Today I am heading in to my Pain Management doctor for Facet Injections. We discussed Radiofrequency Ablation so I don't know if she will add that on as well, I will ask when I get in but if I weren't hopeful that this will bring some relief from the relentless lower back pain, I wouldn't even have made the appointment.
I am at the point in my journey with my lower back that standing for too long hurts, walking too far hurts, sitting too long hurts. I have 5 "bad discs" in my back. In the cervical area I have 2 bulging and one herniated. In my lower back - one bulging and one herniated. It's been this way for a very, very long time. I also have arthritis all through my back. The chiropractor that I saw took X-rays and said that I had the back of an 80-year old. That was in the Summer of 2013 when I was 45/46. He tried to treat me but after weeks of 2x a week treatments including adjustments, massage and acupuncture, he concluded that it was not working and sent me for the MRI that discovered the disc issues. Last year I went to the Spine center and they said that the arthritis was getting worse and my spine is curving. It's starting to curve like a backward S. Conservative treatment- my treatment of choice- is Lidocaine patches for pain. They help a bit, but don't take away the pain enough to function so today's visit is the next step.
Here are my hopes:
- I hope that I can attend a yoga class that I found this summer
- I hope that I can walk Auggie farther than around the Cul-De-Sac
- I hope that I can train Fenway this summer (she HATES the leash) so that I can walk her too.
- I hope that by walking and doing yoga I can strengthen my lungs and body enough to go hiking through Clifty Falls State Park again.
- I hope that I can regain the energy that I have sorely missed.
It's a lot to hope for, but hope is all that I can have going in. I know that no matter which procedure we do, once the anesthesia wears off I am in for a world of pain before the treatment kicks in. Both facet injections and RFA information online from patients who have been through it say that it can be days of multiplied pain while the medication (anesthesia and steroids) for the facet injection or the "burning off" (the best way I can describe it) of the nerve endings settles for the RFA. Thankfully the procedure is this morning, it should only take an hour or so and then I can come home and rest until Monday. The only thing on my plate this weekend is an appointment with my adviser for school tomorrow and then I can come back home and go back to my bed for the next few days if needed. The irony is that the official literature also says that there is a need to take it easy and "you can return to your normal activities" after 24 hours. Conflicting info so I am going to err on the side of caution.
In the meantime, while she's doing her thing back there I am just going to repeat my hopes over and over as I breathe through it. In case you are curious- here's a video of my doctor explaining Radiofrequency Ablation. Wish me luck!