Tracking where my pain patches are going

For over a year now, I think, I’ve been using the Butrans pain patch as part of my regular prescriptions. It has been life changing, literally. You apply/reapply this patch once a week. It stays there. You can get it sort of wet with few issues. I try to keep mine out of direct water but that can be difficult.

From the manufacturer’s website:

BUTRANS should be applied to the upper outer arm, upper chest, upper back, or the side of the chest (See Figure A). These 4 sites (located on both sides of the body) provide 8 possible BUTRANS application sites.

Personally, for me, I have to focus on my arms and back. I question if they did much work for locations on women, because breasts. Oh noes! Anyways, that’s another topic.

Because you aren’t supposed to “re-use” a site in less than 3 weeks I made this tracker or journal because it’s otherwise impossible to remember. When I was updating it again, I thought I’d share it. I actually type up the specific dates I’m to change my patch so since I change it every Monday night, the column on the left will include the dates of every Monday for many months. The left and right location columns are so that only have to write down “shoulder” or “back” in either column. It’s a little easier. I added a notes section in case you want to be able to note site reactions.

If you so choose, you can print this out or save it. (I’ve never shared a public Google doc. so I’m assuming you can save it for yourself.)

Here’s the link to the tracker.

Whirlwind

It’s been a four day week (here in the states where Independence Day was Monday) and it’s been an absolute whirlwind of doctor waiting rooms, exam rooms, traffic lights, grocery and pharmacy. On top of that, trying to stay out of the heat, and deal with new and different types of pain in new and different types of places. Like eye pain and chest pain. Not fun. Extra phone calls have been necessary too.

Prescription change I need to call my immunologist about Monday. Another new doctor I need to make an appointment with. I have to make sure that this is “just” my asthma no longer well controlled. You know, just asthma. My immune system is totally not doing its job right now.

If I was “normal” I’d get drunk tonight but that won’t help anything. I’d feel worse in the morning, so much worse and if I was really unlucky I’d end up with a migraine or something comparable. Three doctor appointments this week, all three ran late. I have three more doctor appointments next week.

Oh yea and we won’t even talk about the prednisone taper. At least it’s only five days. I am in such desperate need for some kind of fun random thing. A small surprise, or an afternoon spent somewhere new or a kitten. A kitten would help!

My Vitamin D levels

Last summer my regular doctor – per my request – checked my vitamin levels and found I’m low on vitamin D. Really common vitamin D deficiency symptoms include fatigue and joint pain. These symptoms are hard to separate from fibromyalgia. At that time I increased my vitamin D supplement from 1000 to 2000 units a day. (I also take calcium and magnesium regularly.)

Fast forward to after Daylight Saving Time and the holidays and my pain levels had gone back up and my energy levels had gone back down. Per my request, this time my rheumatologist checked my vitamin D levels. LOW! She gave me a prescription for a weekly dose of 50,000 units. (Unfortunately the pills also have artificial colors which is not good for my low histamine diet but I figure once a week for medicine could be worse.)

I’m two days past the second weekly dose and I’m definitely feeling a difference. I have more brain and less pain. Less fatigue, less cloudiness. This is on top of the 2000 units/daily…. It seems to be working.

Low vitamin D is an easy fix and you don’t need to have a chronic illness to have problems with low vitamin D. I’m lead to believe (I say it this way because I haven’t researched it myself.) that some people just don’t process/absorb vitamin D all that well. This has been a reminder that sometimes the problem can actually be fixed AND easily. It’s such a relief!

I’m also glad this got figured out before the neurologist appointment so I can already know about it.

Acceptance

Accepting the reason you haven’t felt yourself is because you have a chronic illness there is no cure for is…. Difficult.

I’m still working on accepting that I have fibromyalgia and will for the rest of my life. Though I think I’ll start hoping for a miracle cure in the next 20 years.

This last week or so has been full of realizations. All different kinds. I’ve cried a few times too.

1. If I’m having a good day I shouldn’t procrastinate.
2. Now I know why I stopped eating tomato soup.
3. Now I know why I always need to shower after a haircut.
4. It’s ok to admit you’re in pain.
5. Admitting you’re in pain is easier than trying to ignore it.

I’m trying really hard to start good habits now…. And not feel guilty for being horrible to be around cause I wasn’t well before.