All posts filed under: medical

Dr. Death — IE, What Happens When Your Spine Surgeon has a God Complex

“I can fix you.” No doctor worth their degree says, “I can fix you.” It is a promise that no one can keep. The beginning of “Dr. Death,” a relatively new podcast from Wondery, speaks to that resigned place in the soul of someone weary with suffering, and this doctor said the words all pain patients are so desperate to hear. “Imagine. You’re struggling with back pain for months. No one can tell you what’s wrong. Then, you find a doctor, and the words that he said that I wanted to hear were, ‘I can fix you.’ Those are magic words. I was in pain.” — via Wondery My gorge rose while listening to the vivid details of a patient’s head literally being separated from his cervical spine by this surgeon’s sheer ineptitude. Another patient’s esophagus was cut and a sponge left inside to fester. Yet another’s vocal cords were destroyed, rendering her voice a strangled, raspy whisper. Nerve roots severed. Bone fragments digging into muscle and even the spinal canal. All of them suffering …

Does HFactor Hydrogen Water Actually Work for Fatigue, Recovery, & Energy Levels?

Through my membership in the Chronic Illness Bloggers program, I am able to review products that normally I would never even see or — if I did see them in a store — think to buy. It’s exposing me to a world of items that I had not thought were remotely relevant to chronic pain and illness patients. Like, for instance, HFactor Water — infused with more hydrogen! NECESSARY DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post. I was given six Capri Sun-like packs of HFactor, as well as straws, through my membership in the Chronic Illness Bloggers’ network in exchange for my thoughts and opinions regarding the product. All opinions are my own, and besides the gift of the HFactor pouches, I have not been influenced by the company in any way.  Of course, water already has hydrogen, hence the H20 makeup. However, hydrogen-rich water is supposed to help a number of ailments ranging from diabetes to the side-effects of chemotherapy. Improvements have been confirmed by studies (this linked one is specifically on metabolic syndrome), but the benefits of hydrogen-rich water have not been …

Pain News Network: Media Hysteria and the Opioid Crisis

Hello, my darlings! Check out my latest column for the Pain News Network! _________________________________________________________________ I recently received this email from a family member: Hi Jen, I was listening to a thing on pain medication and why prescription meds are so dangerous. They turn the receptors off in the brain and the person forgets to breathe.  That part is a totally separate thing from the pain. Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on talking about it. I think that is a very valid argument about overuse of pain meds. For example, Prince had very valid issues to use the meds and also lived a very clean life style. If he overused, it goes to follow that someone who doesn’t lead a clean lifestyle is in more danger. It’s not the meds as much as the brain receptors. The breathing part is scary. So I’m not such an advocate anymore…..unless you can tell me this isn’t true and why he would say that. I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you. Xoxoxox I got mad after …

The Pill Suite is Pretty Sweet

If you’re like me (delightful, fierce, and bothered by various physical ailments), then you have a ton of pills. Let’s take a look at what I consume on a daily basis: Tramadol (50 mg every 4-6 hours as needed) Cymbalta (80 mg, 20 mg in the morning, 60 mg at night) Valium (5 mg, as needed) Zyrtec (every night for my Eosinophilic Esophagitis) Prilosec (40 mg per day) Carafate (two teaspoons 4 times a day) Calcium (RX-strength) Vitamin D3 (RX-strength) Vitamin K2 (RX-strength) …I’m honestly losing track. Here’s the nonsense I deal with each morning (and these are only the morning, I didn’t get a picture of the nightly regimen): I can organize the hoard pretty easily using one of these sweet babies: Those pill cases can be difficult when going somewhere overnight or for a few days. At this point I’m an expert at telling pills apart (and if I’m only 99 percent sure, I’ll Google it to be responsible), but it’s hard to say, “Okay, this group is for the morning, this group is for the …

Pain News Network: Recovering from Spinal Surgery

Check out my latest column for the Pain News Network! For those of you playing the home game (i.e. following my blog), I’ve been recuperating from a cervical discectomy and fusion of C4-C5. That was February 19. I’ve been recovering in an amazing fashion, much faster than my first fusion of C5-C6. Just north of a month later, I also had thoracic injections at T-11 through L-1. I was far more scared of this procedure than the fusion — and I’ve had injections before, so it was nothing new. I knew exactly what was going to happen, but I didn’t know how my body would react. Why? Read on. My Abbreviated Back Story (No Pun Intended) My injuries have followed a strange road. When my mom’s car was stopped in traffic in 2004, we were rear-ended at 65 miles per hour. I was seventeen. I broke my spine in four places: T-11 through L-1, but also a facet joint that wasn’t found until a year later when it had calcified over a cluster of nerves. …

