I am a chronic pain sufferer, this is my story. I am only 32.
I think it’s important to talk about how my life was before chronic pain took over my life. I was working in data entry full time, but it was a 17 month limited duration position. I had plans to pursue a permanent position. I was running 5 miles 3x a week. I was always out doing stuff with my best friends. My husband and I were always going out hiking and other activities. We got married in 2011.
2 weeks before our wedding I woke up in immense pain in my neck and shoulders. The only thing I could recall doing was reaching for my purse in the backseat. I figured it would go away in a few days, but it didn’t. I went to 2 different physical therapists, got an xray which only showed muscle spasms. It was only when my physical therapist recommended that I get an mri done. This was like a year after our honeymoon in Hawaii where we had been ziplining and hiking. The results of the mri showed a herniated disc. The neurosurgeon told me that a neck fusion should take away the pain. The pain was far less when I was doped up on the pain medicine. However, once I was off them, the pain wasn’t better. The surgeon said it takes 6 months to completely fuse back together.
At 6 months, I got a ct scan in which they could see the bones didn’t fuse back together (a non-union). So in late 2013, I had another neck fusion done to correct the issue. I had an mri done before the surgery so they could see in more detail. When I was in surgery, my surgeon came out to speak to my husband. She said that I had so much scar tissue that the bones had been unable to fuse, so I was basically walking around with a broken neck for a year. They couldn’t see this even on the MRI.
They were successful in the 2nd surgery in the fusion. The pain however still didn’t go away. I went to another two different physical therapists for about 6 months each. Then, I had the nerves severed on both sides of my neck through my pain doctor. This relief only lasted maybe a week or two.
After that in like 2014, I waited another 6 months or so to get a botox injection approved by the insurance company. It didn’t help.
Lastly, I had spinal stimulation therapy implanted. I went thorough a trial and reported 80% or so relief, so I was very hopeful.
When I had it implanted, the relief was okay but only reached the shoulder area. They tried to program it to cover more area, but were unsuccessful in getting relief to my neck. So I had an xray done after a couple months which showed that the leads that transmit the simulation and parathesia (buzzing feeling) had moved from my cervical spine to the thoracic spine which is why they were unsuccessful in programming.
Here are a few photos from the surgery:
I fought with the insurance company to get a revision surgery done. I had to get an attorney involved to help me appeal the denial. Finally, they approved it. Since they didn’t specify which surgery they were approving and my surgeon felt the peripheral stimulation would benefit me more, he revised to that with my agreement. They woke me during surgery for a brief moment to make sure I could feel it. It felt like it was hitting all the right spots at that point. However, I couldn’t really test it for about a week after to give time to heal. I had 4 incisions this time because they had to take it all out and put the leads on the back of my head just underneath the skin. He failed to mention that I would be getting the back of my head shaved to do so! Ha ha.
Anyway, they programmed me 6 times with no relief after surgery. They even flew someone in from headquarters to program me a final time. Still no success.
Right now I’m at a point that I’m gonna wait until next year to have it removed because I’ve had a surgery or procedure done every year for the past 5 years. It could stay in me, but there’s no point if it’s not doing anything for me.
So, now I’m just twiddling my thumbs waiting for my pain doctor to come up with another treatment option if there is one. I’m currently taking gabapentin about 3600mg a day, but it barely touches the pain.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post if I didn’t already bore you. Lol.