Category Archives: Healing

Fucking Injections

So. I had a ESI injection about 3 weeks ago. I was supposed to have the second injection of the series yesterday, but the claims adjuster for workers comp, in her infinite wisdom, decided I had to have a sit down with my Pain Management doctor first to discuss the after effects of the first injection.

I went in yesterday for my appointment. My doctor asked why we weren’t doing the injection, and I explained the claims adjuster’s reasoning. Man, was my doctor pissed!!! He explained to the nurse case manager that it is a series of injections. Often relief won’t happen after the first, but the second will work, but the injections should be about 2-3 weeks apart. Well, it’s been 3 weeks already, and would be another 2 weeks to get me scheduled and receive approval from wc. So basically that first injection, which incidentally didn’t do dick for my pain, was a waste of my time, my doctor’s time and the insurance company’s money. Siiiiiiiiiigh. Just…fucking sigh. Now we have to go back to square one and start a new series of injections. Fuck me.

I’m schedule for the “first” injection in 2 weeks, and the next injection 2 weeks later. I’m so fucking sick of injections. I mean, compared to spinal fusion, an ESI is like a mosquito bite, but in reality it does fucking hurt. It’s not fun at all, and I’m always miserable for 2-3 days after. And the worst part? They have never helped. The whole ordeal seems pointless for me, not to mention the fact that every time a needle enters my spine there are risks involved. One day I’ll write about my lovely experience with a spinal headache due to a dermal puncture from one of these injections.

If these injections don’t help, it looks like we’ll be moving onto the Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant trial. If it helps, I’ll have one permanently implanted. If it doesn’t help…then I’ll most likely be having that second fusion/discectomy/Laminectomy surgery sooner rather than later.

I’m running out of options here. I don’t even want to start thinking about the possibility that THIS is my permanent situation. If I do, I might just go mad.

On a completely unrelated note, here’s a picture of my cat. Isn’t he precious? I honestly don’t know what I’d do without Malkovich. He’s been so sensitive and in tune with my pain, and he always just seems to know when I need a cuddle.

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Needles and Steroids and Spines, Oh My!

Well, today I will be having another injection. Just a standard epidural steroid injection, except this time they will approach the spine from the sides instead of going straight in, because of my hardware. This will be my first injection since before surgery (with the exception of a caudal a few months post op), and I’m really hoping this will help. I had what feels like a zillion of these before surgery, and they never really did much, other than make me miserable, but my neuro thinks its worth a “shot” (no pun intended) to try to find me a little bit of relief. Of course, he’s not the one face down on the table in an OR with needles going into his spine, so sure, why not, right?

But really, compared to spine surgery, this is a walk in the park, right? Hmmmm…perhaps that’s not the right phrase to use, since a walk in the park is actually pretty fucking miserable for me. Piece of cake? No, that won’t work either; since I can’t exercise because of my back, cake goes straight to my ass. Cake is my mortal enemy. A cinch. Like my pants all cinch my waist because I’ve gained about 10 pounds, due to cake and lack of walking. For fuck sake, does everything have to be hard?!? Damn.

Anyway…here’s hoping that today’s injection goes well and gives me a little relief.

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My Spine

I’m fused! But I’m still fucked! Yay!

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Is This Really Happening To Me?

Really? REALLY?!? Nine months post op, and I still feel worse than I did before surgery. Initially, my goal when I started this blog was to regularly update it as I healed. I wanted to share my victories, however small, and paint an accurate picture of spinal surgery and the recovery process. But my victories have been few and far between, and I don’t feel as if my experience has been “typical.” Yes, I know that everybody heals at their own pace. I feel that if a desire to be pain free was enough, I’d be doing cartwheels and running marathons right now. Instead, I can barely walk around my block.

Every decision I make has to take my back and pain into consideration. Just something simple, like going out with friends for a few drinks, or chaperoning my daughter’s field trip, or even going to a movie, can be a hassle. Not to mention everyday things like cooking dinner for my family or folding a load of laundry or just going to the bathroom – none of it is easy.

