GiaJenksLaura Jenkins

All articles by GiaJenks

 

The Tipping Point

I’ve been AWOL for nearly two months and now I pop in with a random post. You have every right to say, “Where’ve you been?”   I could answer that question in many ways. I still haven’t recovered from the move. I’ve been traveling. I’ve had some other health issues. Lots of family coming and going. I actually
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SI Joint Fusion :: Six Months Post Op

July is nearly over.   I’m sitting on a comfy couch, drinking coffee while the thunder rolls softly in the background. I love rain. I love thunderstorms, which is good since I live in the south. It’s been too long again; I haven’t had the luxury of writing over the last several weeks because we’ve
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Five Months Post Op :: The good, the bad and the beautiful

Howdy! Over the last four weeks I’ve wanted to blog so badly, but the computer keyboard has mostly been beyond my grasp. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest one is that my husband and I moved from the city to the country. It’s beautiful and wonderful and exciting and so, so peaceful. We
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Four Months Post Op :: Resetting the Default

I owe you an update! This Thursday, May 26th, I will be four months (17 weeks) post op. And many of you are wondering how my recovery is going. Am I glad that I had the surgery? Am I pain free? Am I at least in less pain than I was before?   In short:
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Conversations with Practitioners :: Katrina, Part One

You guys. I am here to introduce you to someone you’re going to love. Her name is Katrina and she’s my primary physical therapist. I’ve only been working with her for a month and she’s already my friend. I hit the post-op jackpot, and pretty soon you’ll understand why I feel that way.   So
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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction :: The Fundamentals of Fascia

So, about fascia. My aim in this blog post is to convince you to consider that healthy, malleable fascia is a vital part of the solution you’re seeking. I’m also gonna admit up front that I’m no expert on the subject, and that I am currently in guinea pig mode because I’m testing that theory
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The Winding Path of Recovery

The above photo embodies my feelings about heading back into the game of life. Wonder. Delight. Believing in magic. Meet Storey, my youngest granddaughter. She—and the other two—“twirl my world,” as my sister would say.   Before surgery I told myself (and my family) that if my minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion was successful, I was
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SI Joint Surgery :: Breaking Away From The Herd

  If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you know that I am very glad I had a minimally invasive SI Joint fusion. You also know that it was very difficult for me to pull the trigger on actually going through with the surgery. It’s human nature to want to cling to what is
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SI Joint Surgery :: Week Ten

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve touched base. Now I understand when people say that the folks who get their SI Joints fixed are busy living their lives! I am 10.5 weeks post op and am feeling good enough to take on my life again. I am still not 100% pain free, but I can say without hesitation
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SI Joint Fusion :: Week Nine — Rehab Road

All too often it goes like this:   I’m hungry. There’s nothing substantial to eat in the house. I decide what I could prepare without too much hassle. I go to the store to get what I need. I come home to realize that I forgot to run the dishwasher and there are no clean
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The Massive Metropolis of Missoula

I first visited Missoula a few years ago, before I knew that the doctor who would fix my SI joint dysfunction practiced there. It’s a charming little college town, population of around 70k. This post won’t be helpful to everyone, but I wanted to toss it out here for those who might find it relevant. Several folks have been
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SI Joint Fusion :: My Surgery Costs

There’s a part of me that feels a little weird putting my medical bills out there for all to see. But I decided to do it because I know it may help some people who are desperately trying to piece together information. I think I blocked all my personal info and just left the charges in plain
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SI Joint Fusion :: The Question of Angle

When I was considering which type of minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion I was most comfortable with, one of my major concerns was the angle at which the implants were placed. Many of the more common types of fixation are lateral, meaning the implants are inserted across the joint. I met with two surgeons who subscribed to that approach,
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SIJD :: Survival of the Fittest [and other myths]

When people learn that I’ve been dealing with SI joint dysfunction for more than 30 years, they often ask, “How in the world did you survive for so long?” And I’ve never quite known how to answer that question. There’s no short answer—it’s been a combination of things. But before I get in to my
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SI Joint Fusion :: Physical Therapy with a Side of Firsts

Over the last week I’ve been working on a blog post that I’m really looking forward to sharing. But my time at the computer has been cut short by several things, so I’ve decided to write a quick note because I have good news, good news, and surprising news to share. Actually, it’s all surprising.
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Sacroiliac Joint Fusion :: Week Six

Today I hit the six week mark and I wish I had better news to report. A few days ago I was getting ready for bed and realized that the sheet and blanket had come untucked from the foot of the bed. Without thinking I bent over and then lifted the corner of our very
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SI Joint Cyber Relief :: the beauty and peril of virtual support

Having a degree in rhetoric, there’s probably nothing I hate more than thinking I may have miscommunicated. Well, there may be one thing I hate more: the possibility that I may have hurt people I care about by miscommunicating. Let me explain.   Once upon a time I was sitting alone with all of my
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Surgery :: Week Five

