Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What your staff says about you as a doctor. ..

I had an appointment today with a new doctor.  I was hoping she would be my new primary doctor,  but I left before ever seeing her and vowed to never go back. When I scheduled the appointment last week I was on the phone for 20 mins and during that time speaking to two different people who both had to ask me for my emergency contact's date of birth.  It was an odd question that I had to answer 3 times.

They didn't bother to tell me they had moved to a new building last week so strike one was showing up at the location I was given only to be greeted by a note on the door instructing me of the new address. I find the new building and am pleased it is in the same place as my pain management doctor.

I go into the waiting room and it's a good 90 degrees in there. Thus is not a pleasant feeling for people with ms who are heat intolerant.

There is a gentleman at the desk. He very politely asks for test results from his previous visit explaining he was told he would have the test  results within two weeks and it has been 32 days. He asked simply for a printout of the results and to schedule an appointment to come back and go over the results.  The lady at the counter informs him he can wait and they will try to fit him in today to go over the results. He states he doesn't have time to wait today and would just like the copy of the results and to schedule a time to review them. At this point the demeanor of the lady behind the counter changes. With an attitude she tells him to have a seat because she has to print the results and they will be ready in a minute. As soon as the gentleman turns his back she rolls her eyes at him. Hello? There are other people here who can see you!

At this point I am questioning my decision to come here. Now it's my turn to speak to the counter trolls. There are three of them at the desk and not a single one appearing to be working. I introduce myself stating I have a 2:45 appointment as a new patient. Usually when you say new patient they grab paperwork for you to fill out. I am told "have a seat and we'll be with you in a minute". No smile no please no thank you.

So I sit. Next to me is a lady with a fussy baby. Of course with the temperature I am already breaking a sweat I assume this child is as hot as I am. The mom is trying to calm the baby and mentions she is still waiting though her appointment was scheduled for an hour and thirty minutes ago.

They call the man up and hand him his paperwork.  He again asks to schedule an appointment to come in and go over the test results with the doctor. The desk troll proceeds to tell him that he cannot request an appointment in person and that he needs to call to schedule a time.
As he turns to leave the desk troll again rolls her eyes at this man who has done nothing but politely ask for his paperwork.
It is at this point I decided that obviously Dr.  Hernandez is not in need of any more patients as her staff can not be inconvenienced by those she already has. I find it absolutely offensive that the staff thinks treating their patients this way is acceptable. Do they not realize that if it wasn't for these patients they would not be employed?

So it turned out to be a waste of time and gas to go down there. I am still looking for a new doctor and it's back to the drawing board.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Surgery Follow-Up Today

I was allowed to leave my house today for the first time since I had surgery. It was almost exciting! I was FINALLY  allowed to see it for the first time (thanks mom!).
He had taken pictures when he operated and he showed them to my mom and my fiancé and my mom says “She doesn’t need to see that”. Mind you mom has a very hard time with anything that looks painful. When I woke up after surgery and spoke with the surgeon I was told the files had already been sent over to his office. WTH Doc? I didn’t find out until the next day he didn’t show them to me because my mom told him not to. Really? I mean I am a 33 year old woman who ran fire and rescue for many years for many counties. I like the weird and gory stuff. More importantly I want to see what you did; after all I am the one paying you! Steaming mad Rant over.
So here we are two weeks later on my first venture out of the house and my fist time using the knee scooter since last May. They called me back before I got bored. Nice nurse lady unwraps the outer bandages but leaves splint and all the still wrapped gauze and goodies before getting me on the x-ray table. x-rays were crazy looking as usual they had replaced the butterfly plate and all of the screws. There are also the fittings where external fixation device was drilled into the bones.
Then came the moment of truth. Doc comes in unwraps and cuts and pulls and … most of it comes off and what I see is not as bad as I was expecting. Took quite a few bottles of water, some pulling, and some serious work to get the one blob of gauze that was under the top rod and cemented to my skin. Little bit of cleaning, checking stitches, and adjusting the pins with a wrench- yes boys and girls, he pulled out his tool and started playing with my nuts.

I expected to see this big scary thing, but it reminds me of an erector set I had once. Mind you this is the outside piece.

It still looks like this on the inside. But with the addition of the pins from the outside that are drilled into the bone too.
2013-02-06_18-50-15_464 2013-02-06_18-50-03_630
This was not an easy surgery. It was the most painful by far. The good news is, he decided to hold off on the hard cast for another 2 weeks since I did everything I was supposed to (which was a whole lot of nothing). I was fortunate when it comes to the bone stimulator that I expected my insurance to deny as they have every other piece of medical equipment I have needed over the last 5 years. Turns out they expected this too which is why they ordered it before the surgery that we had to postpone. It’s approved and I was sent home with it. This is amazing news because I looked these things up online and the cheapest used one I could find was almost $600.00, new they run well over $1200.00. All it is is a tiny ultrasound machine with a 1 inch diameter electrode.
When it comes to the bone stimulator, I have to go into a hard cast because it needs direct skin contact and the doctor doesn’t want me unwrapping my foot every day and risk causing damage. The hard cast is built around the stimulator port… essentially it’s a cast with a port hole. Really wishing they had thought of this when I broke my back in all of 6 places that never healed correctly.
I follow up in two weeks and get my cast then.

