Disability Statement

All the symptoms and illnesses that I have started 7/13/2012, when I stopped taking birth control pills, I started with pain all over for no reason. After numerous trips to the doctor and blood tests for everything they could think of I was sent to numerous different specialty doctors to help me. One of the first trips was for an MRI of my neck which resulted in a fusion of C5-6-7, another visit ruled out Rheumatoid arthritis but gave me fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, after returning to work from surgery I had skin cancer on my chest that had to be removed surgically, I was fired shortly after from Oaklawn, I had been their senior accountant for 6 years.
Since I was still having pain in my back I was referred to the pain clinic to help manage the pain. I did this until it no longer helped with the pain. My hands were both aching and swollen that a trip for a nerve conduction and electromyographic study found that I had carpal tunnel in both hands but because I get keloid scars I cannot have surgery.
I found another job after drawing unemployment for a few months. I worked for a company that went out of business in a year but was able to go to work for the CPA that I met at that job in a remote office, by myself. At first it was great but as soon as we moved to a different location, the staff was now 4 people and the stress was more that I could handle, I found a local job doing accounts receivable, should have been an easy job but after 4 months my neck had me in so much pain that I had an MRI done only to find out that it had collapsed, I needed to have another surgery and then after returning to work I was fired for failure to meet employer’s standards, they said everything that I touched was wrong and I did not know what I was doing.
Lucky me I found another remote job as a software consultant, while working here I had massive pain in my back that turned out to be cysts, I took a 2 week leave, when I came back I was written up for poor work quality and 3 weeks later I was fired from this position also for failure to meet the employer’s standards, not knowing accounting procedures, and not managing my time.
After I was fired this time I realized that I was no longer going to be able to work and applied for disability. The reason I determined this was because I was having difficulty sitting at my desk working, I have severe back and neck pain, my legs fall asleep unless I change positions frequently, my hands are in constant pain while trying to type and my hands and arms start tingling within a few minutes of having my arms extended out. My brain isn’t hitting on all cylinders any more, I have been an accountant for 35 years, now I have been fired from 2 jobs within a 6-month period because I don’t know what I’m doing.
The pain that I experience every day and what it does to my ability to think, concentrate, and focus along with the medications that I take to keep the pain tolerable has made it where I cannot think straight, stay focused, concentrate, nor sit or stand for more than a few minutes at a time, even walking straight has become a challenge for me. I can just scratch my leg and my arms and hand are tingling and my leg feels like is has water running down it.
Recently I started having brain pains in the back of my head, per my husband I am walking sideways and running into walls, I also stumble while walking. After going to my primary doctor, I was examined my an APRN who checked my walking, turning and walking again and leg strength. After consulting my PCP, MRI’s were ordered for my lumbar, cervical and brain. With the results of these MRI’s I was diagnosed with a collection of pressure-related atrophy on the left posterior fossa centered on the left cerebellum, an arachnoid cyst. I was referred to a Neurosurgeon and a Neurologist, the surgeon confirmed that I had an arachnoid cyst and said to let him know if the symptoms worsened and continue to see pain management, the Neurologist prescribed a medication to help with the headaches, he also checked my walking and strength and confirmed the gait disturbance and loss of strength, and then he ordered an MRI of Thoracic with contrast.
The medications that I take cause me to have poor memory retention and make it extremely difficult to complete tasks on my own. I forget mid sentence what I was trying to do or say. I have started slurring my words and not making sense recently, not sure if that is because of the medications or just another symptom. I get extremely dizzy walking around, I have a hard time standing on my own without leaning or holding on to something. I cannot sit in a regular chair with my legs hanging over an edge of a chair, my legs will fall asleep within a few minutes. I cannot crouch down or lean over and pick up things off of the floor without assistance getting back up. I have a weakened back, legs and my hands are in terrible shape between the arthritis and carpal tunnel, they are not strong enough to pull me up. Since all of this started in 2012 I have gained 60 pounds, my PCP and I tried prescription diet pills, I took them for a couple of months, but they were not helping much and were very expensive.
My usual sleep pattern is 9-10 hours at night and a 1-2 hour nap every day, sometimes, if I wake up in pain, a bad pain day, I get up and take meds, turn on heating pad in my recliner and either go back to sleep or stay in the recliner on the heat for an hour or so. There is always a pain day when we are having bad weather, other than that there is no real reason for the pain days, they just happen when they do. Even on a normal day I have roughly 2-hour spans for accomplishing anything before I have to lay down or recline I should say. My back pain makes it extremely painful to lay down. It can take me up at least 20 minutes every night to get into a comfortable position using pillows to prop my neck up laying on my right side before I can go to sleep. My neck always feels like it is resting on a pin, it gets weak throughout the day, by around 3 in the afternoon I am ready to rest my head and will fall asleep almost immediately after getting comfortable in my recliner laying on a heating pad.
My only hope is that I can find the right combination of medications to keep my pain from completely consuming my life and to always look forward to a pain free day. My doctors and I will continue to monitor the progression of the Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc Disease as there is no way to stop the progression only ways to maintain the pain, as for the brain cyst, we will keep watching it in hopes that is stays in the spot it is and doesn’t grow any bigger than it is so I am still able to get around for as long as I can.

