A bit over a month ago, after months of extreme pain from a seriously persistant horrendously herniated disc, my doctor prescribed a wonderful drug called Lyrica. Now I’ve had the same herniated disc since at least 2011, that was the earliest MRI I had, but the pain started in high school circa 2000’s. When I was young, I looked healthy and I was only a teenager, certainly nothing serious could be wrong with me. One doctor, who was short and stout and about 100lbs over weight, told me my back pain was a result of my weight. I was 16, 5’1″ and 120 pounds at the most, hardly overweight. “Maybe if you just lose some weight it will get better…” I was a D cup, 25 pounds of boob, at least, maybe, I don’t know how much a boob weighs. I bet google could tell me… Anyway, I had physical therapy in high school for the same pain, and this very same pain has persisted until now, almost 20 years later and its only gotten worse.
In November of last year I fell in my kitchen, backwards, with a large skillet with two handles and full of chicken and sauce. I burned my forearm on the edge of the pan, and the palm of my hand when my instincts told me to just grab it and don’t let it spill. Thank you instincts for that, next time tell me to grab the handle not the pan. Ouch. On top of all that the molten sauce had splattered all over me and chicken was strewn about the kitchen floor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had landed squarely on my lower back with a fair amount of weight falling recklessly behind, like a train derailing and spewing it’s contents everywhere. It hurt, it hurt bad, but I brushed it off and went on my merry way. Cleaned up the kitchen, “shouted” out the grease stains on my clothes and iced my burns. For a month as my burns healed my back persisted to get worse and worse. My thigh and butt cheek were getting all tingly, then it was down to my knee, then my shin and finally all the way to my toes. I couldn’t take it anymore, my feet were falling asleep while I was standing at work and pins and needles when i sat, I was done, I made an appointment and went to see my doc.
This time was different, because I had fallen, and because my doc was afraid there was a hairline fracture or something he sent me for an MRI. No fracture, no pieces floating around, nothing really suspicious, just that good ole disc being a pain in my ass, literally. I did two rounds of steriods, that was awesome, I was a delight to be around both times but it only helped as long as I was taking them, as soon as I stopped the pain got worse again. I was referred to the Pain clinic at my local hospital. This time was different, he prescribed Lyrica, something I had never tried.
The first week was kind of crazy, I felt crazy, I felt like I was acting crazy, I’m not really sure if I was acting crazy or not, but I sure felt it. I felt like I had diarrhea of the mouth and things were just falling out that I would normally not really say, or that I was just rambling on and on and on… and on.. and then on some more. I felt like i was forgetting something constantly, I hate that feeling. Like “oh shit, and I supposed to be at work today?!” I hate that feeling. But amazingly my pain was subsiding. The numbness was going away and the pin and needles were less and less painful. Don’t get me wrong, it was still an enormous amount of pain, but i was less than when i started. At the end of the second week my husband and I were discussing if the side effects out weighed the relief or not. Was it worth the crabbiness, the forgetfulness, the crazy talk, the nigh sweats, the day sweats, the constant sweat, the dry mouth, the shaky hands and the weight gain. Was it all worth it to have less pain? Was it really? Yes. It hasn’t been easy though.
I am a little over a month in now and I have the dreaded “Lyrica brain”, the “I forgot what I had for breakfast” brain, the “I forgot today was actually wednesday and I had a drs appointment and I forgot to set an alarm to wake me up, so I got up 15 minutes before my appointment and put clean underpants on, a clean bra, clean sweat pants and a nice big comfy shirt only to realize it was indeed wednesday,I did have a drs appointment and I should probably go change and brush my teeth and try to look like a have way decent human being if I was going to leave the house” brain. Its awesome. I forget things almost immediately. My husband “can you put a trash bag in the bedroom trash can?”
Me “yup, i’m headed to the laundry room now to get my laundry from the dryer, Ill grab a bag while I’m in there.”
Me, 2 hours later, on the computer doing something stupid and mindless, probably on Facebook or something, (I can’t remember)
My husband “did you get the bag?”
Me “Shit, no… I also didn’t get my laundry like I said I was going to do..”
That my friends is Lyrica brain.
I had to make 200 cupcakes at work yesterday, I can not tell you how many times I had to check, and recheck, and check again and then for a fourth or fifth or sixth time how many god damn eggs I needed. It would have taken me twice as long if our intern wasn’t measuring everything out while I was mixing it all together and watching the paddle of the giant industrial size mixer go around and around and around. The paddle scrapes the left side of the bowl ever so slightly, it must be dented or something…Yea that is what I got out of yesterday’s adventure.