Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ill health retirement update

This seems to be truly dragging on AND ON!!!!
I keep getting constant emails from work asking me about the medical reports, but obviously I have no control over when these are completed.

When I saw my GP on 31st October, she mentioned that she had just completed her report and it was with the Practise member of staff who would return it to Occupational Health.  She ensured me that she has mentioned my mental health issues and how my condition plays a large part in adding to my mental health issues, if I am trying to maintain my 'normal' life pattern of teaching.
I also got a referral for the Pain Clinic.....finally, as well as a referral to a clinic that has physio etc on offer to help my upper back pain. She also prescribed me steroid cream to try and ease the itchiness and pain around my chest scar. Sadly, this turned out to be dermovate, which I had as a child for eczema, but I'll give it a go.

Yet today I get ANOTHER email from work to state that they have been in contact with occupational health, who have contacted my GP and consultant to request the reports. As of yet they still haven't received them!
I really don't know what I can do. All I can do is wait. But if I keep getting bothered about it it adds to the worry and stress of the whole process. The process that I can't control!

I truly hope this all comes to an end soon. I can't continue with all this adding to my life.
I have come to conclusion, with a lot of support from friends, that the sooner it is over the better. This will avoid having to attend a meeting about dismissal from work. 

I also got a letter that I have to take to the DWP to claim incapacity benefit, as my SSP is about to come to an end. This makes me cringe. I have never had to do this. I don't get the process, it is totally alien to me. I know that I am entitled to it and that I deserve it, but it just feels so strange.

So I guess I will continue whiling the time away trying to keep my mind off all this and hopefully one day soon I will begin to know this is all coming to an end. 
Until then I feel my purpose in life is moving further and further from my reach. What am I going to be able to do? This is in someone else's hands and who knows when that choice will be made. I can't plan for my future until I know. So I will just wait.......

More reprogramming

After I had emailed the previous update, I didn't hear anything, even though I thought it was obvious that I needed more reprogramming, so I contacted my consultant's secretary for an appointment. She went round the houses, saying that i couldn't have an appointment until January, but the rep stepped in nay sorted it for the next week.
So last week I had more reprogramming.
Even though I told him that generally the pain has halved from a general 6 to a 3, I explained that the break through pain is worse and now more piercing and sharp, causing me to twitch and jump with the intensity of the pain. Also this pain is in two distinct areas on my head; low down right hand side and nearer the crown of my head. This seems to incorporate the original ON area and now the newer one that started since my most recent operation.

I expressed that I feel like I am left without much to turn to, as I have limited choices of programs that can be set and most are unusable for a day to day setting. The rep explained that with occipital stimulation, most patients only have 2 or 3 settings and that some are just for when the pain is worse and not intended to be left on whilst continuing daily life.
So we set about creating new programs based on the 10htz version that is the only one I can use.
We created a tonic version of this program, where sensations can be felt. 
Then after a few trials we found another setting that felt like it might be helpful and we made tonic (with sensations) and a burst (no sensation) of this.
So now I only have 6 programs, although program 1 and 3 are the 40htz and 20htz programs from before. 

He also discussed that maybe having the program on 24 hours a day could be overloading my occipital nerve, so turning it off at night mig be worth a try.

I guess, it's getting to the end of what I can gain from this now. Hopefully having at least another program to alternate with, so that I feel I have an alternative to go to if required, will help enough to gain control when I need it.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Update on new stim programs

When I last saw my consultant and St Jude's rep, they both asked me to update them on how it was going with trying to the new programs.
It's easiest to just copy the email I sent;

I was doing ok with the 10htz burst setting until I had a lot of added stress from work, who called a dismissal meeting because of my attendance. This is when the pain levels worsened and I couldn't control them using this program so worked my way back through the others. The tonic programs now don't seem to do much in terms of pain control in comparison, so I didn't stay on those for long. I then gave both the 40htz and the 20htz burst settings a chance by attempting to leave them on for a few days. The 40htz one feels pinchy and irritating within a day so I switched to the 20htz version. This I managed to leave on over 2 days until it became pinchy and annoying. The stabbing pain wasn't being controlled well and the numb feeling I have at the back right side of my head became more tingly and felt a higher degree of numbness and spread over a larger area.

I made the decision to switch back to the 10htz version as it seems to give me the best control that I can get from the programs I have.
It again took a few days to settle and help control some of the higher levels of constant pain, but I now have more sharp stabbing pain and tingling (like pins and needles) at the back of the head, than I had before the added stress from work.

I think maybe another reprogramming might be worth a try, although I'm not sure what you have left to work with, as I now seem to only have one setting now that I can use successfully without causing more aggravation or irritation.