About me

Hi, my name is Kat, I am almost a senior, stepmother of a young man, wife of a Postmaster. I earned my college degrees at a local community college, Certificate in Word Processing, although I hated to type, then and especially now, dictation to be in my near future, Assiciates Degree in General Education, meaning I took a lot of general classes, that’s all, and Associates in Accounting.

I finished my associates degrees after working at a manufacturing plant, they were laying me off from an accounts payable job and the Controller, Millie Want, told me before I left, go back to school and take accounting, you have a knack for numbers.  Well, I did, although working full-time to support myself and going to college on student loans kept me from moving forward with my bachelors degree, many times I started down that road, and no attempt to get that degree ever happened.  That didn’t mean that I was unsuccessful in my career though, I was a success.

Now, I don’t work, at anything, researching my illnesses, trying to find a way to be out of pain and still mobile. Finding things to do that don’t take all of my energy away within a short period of time.  Something to keep my mind occupied and stop the strangeness of the diseases and the side effects of the medications from making me want to just curl up and …. well I can’t curl up, just the search for a pain free day…

Day by Day

It is funny how each day goes by just as fast now as when I worked. What do I do all day? It seems like I haven’t done anything but it is time for Mike to call saying he is on his way. Mike, my husband, what would I do without him…. that is another story for another day.

I think that most of my day is now engrossed in what in the world is happening to me, where am I going, my life is so different now than just a few years ago.

I sleep no less than 10 hours a day and usually take at least one power nap, usually after reading too much, and then another nap for a few hours in the afternoon. Sounds like I am a senior now…. believe me this is not by choice, I would give anything to be working 12 hours a day instead of sleeping it.

In the last week my symptoms are changing…besides just having regular fibro and arthritis pain I am having ringing in my ears, every day, Mike says I am talking in my sleep, that can be bad….. the left side of my neck feels different, something going on there but I can’t explain it. The pain in my hands is getting almost unbearable at times, sometimes I just get a shooting pain in one finger, so freakin weird. And let’s not forget the jumping limbs are back, yay!!

At the Beginning…

I am what a friend calls “one big hot mess!” In 2012 I started having high blood pressure, went to Doctor and found out I was post-menopause when taken off of birth control pills. Within 2 months I started having pain everywhere, no one could touch me, I couldn’t lay down without being in pain, couldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours a night. Then my neck started bothering me, we expect these things when we sit in a chair for 10 hours a day crunching numbers. I was the senior accountant for horse race track/casino. Then I started losing strength in my left arm, within a month of the pain I couldn’t lift a coffee cup. As they were running every test imaginable and not finding anything wrong they sent me to a Rheumatologist and Neurosurgeon. So now I am diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, no RA, no Lupus, degenerative disc disease in shoulder, neck, back, hip and Osteoarthritis. Carpal tunnel, bilateral, steroids shots, frequently.

December 2012 Cervical fusion C5-6-7. Went back to work 9 weeks later, Doctor would not release me, he knew what I did for a living. June 2013 fired, at will state so they made up a reason and let me go.

Worked 4 different jobs between June 2013 and March 2017, was fired from the last 2 jobs because I wasn’t following procedure, didn’t know how to plan my time, was not familiar with accounting procedures. And so the spiral began.

I counted how many times I went to Neurosurgeon and to pain clinic from the beginning in November 2012 to now – 22. Wonder if one of these was the reason, hmmm.

Had extreme pain in my lower back, went to Neurosurgeon and he said you know when you have more of a problem than normal, 2 synovial cysts on L4, one on each side. They were removed. Then my neck collapsed above previous fusion in neck so they pulled my neck back in place and fused C4 to C5.

So here I am, less than 6 years after diagnosis, degeneration and Osteoarthritis and the medications have me not wanting to do anything, tired all the time, can’t get comfortable, you know the story. Fibro fog is unbelievable, or is it the medication.

I go to my regular Doctor but see one of the APRN’s instead, fresh eyes. I am walking sideways I tell her, have no entergy or strength, exhausted after taking shower. Neck feels like it is on a pin. MRI’s ordered – Lumbar, cervical and brain, check my walking, gait issues, check strength in both legs, loss of strength. Results: Bulging discs are getting more pronounced in back, neck looks ok, brain, huh, this is new, benign-appearing pressure-related atrophy of left cerebellum 1.3 x 4.4 x 2.47, appears to be a benign arachnoid cyst.

Go to see Neurosurgeon, this is a new one, my previous doctor moved out of state to take a teaching job, new guy comes in and asks me if I am here to get a shot, we say no, I am here because of the cyst on my brain, he looks at my MRI, pulls it up and scrolls around the results real quick, that is nothing, you don’t need surgery, anything else I can do for you, my husband and I are shocked, according to Neurosurgeon we don’t need to come back, no need for follow up or additional MRI’s.

So now I am waiting for appointment with Neurologist, the first appointment was rescheduled, they don’t seem to see any urgency in getting me in, although the APRN at pain management, trying not to act too worried, glances at the MRI of my brain, looks at me and says “find yourself a good Neurosurgeon. We can’t help you with that problem, keep appointment with Neurologist, you are going to need him, where would you like for us to work on, upper or lower back?” So appointments set up to go back to pain management and we begin the process of finding a Neurosurgeon in another town or state. And waiting to see Neurologist.