All of this has taken a huge toll on my soul. I rarely feel hopeful, and cry often. I cannot believe that THIS is what my life has become. I’m jealous of my friends for having quality lives, and easily annoyed with people who constantly bitch about stupid shit, like going to work or tackling the yard work. I fucking WISH I could go to work. I wish I still had a fucking job to go to. No, it wasn’t my dream job, but FUCK, I was good at what I did. And then I got hurt at work because of somebody’s negligence, and ultimately lost my job.

So now instead of bantering with my colleagues around the water cooler or solving complicated problems for clients, I spend my days laying in my recliner watching Gypsy Sisters marathons, in non stop pain. I can feel my ass getting fatter and my brain getting dumber. And honestly…I don’t really give two fucks. Most days I don’t even get dressed. I own more pajama pants than jeans now. My hair has taken on the shape of a permanent ponytail, even when I take the elastic out. Makeup? Yeah, I have oodles of it. I LOVE makeup. Well…I used to. Now I consider it a good day if I merely wash my face and moisturize. Sure, occasionally I have to leave the house, so I’ll shower, style my hair, make up my face and throw on a pretty dress. And then I feel like a total loser when I gimp around in public with my cane. I get evil looks from old people when I pull into a handicapped parking space. And I need frequent breaks to rest. What’s the fucking point?

I so wish I could share something more upbeat and optimistic. But this is some honest shit. I pretty much hate my pathetic life right now, and I hate anyone who has a better life than me (the world). Fuck it all.

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10 Weeks Post Op

So. I’ve slacked off with my posting, eh? I had every intention when I started this blog of posting regularly during my recovery. That hasn’t exactly worked out that way, has it? I will attempt to give an accurate account of how I felt at various times during the past 10 weeks by sorting through my Facebook updates, text messages to friends and notes from doctor appointments. I’ll just start here and work my way backwards.

Ten weeks. I can’t believe it’s been that long since I was sliced up. I still feel pretty damn terrible. I’m still using my cane to get around, but I try to make myself not use it around the house as much as possible. I’m still in pain daily, severe pain. In all honesty, it’s worse than it was before surgery. I’m on Fentanyl, Percocet, Lyrica, Cymbalta and a whole bunch of other crap daily. My incision has healed well, though it still itches and burns occasionally, and it’s still lumpy from scar tissue. Once the 28 staples were removed, I started massaging it with vitamin E oil daily, in an attempt to break up the scar tissue. The pain remains in my back, hips and legs, and my physical activity is still very limited. I am tired all the time and feel like I have no energy. I can’t sit longer than 30 minutes without feeling like my back is going to snap in half.

Emotionally, I am broken. I feel like this whole thing was pointless. I am on the verge of just giving up and giving in. I knew going into this that it would be a long recovery, but I am becoming impatient. It feels like I take one step forward and 5 steps back. There are days when I just don’t care anymore, days when I question my decision to undergo such a serious surgery. I also have good days when I can see and feel small improvements. I am definitely stronger than I was 10 weeks ago, yet there are so many things I am unable to do, things that I could do a year ago, even though it hurt. This whole thing has been an emotional roller coaster, so many ups and downs. I know I need to give my body time to heal, but some days it’s just so hard. I want my life back. I question why this happened to me, and cry about the unfairness of it all. I do know that it could always be worse. But right now, it feels like things will never be normal again, yet I refuse to accept this as my new life.

So there it is, and here I am. My next post will talk about the surgery itself, as well as the first few days following surgery. I will talk about the immediate impact surgery had on my day to day life, physical therapy, how I coped with having to ask for help and the toll this has all taken on my family and friends.

Here’s a photo of my incision as it looks today. You can see that they tried to line up my tattoo, but it didn’t exactly work out. I suppose, given the circumstances, they did the best they could. The “hole” above and to the right of the scar is from the drain that I had to have for about a week post op.

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