Here is the end of an email my physiology tutor sent me tonight...

"PS. You are a courageous woman with evident
determination. Try to focus ONLY on the good days and
moments and let the bad ones pass you by."

I needed that, I want to cry cos I don't deserve it, there are millions of times when I am not courageous when I am not determined, when I don't focus on the good day and moments...and I feel humbled but it gives me regained hope and reminds me what I am here to do. Thank you.

And Jess, always there for me, I msn her and she makes me feel normal and lets me vent over whats happening or cry through whats getting me down and makes me feel all sunshiny again after my rain shower. She is special so much so I have to tell the whole world!
They both deserve a huge Tigger hug!
I had my neurologist appointment at ISIS today...I was tired and I don't think it went well. I'm scared of the outcome because I don't want my concussion symptoms to be dismissed. I think it was my fault how the appointment went though because I should have been more prepared knowing how bad my memory is.
Fingers crossed his report will be ok though, I have to wait a few weeks for it so in the meantime I must try not to worry about it.
Why do I usually find Dr's to be so scary-I need to get over this fear.
So many times I hear "its so amazing that you are still here at uni at all, considering whats happened to you..." Why? Do people really give up that easily? I would be throwing up a chance of a lifetime and wasting so much hard work if I packed this all in without at least trying.

Others start telling me that I need to see a shrink cos 'I'm in denial about how sick I am'. Thats not true, for one thing I'm not sick-I have an injury! Ok so it may be a pretty significant injury or collection of injuries but that doesn't mean I'm sick, it just means I have a few barriers to overcome.

Sometimes I get so down when people say that they don't think I should carry on, I start to believe them. I'm so grateful to my band of friends who stick by me and remind me that I can do this, without them I might forget and do something I would regret.
Thank you so much for motivating and having faith in me, it gives me the confidence I need to carry on-because of you I WILL become a physio, some may not be in the usual 4 years but it doesn't matter how long it takes because I will have done it against the odds and all because of you!
I like that statement!
My physiology tutor is American and really lovely and this was her catch phrase! We can plan all we like but "life happens" and you just get on with it as best you can. She said all you can do is make sure you get all the help you can and do your best-thats what matters!

I have a week and a half before my exams start and then a week and they are over for this semester. I have 3 exams and 1 practical assessment to get through and then I will have 3 1/2 weeks of break to catch up on uni work and relax at home, without the stress of lectures, labs and clinicals.

I am finally 'getting all the help I can' and after a meeting with the undergrad dean of Physiotherapy I think I am back on track towards continuing this year.
I have tutors for some of my papers
I get all the lecture notes printed out for me at no cost
I am supposed to collect a recorder so I can record my lectures
I get extra time for my final exams in a quiet room with only a handful of students
I will also get special consideration for my finals, if I don't pass I will be given the opportunity to resit in Feb next year without usual grade cut-off at 50%

I'm now starting to come to terms with the possibility that I wont pass, and am starting to stop stressing so much. I have been told that my expectations of myself are unrealistic considering the events that have happened so far this year and that according to the uni (and the School of Physiotherapy) 50% is good enough to pass. I need to accept that this is good enough and I find this rather hard considering I am used to passing with good grades. I think I will be happy if I just pass this semester though, it will be such a relief!
I have been told the wait for getting into the pain management clinic is 9-12 months...this is through the hospital system-how crap is that? I asked one doctor what people are supposed to do in the mean time and he said just deal with it. The system is all wrong, people who need help with pain don't have time to wait a year for help, in that time it wouldn't surprise me if some people actually killed themselves because they couldn't deal that long.

All my specialist appointments etc are covered by ACC but as far as Dr Steve knew, they only cover pain management if you have a work related injury-whats with that? Of course mine happened at uni, not a workplace so I'm technically screwed and will have to wait my luck in the public system.
It just so happens that I am starting to be assessed at the ISIS Rehabilitation Centre because of my previous head injuries, and up at ISIS as well as the neurologists etc, part of their service happens to be pain management! Because I am already a patient being seen up there, Dr Steve is going to see if we cant bypass the system and have me seen for pain management as well as my ongoing head stuff. I'm not going to hope, I don't want to be disappointed (but I really do hope that his plan works).

As part of physio school, we have a psychologist giving us lectures. He has covered a lot of CBT etc and I think its a big part of pain management, maybe I can teach myself?
I have also been eying up the pain management and chronic pain books in the med there a bit of D.I.Y in order? can you teach yourself or is there more to pain management than I know about?
I've been taking gabapentin for the last 7 months for the RSD (CRPS).
I ended up at my surgeons office basically pleading for him to give me something to dull the consuming pain I was in. I still remember how bad it was, how I felt like I was being driven insane and couldn't focus on anything other than the frozen cold, burning, stabbing unrelenting pain my foot. It was killing me slowly because I had lost control of my emotions and was getting so behind with my study I was afraid I would never catch up.