MS is killing my sex life! (warning, TMI post)

After several years of being on the high dosage of Ambien it stopped working for me. My doctor refuses to put me on anything else as the three other ones we tried did nothing for me. As a result, he decided we should add Elavil to the mix. This was also ineffective. We then increased the dosage of Elavil each visit until we found a combination that worked to help me sleep. Added to my 10 mg of Ambien is 150 mg of Elavil. This combo works most of the time yet I still have nights that I don’t sleep and I have to take it on a pretty empty stomach or it doesn’t work at all. Unfortunately with my family’s schedule I am not always eating dinner before 6 pm.

One major drawback of taking Elavil that I have never had happen before is a lack of sex drive. It got up and walked away. So my options are do I choose sex or do I choose sleep? Because I can’t have both. It’s very odd. I have been on Elavil before but at the lower dosage and it didn’t change anything. Sadly between the MS and the broken foot and the 2 kids most nights I am more inclined to want sleep. Plus there is the added issue; if I don’t fall asleep before my fiancé, I am up all night listening to him snore. And let’s face it, men become comatose after sex. So when I say I have to choose between sex or sleep I mean if I choose sex I get zero sleep that night.

Plus I had surgery 2 weeks ago and I now have 2 external fixation devices on my foot. These are to apply pressure to the outside to hold the bones while they heal around the inside hardware. It was not an easy surgery and it hurt like hell. So my foot is wrapped in these bandages and I am to elevate it and try not to move it too much. We were supposed to do this surgery last month, but thanks to one idiot dr we ended up cancelling last minute (because it was the pain management dr, so he was refusing to get my refill straight with insurance co).

The stress of fighting with doctors and being tested for EVERYTHING within a 2 week span lead to yet another MS flair. This meant waiting a month after cancelling surgery to reschedule it. After surgery of course was another flair. My body doesn’t like being cut open and drilling into my bones; Go figure!

So I am immobile, in pain, broken, in another MS flair, and my own body is kicking my ass. Sex? Not exactly high up on my priorities right now. This really is out of character for me. It took me 3 days of thinking about HOW we could have sex while keeping my foot out of it… and not jolting it in the process. Logistically, it’s damn near impossible. Alas, I did finally come up with a yoga like position that worked. It was like hitting the lottery.

Except… thanks to my stupid MS I am numb down there… but only on one side. So it was weird. It’s just frustrating. It’s also frustrating for the man because we went from a minimum of 3 times a week to once every few weeks. Hoping after I am done healing from surgery things will return to normal. Also going to have to try decreasing the dose of Elavil and hoping it works, though it didn’t in the past. Wish me luck!
Wonder if they make a female version of Viagra?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Post Surgery Review

Hello everyone. Surgery #4 was done last week and it’s time for an update. This was the surgery that removed and replaced the internal butterfly plate and 7 screws. Then he went on to attach external fixation devices (2 I believe) which looks kind of like this:

external fixationexcept I have one on each side of my foot. I can only guess what it looks like until my follow up appt next Thursday because the doctor was told not to show me the pictures so he sent them on to the office before I woke up from surgery.

This was not an easy operation, it took around 5 hours. This was my second in-patient surgery on this foot. I am pleased to say that I had a great team of nurses with a clean hospital. This was the opposite of the horrible night I spent at St. Mary’s Hospital (Richmond, VA) for my last surgery.

There are no words to describe how thankful I am for the amazing nurses at Mary Washington Hospital (Fredericksburg VA). From my 3 a.m. request for coffee to my being able to use crutches to go into the bathroom they were on the ball.

I was pleased to see that my doctor (Dr. Facaros Ortho Specialty Clinic) hung around after surgery to let me know how things went. (My last surgeon: Dr. Brown at West End Orthopedics left after surgery and I didn’t know how it went until the next day.) And compared to the the last hospital, Mary Washington’s Operating room was clean and up to date with their equipment.

Okay time to stop comparing my old surgeon and his crappy hospital to the new guy and my new hospital.

As far as surgery goes, I was warned this was going to hurt more than anything I have been through. Not that I didn’t believe the surgeon, but I experienced a level of pain I never knew existed.

Thanks to my awesome nurses the first 2 days of pain was manageable. I was not doing too bad when I got home on Friday afternoon. I was exhausted because I couldn’t fall asleep in the hospital, the few times I did I jerked awake and that caused the foot to move so I gave up. Friday I slept when I got home. And I slept through the night. I noticed a lot of my MS symptoms popping up which I knew could happen after surgery.

Saturday however was the day I woke up in so much pain that I wanted to die. Every inch of my body was swollen and painful. I knew my leg/ foot would hurt. I did not expect my face to be swollen and painful. I was miserable and that was the day I discovered child birth paled in comparison to this surgery. It was hard to determine the difference between my MS flare up and an infection of the surgery. It was a miserable day that got worse as it went on.

