Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's been awhile! I am here and hopefully back

Well, I never thought it would be so long before I got to my blog again, that I might not be able to find it! alas, here it is the New Year, ringing in the pain pump now in place, and the medication almost where it needs to be dosage wise. Of course I realize I will never be completely free of pain. But, compared to oral pills, and all else endured for far too many years for the chronic illnesses and pain, I would highly suggest a pain pump to anyone who was in my place, or many are already worse. It is quite a lengthy process to just get to the place of having a "trial" time. Fortunately for me, I went in thinking I was going in for my trial, but due to my doctor already having known me for over 5 years, treating me, and knowing my total history, they already had the pump approved, and at the hospital in November a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. I made my decision on the gurney while waiting for the OR room to be set up. Actually, we had figured as much due to what the nurses had told me while they prepared me for the surgery. Sure enough my personal representative from Medtronic was there to get me ready as far as understanding the entire situation. My doctor was more than ready to go right on and put it in, rather than have to do a trial, then in a day or two, re-admit me, and then do the surgery. So, since I was already ready to get this thing started, as the song goes, I went in and came out with yet another hunk of metal in my body. This one hopefully like the knee replacements that shall give me tremendous relief from the far too many years of chronic, daily pain. The kind of pain that has ruled over my life for at least 15 years, and that I have tried everything known to man, woman and alien to help me. The list is endless of doctors, therapies, medications, physical therapy, magnets, rubs, TENS units, injections in my various joints and back, way too many CT and MRI scans and enough Xrays that I should have an eternal green glow at night!
 The number of doctors I have seen was too large to count on fingers and toes! From over the counter remedies, to anti-seizure medications, to NSAIDS, and narcotics... the list of pills are endless also.The day I shall always feel lives in infamy for me, is the day I was visiting my current pain specialist and his words were "time to think about a pain pump!" I almost hugged him! Five years ago, when I first went to him, it was because my still PCP had already suggested highly it was more than time for a pain pump for me.

I was signing papers, watching DVD's, reading everything online I could find, and just trying to hurry up the process. It took of course getting insurance approval, then several visits of talking about it, telling me about the first part, which was a psyche evaluation, that was truly more due to insurance, than my doctor. But, I had it done, and was ready for the next step. Well, by the time his nurse got all done with my insurance, they had basically said there was no need for a trial on me, and go ahead!

Now I had a couple of small setbacks, the first of which was one of the horrible "spinal" headaches that is caused by having a lumbar puncture not seal up as it should, thus the loss of spinal fluid messes up the balance, and the headache in sues.  Of course I developed the damned thing on the Saturday, after coming home on Friday from the hospital! We basically knew the issue, and after calling my doctor, we did have to make a trip to the ER to get my severe nausea and vomiting stopped and then I was told to drink as much caffeine as possible. For some strange reason for many, a spinal headache can be stopped with enough caffeine. I went back to Dallas the following Tuesday, still with the headache, but it was somewhat better than the weekend. They scheduled me for what is called a "blood patch" to seal it off, but said if I continued to get better, and was careful, I may not even need the patch. Thus true, I did everything I was told, and it sealed on its own. A couple of weeks later, I began to feel a knot coming up on my back by my spine, where the incision is for the catheter that was put in to the pump and then attached into my spine. come to find out, it is a fluid buildup that does happen, and it is called a seroma. Luckily, it will finally go away on its own since it stopped growing and began showing signs of going down. We did not want to take a chance to drain it and cause a possible infection.

Thus even with those two minor issues, and then the weekly trips to Dallas to my pain specialist for weeks and weeks, we have finally about gotten my dosage of medication in the pump where it needs to be.

I went in yesterday, and he refilled it, with a higher concentration of medication, which means not having to go as often for it to be refilled! I have already seen so much getting better... no more side effects from the oral medications, it is a relief not to worry about those pills, making sure I take them right, making sure I fill them when i needed to and so forth. I was a little bent out of shape because the pump shows a little with my shirt off. But, that I was told would happen due to my slender waist. And I surely am not going to put on any weight, so it will just have to stay showing and turn into a conversation starte...LOL, probably.
I am thrilled to be back online, and hope that with this pump life gets a great deal better this year. I still have hurdles to jump, but this year one huge one I have cleared hopefully for a long time to come.

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