Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cortisone Injections Stole To Much Of My Time And Well Being

Recently I started having some strange symptoms that I don't recall having before. Except for this one time, a few months ago, when I suddenly came down with something and I wasn't sure what happened. Then, just like that, it all disappeared. Luckily, I keep a pain diary for my pain management doctors and for my own research. (Yes, I still firmly believe that RSD/CRPS will be cured by some "regular" person who can fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together.)

Sure, I am 41 but, would menopause be something I should be concerned with right now? I wasn't sure and assumed maybe that was my problem and I started to get a little more sad than I expected I would when this occurs. I am done having babies at this point. (Jeez ums I would like to be under 75 years old when they all move out!) Or do I? I don't know. This was an issue I struggled with over the past few weeks. Maybe just the thought that the decision is no longer mine? I don't know. Either way, it's been a little scary, to say the least.

I haven't said much about all of this to anybody, except for my doctor, finally. My husband probably just thought I was being an annoying girl all along and had no clue what was going on. (I planned on saying something soon at some point because I was having difficulty with regular housework, errands, everyday life.) But, I think it was a little embarrassing and then I thought, if it is something even more serious, I won't be putting that burden on anybody. Not around the holidays.

Hot flashes, night sweats, heavier periods that never stopped and then, just came to a halt this month.  (But not the cramps, bloating, headaches or any of the fun parts of periods!), heart palpitations, heart burn, nausea, more aches and pains than "normal", stress, tightness in my chest sometimes, a lot of scary stuff. Of course, Google is a help but you have to be very cautious and take into consideration that you must talk to your doctor rather than self diagnose and sit up all night, worrying until the stress causes even more problems. However, it can be a relief too.

I started to try to think back at the last time this happened. Why was it 3 months ago when this started? If it were menopause or peri menopause, wouldn't this be consistent? At least each month? Why were my periods such a mess a few months ago and then they came back to normal after a bit? Did I do anything different? If it were something very serious, I would think there would be more signs, more symptoms, and they wouldn't suddenly stop and get back on track. Would they?

I went through every day from August through last week. Nothing changed. Gosh, the weather is almost the same! (We hit 72 degrees on Christmas day and I'm in Pennsylvania!) Although, it just started getting a bit colder. Food, medication, everything is the same. Maybe even healthier since I have been making a lot of changes all year. I sat here for days, and tried to pinpoint why this happened twice and I noticed that at the beginning of the year, I had a few similar symptoms written down that didn't match my usual symptoms. The only difference between now and the first time and the second time that was not as bad as now, is that everybody came down with a cold/sinus/sore throat/stomach bug that seems to be staying through until the new year. UGH!

Then I noticed that I had cortisone injections a couple of weeks prior to every single time I started writing about interrupted, heavier, periods, hot flashes, palpitations, etc etc. I only started getting cortisone injections in January of this year and they seem to work a little bit for my ankles but, they don't help 100%. (Every little bit counts though..) I had a cortisone injection in August, before we went to Cedar Point and I just went in for another one about 3 weeks ago. I used to get lower lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks and they just stopped working after several years so, I stopped bothering with those. I don't recall any side effects from those injections but, again, I am still fairly new to cortisone.

Each time I go in for cortisone injections, they give me the paper that explains all of what could happen and then you sign it. The doctors go over everything again but, there isn't anything about any of my symptoms. So, I thought I must be mistaken. There has to be something else. But, something kept telling me that this was it. So, I Googled a bit more and found countless threads, posts, message boards, all about the exact same problems and all were related to cortisone injections. It seems that doctors either have no idea or care to tell you about the other side of these injections. They usually just concentrate on the "possible infected injection site" and "chance this won't work or you end up with more pain" blah blah blah blah. But, it has to be tied together if several, and I do mean, several, other females are going through the same thing.

I emailed my doctor about this and heard back from a nurse who said that, "yes, yes indeed, this could all be related to the cortisone injections" But, I am to decide if it's worth the 20% relief from some of my ankle pain, (Again, this doesn't help RSD in any way.) It just helps arthritis and tarsal tunnel and bone and joint problems. and even then, it isn't enough that I want to sit here and waste yet another entire month of my life that I could be spending with my children, my husband, getting work done, and everything else moms do. I am annoyed, no, I am actually furious, that these side effects weren't explained to me and I wonder how many other females go through this, never knowing that it could be something as simple as a cortisone injection that is to help them. Not hurt them even more.
(Apparently there are a lot.) Which makes me then wonder, why aren't doctors telling their patients about these side effects??

So, I am almost back to "normal" since these hot flashes, palpitations, and just downright icky, scary, night sweats, menopause symptoms, or even pregnancy type symptoms at times, have subsided. I still don't feel like I'm back to my usual self but, I still have this stupid cold we have been passing back and forth for weeks. The only other problem is this period dilemma. I never thought I would ever in my life, say that I am anxious for my period! After a couple of weeks of a delay, I am hoping for it to just hurry along and get here so these nasty PMS symptoms can disappear with it!

Have you ever had a cortisone injection of any kind? I would love to read comments from anybody who has any advice or can share a similar story!

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