Sunday I woke up with less pain in my body and ended up spending the day in bed reading a book and doing a whole lot of nothing (which is what I needed to do). The MS crap started to ease up some and I was not as miserable.

Here we are day 9 after surgery and I am still not allowed to do anything but sit around with my foot elevated. The new thing that sucks is that I can go all day with no problems aside from pain which is expected, then around 5 pm EVERY DAMN NIGHT, my foot starts swelling and getting very uncomfortable. This leads to more pain meds and having to lay flat on my back with my leg straight up in the air… yeah not very comfy. Soon as I put down my leg onto my wedge pillow, it swells again.

One thing that has popped up I wasn’t expecting was what appeared to be a UTI. After my kids both got sick and ended up sharing their sinus infection with me. Discovered today that the cloudy/ weird smelling urine is actually a side effect of Percocet. Who knew?

I am going in on Thursday next week to follow up with the surgeon. if all goes according to plan, after 8 weeks we will schedule surgery #5 to remove the outer hardware. Then another 12-16 weeks recovery and hopefully I will be walking again. No amount of pain in the world would have stopped me from having this surgery. I am terrified of being in a wheelchair, and it was a no brainer at the time because my foot was literally falling apart.


That being said, had I known the amount of pain I woke up in Saturday, I would not have gone through with this surgery… but I am glad it’s over and I hope with all hopes that this works. My surgeon was great. I am hoping this continues. I was impressed with the hospital and the nursing staff at 5 west (zone I was in). Though this whole thing has sucked, I am hoping the worst is over.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

After my review of Dr. Deschner, I feel I should review some of the good doctors.

I know that my last post was very negative, and it was all true. It was a very negative 6 months of dealing with VCU Health/ MCV/ and Dr. Deschner. It was a nightmare and I sincerely hope no one else will have to experience what I went through.

Enough negativity, today I would like to praise the doctors who have actually helped me. Those who have done their jobs the best they could and provided me with a positive feeling that they know what they are doing.

First up of course is the one doctor who has been with me for this whole journey after being diagnosed with MS. The only doctor who has not only treated my broken back without drugs but has performed miracles in giving me back a range of motion I never though I would see again. Dr. Ryan McDonnell of Caroline Chiropractic is absolutely the best doctor that I am happy is on my team. I have no doubts that without him I would probably be in a wheelchair. Waiting on my back to heal from the fractures was the worst, though they did call and check on me. There is an open door policy that I love. No matter what day of the week, no matter how many patients he has scheduled they will never turn you away and tell you to come back later. I cannot say enough about Dr. Ryan or Betty who somehow maintains a good attitude even when she spends all day dealing with insurance companies. It is refreshing to have a doctor who genuinely cares for his patients and goes above and beyond to help in any way he can. There is a story that I have to tell people when I refer to my chiro. After the first 4 fractures, my ortho (with Dr. Suthar over at Virginia Interventional Spine in Fredericksburg, VA) absolutely refused to sign off on me going back into chiropractic care. REFUSED. Told me what a horrible idea chiro was and that it would cause more damage. Eventually I ended up leaving this idiot because he believed he knew more about my body than I did. Bumped into this guy about 6 months after I fired him. he called my name in a parking lot and I turned my head to see who it was. He was amazed at the range of motion that had returned to my neck and asked me which doctor I was with. I laughed and told him Dr. Ryan… the chiropractor that you called a quack and refused to sign off on me returning to. And that, ladies and gentlemen is why I will not even begin to look at any chiropractor in this area and why I drive all the way to Ladysmith. He is the best!


Sadly, the second doctor that comes to mind who is great at his job and I have never had a problem getting in to see is Dr. Huffman over at Urology Associates of Fredericksburg. Though I never look forward to these appointments for obvious reasons, I am usually out of there in under an hour. Plus the bow-tie and cowboy boots makes me laugh every time and he soooo reminds me of Bill Nye the Science Guy.  The nurses there are great and we have been through some rather invasive tests ; the kind that would make a gynecologist blush. The staff is always nice, I have no problems getting a return call if I leave a message. Unlike most doctors they actually call you with test results instead of scheduling a second appointment to find out. My first meeting with Dr. Huffman was interesting to say the least, he had been held up in an emergency surgery so he was a little rushed coming in. He is reading my chart and is somewhere on page two when he stops and very seriously asks me if I have ever been tested for Multiple Sclerosis. I laughed and referred him to page three where I listed MS. I was impressed that he understood this disease enough to recognize the symptoms and could see right away what the problem was. Unfortunately you really have to leave your modesty at the door for this office, but its not as humiliating as it could be and I do appreciate that.


