top of a 5 hour walk I drove 4 hours, Eddie was nervous to drive it so I did all the driving this time). I have to say these next two are my absolute favorites of them all and I am really proud of myself!

If you would like to look at more photos from the trip/hike you can find them here. Most of them are in this post but I think there is still a few that I did not add here.