It’s finally happened. Normally, I weather the storms of myriad physical issues with humor and a hope that I’ll eventually, somehow magically, feel better. Today’s news has seriously derailed my equanimity, leaving me exhausted, depressed and wondering when, or if, I’ll ever catch a break.
Tuesday I learned that I have to undergo foot surgery to remove a synovial cyst and bone spur (caused by degenerative joint disease) that has caused my toes to go numb, and has prevented me from wearing any sort of shoe other than flip-flops since April. The pain has been severe at times—sometimes burning, throbbing, aching, dull or sharp, or any combination thereof. (Aside from the pain, I’m trying to imagine how ridiculous I’d look negotiating a foot of snow in flip-flops.) Today, there was more bad news. (I want to know how all this stuff always seems to find me.)
At my regularly scheduled follow-up appointment with my rheumatologist, I mentioned that my right shoulder had become quite painful again, with limited range of motion. He sent me for x-rays, which showed the expected degenerative joint disease, with calcium spurs sticking up on my shoulder. However, due to the limited range of movement and the way it hurts, he suspects I have a subacapular tear. He ordered an MRI, which my insurance company will probably deny. It doesn’t really matter much, anyway, since I won’t have surgery. Major surgery without benefit of any kind of pain relief afterward is daunting, to say the least, and quite enough to keep me from doing anything so foolish. The 15 hours without pain relief following my total hip joint replacement was excruciating, say, 28 on the scale of 1-10.
It is not advisable to have another steroid injection at this time, as I’m still tapering off prednisone and insulin and my blood glucose levels are still not back to normal. All the while, as I’m getting off the prednisone, we’re working on what to try next for the myasthenia gravis. My neurologist suggests IVIG treatments (intravenous immunoglobulin infusions), which run about $10K per month. If you think my insurance company is going to approve that kind of expenditure without numerous denials and a long, drawn-out fight, well, I’ve got a unicorn in the back 40, just waiting for you to come on over and pick him up.