Number three on my list would be Dr. Dahlgren at West End Orthopedics. Very nice guy, and very helpful. Sadly, he was cut from my list of doctors as the ortho issues I was seeing him for were determined to be a deal with it or surgery option. In the end I chose to deal with it. The surgical option was not a viable option as it was something that would also require subsequent surgeries. Dr. Dahlgren was very professional, and knowledgeable . I will say that although Dr. D is awesome I cannot say the same for his colleagues. Dr. Sciaccia wouldn’t operate on my back because I have MS. And Dr. Brown who performed my third foot surgery was inadequate to say the least. I was in the hospital prepped drugged and ready for surgery when the nurse asked if I had any allergies. I then had to wait 4 hours for a non-latex operating room to open up because the doctor didn’t request one though he was told in advanced several times and on every form I had to fill out before surgery date. After 5 hours in surgery I awake and discover Dr. Brown took off before I woke up from anesthesia. I didn’t have a clue how surgery went until he came back the next morning to tell me. This is the surgery that resulted in a big metal plate, and 7 screws holding my foot together. It fell apart in less than 6 months and I was told to walk on it until the screw breaks. the only thing holding this screw in place is my skin. This story leads us to ….


Dr. Faccaros with Ortho Specialty Clinic of Fredericksburg. My first visit the only thing he had to go on was my X-ray they performed that day because Dr. Brown’s office refused to send my files over (Even though I went down to Richmond to sign the form because they couldn’t fax it to me). Dr. Faccaros puts me back in the boot and starts me on my way to scheduling surgery. Due to Dr. Brown and Dr. Deschner being incompetent and unprofessional I was forced to cancel surgery last minute. Dr. Faccaros was very nice about it and very understanding. I will end my segment of this guy here as I am still awaiting surgery which will be happening in 2 weeks.


Also worth a note, is Advanced Spine and Pain who took over after I fired Dr. Deschner. They were able to work me in quickly, and the doctor I met with was great. She presented me with many more options than the last doctor and we opted for a medication that had worked well in the past. She asked questions and listened to me when I spoke. I am now on a medication that not only works better, but is half the dosage of what I had been on. To boot my new med doesn’t come with any of the side effects I dealt with for the last two years. I am impressed with them so far and hoping we continue without any problems.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dr. Stephen Deschner, VCU Health System, MCV- Richmond, Virginia

VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) Health System, MCV (Medical College of Virginia) Hospital, Spine Center, Stony Point Virginia- Dr. Stephen Deschner

I am writing this post in hopes that it helps anyone who is looking for a pain management doctor in Virginia. I did not want to see these people to begin with, not only because it is a 2 hour drive from my house but also because they are affiliated with MCV Hospital and I wanted nothing to do with this office to begin with. When my pain doctor at Capital Spine Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia (who took over when my nurse practitioner left) wrote the referral I asked multiple times for anyone else. I also asked my primary care doctor to refer me to anyone that is NOT affiliated with MCV. They both told me that I had no other options and Dr. Deschner was the leading doctor in the state of Virginia.

Allow me to digress for a moment as to why I was referred to this office to begin with. I had been a patient of Capital Spine for about 2 years. My first visit with them was not a good one; I met with a doctor and a nurse practitioner. Dr. Wisor was the doctor assigned to my case. He was an arrogant doctor who I was not as ease with. He yelled at me for firing my last guy and told me I can’t just fire a pain doctor… really? I mean why the hell do you think I am here? If you don’t want the money my insurances pays that is fine I will find another doctor. After meeting with Dr. Wisor and being unimpressed I was then introduced to his nurse practitioner (Michelle O’Conner). She was great and I was told she will be taking over my case and I will be dealing with her from then on. Michelle was great, and with her help I was able to weed out which meds I had been taking from other doctors that were not working. We continued for almost 2 years. We had reached a point that the pain meds were not working well and we were researching other options to discuss at my next appointment. I then received a call 2 weeks later telling me that my appointment had been changed and Michelle is no longer with the practice and I am scheduled to meet with Dr. Raymond Greaser. It is at this appointment that Dr. Greaser informs me that my body seems to have grown a tolerance of this medication (Morphine Sulfate 30 mg 4 x a day) and that we need to consider another option. During this 20 minute visit Dr. Greaser mentions his medical degree from Harvard and interned at Johns Hopkins. Instead of taking over my case and helping me he decided I was unworthy of his services and he wrote a referral to MCV without warning. I explained to him the reasons I do not want to use MCV due to previous experiences. He ignored me and sent me on my way. I then followed up with my primary care doctor (Balaji Raghu), who also agreed with Dr. Greaser that I needed to see VCU/MCV Health.

