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So… I went back to pain doc yesterday and it turns out we are running out of options. At this point he is recommending a Spinal Cord Stimulator. Essentially, it’s a device that would be implanted under the skin of my hiney which runs wires up into my spinal cord. These wires basically interrupt the pain as it’s traveling up my spinal cord to my brain and trick my brain into thinking that what I am feeling is a paresthesia and not pain.

Paresthesia is a tickly pins and needles type sensation that will take some getting used to. I’m cautiously optimistic as usual because I am always afraid to get my hopes up in case of failure. I have read a lot of stories where it is quite successful in patients with sacroiliitis. It seems to be a very good option for chronic pain that is not responsive to other methods. I have now had 3 sacroiliac injections, a radiofrequency ablation of the  nerves causing the pain, and lots and lots of meds. I have reached the point where my options are to have this implant put in or to have my pelvic bone fused to my sacrum which can cause low back pain and disc problems in the future. Seeing as how I have lived in chronic pain for 3 years now I am not a fan of trading one form of pain for another. So this is my next best choice.

So the process is that I have to have a 5 day trial implant which is required by insurance prior to the actual surgery. They will feed the wires into my spinal cord and they will come out the lower back and attach to a battery pack I wear on a belt. For 5 days I can’t take a shower but I get to trial this device. I get a remote control and can turn it on/off at times I need it and turn it up or down based on how much pain I am having at the time. After 5 days they will remove it and I will have to consult with a neurosurgeon who will schedule the surgery. A device the size of a pacemaker is inserted into my upper bum and has two wires that go up into my spinal cord. I will have a 24 hour stay at the hospital and then a few days to recover. I’m hoping to have the surgery on a Thursday or a Friday to minimize the days I need off from work.

Like I said, I’m cautiously optimistic. Keep your fingers crossed.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.~Lance Armstrong

 

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I had the dreaded discogram yesterday. I can’t even begin to describe it… I will try though.

So a discogram is a test that involves pressurizing each individual disc in the region suspected of causing your pain with CT contrast dye. Each disc is individual filled with CT dye and if the disc in question is causing your pain it will recreate the pain. I don’t remember which of the three caused the most pain but I do know that one of them caused me to yell out pretty loud and almost cry. The back pain was excruciating. Today I am still in horrific pain in my entire lower back area, which is surprising since my friend told me that the pain induced by the test returned to normal within a few hours. That has NOT been the case for me. I woke up this morning and my lower back hurt so bad I could barely walk.. I was taking shuffled little baby steps like a little old woman. I’ve spent the morning waiting on my Percocet to kick in and laying on a heating pad.

I am anxious to find out the doctors interpretation of the results of this test. I go to see my Neurosurgeon next friday. The discogram was a last ditch effort of sorts to find out why I have such severe debilitating chronic pain. I was upset after the test because it didn’t induce the severe left sacroiliac pain that runs down my leg. I did have an SI steroid injection just a few weeks ago so maybe that masked the pain induction.. who knows. All of my CT’s and MRI’s up until now have showed only mild degenerative changes and nothing that would seemingly be the cause of such severe pain. I am hopeful that something comes of this test and there is some sort of answers for me now. I am the kind of person that needs answers. I need to know  WHY I have this pain. While pain management is helping to diminish the pain slightly I don’t know how I can go through life not knowing what the underlying cause is. Being a nurse I have a never-ending need to understand the medical and anatomical cause. I don’t know if I can go through my life taking pain medication regularly for idiopathic pain knowing that there is nothing to do that will make it go away!

So now I wait anxiously for my appointment next Friday with the neurosurgeon to learn if there were answers learned from this test. I am going to be a giant ball of stress until next friday. I am already having major panic attacks just imagining that he’s going to tell me that we learned absolutely nothing at that their is NO known cause of my pain.. Especially since that is what I keep getting told. It’s so frustrating. I just wish I knew what it was.

Hopefully the answers will come.. sooner than later, preferably.

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