I would not usually write about such a thing in my blog. I share poems and photos here. I have been asked a lot (I was blown away actually) with interested folks asking exactly what a Spinal cord stim implant is and why I have one.
I thought I would explain as it is a bit easier to do it this way then send so many E – mails or messages.
A quick rundown of what happened to my spine. In 2002 I was in a cross walk and was hit at 70mph by a very young driver on a cell phone who went through the light. I am not going to discuss this end of it – but am explaining what the first injury was from.
I will however say that I am very grateful to still be here after being hit at that speed.
I had some injuries to my shoulder, knee, head at that time since have healed well.
My herniation in L/4 L5 had blown out and was pressing on nerves. It took lots of physical therapy to get to the point I could walk correctly and it seemed like I would be fine. It was then in 2006 when I had hit the floor and could not feel my legs. I had moved wrong and the herniation utterly blew out. I was given a surgery that freed up the nerves and it healed ok.
I had been getting some pain now and then and some tingly feelings in my legs but it was nothing I could not deal with day to day. In 2009 It happened again; I was sitting in a class I was taking and lost feeling in my legs. I was scared at this time because nothing I could explain brought it on. Again, (different surgeon) freed up another nerve and with major physical therapy I was walking again and though it took more time this round – I was able to heal it well.
Years had gone by, in 2012 I bent wrong and hit the ground, this time I did not get up. I lost feeling in my foot and the pain was making me pass out. Went to ER and spent about 10m days in hospital. After many Dr opinions and tests I was told my spine was collapsing and if I did not get a fusion I would be in a wheelchair for good. It was in 2013 after having over 30 spinal block injections, physical therapy, lots of opiates and medications and nothing was helping. I went with the fusion but because it took so long for me to finally find the surgeon who knew what it was, I lost the feeling in my foot and use of it. The Surgery secured my spine though I wound up with a puncture to my Dura that caused a bad leak (left me in hospital for almost 3 weeks and laying flat on my back) I got through it and began to heal once again. Though my spine was a bit more stable, the nerve damage at many levels was without exaggeration, very painful. I am not one to take pain pills and it felt like even those and at times, Morphine and Dilauded drips could not make the nerve pain calm down. It got to the point I was not sleeping or able to do much. I began to lose all feeling and use of my left leg all the way to my foot. It was the kindness and dedication of my GP that got me a custom leg/foot brace that allows me to walk without using my walker as much. The pain was still controlling me though. I was able to re-connect with my surgeon who did my second surgery and he told me about the spinal cord stimulator. He was honest and said he could not fix the damage done to my nerves. even though my spine has now begun to curve to the right and I still have a herniation pushing on nerves in L3/L4 he felt the risk of going back into the same spot as the fusion would be way to high risk. He told me that this SCS was created for people like me who were at the end of the line so to speak. So I said OK! I am willing to try this.
The trial was implanted on May 1st and it did not go too well. I had a not usual experience where the stim was triggering my uterus to go into spasm and it felt like I was in labor for 3 days. They kept me in the hospital to figure it out.
This was the trial implant, The wires are implanted in my spine at the T 10 level. Then the wires were pulled down my spine and outside my body was the stim device that had different programs that caused a tingly feeling down my legs that stopped the nerve pain (but gave me other challenges at that time)
My custom brace I am grateful for. ❤
This was the Rocky Mountain fever in Aug 2011
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I went home and sadly because of the reaction, had to wait to get it tuned correctly and the day before the perm implant, I finally got the relief I was asking for in my legs.
On May 8th they did the perm implant.
This time the device is under my skin and the wires are inside my spine. I have a remote control that the Representatives who created the device create different programs for me to try that gives different sensations. I am still not getting any relief in my back but my legs are amazing. No pain. I am having some challenges with my right leg feeling numb and the wounds are still kinda sensitive. I am getting abdominal cramps from it badly and a few other things that need adjusting. So far, so good. I cannot say yet if it was worth all the pain of getting it implanted for my back, but the pain in my legs it sure is.
I’ve left a lot out of this because it would become mundane and complaining sounding if I added anymore. I am grateful for my life and this challenge has taught me more then I could ever put into words. Life is a gift and everything is a lesson to expand us. I am and always will be trusting of why things happen.
Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I am deeply grateful for all those who gave me loving support and encouragement during it all. My love always.
I am utterly in awe with the love and kindness of so many who have had life altering challenges respond to me (in private) I respect this deeply; that I wanted to touch base on just a few more things I believe are relevant.
All of us, I and I know this for sure – have had life altering experiences. No matter what that might be, we all have or will face this. Pain is transient and even though some of us experience chronic pain – it does not define us. I have had a few health challenges besides this; including a heart attack in 2011 and Rocky mountain fever a month after. Both of those left me feeling as if it was the worst experience I could have. It WAS in the moment. My point in this is; all of these things taught me the strongest most healing lesson of it all. It’s a moment. It’s an experience; it’s something everyone can relate with and it creates the space within us to see how strong of a will we really all do have.
I have met many folks who have/are living and healing from Cancer, Lupus, different blood disorders, accidents that left them paralyzed, blind, even dealing with post traumatic stress. Some are born with health challenges of the mind and of the body that make me inspired to know them because they are still here, still never giving up.
I am grateful to talk to many who taught me about natural healing, meditation, healthy foods and herbs that help.
Thank you to all those who share their stories in hope to help others to be inspired to hold on and not feel alone in their challenges.
Most of all, I wanted to up date this to say thank you to all those who on a daily biases care for all of us who have had challenges (no matter what they are) and stand by us unconditional. It takes a very strong heart/soul to watch a loved one go through such experiences and feel helpless at times or not know what to do. To take on daily tasks and then some out of love/friendship.
Thank you once again all who have read this far and I would love so much to know your story and connect with you if you have experienced something no matter what that is that changed your life and revealed your strong soul to you.