Yes, I Do This Sort of Thing Often 🎶

Pain has stolen a lot from me, but my odd sense of humor always seems to go unscathed. As many of you know, this last surgery was the fourth spine surgery in just over two years. I made a little song about all my robotic pieces:

You’ll need to sing this in the tune of “1 little, 2 little, 3 little…”

1 big, 2 big surgical screws

An interbody cage, and 3 more screws

A generator and some wire leads

These are the parts in my body


I hope you’ve enjoyed my little jingle. Was I on pain pills when I made this up? I’ll never tell. Okay, yeah I probably was.

With love,

J♡

Have You Ever?

Have you ever felt like there was no one you could talk to, even when there was? Have you kept your innermost thoughts from your trusted loved ones, because you didn’t want to cause them worry or add stress to their life? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t talk to a therapist because of fear that they might lock you up? Have you purposely avoided checking certain boxes under the “mental health” portion of your medical evaluation paperwork, for fear you’d be seen as unstable? If you answered yes to any of these, then welcome to my boat…grab a life vest and a paddle; I’ve already packed the snacks.

Not too long ago, I was dealing with some pretty dark thoughts. While I know that I would not act on any of them, I don’t know that others would be so easily convinced. I didn’t want to tell my family because they already have enough to deal with. I didn’t want to tell my therapist, because although there is a doctor/patient confidentiality, I feared my words would somehow make their way to other parties. I was really feeling like I needed to carry the depression box all by myself. I did finally tell my husband about the box, without emptying all of it’s contents.

This is something I’ve been wanting to talk about on here as well, but the timing was not right. Even now, I am trying to choose my words carefully.

What are your thoughts, am I maybe being too cautious? I wonder if similar views/fears are the reason why a lot of people suffer in silence. Although most of those dark thoughts have subsided, it feels good to be able to share some of what I’ve been holding onto. Thanks for allowing me a safe space to do so. Also, sorry in advance for any typos or if I’m not making as much sense as I think, as I’m still on loopy pills (pain killers). Sending hugs to whoever may need one. If you ever need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

With love,

J♡

Getting Turned On

Oh yes, it happened…my Spinal Cord Stimulator was turned on today! It may take a couple days to really start feeling pain relief.

Oh, something I forgot to mention in my previous post…yes, the battery can be seen and felt through the skin. I don’t mind though.

This is how the rep turned on the device and paired it to my controller. It’s a giant magnet. Cool, right?!

This is my controller. That’s right, all mine and no one else’s ( I’m looking at you, Hubby).😜

The device cycles on for 30 seconds, and then off for 6 minutes. The program may need to be adjusted, but time will tell as I continue to heal.


With love,

J♡

I’ve Been Avoiding You

Hi, everyone! I hope that life has been treating you all well lately.

I’ve been avoiding posting since surgery. My body is used to Hydrocodone, but the Oxycodone they prescribe after surgery packs more of a punch. It knocks me on my butt and makes me pretty dopey. I’m trying to type this before my pill kicks in and I no longer make sense. Perhaps it’s best to have the hubby proofread before publishing.

I was told that surgery went smoothly, just a little bit of scar tissue to work around while placing the leads. I was home by early evening and enjoying a delicious sandwich. The first day home, I actually wasn’t feeling too bad. I think that was thanks to the pain meds from the surgery center still galloping through my veins.

The following days were much more painful. It hurt to do anything. Now that I’m a week and two days out, the pain is letting up; not enough to be off the pain killers just yet or drive, though.

I had my post op visit with the physician assistant yesterday and she said the incisions looked like they were healing well. That appointment wasn’t all rainbows and sprinkles though. I’ve been having my psychogenic movement attacks (I’ve mentioned these briefly before) this week, and during my appointment, I had a big attack. My body tensed up and jerked so hard that I was in tears. My legs gave out and I nearly fell, catching myself on the chair. I felt so embarrassed. My husband and the PA both assured me I shouldn’t be embarrassed, and my hubby tried his best to get me to focus, calm my breathing, and relax. I guess in a way, these are like major panic attacks. Whatever they are, they leave me feeling drained afterwards.

I get my device turned on tomorrow, and will do my best to post so you all can see what I’m talking about. For now, here’s a few little tidbits:

  • There are two incisions – one on the thoracic spine, where they did a laminectomy to attach the leads. The other is in the upper portion of my left butt cheek, where the battery now lives.
  • Both incisions are about 2 inches long.
  • I need to be careful about bending and twisting, and should not lift anything over 10 pounds.
  • My emotions are scattered all over the place, but I definitely do NOT regret doing this.
  • I’m looking forward to being healed up and feeling more human.

Until tomorrow, my friends. Thanks for all your support.

With love,

J♡

More Robot, More Human

Hi friends! How are you?!

As many of you know, I went through the SCS (spinal cord stimulator) trial recently. I have to tell you that overall it was a success! Here is how the week long trial went…

The day of the procedure if I’m being honest, was brutal. I was sore from where the leads were inserted, and it wasn’t particularly comfortable to lean back with the battery pack taped to me. The other problem was that I was in a ton of pain in my mid back. It wasn’t from the procedure or device however; I believe I pulled a muscle in the shower that morning. Don’t ask me how…I really don’t know…just that talented I suppose.

The day after the trial was amazing! The severe pain in my left leg was gone. My low back, down to my toes felt so much better. I woke up and moved about the house without waddling and wincing. I was able to lift my knees toward my chest without pain. I was able to lie flat on my belly without excruciating pain. I even stood for long periods of time without needing a pain killer. When my family checked in on me to ask how I was, I responded with “I’m good” and for the most part, really meant it. These are some things I hadn’t been able to do in years, and I was loving every moment! I felt so confident that this was the solution I needed, that I called my surgeon’s office to schedule my consultation for the permanent implant. His schedule fills up fast, and I didn’t want to delay things any longer. I will see the surgeon on the 30th of this month. With the last 3 surgeries, he was able to do them within a couple weeks of consultation.

Days three through six were just as great as far as pain relief. With minimal activity, I was getting 80-90% pain relief, and with more activity, 60-79%. To give you a better understanding of how awesome those numbers seem to me, a trial is considered successful if a patient receives 50% pain relief. What drove me crazy was the desire to take a real shower and to get that dang medical tape off my back. Otherwise, I really didn’t have any complaints.

The day the trial leads were removed, I felt happy to get the battery and tape off my back. I was also a little sad because I knew the pain would be coming back soon.

The red dots near the spine, are where the leads exited. The redness on the left side is from the bandages that held the battery in place. I seem to have a sensitivity/allergy to the adhesive/glue.
These are the leads that were removed. I will spare you the picture of them dangling out of my back. The removal was uncomfortable because they gave a little resistance, but it wasn’t necessarily painful.

The device rep said I may continue to feel pain relief for a day. Sadly, by that night my low back began to ache, and by the next day I was hurting more. I am now back to the usual 8-10/10 on the pain scale. I am holding on to the hope of permanent pain relief being right around the corner. I just need to hang in there a little longer. I know that getting the permanent implant will make me a little more of a robot (with the hardware that’s already in place), but honestly, when the trial was in place, I felt more human than I have in a long time. Maybe you all can start calling me roboJ2019 😆.

As always, I appreciate all of your positive vibes, well-wishes, and prayers! Thank you for your love and support.

With love,

J♡