  I got back in the pool for the first time today! I only swam 500 meters and I did it oh so carefully and slowly. But I did it. Not gonna lie: I was nervous. It definitely felt different than before, more stable, but I didn’t want to kick full out. It just didn’t
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Post-surgery firsts :: Helloooo bike

By the numbers: Miles per week I used to ride before my SI joint got so painful I couldn’t sit on the seat: approximately 60 Amount of money I spent on bike maintenance this time last year: $300 (New tires/brakes/chain, etc.) Length of time I was able to use it before I couldn’t ride anymore
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Self Advocacy :: You are your own superhero

  It seems that somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that doctors are omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful.) If you had asked me 25 years ago whether I believed that or not, I would’ve said, “Of course not!” But if I could hit a rewind button and let you watch my 30-year
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Comorbidities :: when SIJD has siblings

  Out of the 133 people who’ve taken my survey so far, 26 of them said they didn’t know of any other condition that is contributing to their chronic pain. Another 23 respondents left that field blank. So that leaves about 63% who have learned, or at least suspect that they’re dealing with multiple health problems.
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Surgery :: Week Three

  There’s not a lot new to report at the three week mark, but there are a few things worth saying. I am able to sleep on my right side again. It still gets sore and I have to shift positions, but I can stay on it much longer than before surgery. Also, before surgery I
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Comparing War Wounds :: My SIJD symptoms

  Pain is difficult to quantify.   “On a scale of one to 10 how bad is your pain right now?”   Only problem with that metric is that my eight and your eight might mean totally different things. And what I call an eight today I might call a seven or a six on
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Up up and away :: two weeks after surgery

Once you decide to have surgery you’re on an unknown adventure. Things are gonna change. Of course we all hope and pray that the change will be good, but it takes awhile for the story to unfold. Like most everything else in life it’s not a straight trajectory. I was going to say that it’s three
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Semantics :: What do you mean?

  One thing that came through loud and clear in the survey I recently conducted is that people who have SIJD are tired of being misdirected and misunderstood. That’s why I think that those of us who have a stake in the SIJD conversation are going to have to start paying more attention to semantics.  
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Surgery:: one week

Today was one week since I had my SI joint fusion. (In case you missed it, you can read about how I came to the decision here.)   The best thing about being one week post-op is that you finally get to take a shower! I’ve never appreciated hot water and shampoo more. The steri-strips were
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What We Wish You Knew

  If they only knew.   How many times have you thought that?   Even though people may try really hard to comprehend what you’re going through, there are still elements of living with SIJD that they won’t be able to understand. And it’s not their fault. There are just some things you can’t fathom
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Surgery:: Day Six (Home Sweet Home)

So you know that potential for a huge snag when you have surgery in another state? Yeah, it happened to me.   I booked a first class ticket home on United Airlines. We left Missoula at 6:50 am, were to arrive in Denver around 9:00 am, and leave for Austin an hour later. But before
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SIJD Surgery:: day four

It snowed all day today; I watched from our third floor window as the blanket fell flake by flake. I haven’t felt very good today: lots of digestive issues due to taking narcotics, and I’m also trying to sync my meds so that I can take two pain pills at once (every six hours) rather
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Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery:: days two and three

So it’s dawning on me that I really and truly did have a sacroiliac joint fusion. The first few days I was in a fog. But today I can honestly say that overall, I’m doing really well. The second day was better than the first, mainly because I got the nausea under control. As you
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Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery:: Day One

I made it through.   This is gonna be brief but I wanted to touch base and say that everything went okay with my minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion.   There were several mishaps when we got here yesterday (hotel booking misunderstanding) and meds (I thought I left them behind.) After I had a meltdown
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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction :: My road to surgery

  I’m still not 100% sure I’m doing the right thing. That’s scary to admit four days before surgery. But from what I understand, nobody goes into a minimally invasive sacroiliac joint (SIJD) fusion 100% sure it’s the best course of action. For many of us, it’s the only course of action we have left.   Several
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My Sacroiliac Joint Story (so far)

  I should’ve had a C-section. I wish I’d had a C-section. But I was young and scared, and I begged the doctor to try forceps before wheeling me into the operating room. I shudder when I think about it because my husband said he was terrified when he saw the doctor’s arm muscles bulging
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SIJD :: Line Panic

SIJD Shopping Essentials Notice the SI Belt in the cart? I wore it for the first hour and then started feeling like it was doing more harm than good. So I took it off. I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled blog post to talk about something that’s been a huge part of my life for decades:
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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction :: Survey Says

I was ecstatic when I first learned that there were Facebook support groups for those who suffer from sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD). Listening in to the conversations that others were having about their experiences was not only enlightening, it was also deeply affirming. I’d never met anyone who knew what it was like to live
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Chasing Unicorns :: Finding Solutions for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

“We’re all chasing unicorns to find a diagnosis, a specialist, a treatment, anything that will relieve the pain.” — Lisa S., from Virginia   I recently polled a group of people who suspect that they have Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJD.)** One question I asked was, “What else should people know about those who suffer from
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