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Today was a little rough.  I am SO much better than i was one year ago but today provided me a little reminder of just how poorly i was feeling for so long.

My father died in December 2003.  I spent the next month in bed, unless i was working.  About mid- to late-January i began to feel some back pain but figured i had spent so much time in bed that my muscles were weakened.  When i finally found the strength to face the world and get out of bed i decided to hire a personal trainer to help me with my back pain that I’d decided was due to my laziness.  I spent $75/week for 2 sessions/week to help me learn some strengthening exercises.  Only problem was that i couldn’t do the exercises because they caused more pain.  After 8 weeks of struggling with that, i moved on to massage therapy.  This, too, to no avail.  Next was chiropractic therapy.  This lasted only a few visits when the Chiropractor told me that my problem was not something he could help.  From there i went to my medical doctor (it is now April...3 months of chronic back pain).  She recommended physical therapy so off i went.  3x/week for 5 weeks and no relief.  3x/week of traction therapy for 8 weeks...still no relief.  I gave up and decided to accept that this was my present and my future.  Over the next few years, i visited my doctor about my back pain several times, with no satisfaction.  August 2007, the pain became unbearable and I was nearly paralyzed with pain all day, everyday...yet still plugging away at work.  I was placed on Lyrica (pain med) and cyclobenzaprene (muscle relaxer) and referred to pain management while i awaited the appointment with the Neurosurgeon in Rochester (6 month wait).  

Here’s where life got REALLY difficult.  For anyone who has no experience with pain management, let me tell you that my view is based solely on my own experience...and i have nothing good to say about it.  This quack began by twisting and turning me in ways that caused me more pain than i’d endured to date.  By the time he was done “examining” me, was nearly crippled...it took me 15 minutes to get dressed again.  When i emerged from the exam room, i was met with an Rx for oxycodone (120 pills to be taken “as needed").  Didn't this quack know that i was already on pain meds and muscle relaxers?  He decided that what i needed was a sacral joint injection so i made the appointment and waited.  On the day of the appt, i was ushered into the triage area where all the necessary pre-procedure stuff was done and then to the OR i went...on foot.  I was instructed to climb onto the exam table, and lay face down.  The quack came in and never addressed me...just got down to business.  Let me tell you that this was NOT a good experience...for me.  The 6-foot needle was injected into my hip joint (okay...maybe it wasn’t quite 6 feet long), guided by a live x-ray.  Damn...this hurt!  When the quack was satisfied that he’d injected all he needed into my hip, he split and i was instructed to get down and walk back to meet my husband.  On the way, the nurse is giving me all these instructions and the more she talked, the more annoyed i became...and the less i heard as the walls began to close in around me and i became weak-kneed, breaking out into a cold sweat.  The nurse obviously noticed because she grabbed a chair and stuck it under me just in time.  After a few moments, i said i was fine and that all i wanted to do was get out of the hospital.  I went home and experienced ZERO relief after all that.  The quack decided another try was the answer.  I complied as i was desperate to end the pain.  Second time wasn’t a charm, either.  The pain became so bad that i had my husband fill the Rx for the oxycodone and i began taking it regularly.  The quack decided that he would do the nerve block on me next but first i had to endure 2 diagnostic blocks (temporary ones to insure that this was the course of action necessary).  I showed up for the first diagnostic procedure with a hopeful spirit in spite of the two previous visits and the lack of results.  The quack was going to inject the nerves along the L2-L5 vertebrae.  Yep...bring on the needles.  Did i mention that i have always hated needles?  Anyway, the first injection brought me off the table, at which time he scolded me.  I bit my lip (nearly off) and endured the 3 subsequent injections.  When he finished, he disappeared and i was instructed to get off the table and go.  I could not get up...my leg would not go underneath me so that i could push myself off the table.  It took me better than 5 minutes to get up and i was in tears by this point.  I was afraid....for the first time, i was actually afraid for my well-being.  I pulled myself together and told the nurses that i would not be back...ever.  

I explained to the nurse that I was going to wait for my appointment with the Neurosurgeon and see what he had to say. She responded with, "Well, if you need surgery, you're going to need a CAT scan...and we do those.  Make sure you tell the dr. that we can do that."  What the hell???  Does this woman work on commission or something?  Did she not just hear me tell her that I had seen all of that dr. that I'd planned on seeing???

