I have good days and bad days as far as pain goes. I stopped taking my pills 1) because my stash is running low, and 2) because I hate being dependent on those little buggers. On the good days I try to walk and stretch, and on the bad days I cower on the couch with a heating pad or ice. After looking at my MRI images surgeon #2 stood by his “surgery not recommended … too much scar tissue” response. Is that what is behind this pain shooting down my leg? Because it feels an aweful lot like nerve pain, the same pain I’ve suffered from for the past two years.
On the good days I come very close to lacing up my shoes and hitting the trails. So close. Last week I left my computer out back on the deck where I was working to walk down to the bus stop to pick up the kids when it started raining. I dashed back as fast as I could to save my Mac from an early demise. Not only have I lost all fitness, but my legs are no longer speedy; quite an eye-opener and depressing all at the same time.
I can get back there again. I can have fun out on the trails, alone and with friends, some day. It’s just that this temporary vacation from running is really trying my nerves sometimes. As I await a response from surgeon #3 I am working on focusing my everything BUT the pain.
Now if I could only find the time to hit the gym …
The only thing I have to show for the failed acupuncture treatments is an empty wallet and continued pain. Before going back to surgeon #1 I decided to get a second opinion, this time by researching the top back surgeons in the country and seeking them out. I sent the MRI report to surgeon #2 and his office got back to me stating that the doctor did not recommend surgery and that he wouldn’t do it. Something about too much scar tissue and I should go to a pain specialist. Now, I have spent the past two years working with a pain specialist: physical therapy, steroid injections, pills like they were going out of style. No relief. More pain.
In tears I emailed surgeon #2 and asked for a better explanation as to his reason for turning me down. This time a nurse got back to me and asked me to forward the MRI images because there may be discrepancies between the MRI report and the images.
Fingers crossed. And if he still says no then I will find a third surgeon and third opinion. As it stands now I have two opposing opinions on disc fusion. What’s a girl to do?
All I can say is that I live in this state of pain, sadness and depression. Sad that I can’t join my friends for a weekend morning run, or head out the door in the morning for some solace before the long day ahead of me. Depressed because I continue to gain more fat, I can’t find anything that fits in my closet, and I feel like a big, fat blob.
Things have got to get better, right? Have I reached my breaking point? Is this slippery slope still on a decline? Ugh, I hope not.
I’m three visits (over 3 weeks) in on this acupuncture-thing and at this point I would say it is not working. Of course, I missed my fourth treatment two weeks ago because I made a last minute trip to see my dieing grandmother and then fell violently ill for the next five days. And I will have to cancel yet another treatment this coming week because I will be at Gram’s funeral.
It’s been a rough two weeks.
Still, the fact remains. I feel like an old person in a young body. I can’t walk around without supporting my lower back with my hands, much less stand for more than five minutes straight. I walk a mile and a half once a day and must use extreme caution even when doing that.
Disc degenerative disease. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
My biggest question: Will I ever run again? Half the time I continue to exercise this now highly cultivated patience which I’ve learned over the past two year, and the other half I am ready to lace up my shoes and hit the trails. It’s certainly not easy.
But patience is all that I have at the moment.
Yesterday’s acupuncture treatment was interesting to say the least. 14 needles were placed in my back within a six inch radius of my incision site. Some of them felt like a tiny pin prick while I didn’t feel others go in at all. Two of them really hurt, a lot. The doctor then turned on an infrared light which he placed near my back to activate the needles. Fifteen minutes later the treatment was over except for one final needle which the doctor placed in MY EAR.
I thought it rather strange but since I’m going the eastern medicine route at the moment why not embrace the whole shebang, right? Doc says that the military use ear acupuncture in battle to deal with pain from injuries. (See this article I found.)
It’s the tiniest little pin, you can barely even see it. I’m supposed to flick it out tomorrow and next week he’ll do the other ear. Supposedly this will trick my brain about how it perceives pain.
We’ll see how this works …
The doctor says he won’t perform the nerve ablation since I had less than 50% improvement from the facet injection. On Monday I begin the first course of acupuncture treatment; one treatment a week for six weeks and then we reassess how I’m doing.
Last week I sucked it up and had the facet injection. Not one injection, but four. No, make that eight shots in total. Each location had a numbing medication injected first followed by the actual facet injection. I’m not a big fan of pain and this HURT! I will admit that it wasn’t quite the level as those epidural injections last year, but it was close.
But did it work?
I’m still trying to figure that out. If anything, it took the edge off. My pain never disappeared but I did have an easier time getting around in the morning after laying in bed all night. Typically I would walk around crippled over for the first hour of my day. For at least a couple of days after the injections I was able to move around rather easily. I take that as promise that my doctor is moving in the right direction but I am not ready for the nerve ablation just yet. I have a feeling we may have to do these injections again to “fine tune” the location. I meet with my doctor this afternoon to discuss the past week and figure out the next plan of action.
One thing I can tell you is this, I really, really miss running. Two years have passed and it’s really becoming difficult to remain patient through all of this.