Friday, October 22, 2010

Pain is thy name: Kick-Ass, EFM as Superhero, & the sixth painkiller (and surprise good news)

News of the Year: I have a possible GP.So far he has passed five of the six tests already. He was recommended by the Hospice and Palliative Society for me, and while he is NOT taking patients, that recommendation got an initial meet and greet. I didn’t want to blog about it because the number of GP’s who have turned me down have been around 30, and another 10 or so specialist, so while I was nervous enough not to sleep, I wasn’t going to announce it as good news. Except:

1) Met with me, and didn’t immediately say that this was too complex, too thick a file. He did say he did mostly cancer patients and had not had experience with my condition….but he would take me.

Actually seems to listen to me and believe what I say, instead of immediately putting me in the ‘hysterical female’ grouping (come closer, I can be a LOT more hysterical!)
2) He met with me a second time, for 45 minutes and gets that doing a meeting like that puts me out for a day, also after disclosure of orientation (Him: 'so, who do you have sex with? Me: Her! (as often as possible, honest!) Him: So, not a lot of need for a pap smears for HPV then) and that dread initial diagnosis of ‘conversion disorder’ he didn’t drop me due to ‘religious belief’ or ‘not a good fit’ Oh, no, I am starting to feel...what is this feeling again? I think it is called, Hope.
3) Linda described to him about the pain of this week including moaning in sleep and he PRESCRIPED A PAINKILLER! Wha? Prescribe something for a problem? Does this doctor know how to be a GP in Victoria?

Seriously, he specifically prescribed a Fentanyl patch (lowest dose) which has the advantages of: releases for 3 days, can be applied even if I am in too much pain/autonomic failure to swallow or understand what is going on around me. He said “If you don’t notice any effect, we will increase the dosage”: after so, so many doctors have refused to help with pain due to having to use the ‘triplicate’ form, which means one goes to government. So, after going to the US hospital, their evaluation was ‘pain control was the number one priority’, and that was over two years ago. And now, I am PAST the huge 'three page form' wall and moving toward real pain control.

Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful a painkiller than morphine. Before you freak, that is dependant on the person, like for me, it might only be 95 times more powerful than morphine. Yeah, that was the joke.

But, Fentanyl was recommended to me because it has the patch AND can be prescribed in very small dosages, then raised as needed. I am now taking six different pain killers daily (good thing I have those six fingers on one hand, to count them!), and this Fentanyl is the third opiate/synthetic opiate. But if it actually makes the pain go away, that will so improve my quality of life. And with the better quality of life, I will be able to smile and joke (when you are clenching your jaw in pain, the funny goes away), my loving and caring spirit will emerge again to woo children and wildlife with its pure innocence.Or something like that.

So the doctor has seen me twice and is already working to improve my quality of life. Crazy! Is this doctor REALLY living in Victoria?

4) Plus he is talking about calling the Neurologist and seeing what type of mediciations, like IVIG or others which he can administer to stabilize my condition (I know, after over 100 tests from over a dozen doctors and none working to do that at all, I am in shock). It took over a year of constant trying to get synthroid and now, we have Fentanyl.

5) My concern is that some specialist have not told the truth in their letters (in person they say, ‘There is no treatment to offer you’, while the letter says, ‘Client was offered treatment and declined’ – odd that even specialists can do revisionist history if actions makes THEM look bad). I am worried that combined with what they might say on the phone will make it so the next time I see him there is the ‘I don’t think I am the best doctor for your needs’ (regardless that the neurologists haven’t seen me in over 2 years and as I said to him, “It is REALLY hard to be B-12, and Vitamin D deficient by ‘conversion disorder’)

He uses the UN standard, NOT the ‘minimum Canadian standard’ – Canada has, due to socialized medicine, some of the lowest ‘minimum standards’ in the world.
For example, when the UN goes to Sub-Saharan African countries they use a standard of Red Blood Cell count to declare someone ‘anemic’ and treat them. While the same person, in Canada, they are not low enough to be considered anemic,. Plus, even if they are the bottom or below a 'health standard' like being anemic, as Cool Aide demonstrated, many homeless people show up as anemic but are not treated at all.

B-12, which I have been low in, has never really concerned doctors, I have never been ordered to supplement OR get a shot immediately until NOW. In Japan, the lowest amount of acceptable B-12 (which causes nerve damage, sleep problems, and nerve pain), has been raised from 200 /pg/ml to 550 pg ml in 1988 while in the US 350 pg/ml is the ‘lowest acceptable’ level as even those at 500 pg/ml have been found to be ‘deficient’. Long term deficiency results in permanent destruction of the nerve stem in the spinal column. In Canada, you are not deficient until you are under 150 pg/ml. My father was at 39 pg/ml before he was treated, and I was in the low 80’s. I have been frequently been at 139-155 without recommendation for treatment (like over a year in that range with doctors not concerned in Victoria).

