Then What?

clock tickingThe night spreads its blanket over the house and the dogs have taken their places for a night’s sleep.  My husband has gone upstairs to bed.  All feels settled down and calm.  I love this feeling where I am with my man in the moon secluded while the stars twinkle around us.

I am watching the time on my computer.  Nothing to eat after midnight.  I am worried and more than a little scared.  With each tick of the clock I am drawing closer to the fact that tomorrow I will undergo yet another surgery.  This time it is for removal of 4 discs in my neck.

I am impinged.  Meaning my cervical spine is being compressed by offensive discs.  They intend to cut my neck in the front, draw aside my esophagus and anything else in the way, then uncover my spine.  The discs will be removed and then a tube will be placed where the discs once lived.  All will be well according to the surgeon’s standard, but will it?

It’s been nearly four months of agonizing pain.  Through the dawning of each day and the setting of the sun, I have lived with this pain, unrelenting and worsening as the days passed, I suffered mostly in silence.  However, there have been many days and late nights where I have succumbed to loudly screaming and giving in to the waves of tears that I have held back.

I’ve taken pain pills and waited for the wash of not caring so much about the pain.  The pain pills cut into the pain but does not take it away.

Will this surgery help my legs even though the cervical spine mostly controls the upper body?  Will I be freed from this unrelenting and excruciating pain?  Will I be able to walk with my unstable MS gait but be free of pain?  Will I not care about finding a way to sit or lay in bed where I can find some relief?   Will the pain of a surgery that takes 3-4 hours give way and give me back my freedom of knowing what it feels like to have little pain in my legs?

I have a million thoughts running through my head.  If this doesn’t work then what, I asked my MS neurologist.  He shrugged and told me to work with my pain management doctors.  I looked at him and burst into tears.  I can’t take this anymore.

I will have an EMG exam following the surgery and when I’m feeling up to it to try and isolate what nerve or nerves are being affected.  Perhaps I won’t need this painful test?

Then what?

My Take on This

There is no take on this.  It is what it is.  I can only wait and watch the clock ticking.  I have no delusion or faith that this will work.  Hope for the best?   I can’t.  I’m too tired to even try.

The clock ticks away.  I sit here with the man in the moon waiting for then what?

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Can I Run Away From Myself?


Well folks.  I’m here to tell you that right now I’m beside myself handling all this pain I’ve been experiencing.

It all started almost three months ago.  I began to feel a strange tingling in my legs, stronger on the left side.  It was strange because it just went from my knees to my ankles.  It came and went.

Then the intermittent periods between it’s coming and going shortened and I started experiencing pain.  It was the sensation of a charley horse.  You know how you know that it’s coming?  You start to feel a pain that builds and builds then it gets to the peak and goes over into excruciating pain.

What happened to me is that it went over into excruciating pain and it never went away.  It’s horrible.  Add to that the tingling sensation!  It decided to join the pain party and get stronger.  It also decided to stay at the party like an uninvited guest who doesn’t know it’s time to go home.

Have you ever used a tens unit?  Well if you turn the tens unit too high you get awful pain from it because it’s like an electrical sensation that’s too high.

This is what I’ve been living with for two months now.  I’ve been to the hospital twice trying to get help for the pain.  They helped me over night by giving me morphine and they ran all sorts of tests.  They felt it was coming from my back.  There was no definitive reason why they thought that, but that is what they said.  During the one stay at the hospital, their solution was to give me a heating pad to put on my back.  This was the instructions the hospital neurologist gave.

It was a very odd visit with him.  He could barely hear and no matter what I said he insisted that I had back pain.  I kept insisting that I didn’t.  My general practitioner also felt that way.  She felt it was sciatica.

There is no point repeating myself relentlessly because I know my last blog mentioned a lot of this.

Here is where I’m at now. MRIs were taken of my lumbar spine and my cervical spine.  My lumbar spine showed a bunch of stuff, but the radiology report was not definitive that about anything impinging my spinal cord.

My neck, however, showed that in three different areas, my spinal cord was impinged.  It was decided that I see a pain management Doctor for my legs and surgery for my neck.

I went to see the pain management Doctor.  I was given Tramadol for pain which is dispensed one week at a time and that they would like to try an injection in my back, under anesthesia, to block the over active nerves from sending pain signals to my legs.  This will be done on the 15th of January.  I figured, what the heck.  I will try anything to get rid of this pain.

Then I saw the neurosurgeon about my neck.  He told me, they will go in through the front of my neck, push everything to one side, in order to reach the cervical spine.  They will then remove three discs and replace the whole thing with a rod. But wait…there is more!

I finally saw my MS Neurologist.  I bombarded him with everything that had occurred since we last met.  I did wonder if the pain in my legs was from MS or something in my back.  Since the consensus from so many doctors was that my back was the root of the problems, I went along with the crowd.  However, my neurologist asked me to explain the pain from onset to where it was that day.  I did.  He looked at me and he said, “What you’ve explained to me is a classic case of neuropathy.”

                “What do you mean?”  I asked.

                “No kidding.  You explained to me precisely what happens with neuropathic pain.  The fact that it doesn’t seem to be connected to pain in your buttocks or your back and that it seems to be concentrated in just your lower limbs.”

                “Oh no!  What should I do about the nerve block procedure?”  He thought about it for a second and said.

                “Well just in case I’m wrong, I would go ahead with the nerve block.  I doubt that it will help, but if it does, then great!  However, I think we will try and treat this with medication as well.”

I thought about everything he just told me.  On the one hand, I was pissed off at all the doctors who treated me at the hospital with heating pads and morphine.  Why in the world didn’t they think about neuropathy and help me with medications.

I was also pissed off at me.  Why didn’t I call my Neurologist when all this started?  I thought about it, but I didn’t act on it.  Instead I waited hoping it would just pass like so many other things come and go in MS.

He did agree with the Doctors about my neck because he too had received a copy of the radiology report.

My Take on this:

Relief from pain.  I don’t care what it takes.  I’ve lived in 24/7 pain for nearly three months and my heart goes out to people who live in this kind of pain for so much longer.  I can see why some have suicidal thoughts with this kind of pain day in and day out.

I wanted to run away from myself.  I wanted to shed my body and just turn around and kick the old thing.  I wanted to run as far as I could from it. 

I usually look at my life five minutes at a time, but right now I have things looming in front of me that is difficult to ignore.

The shot should be nothing…I hope.  But the cervical spine surgery is not something to slough off as nothing.  I don’t know how much more my body can continue to take at this point.

Let’s forget about all that I just wrote.  There are a lot of positives that can loom ahead in the future as well.  I should not be ignoring that. 

Take one step in front of the other and …  and…

Does anyone know how to run away from myself?