About Me

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I am a 24 year old woman who has been battling chronic back and neck pain for the past six years. I am writing this blog to help others and to educate others about Peripheral Nerve Field Stimulation (PNFS) which is a new application for Neuromodulation technology that treats pain. My trial PNFS implant is scheduled for Monday, July 6th, 2009 and the final surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21st, 2009. I will be documenting my journey through the process. _____________________________________

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Revision Surgery is Scheduled

So my surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday. They will remove the right lead and replace it so that it is closer to the skin. They may move the left one as well to ensure it does not get pulled deeper by the scar tissue and interfere with my motor nerves on that side. I know it is ridiculous but I almost feel like a failure because I need to have the leads moved. Why couldn't they just work! All I know is I am remembering how much pain I was in before the surgery. My right shoulder is so incredibly painful. I am ready to get back to my life. I am tired of being "disabled." I want to be young and wild and fun and carefree! I hope and pray that this solves my problems and I can benefit from this surgery. And get back to myself!

Wish me luck ... I need it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Party Never Ends (if you consider ANOTHER SURGERY a party!)

So I went in to see my SJM rep today because my right lead is still acting up. Ever since I had the lead turned up at my last appointment with my rep's assistant I have been having severe spasms and right shoulder pain. I recently realized that I am not even feeling any stimulation on the right side, only spasms. So I have had it turned down all the way.

Jennifer, my SJM rep, started by turning all the leads completely off. She then proceeded to slowly turn up the right lead and told me to tell her when I first felt the stimulation. Well, I didn't even have to tell her because as soon as she turned it up, my right shoulder shot up in the air into a painful spasm. She then tried at least 30 different times to light up the lead in different ways which all resulted with the same spasm. After that she explained to me that instead of the stimulator affecting my peripheral nerves like it is supposed to, it is reaching my motor nerves instead which create the spasms. She said I likely have not noticed this until now because I had the right lead powered so low until my previous reprogramming. The motor nerves of the muscle are being reached because the lead is placed too deep. This can only be corrected by removing the lead in revision surgery and placing it in a more shallow position.

Yay me. So much for my upcoming wedding dress shopping ... Surgery number 3 here we come.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Week of Firsts ....... DRUMROLL ...............

So I got the final bill in ..... but I am going to make you read through the whole post to find out how much the final implant surgery costs. Because I am devious that way ;) . Ok now about my week of firsts. For those who don't know I had the final stimulator implanted three weeks ago today. First number 1: This is the first week since the surgery that I have gone to work without my sleepover gear, aka my trusty pillow. First number 2: First week to drive without my pillow.. Bring it on left-hand turns I can take it now! First number 3: It is the first time since the beginning of July that I have had a goo free back. All those bandages put some pretty gnarly goo on you skin that is IMPOSSIBLE to remove without some heavy duty chemicals. There is something about open wounds and nail polish remover or goo-gone that doesn't sound soothing. So it took quite a bit of healing time before I would let any of that near my skin. Granted I still have goo spots directly around the incisions, but for the most part I am clean. First number 4: The driving factor behind the goo removal was my Saturday appearance in a bathing suit. Scars and all I bared it at the pool. (The incisions are healed enough that it is not gross or unclean at this point. The Doctor said I can't submerge in any water until next Saturday but I cheated a bit and got a little wet. First number 5: Possibly one of the most exciting... I wore pants today!! Oh the little things you take for granted everyday. I now realize that I DO NOT have that many comfy skirts or dresses to rotate for three weeks straight. And let me tell you, it is difficult to look like a functioning part of society without pants! So I was excited to look like a business woman again! First number 6: Well I already got wet in the pool, so I took a bath. Oh a glorious bath. Baths are perhaps my most favorite thing in the world (accompanied by a book) so I am a happy woman to have that luxury back.

My next goal .. wear a real bra again. Good lord this sticky bra isn't cutting it anymore. My boobs may be a good two inches lower now! J/k. Too Much Information .. I know. Lol. It may be a long way off though given the placement of my incisions which are still a bit sore to the touch. But hey, with all my wonderful firsts I have had this week, I can take a sticky bra for a bit longer.

Ok, Ok. Now for the final tally. Total charges: $92,251.77. And that's in addition to the $20,000 mentioned in the previous post. Pain sure has its price tag ... let me let that sink in for a bit.

I will post updated pictures of how the scars are healing in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two Week Post Op VIsit

Tomorrow I have my two week post-op visit. I just wanted to share how I am doing and reflect back on the surgery and recovery thus far.

I am still quite tender at the battery implant site. I have been using my pillow less and less for driving and working though. I love all of the comments I get walking into the office .. like, "Hey where's the sleepover at?!" or "Wow, you get to take naps at work?". I usually just ignore them because I don't feel like explaining my recent surgery! I still bring it to work everyday just in case I really need it. I have been noticing more muscle spasms and pain in my upper back now that some of the battery pain has subsided. I have done really well with pain this week. It no longer feels like my skin is ripping apart. It is just tender now. Most of the upper back pain I am dealing with now is related to the right shoulder because the stimulation is not very strong. When I had the trial implant I had difficulty feeling the stimulation in my left shoulder. I thought it was due to placement, but the doctor said it was because my left shoulder was where my worst pain is. I now know this is not the case because it is the opposite now with poor stimulation on the right instead. There is a clear difference in how the stimulation feels in the left versus the right shoulder. Hopefully we can try some new programs tomorrow to see if that changes anything. Otherwise, it would have to be corrected with another surgery. Which honestly wouldn't be that bad. The placement of the leads, anchoring of the leads to the muscle, and external stitches at the lead site caused me minimal to no pain at all in the grand scheme of things. I rarely even noticed the stitches on my upper back. It is only the battery that is bothersome. Perhaps it is better if you have more junk in your trunk for this reason! Lol. I will let you all know how the appointment goes tomorrow.