My doctor said that I was to take B-12 either sublingually daily (maybe more than once a day) or shots until I am at a MINIMUM of 250 pg/ml. Also, he said Vitamin D involves nerve pain and use and I am deficient in that and increased the prescription subliment by 50-100%. I am totally stunned.

I think this is called, ‘proactive doctoring’ but I’m not sure as I've not seen it in this city.

6) The GP said he liked me and that I was a ‘character’ or had ‘character’ or ‘would make him lose hair’, I one or more of those three.Plus he does HOUSE CALLS and understands that Linda will need to come in for me if I am too ill. Wow. Wow.

I dragged myself up to boxing yesterday and did my exercise, I was too sick to go the week before so I did a double effort to sweat: my sit-ups, push ups, and then worked the whole time on the heavy bag, doing speed jabs,
speed hooks and then combinations, where you use speed and accuracy. I did 4 punch combos, 5 punch combos (15 then a two second break, then back again, then two seconds off, then 15 more, for three minutes), four of my eight punch combos, then two of the 11 or 12 punch combos, doing each three times, and finishing with a 16 punch combination.

I felt exhausted but was sweating and endorphins made me smile.
All is great until the endorphins run out sometime around 4:00 am, the pain hit! I had put on the patch at 11:00 pm, but it takes 12 hours to be absorbed and right now, it isn’t doing much. So some bed time for me and the plushies.If I survive the next day or two, I will be able to see out of both eyes again, I am sure.

Last night, I watched ‘Kick-Ass’, a film based on the comic by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. There is an excellent documentary in the special features about creating and inking a comic showing these two. The film was picked up by Linda and had the highest IMDB rating I had seen. It was amazing! The idea is about a guy named Dave, 16, whose only talent seems to be his invisibility to girls, and his crush on Katie, the girl with the locker just down from him. As he goes to hang in his local comic store, Atomic Comics, he asks his two friends, “Why is it that no one is a superheo? I mean, why do people just do nothing?” So while buying online he adds a green spandex suit to his basket. Thankfully in New York, you can hang around in a green suit with two baton’s in a holder on your back and not have anyone notice you. He did ‘patrol’, he did a lot of posing in front of his mirror but nothing really happened. That is until the two guys who mugged him were stealing a car, and he stood up to them.

They totally whooped on Dave, then as he staggered away, he was hit by a car and ended up in hospital. In the ambulance he begged the EMT not to mention his costume (cut away) to anyone. He slowly recovers (his statement that now many of his bones have titanium rod and plate reinforcements was “Cool, just like Wolverine!”). Dave also has neuropathy damage and he can’t feel pain that much. Or as he puts it, “My super power is a greater tolerance for being beaten”
Once Dave makes it out of the hospital, the good news is that Katie now is totally talking to him, and wants to be friends. This sudden break through of ‘cool’ is dashed when his friends tells him, “Oh yeah, um, well everyone knows about how you were found naked after some guys had their way with you, so um, the whole school thinks you’re gay.” And Katie gushes, “I’ve always dreamt about having one of ‘you’ to talk to……not that I think all of ‘you’ are the same or anything.” A choice of hanging with Katie as her new gay BFF or telling her the truth has him soon getting loans of Queer as Folk and doing ‘sleepover pedicures’.

Meanwhile, looking for a lost kitten, he falls on some guys after another guy. And decides to defend the guy beaten on the ground against these three full adults. He yells at a kid his age to call 911. The Kid runs to find the largest group his age and shouts about a fight instead, and everyone goes to video it. His ‘stand’ ends up on Youtube and goes viral. Suddenly, ‘Kick-Ass’ (his name for his superhero) is a real deal superhero.

Enter Nicolas Cage as a rather psychotic father, and his even more psychotic daughter Mindy (maybe the whole, ‘never going to school and only training to kill people’ doesn’t help). We meet them as Nicholas Cage is teaching 11 year old Mindy how to ‘take a bullet’ by shooting her. It was pretty much love at first sight for me. They are ‘Big Daddy’ and “Hit Girl” (she has purple hair and an outfit to match including a plaid school skirt and purple coloured knife holder).
She is also a totally lethal machine, who flips, shoots, knifes, and garrotes bad guys. “Kick Ass” scrambling away in green is like Amateur Hour on the Gong Show compared to her. Though sometimes, particularly with Hit Girl, they remind you that she IS 10 or so (he is only 16),reminded to you when a bad guy actually hits her and knocks her almost out, being all of 58 lbs and all.
You will have to rent or see the film for the rest.