I finally conceded that none of my doctors are willing to help me and I had to go to the appointment with Dr. Deschner. My first appointment the doctor and I spent 2 hours going over my medical history step by step. He also agrees that the Morphine Sulfate is not working as well and it should. We then go over two other options in great detail, this takes about another hour. I am told the two options at this point are either Fentanyl or Methadone. Due to my age he did not want to prescribe Methadone. We decided to try the Fentanyl Patches. I then had to drive back to Fredericksburg to see my neurologist. After that appointment I had to drive to 3 different pharmacies before I found one that had the patches. The first day it took a few hours before I began to feel some pain relief. This was one of the hottest days of the year at over 104 degrees outside. I grilled steaks for dinner that night. All was well until bedtime. I went to bed, and as soon as I lay down I was hit with overwhelming nausea and very dizzy. I attempted to close my eyes and wait it out. Instead I found myself running to the bathroom and losing my dinner. I went through my prescription information packet and found on page 3 a note that says not to exercise, take hot showers, use a hot tub, or do anything that would cause an increase of body temperature as it would cause too much of the medication to go into my system at once. This would have been nice to know before starting this med. I was extremely nauseated for 3 days. The pain relief stopped during day 2. I contacted Dr. Deschner’s office and was told to wait it out as I may be adjusting to the medication change. I was also told to try changing locations of new patch (every 3 days). I broke out in a rash the day I removed the patch. I put a new patch on my leg this time instead of my arm. I then broke out in a rash on my leg and still couldn’t eat anything. At this point I decided this was not working for me and I removed the patch and treated the rashes. I called the doctor to move up my appointment and still had to wait another 4 days before my appointment; with no pain medication and 6 broken vertebrae, a broken foot, and Multiple Sclerosis. At this point Dr. Deschner decides I am not worthy of even considering putting me on Methadone (even though he just told me at my last appointment that I had 2 options; Methadone or Fentanyl), and then wrote a prescription for the same Morphine Sulfate for the same amount and same frequency. He will not discuss any other options at this time.

Fast forward a few months to January. I am still complaining about the Morphine Sulfate not working. This is the reason I was sent to see him in the first place. Knowing that I will be having surgery soon he does not want to put me on a new medication and have to worry about potentially harmful side effects. This means I am to stay on the Morphine Sulfate, doesn’t matter that my body has built a tolerance to this medication over the now 2 years I have been on it. I was able to fill the January prescription without a problem. I was finally cleared for surgery and scheduled to go in on Friday, Feb 14th. When I went to pick up my prescription refill on Feb 10th, I was informed that my insurance refused to cover the dosage. They would only cover up to three a day. At this point I decide to get in touch with the doctor’s office to get it straight instead of losing one fourth of my prescribed dosage. I also figure if they do not get it straight by Wednesday afternoon, I will go on and have the prescription filled for the 90 pills vs. the 120 prescribed. From Monday to Wednesday I call repeatedly to the doctor trying to get this taken care of. When it still has not been cleared up by Wednesday afternoon I bite the bullet and tell the pharmacy to just fill the 90 because I do not have time to wait.

This is when the bombshell is dropped. The pharmacist cannot get the prescription to go through for 90 either as the insurance will only approve 3 tablets. Total. Of the 120 prescribed. This is less than a 1 day supply. I am scheduled for surgery in 2 days. Call VCU Health, again, they were no help. I was told that I needed to contact my insurance company. It takes me 95 minutes (yes, over an hour and a half) to get through to a representative with my insurance company. I explain the situation and the importance of getting this done before Friday. The rep sends the necessary paperwork to VCU/ Dr. Deschner along with marking the claim as expedited response because I am out of medication. Thursday morning I contact Dr. Deschner’s office and am informed they did indeed receive the fax and have sent it back but have not heard back from the insurance company. I remind them I am scheduled for surgery the next day. I call back to my insurance company and they tell me they have not received anything from the doctor. Get the doctor back on the line and ask again to get the info sent to insurance. They tell me they have sent it multiple times and every time they call they cannot get through. I ask if he can write me something else so we can just get through this surgery, I am then informed that Dr. Deschner is on vacation until Feb 18th, and that no one else can write me a prescription. This makes me wonder which doctor is supposedly signing the prescription amount override paperwork. This lack of help on their part has now led me to cancel my surgery last minute because I cannot get my pain medication filled.

In all this mishap cost me:

· 9 days without pain meds

· 27 phone calls to Dr. Deschner/ VCU/ MCV

· 7 calls to my insurance company

· Last minute surgery cancellation

· 4 trips to the pharmacy

· An emergency trip to the doctor’s office (2 hours each way from my house)

· A trip from doctor office to downtown Richmond

· A quarter or a mile hike each way from my car to the records department on a broken foot.

I have seen some pretty crappy doctors since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis but this one takes the cake and the trophy. Of the 27 calls that I made to Dr. Deschner’s office, I was able to speak to the nurse 4 times, the other 23 calls resulting in me leaving a message for her and only 3 of those messages were returned. It is day 9 of me being out of pain meds and getting nothing accomplished on their end that I got in my car and drove 2 hours to this office. I was coming off of the exit on the interstate when they called to tell me they had finally gotten my medication approved. At this point I continued on to their office so that I could get a copy of my medical file to take to the next doctor because I was absolutely done with this office.

One would think asking them to print out your medical record (Pushing the print button after opening my electronic patient file) would not be a big pain, again I am proven wrong. After filling out my request, I am informed that the medical records are handled by MCV, and they would send my request on Friday (It was Wednesday), and then it would take 3 to 4 WEEKS to be processed and sent to me. OR… I could drive to downtown Richmond to MCV, and get them myself and yes I have to pay for getting a copy of my own, but they would be happy to send them to my doctor for free. This is pretty much the only option I have as I cannot reschedule my foot surgery until I have a new pain management doctor.

