When we left off in Part 1 (BACKground) of the story of my back troubles, Dr. Mobasser had just saved the day by removing two disc fragments from my spine and bringing me more relief than I could possibly have expected. This period of painlessness lasted for about six months before a second bulging disc in my back started rubbing up against a different, but similar sciatic nerve.
Two Dissident Lessons Learned:
Lesson #1: Fortunately, over the course of my surgical experience, I learned that my pain tolerance is too high. Not “tough guy” high, but rather “action movie” high or more appropriately, “you might seriously injure yourself and not know it” high. Knowing this, I had a much better understanding of the need to monitor my body and take time to heal whenever my back pain grew too much.
Lesson #2: Unfortunately, over the course of my surgical experience, I spent about two months with the largest nerve in my body abrased, pinched, stretched, and twisted; constant (literally, there was not a second of my day–even when fully medicated–in which my pain level wasn’t at least a 3), throbbing pain throughout my back, hamstring, and calf; and frequent bouts of spastic pain reducing me to a screaming, convulsing heap on the floor. After that, it’s really hard for me to consider just about anything to be truly “painful,” no matter how bad it hurts.
As the pain from the new bulging disc continued to grow, I tried to take appropriate measures to care for my back rather than muscling through it (yay for Lesson #1). Of course, I didn’t do a good enough job (dammit, Lesson #2) and, after a little over a year of this pain (December 2011), the bulging disc began to break and release new fragments to go molest my sciatic nerve.
Back to the spastic, crippling pain (though still not nearly as bad as it was two years ago), I returned to Dr. Mobasser, who indicated that he was going to need to go in and cut out any floating disc fragments, bone spurs, Junior Mints, or scar tissue that was bothering my nerve. First, though, we’d need to make sure we were targeting the right nerve. This is done by sticking a needle all the way into my spine and literally injecting the nerve with a numbing substance and a steroid.
Shot in the back:
Dr. Mobasser sent me back to my orthopedist, Dr. Scott Taylor, in whom I also have great faith and trust, to get my “selective nerve root block” shot. To make a long story very short, they wheeled me into the hospital and plunged about two inches of a syringe that looked like a Klingon ceremonial spear into my back.
The injection was a success! My nerve went numb for a few hours and left me painless, which means that we’ve isolated the correct nerve! I’m waiting for a call from Dr. Mobasser now to let me know when I’ll be going in for surgery. In the mean time, I’m hoping the steroid in my nerve will keep things stable! Until next time, keep rocking!
…aaaaand just in case surgery goes poorly and this is the last you’ll ever hear from me, here’s a Love Poem For Ghosts (read the story behind this poem and why this might be actually be a poem about you in my blog entry: “A Love Poem For Ghosts“):