The author, Mark, a Scot from a small coastal town had at 15 with his friend listed ‘Be a super-hero’ as a career choice and done weights and ‘patrolled’ his town. As he said, “It was a small village, and if we were LUCKY there were TWO town drunks!” But his comic, based on a lot of his experiences and fantasies, hit a cord and went right away to number one, selling out three printings. One of his instructions, besides the plotting was for his artist to have NO BLACK.

In Comics, from 1930’s onward everything was in white, with characters drawn on. However, in the late 1980s’ Frank Miller revolutionized ‘Graphic Novels’ by reversing it and having a dark black background in Dark Knight with everything drawn on THAT. Soon every one would follow. Now, Mark Millar wanted to do an entire comic with NO BLACK. What that did was a) make his comic look very different to other comics and b) make his other colours stand out. Even his publisher didn’t notice what it was as they told him after three issues, “Your colours are amazing, and your comic looks so DIFFERENT.”

Mark Millar metions in passing that he had ‘worked with Steve on a Wolverine type story.’ That got me into late night research as what story could it be? It turned out to be this year’s eight Eisner award nominations Old Man Logan, which I had on my wishlist until I found one on sale on ebay. Now the book, just released, “Kick-Ass” is on the top of my wish list! So, this is good year for Mark, a movie BEFORE the comic release run was finished AND Eisner Nominations for his last project.

So, go, go the red haze of pain: and if the ability to absorb pain can be a ‘power’ for a superhero, that seems like I totally up for the job then doesn’t it? Go EFM and her flying wheelchair of justice!

Other surprise good news that I won a review writing competition, and won two signed yaoi manga and a package. Woot! See, it totally pays off, spend all money on manga, and eventually get some free! Yeah, total sense - happy yaoi Halloween!
Also, I am having another/final ebay sale for the next two weeks of rare and out of print manga, or complete manga runs, including new ones. This is to a) raise some money for medicine/pain killers and b) put some savings away so I can raise money so that Linda and I can both go to Sakura-Con if I am here in the Spring. I recommend, Jyo-oh-Sei, which took 10 years to write, each book is 400+ pages and was so popular they made an anime (also a hit) out of it. It has two twins who are, without warning sent from the elite satellite station to the ‘Beast Planet’ – an unofficial planet where people are sent to die, since the death penalty is illegal. Only, people have lived, in this the EXTREME world where plants at the top of the species, and now these two brothers have to learn to as well, or die. Goong 1-9 is about, ‘What if Korean still had a monarchy’ and the story is loosely based on the UK (if Charles and Diana were teens), a girl is wed into this family, not fitting in, a marriage of political arrangement – modern but using historical Korean terms and monarchy tradition. While Les Bijoux is a great gender bender of a two spirited son, who has vowed revenge on the ruler who killed his parents. As a male, he works toward that end, however the ruler keeps seeing them when they are a woman, and falls helpless in love, and she is starting to feel something back. What to do when the other half of yourself is trying to plot revenge against your lover? Tough one! Another 50+ listing to go.

There is also a new post over at the postcard project, please check it out (comments here and there ALWAYS appreciated) – thanks for all the comments on my last post, it really made me feel better about opening up on my conditions that are most likely to exclude me futher from people.


wendryn said...

Wow! A doctor that listens and tries to help? I may go into shock!

Seriously, though, I'm really glad you finally found ont that, at least so far, isn't an idiot. I hope the painkillers help. I'm also really glad you went boxing!

cheryl g said...

That is great news about the GP and the fentanyl patches! I am joining you in hoping...

Sonds like Kick Ass is a movie I should rent. Thanks for the review!

SharonMV said...

Yay!!! Hurrah ! so glad about the GP & the RX of the patch. Keeping fingers crossed that he will be a good & helpful doctor for you. This med has made a big difference for me. I rushed ahead to comment as I was so happy for you. Now, back to read the rest of the blog.


tinarussell said...

Oh, gosh, yes! I know those sorts of tests. I tried to make a list of them just now but wrote just one (the doctor must not try to blame every condition I have on me being transsexual; this is very common, for me and for other transsexuals) and it made me too sad to keep going. You really push through a lot when you do these blog posts, Beth, wow o_o

I’m so glad you found a doctor who isn’t a jerk! That’s very important and difficult.

I had to check old pictures of you just to make sure you didn’t really have six fingers on either hand. I was wondering. I thought it would have been kinda cool.