Not only am I adding another 40 miles to my trip to get to MCV, but I have to pay to park in the only parking deck which is so full it take me 5 levels below the street before I find a spot. Of course this spot is at the far end of the parking lot and I have to walk (with my broken foot in a cast to hold it together) all the way to the other end to get to the elevator. I make it into the hospital and get directions to the records department which is 3 buildings away all connected with tunnels and steep ramps (according to my maps on my phone it is a quarter of a mile hike). I finally hobble into the records department. Fortunately for me, they are somewhat competent and they are able to produce my medical file and it only cost me $9.00 for all 18 pages of it. Then I had to hobble back to my car, pay for parking and make my way back up to Fredericksburg. Then instead of going home, I had to go back to the pharmacy to get my medication.

I was fortunate enough to find a doctor up here that was not only willing to see me but willing to actually treat me. I decided to write all of this out for one reason. I hope that anyone considering using VCU, MCV, or Dr.Deschner sees this before they make an appointment. I hope that I can save at least one person from ever having to go through all of this unnecessary torture. There was no reason whatsoever that anyone would be treated like this. I know that this is a really long post but I feel like this real-life nightmare needed to be shared.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine’s Day is in 3 days.

I have a date this Valentine’s Day. I plan on wearing a very revealing gown for the doctor who can’t keep his hands off of me. He has told me he plans on strapping me down and having his way with me. I was also told to pack a bag because he is not letting me go home afterwards.


Yes, that’s right boys and girls… I am scheduled for surgery #4 on Friday. It’s an in-patient procedure. Even though we have been trying to schedule surgery this week, so I had my fiancé take his last week of vacation because we were sure it would be this week, my idiot primary doctor couldn’t pull his head out of his ass long enough to sign my pre-surgery clearance. Did I mention my fiancé is due back at work on Friday?


Because I wasn’t stressed out enough my doctor decided to make matters worse by making me think there was something wrong with my heart and the foot surgery was the least of my problems. My EKG test came back abnormal. Instead of redoing the EKG test while I was still hooked up to the machine he decided to freak out and send me to a cardiologist insisting that I go the same day.


I go to the Cardiologist that afternoon. I met with the first doctor who tells me they are doing an ultrasound on my heart and if that comes back normal they will clear me for surgery, if it doesn’t come back normal they will request a stress test. Cardio doctor number 2 does the ultrasound, refuses to tell me anything about it and schedules me for a stress test the next morning. He tells me he is ordering a nuclear stress test instead of a regular physical test because my foot is broken.


I go home that evening and try VERY hard not to freak out. I get schedules all coordinated so that I can make it to the test on time. The next morning I wake up to discover school is a 2 hour delay for the children. Which messes up the whole plan and I end up calling my mom to wake her up and beg her to come to my house and get the kids off to school. Everyone is taken care of and schedules are once again adjusted.


The stress test is a fasting test, so I am not allowed food or drink before I go. Mind you my meds make my mouth drier than the Sahara. Add to this the stress of the morning and not allowed coffee before getting in my car and driving in morning traffic towards DC to get there. I am injected with dye and then sent to the waiting room that is filled to the point that there are no empty chairs.  I am then allowed to have water. We all sit together in that room for the next 4 hours! I was then called back for a set of pictures and then released to the real world where I am told to grab a cup of coffee and a quick lunch and to return in 30 minutes. YAY COFFEE! I return to the office and was immediately called back.


I was injected with the nuclear drug that causes your heart stress and then… I kid you not, they still put me on a treadmill. Yes I am wearing an air cast. Yes, I have told them repeatedly I need them to sign off on my foot surgery. Yes I pointed out the reason they ordered a nuclear test was because my foot is broken. And still, I am on a treadmill. And by the way if you want to know how that nuclear test feels, it’s like an elephant sat on your chest without warning and makes you suddenly dizzy (which is why I almost fell coming off the damn treadmill). Another set of pictures after that and I am on my way to get my blood work done that the doctor needs to have the results on the next day.  The stress test took 5 hours in total.

After all of this is over, I left a message with surgeon letting them know what I had to do before primary doctor can sign off on surgery. I also let them know about treadmill. He was not a happy camper. The next morning I go back to my primary guy who ordered all of this crap. I tell him about the test, now he’s pissed off they put me on a treadmill. He FINALLY signs off on the surgery and they found no problems with my heart.


We have been planning surgery for over a month to perform this surgery this week. Since the day he told me we are doing surgery this week, I have had 3 appointments with my primary guy, blood work, urine test, 2 EKGs, 1 stress test, a second appointment with my surgeon, 1 appointment with my pain management guy, and a nerve test at the hospital. Also got fiancé to take this week off, trying to get kids schedules to coordinate with his days off, and get all meds refilled and packed. Surgeon got the clearance form on Thursday of last week, I called Friday to confirm they received it. I don’t get a call back until Monday, and the only day we can get an operating room this week is the one day I asked not to have surgery because I know the man is going back to work on Friday.


One would think this story is finally coming to an end, but wait, there’s more! I go to refill my pain meds. Same prescription for the same amount as last month. My insurance paid for these meds last month. This month however, my insurance will only cover 90 of my 120 pills prescribed. If they fill 90 I will not get the last 30 pills I need. They charge my insurance $90 a month for these pills. So I ask can I pay for what the insurance doesn’t cover. No, I cannot do that. But I have options, I can try to get the dr to preauthorize it with insurance, I can get the 3/4 of prescription that insurance will cover, or I cam pay for the entire thing which will not cost me $90 but will cost me over $400.

