Last week I had my first physical therapy (pt) appointment. My physical therapist (PT) goes by “Woody.” He’s very professional and very kind. I like him very much and I’m very, very comfortable with him. We spent most of the hour getting to know one another, which is important since we will be working closely together. Plus, he needs to know -and- I need to feel comfortable telling him all about my strange sensations I feel in my private area. Surprisingly, I was reasonably comfortable expressing all this to him and he appeared to be very knowledgeable and familiar with my symptoms.

Woody will help me gain strength and stability in my walking. He may also be able to help me do some desensitizing in my feet. Woody explained how my spinal cord is sending incorrect messages of pain to my brain that my feet feel like they are burning. He explained some examples how to go through this process of desensitization, but we did not go into a lot of detail at this time.

My initial homework therapy is to exercise with a child’s ball. The ball is approximately the size of a soccer ball. He had a soft rubber ball that sort of gave if you placed pressure on it with your foot. I am to sit down, legs bent, and place my foot on top of the ball. Then roll my foot forward and back with control, no shaking or wobbling allowed. Next roll the ball in circles using my foot. First roll your foot clockwise on the ball several times, then roll your foot counter-clockwise several times. Woody said I could not do that enough each day. Also, place the ball between my knees and press my knees together. That exercise will also help strengthen the muscles in my bladder area.

I did not get a chance to go shopping for a child’s ball to exercise with, so I ordered a ball online. I thought it would be here by now. I see Woody next Tuesday. I never thought of improvising, but I can go through the motions without a ball. It’s just more effective with a ball. Oh well.

Since getting the Medtronic implanted 11/4/09, I’ve got off several medications. I discussed it with one of my doctors and I stopped taking the medicines slowly. First, I’m getting way less Baclofen through this pump. I stopped taking the Effexor and I stopped taking Lyrica.

I got the Effexor primarily to make others happy, I feel. I was in the midst of figuring out what all these painful symptoms are from plus getting to know new doctors. Being a very expressive person, I was very clear how uncomfortable this pain, tingling, and burning sensation is. A few of the doctors and my sister thought it would help me tolerate the pain a bit better. Dr. P said it best when he suggested I take the Effexor on a temporary basis. When he suggested that, I decided to try it.

My PCP is the one who prescribed Effexor. I did not notice much help when I first took it so the doctor increased my dosage. Again, I didn’t feel any value from it. If anything, I felt like it gave me more of an edgey feeling and I had to keep my edginess in line (in which I did). I don’t see my PCP until just before Christmas. I don’t know what he’ll think, but I feel better without the Effexor.

The Lyrica helped a little with my feet pain, but it no longer helps that much to continue it. I’ve tried to discontinue the Lyrica four times before and I would immediately hurt and get back on it. As time has gone on, I was able to spread out not taking it. Since the Medtronic pump, I was able to stop the Lyrica. I think since there’s less spasticity in my legs, there’s less pressure on my nerves, so less need for the Lyrica. I was able to stop the Lyrica this time, anyway.

My goal is to take as least medicine as I can. For me, that works best. However, IF I need something or if a medicine truly makes my life easier or less painful, I have no problem taking the medication. It’s just when there is no value, very little value, or worse…side effects that do not make the medicine worthwhile, then in that case — I just as soon not take the medicine.