At that point I didn't have a proper diagnosis, various medical professionals had named it in passing (as he had done) before my hip surgery and they were very encouraging that the hip surgery would fix my symptoms. But after surgery when it got worse and it came to informing me what it was, he was very off hand. In a letter he wrote me he spoke of it as "pain that will come right by itself given enough time", didn't explain it more than that and certainly didn't mention RSD or CRPS. Several sports docs when I explained my symptoms did so at least I knew although because my surgeon hadn't actually called it that I still hoped against hope it wasn't.

Fast forward a bit, things are getting worse, pain is barely under control but not yet at the point it was last year. I have this super hypersensitive patch again on my thigh, like a bad deep bruise which I cant bear my pants touching and my foot is slowing starting to drive me insane again. The last thing I need just now on top of all the other drama is to be driven crazy by pain.

I went to the doc at student health and practically begged him to give me something for the pain and he just sits there and goes like what do I expect him to do...please help me! He's the doc, I need him to help me but I don't think he knows how to deal with me cos I have complicated problems. In all fairness though he refers me to a special doc in the city who I have seen before.

Now comes the point of this whole post...
I saw Dr Steve a few days ago, he sees my pretty purple foot and leg and he talks to me for over half an hour-I honestly love this guy!
He says this is complex regional pain syndrome, something I've needed a doctor to tell me properly for over a year now. Half of me was so disappointed but the rest of me felt relieved as now I can really say that is what is wrong with me-before I used to say I had a tentative diagnosis. He says we are going to keep this simple, is anything about this diagnosis simple? And then we get to the point of pain...or pain management...currently I'm on half the maximum dose of gabapentin you can take, he wants me to increase it to 3/4 the maximum dose, thats 2700mg per day and I'm a slight thing weighing in at around 45kg. (he talks about pain management as well but thats the topic of another post).

I'm scared...not about the amount of meds as such, but about the fact that after only 7 months I am increasing my dosage by half, what happens if I need to increase again in another 7 months? and then another 7 months-what happens then?
Another part of me is asking whether I am weak giving in this early to more meds, should I be stronger and take the pain for longer before I give in and start taking more? I dont know what to do, all I know is I cant let myself get to the point I was at last year and just now that is closer than I have admitted to anyone.

I have a new nickname.

I'm not sure I like it and as its not actually true (studies have shown that goldfish store memories for several months rather than 3 seconds) I don't think its fair on the goldfish!

This past week, every time someone has mentioned something that I have no memory of (and obviously should have) someone says "goldfish"! It is actually quite funny but I would rather have a nicer nickname if they are going to use it all over the place. Its even funnier how I don't even remember who started it or why it was started...poor memory or what!!!

I was going to make you wait till I come home for my holidays but then I thought that was a bit mean!

I had a hard time smiling so that it didn't look like I was high on drugs...

...not sure I succeeded lol!

...but I hope you get the idea.

Personally, I like these pictures best, but they are from November last year!
I got my hair cut and styled today!

It was long overdue, I haven't had it cut since a hairdresser traumatised me last October by cutting more off than she left on.
I got it straightened at the same time, it made it easier for her to cut it and it looks cute. Just a good few inches off the bottom and then some conservative layering to give it some body and shape, with a sweeping fringe that frames my round face (can you tell I am happy about it?). She was so lovely and caring, made me feel like I could trust her to do what I wanted, she made me feel relaxed which was so good-I haven't felt so relaxed for ages.

The thing that made my day though was my physio lab tutor noticed! He said it looked really nice and that he didn't recognise me when I walked into the room! He also said that I was looking much brighter today, much better than I have been looking for ages-just as well he didn't see me on Wednesday!
Its been so long since I've posted (Jess will be saying UH HUH) and so much has happened that I've decided to start back up again. I have so much to talk about and sometimes I feel like I burden my friends way too much with all my problems.
I find it so hard sometimes to deal with all that life is throwing at me that I tend to need to talk so much that I wonder if they get sick of me but are too polite to say? I never used to be a talker, in fact someone who knew me say 5 years ago most likely wouldn't take me for the same person! I was so shy and reserved and wouldn't say boo to a goose I was that timid. Now I talk and talk and talk and talk-but all the while feeling guilty about needing to. I still have 'conversations', I'm not that person who takes all the lime light and doesn't let others speak (well at least I don't think I am) but I feel so unnatural needing to talk that I often wish I would just hide everything inside like I used to.

I think my 'need' to talk is one of my coping strategies, the more I am able to share my experiences with others the easier I find I can deal with them and maybe the smaller they seem to be? Talking through things seem to turn them from strange to normal although I don't think they always are! I'm just starting to think that maybe I should try not to talk so much about all the stupid random things that are happening to me, I don't want to lose my friends and just now I'm scared that is going to happen because I'm burdening them too much. My problems shouldn't be their responsibility and maybe thats what I've been turning them into without really realizing it.

Yay for having a blog eh? It will never tell me to stop talking or get sick of me-or at least I hope not!