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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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