Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally.....an update

I (Lovice) want to start by apologizing for not updating the blog more often. I think about it, but then slips my mind. At least I am finally getting to it! While I write this I am also watching the Rachel Ray talk show, she has Vanilla Ice on. He is singing is old hit "Ice Ice Baby". So funny, brings back some memories.

Of course I have been dealing with a lot of leg & knee pain. About a month & a half ago, I decided to find a new pain management doctor for my CPRS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). My previous pain doctor told me that the pain in my left leg was all my imagination. As you can guess, that statement didn't sit well at all. I got a recommendation from another CPRS sufferer for Edward Wasabaugh from Michigan Pain Specialists. I made an appointment with Dr. Wasabaugh & they were a tad stunned by my previous doctor's comments. They were able to immediately schedule me for my first sympathetic nerve block, because I had already tried all the previous steps.

The week (August 19th) before my first nerve block, I woke up with horrible pain just above my stomach. I thought it was bad heartburn. I tried a few things & the pain didn't ease off at all. After having the pain for 4 hours, I had my dad take me to the emergency room. They immediately took blood & started an I.V. to give me pain medication. The blood work came back showing that my white blood count was high (which usually indicates an infection). The ER doctor checked me out & was fairly certain that it was my gall bladder. The called a surgeon & he had me admitted & scheduled me for surgery the next day. I was in the hospital for over 24 hours. They had to give me pain medication about every 3 hours up until surgery. The surgery went off without a hitch. Because of this I had to reschedule my nerve block for about a month. At my 2 week post-op appointment, I found out why my gall bladder was causing so much trouble. It had died & had started to develop gangrene. Thankfully the Lord was watching over me.

I finally got my first nerve block, which was done on the left side of my lower back. The block is a short of lidocaine & steroids. It did give me pain relief for about 27 or so hours. It was so nice having no left leg pain, even for such a short period of time. Two weeks later I had my second nerve block. Again the block only last a little over 24 hours. The hope was that each block would last longer and longer. This would be over a period of 5-6 shots, getting one every 1-2 weeks.

Today I went in to get my 3rd nerve block & didn't get it. Since there wasn't any improvement, Dr. Wasabaugh determined that the blocks were not enough. So the remaining nerve blocks have been canceled. Instead he has recommended a Spinal Cord Stimulator(SCS). This is a device the is permanently implanted in the lower back. It has tiny electrodes that are attached the the sympathetic nerves for both legs. The SCS allows an almost constant electrical stimulation to those nerves, stopping the signals being caused by the CPRS. This is one of the last things that can be done. I am more then willing to try this step. I have been dealing with the CPRS for over 2 years. In that time frame, the CPRS spread of just affecting my left knee, to also infecting my entire lower left leg.

There are a few steps before getting the permanent SCS implanted. My medical insurance requires that I see a chronic pain psychiatrist before they will pay for it. I have no problem with that. They will also do a trial SCS. This entails them doing surgery & attaching an electrode to the sympathetic nerve on each side. The electrodes will be attached to a battery pack outside my body by some wires. If it works like it is suppose it, then I will be scheduled for the permanent SCS. To check to see if the trial SCS improves my leg function, I have to be evaluated by a physical therapist before the trial SCS & during the trail period. If my function improves, then they know that the permanent SCS should work correctly. This is a lot of stuff, but I am excited to get this started. I know it is my chance to get this pain under control. I don't expect the pain to completely go away, but just want to be able to have a life. To be able to do normal everyday things.

After I get the SCS, then I get to have surgery on my right knee. I know, it never seems to end for me does it? Oh, well...have to take things as they come. I need a partial replacement on my right knee. This is the same surgery I had on my left knee. My right knee pain is getting worse & worse everyday. I have been scared to get this surgery because it is what caused the CPRS in my left leg. I am scared of it spreading, but if I have the SCS then it can be kept under control. Some of the pain in my right knee could actually be because of the CPRS. It might have already spread, but it is hard to tell since I have my knee cap rubbing on the femur (that is what is causing the damage.

All in all it is nice to be on the right track for getting everything taken care of. I know that Heavenly Father will watch over me & give me strength. I can make it through anything with His love & support and with the love & support of my husband, parents & friends. Thank you all!

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