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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Do you have fuzzy television reception? Are your radio stations not coming in crystal clear? Book now! Just place J♡ next to your electronic device and receive the reception you deserve! All for the low, low price of “just kidding”!
Today was procedure day and although it was not mentioned, I am curious if the wire leads in my back will improve reception and/or WiFi signal. To the best of my knowledge, the procedure went smoothly. I had the IV placed in my hand and was sent back to the waiting room until the device rep arrived. Once he did, I was brought back in to discuss what type of pain relief we were looking to achieve and what to expect over the next week. I’m not allowed to shower; only sponge bathe the essentials. It’s 111 degrees here…I really didn’t think this through. The rep told me that once the leads were placed, they would wake me up a bit so he could ask if the signals were reaching where they were needed. He told me I probably wouldn’t remember that part. He was right.
In the procedure room, they had me climb up on the table and onto my belly. They said because I’m tiny, they had to pile pillows for me lie on. Two people squishing down these pillows so I could climb up…I found this rather amusing. I was told when the medication would go into my IV to relax me. I was worried they might stick me before I fell asleep, so I kept tapping my fingers to the music so they would know I was still awake. I felt more medicine run through my veins and felt very warm. Next thing I know, I’m climbing off the table and into a wheelchair. It felt like everything only took a few seconds, but I guess the procedure actually took about 30 minutes. The device rep talked to me once again and gave me the controller for my device. They gave me a juice pouch, removed my IV, and sent me on my merry way.
The last couple of days, my left leg had been in so much pain I could not get comfortable. I’m happy to report that it does feel much better already. My back on the other hand, hurts something awful. I was told I would be sore for the first few days probably. The device rep will check in with me by phone several times this week. Those will be the only times I should use my controller if necessary.
Well I’m a bit tuckered out and a nap sounds pretty good right now. I will try my best to update with how things are going day to day. Thanks for all the love and support!
Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it’s been a while. While we were out of town, I tried to stay off my phone so I could focus more on family time. I really don’t have an excuse for not posting/reading since being back (I got home late Thursday night), other than guilt. I have this horrible habit of letting something slide, whether it be calling someone, missing a medication dose, posting on the blog, and so on. The first oops, I feel bad but think, I’ll do it tomorrow for sure. The second day I forget, I get mad at myself. The third day, I feel guilty and instead of facing things head on, I let the guilt consume me and more or less try to run away from it. Does this make any sense? It’s a habit I’m trying hard to break. I will try to do much better from here on out.
The few days we got to spend out of town were wonderful, even if I did come home with lobsters for legs. A short amount of time in beautiful cool weather while the sun is shining, can do a lot of damage. Wear your sunscreen, kids. Since this was a last minute trip, I forgot to grab my antidepressant. The first day was okay, but the second day I started to feel it. Thankfully, I called the pharmacy and was able to get a few pills. Because it wasn’t time for a refill, insurance wouldn’t cover it and we had to pay for them. Oh well. One of the days there, the husband and I hung back while the grandparents surprised the kids with a trip to the amusement park. They had a blast! We could have joined, but I really didn’t think my body would be able to handle it. When they returned, my son surprised me with a little sloth for surgery day. He bought it with his own money. It was such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do and I absolutely love it! He named the sloth Mr. Cuddles, and he made sure I had him with me as we left for the airport. The kids would not be back for a couple more days. The kids were a little bummed that were leaving, so I decided Mr. Cuddles would have an adventure. I sent these to my father in-law to show the kids:
The kids thought the pictures were cute and I was told it put a big smile on my son’s face. That’s all I wanted.
The day after my husband and I returned, we were headed to my Mom’s to pick up the dogs. About a mile from her house, we hear a terrible sound coming from under the hood of my car. Next thing we know, the engine cuts out and we were luckily able to coast into a parking lot. The car has been towed home and now it must sit until we can replace the engine.
Yesterday, anxiety and depression were being nasty little “bleeeeeep”. I had two big meltdowns. I tried so hard to fight it off by staying busy, but it was no use. I don’t know if it’s because I messed up my medication or too much excitement in one week. Today has been better, I just feel wiped out. On that note, I will wrap up this post. I hope you have all had a great weekend.