I have a tough time with Mark Millar because I’ve hated a lot of his work. I’ve read his work on Ultimate X-Men, and on Wolverine (the regular series), and Spider-Man, and it always seems like he’s one of those riders who, more than anything else, relishes being “EXTREEEEEEEEME.” (That is, really big muscles, really tight spandex, bodies and/or body parts flying everywhere... and heroes who are Morally Ambiguous™). Then again, I actually really liked his work on the Marvel Civil War miniseries, and Old Man Logan got all sorts of awards, and I’ve heard friends tell me good things about Kick-Ass (the movie), too. So, maybe I should give him a chance. ...Maaaybe.

Baba Yaga said...

Oh, good news... Pain relief? It'll never catch on...

Posted your mittens yesterday. Slow knitting, but I hope faster post.

Kate J said...

Great about the GP and the pain-killing meds... but I wonder, how come no-one told you about this guy before? And how come if he can prescribe the fentanyl why didn't the other GPs or specialists? I mean, as the saying goes, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." Hope this GP comes through for you, anyway! It's about time you and Linda had some good justice from the medical profession

I heard about this movie Kick Ass from my son, who really liked it. I missed it at the cinema (I work in a cinema but was away the week we had this movie!) so now I definitely intend seeing it on DVD.
Love and peace

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

Oh my gawd, Beth, I was literally weeping when I read about your doctor. Although my situation is less dire and long-lived as yours, I know what it's like to finally have a doctor who believes you and tries to help. So there I am snivelling away with happiness and gratitude for you, reflecting on such an amazing and profound moment, and in the middle of it I actually think "Six fingers? REALLY?"

Demonstrating once again that my attention span is less than that of a gnat.

Anyway, we're all stupidly happy about your doctor.

We'll be checking out your ebay sale... don't put a ton of thought into this, 'kay, but: is there anything in particular you recommend for Liam? He loves pretty much all versions of manga, not just the stuff that an 11-year-old boy would usually like, so have at 'er...

Thanks, congrats, cheers, yay, go Team McClung!

Raccoon said...

Crossing fingers!

Will this change my opinion on Canadian health care?

Neil said...

Hurrah for the doctor!

Wait; you claim to have six fingers on one hand? You are/were a sword fighter (yes epee, now wok with me and don't split hairs)...

You must be the six fingered "man" that Inigo Montoya was looking for!

Sorry, The Princess Bride is one of my favourite movies.

Doctor good; boxing good; making out with Linda VERY good; Fentanyl patch good; pain bad. Go away, pain.

Love and zen hugs, dear,

Denise said...

Wow! I really hope this works out! I think the therapies you mention have been kicked around for the last 2 years, so it would be amazing if a doctor would actually follow them through. We'll see, eh? But I hope beyond hope this doctor is different from all the others. The signs you're telling us about here are definitely positive.

rachelcreative said...

I'm nearly in tears hearing about this GP prescribing the fentanyl patches and the B12 and the vitamin D and well ... that he's listening and treating you. I am keeping everything crossed that this continues.

I understand totally why you wouldn't want to share this sooner. I'll be interested in hearing how the patches and the vitamins help. I take sub lingual B12 every day and I really notice it if I stop after a few days. I also take vitamin D through the winter and on grey days the rest of the year and it has really helped me with things like mood (and who knows other physical stuff too I am sure).

Laura said...


I am so very pleased that you have found a real Doctor. One that has the guts to help you. Pain is bad, the patch good. So happy that you are getting some new form of pain control and that maybe your anemia, B12 and vit.D deficiencies are being addressed. It actually sounds like he believes that you are a human being who is sick and in need of care. (Where do I send that man a bottle of Champagne?) He deserves to know how much we ,your family, approve of his actions. I for one would send him an e-mail telling him so. I know I haven't felt so much joy and glee since I told you about that other news that I got.

I am sure that Linda has felt some relief since finding this Doctor too.

About movies... I don't rent or go to many movies. Too expensive right now. Although since I have read your review I might just rent this one.

Planning on writing you an email so be watching for it.

Congratulations on such a good boxing workout too. Glad you got a good sweat on. Not too happy about the pain it caused but perhaps the patch will kick in and take care of that.

Love and Hugs.

Lene Andersen said...

I have to skedaddle before I could read all of this (will be back later for the rest), but just had to say...

This? The GP? Made me cry. But in a good way. Finally!

Vanessa and Gang... said...

I'm so glad to hear that you might actually have a doctor that REALLY CARES *gasp*. I'm dying to hear how the patch is working for you. :D

And Kick Ass was awesome... I'm totally going to buy it after I save some money. :D

P.S. You've got mail. ;D