By now, it was January and my appointment with the Neuro was in February.  I lived on the oxycontin, oxycodone and muscle relaxers until i met the Neuro.  On the day i met Dr. Maurer, the Neurosurgeon from Rochester, i was nearly defeated and still suffering.  Dr. Maurer was respectful and attentive.  He looked over my MRI films and told me that he could help me.  I had a cyst the size of a ping pong ball on my spine that was pressing against the column of nerves that travel down my back, creating the pain in my back and hips, and the numbness in my legs and feet.  I needed surgery and he all but guaranteed that i would be better.  As I walked to my car after my appointment, I cried...not because I was in pain, but rather because I had hope.  

My surgery was April 23rd.  I wasn't afraid or nervous AT ALL.  Perhaps it was a drug induced thing but I truly believed that there was nothing ahead that could be worse than where I'd been.  I was right.  I was completely off all pain meds in 10 days and back to work in 3 weeks (huz and doctor were not pleased with this decision).  Aside from a few setbacks as I healed, I'm a new person.  I've accepted the fact that I will never be 100% pain free but I am considerably better most days.  

For anyone suffering from pain, all I can say is I understand...but NEVER stop seeking relief.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Wow, Linda! I am so glad the surgery helped. My mom has had several but with little relief. Tenacious is a good thing. Only we know our bodies. We have to be advocates for ourselves, else the quacks have their way and our life savings to boot.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie Hempsey wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Amazing story. So glad you found relief ( for the most part) My hubby is in the throws of pt with chronic severe back pain. He finally found some hope after seeing many docs and chiros ...we went to an Institute in Philadelphia that deals strictly with back pain. he does not need surgery but lots and lots of pt with water therapy, electtical stimulation, massage, heat...etc. it is helping him alot along with a daily home exercise program. All the does had him in pain meds, which he still needs but at least ther is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for sharing your story!
      Friends,
      Ree



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I can’t believe everything you had to go through to get to an actual diagnosis.

      And, I’m thrilled that you didn’t suffer any addiction issues with all those pain meds!

      Amazing story, Linda.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I am so glad it is better now!!
      YAY!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Thanks, Dee Dee.  Has your mother sought help outside your community?  The doctor i saw is in Rochester, NY and he’s considered one of the top neurosurgeons in the US...Ted Turner sought him out when he was having back problems!  I happened upon him by luck...my nurse practitioner referred me to him.  Fortunately, he comes to our town once/month and his practice is only 90 minutes from my home.

      If you would like his info, PM me and i will gladly point you in his direction.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Ree...i hope, with all my heart, that the PT and other therapies help your husband.  You are understanding and sympathetic...i’m sure he appreciates that!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Heather:  there were no difficulties in my getting off those meds.  I lost half of my IQ while on them.  My husband used to laugh at me when i would try to explain something and fall flat on my face.  He quickly came to understand just how difficult it was for me to be so foggy all the time.  I could tell that i was talking nonsense when huz would get “that” look on his face...this was my cue to shut up.

      It wasn’t difficult getting off the drugs physiologically, either.  I don’t know if you‘re familiar with all the changes in your body when on oxycontin, but i didn’t like it one bit!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie Hempsey wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Daphne....You are awesome! Just thought i’d tell you i feel that way!
      Have a great day!
      * Ree *



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • MzTracy...me too!  Thank you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Jan 7, 2009
    • i just re-read this and was remembering all the nerve injections, facet block, cortizone injections etc. Those doctors are definately sadists!! lol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Peejay64 wrote Jan 7, 2009
    • Daphne,

      I am so sorry for the times you were in such incredible pain but am glad to know you were your own best advocate and sought out the truth and relief!  

      I think that there are a ton of Drs. out there who totally have a “God-complex” and are too high & mighty to really get to know their patients.  With healthcare the way it is...unfortunately, some of them don’t have the time to get to know more than just a folder/chart in front of them.  (sigh!)

      I’m on a little journey myself with some pain issues, and I’ll NEVER GIVE UP!  I use my mom’s issues for over 30 yrs as my motivation.  She just rolled over and quit living.  I certainly won’t do that!

      On another note:  my husband gets “that look” on his face with me all the time!  And I’m not on meds!  estatic

      Have a great day, Daphne.  You deserve it!



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