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion… and Phlegmy, Phlegmy Mucus

That’s an ominous title, isn’t it? BUCKLE UP, BUCKAROOS! FIRST OFF: I HAD SPINAL SURGERY, AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. My first surgery wasn’t quite the success for which I’d hoped. I tried not to hope for this one, because I didn’t want to get my feelings hurt. Well, boys and girls, this one worked. It’s like the first time they dug around in my neck, they only pulled out half a rotting tooth before stitching me back up. The second surgery removed the rest of that festering, pulsating monstrosity and cleaned it out entirely. So, was it worth it? Heck yes.  HEY HEY, I HAD SURGERY I am now a bit more than one week post-anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. I had the same procedure as I did two years ago (ACDF, levels C4-C5 as opposed to the earlier C5-C6). It was the same hospital, even the same surgeon, and yet so many things were different. Round I was March 27, 2014. I remember four things vividly: the feeling of funny juice speeding through my body right …

Guest Post: Bio-Integrative Therapy: Modern Medicine Has a Health Problem

Full disclosure, readers: This guest post was written by my father, Dr. Jay Kain. He’s starting a new business venture that combines motion capture technology with his proprietary work, Bio-Integrative Therapy, and I am hellishly proud of him. The therapy (speaking from experience here) is very gentle, hands-on manual therapy that works to promote structural harmony within the body. The motion capture work quantifies the immediate results the therapy provides (e.g., you have a terrible golf swing, you get some treatment, and then the mo-cap immediately shows results in increased range of motion. How’s that for fast healing?). He’s finally getting on board with technology, so here’s his foray into the blogging world! He is also on Twitter as @bio_integrative. Modern medicine has a health problem. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Western medicine is more advanced than ever before. More importantly, it now defers to Eastern medicine when necessary, like pain management doctors recommending yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and the like. Physical therapists use cupping techniques that were created in China centuries ago. Cardiologists team up with …

Pain News Network: The ActiPatch

Here’s my latest column for the Pain News Network! Loyal readers, I have returned. It’s been a tumultuous month of bad days and flares, so while I was absent from my writing duties, I was trying out a hodgepodge of products designed to offer pain relief. Naturally, none of them worked. Let’s discuss. A while ago it was suggested that I try the ActiPatch. I was originally introduced to this new form of pain product by Lil’ Bub, the celebrity cat. I should probably explain that. Lil’ Bub, full name Lillian Bubbles, is a perma-kitten, meaning that she will retain her kitten-like characteristics for her entire lifespan. She also has an extreme case of dwarfism and a rare bone condition called osteopetrosis (the only cat in recorded history to have it), which causes her bones to become incredibly dense as she grows older. This causes pain and difficulty when she tries to go from Point A to Point B. Her person, called the Dude (like Jeff Bridges in “The Big Lebowski”), discovered the Assisi Loop, which …

Accepting Limitations Caused by Chronic Pain & Illness

Yesterday, after much deliberation (far too much deliberation), I finally accepted the fact that I can no longer work a full-time job because of my chronic pain. My bosses did everything they could to work with me on a solution, but I cannot fundamentally perform the tasks required by my job. Driving to the office, sitting in a chair every day, and traveling to meetings was chipping away at me, little by little, breaking down any resilience I had left… which sounds absurd, doesn’t it? A sedentary job being too much for me? But it was, and it is. Even mitigating devices put in place (like a kneeling chair at my desk or taking breaks in a recliner in my office) wasn’t enough. Husband has been begging me for ages to put my health first, finances be damned, but I kept dwelling on the decision and driving him out of his mind with my constant “What if?”s (again, I am sorry, Husband). The reason for my very extended delay in making this transition was that it …

Inflammatory Foods and Chronic Pain, Part II

Sorry for my lengthy absence; it’s been another one of those flares. Back to business as usual! I have discussed before how food can have a direct effect on what happens in the body. Use any cliched vehicle for this idea that you like — our bodies are temples, our bodies have engines that need pure fuel, our bodies don’t like toxins that gunk up the system. Basically, we are what we eat. Those suffering from chronic pain and illness already got the short stick, but 99 times out of 100, we are also told by doctors that we should follow some form of an “anti-inflammatory diet.” Now, I was tested for inflammation by a rheumatologist, and while it was higher than normal, it wasn’t stratospheric. That was how he ruled out arthritis (well, duh). So while my joints aren’t inflamed in a rheumatoid arthritis sort of way, I can definitely tell the days when my body as a whole is just… blegh. Like this morning, for instance! I spent last night pigging out. I’d had …