This is my life lately. Nope, nothing to stress about here! I am not looking forward to this surgery, but damn I will be happy when it’s over.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Yes, it has been a while since my last post. I do apologize as it has been a crazy couple of weeks. I am currently working on getting my workout written out for everyone and looking back on the beginning of my own fitness journey.

Before that I would like to say that as time has passed I have become more convinced that stopping the MS meds was the best decision I have made in the last 5 years. I read an article yesterday about Sanofi Corp being approved by the FDA with a 14-0 vote to pass their new MS med. They did not however agree on the efficacy of the drug, and they say that there was not valid testing results and they still approved this med.

I am posting a link to this article because there is something I would like to point out. When I say I do not believe there will be a cure for MS anytime soon, I say this because it is not good business sense to cure this disease. By "treating" MS, these companies have made BILLIONS of dollars. Why would you provide a cure no matter the price? What would happen to these companies if they provided a cure for patients? I am not trying to be cynical, I am just stating the obvious here.

This is the last quarter earnings for said companies. Note I say QUARTER as in one fourth of the yearly total.

CompanyMS TreatmentRevenue (most recent quarter)Growth (YOY)
NovartisGilenya$518 million64%
SanofiAubagio$59 millionN/A
Biogen IdecTecfidera$286 millionN/A
Biogen IdecTysabri$403 million0%
Biogen IdecAvonex$733 million0%
TevaCopaxone$1.05 billion1%

Thursday, October 31, 2013

REVISED Warm-Up/ Cool-Down Routine


I posted this earlier today but somehow the formatting didn’t transfer very well and I ended up with a mess and half of the pages missing.



This is my warm-up and cool down routine that I use prior to and after my workout. This is also a great place to start when you first get out of bed to loosen your joints/ muscles.

Some people have benefited from having a yoga block (hard foam block) to start out with yoga poses until they are flexible enough to reach the ground.

Be aware of your body. Do not force the poses. Maintaining balance is key to any workout. Don’t be discouraged if you cannot do the whole routine. As I have said, this is the routine I use and your needs may be different from mine.

I do 5-10 reps for each pose before beginning my workout routine. Hold each pose for 15-30 seconds while maintaining normal breathing.

*** Please note these are not my pictures. Most of the pictures shown below come from which is a great website you can use to track your progress and also has sequence builder you may use to build your own routine around your needs. ****

Another great website to check out if you want more info for each pose is


Mountain Pose:

Stand tall with your feet together and arms by your side. If you have a hard time balancing with your feet together, widen your stance a few inches so that your feet are hip width apart. As you breathe in, bring in your belly button and lift your chest. Stretch your toes out to find your center. You may also want to rock back and forth between your heel and balls of your feet until you find a comfortable balance.


Back Bend:

From Mountain Pose, as you breathe in, slowly lift your arms upwards. Interlace your fingers above your head. On exhale, slowly bend your back and stretch backwards bringing your arms behind you. Bring your body back to mountain pose as your inhale. Remember to keep your legs firmly planted and your body centered to maintain balance in this position.


Forward Bend:

From Mountain Pose, breathe in while slowly lifting your arms upwards above your head. As you exhale, bend from your hips and stretch forward placing your hands on the ground. If you find this difficult, you can put your hands on your thighs or bend as far as you feel comfortable with. Return to Mountain Pose as you inhale. As you become more comfortable in this pose, walk your hands inwards towards your feet until your hands are resting beside your feet. Remember to keep your legs straight and center your body.


Wide Legged Forward Bend:

From Mountain Pose, spread your legs wide and inhale. As you exhale, bend forward and place your hands on the floor in front of you. As you get comfortable with this pose, walk your hands inwards towards your body until your head and hands are centered between your legs. Keep your legs straight and balance your weight on your feet. Bring your body upright as you inhale.


High Lunge:

From the Forward Bend Pose, turn your body slightly to the left so that you’re facing the left leg and your left foot is pointed outwards. Your right foot will be strong behind you with your toes facing forward. Inhale. As you exhale, push your torso forward so that it is aligned with your left knee and your hands are touching the ground on either side of your left foot. If you have difficulty with this pose, you may place your hands on your left knee instead of the floor. You should feel both of your legs stretching and keep your body centered and elongated. Inhale, bring your body back to a wide leg stance, swivel your body and repeat on the right side.


Low Lunge:

From High Lunge Pose,(inhale) bring your back leg to the floor from knee down. Point your right foot forward and your left foot should be pointing outward behind you. As you exhale, bring your arms upward, and lean into your right leg. Inhale, bring your body back into a wide leg stance, swivel on your heels and repeat for the left side.


Plank Pose:

Turn your body so that you are on your knees with your arms directly under your shoulders. Spread your fingers for better balance. Tuck your toes and step back with your feet so that your body is in a straight line. As you inhale, pull in your pelvic muscles towards your spine. Relax those muscles as you exhale.


Downward Facing Dog:

From Plank Pose, (inhale) walk your hands backwards and bring your hips/ butt upwards so that your body forms an upside down V. Bring your abdomen in towards your spine and elongate your body stretching upwards as you exhale.


Child’s Pose:

From Downward Facing Dog Pose, bring your knees in to touch the floor. With your torso tall and upright, inhale. As you exhale bend your torso forward to rest upon your knees with your head down and arms on either side of your legs.


Cobra Pose:

From Child’s Pose, bring your body forward so that your stomach is on the floor and your legs are straight and the tops of your feet are on the floor. On inhale, pressing your thighs into the floor and bringing your elbows in towards your body, push up with your arms and bring your torso up off of the floor.



clip_image015 Cat

Cow Pose & Cat Pose

From Cobra Position, bring your arms perpendicular to your shoulders and rock your body back onto your knees with your upper body perpendicular to the floor (also known as Table Top Pose). As you inhale, lift your chest and buttocks towards the ceiling allowing your stomach push down slightly to the floor. Return to Table Top Pose. From Table Top Pose, tuck your head and chest so that your head is pointed downwards. As you exhale, round your spine and bring your spine upwards towards the ceiling while pushing your buttocks inward towards the floor. I combined these two together for a better stretch.


Mariachi’s Pose:

Sit on the floor with your legs together and in front of your torso make sure you are sitting upright with your torso tall and straight (this is known as Staff Pose). Bring your left knee up and place your left foot flat on the floor as close to your buttocks as possible. As you exhale, turn your torso to the left. Use your left hand to balance behind you and bring your right arm over the left thigh. Keep your spine/ Torso centered and upright.


Fish Pose:

Lie down on your back with your legs straight and your feet together. Place your hands palms down under your thighs. Pressing down on your elbows, inhale and arch your back, bringing your chest up towards the ceiling and dropping your head so that the top of your head is touching the floor. Breathe deeply and keep your legs relaxed.


Bridge Pose:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your palms facing upward on each side of your body. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing your thighs and glutes.

At this point I move on to my balance ball. I do 10 reps of each.


Hip Rotations/ Seated Hip Roll:

Sit on the ball with your legs perpendicular to the floor, hip with apart, feet flat on the ground. Roll your hips to the left and back to center. Repeat with right side. Place your hands on your hips and roll your hips in a circle to the left then to the right while keeping your upper body straight and still.


Pyramid Stretch:

Lie on the ball balancing on your hips with your head and body stretched outward. With your hands and feet on the floor, pull your hips upward towards the ceiling.


Ball Arch:

Lie with your lower back across the ball with your hands on each side of your head and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly roll your body so that your head is closer to the floor and roll back up to a bridge position. You will roll onto your heels with your toes facing upwards towards the ceiling.

And that is my warm- up/ cool-down routine. I know in the beginning it seems like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, it is rather easy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Before You Begin A New Workout Routine

Before posting my workout s and how I have adapted them to fit my needs, I wanted to touch base on some things you should know before you start working out. These are things I have found to help reduce fatigue and muscle pains.

A few things to know before you attempt any workout:

· Stay hydrated!! Before during and after your workout, you need to be hydrated. This is one of the most important lessons that I had to learn the hard way. Aside from maintaining your proper body temperature, when you sweat your body releases toxins from your system and being dehydrated causes these toxins to build up which causes cramping and pain after your workout. Also remember that coffee, tea, and soda actually increase dehydration.

· Take an anti-inflammatory (such as Aleve, Tylenol, Advil) before workout to help reduce muscle and joint pain after your workout. It has also been proven that vitamin C has shown benefits in decreasing muscle aches and helping muscles to heal after a workout.

· “Brace For It”- All of those old injuries will be popping back up if you do not take measures to stabilize the area.

· Stretch/ Warm-up. You don’t jump into your car on a cold winter day, start it up and start doing 80mph without expecting trouble. The same can be said for your body. Just as important as warming up, your body also needs to cool down. Although I do my cool down as part of my routine, I also spend another 20-30 minutes resting and allowing my body to slowly cool off before heading into a warm shower to help relax my muscles.

· Learn to listen to your body. Pushing the limits is one thing and minor muscle discomfort can be expected, this is sometimes referred as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Serious pain and pain that lasts more than 24 hours is not normal and a sign that you need to change something in your routine.

· You need to rest between workouts. Your body needs to be able to recover.

· Wear breathable clothing.

· Proper nutrition is vital to maintaining your body. Your body needs to be fed properly in order to burn calories and build muscle strength. Your car doesn’t run without gas, neither does your body.

I am the last person in the world to tell anyone to listen to their doctor. According to my doctors, I should not be able to walk much less work out. My sheer stubbornness has gotten me this far and I will not be giving up anytime soon no matter what my doctors think is better for me. My doctors do not have to live inside of my body and they do not have to manage the pain, I do. That is not to say everyone should ignore their doctors. I do recommend consulting with your doctor and or a physical therapist beforehand. They can be beneficial in helping you to find the correct position and exercises to suit your needs.