Monday on Friday

Today’s Friday, but I need to go back and tell you about Monday… at least I think it’s Monday.  I mean Friday!   I remember when Danny had been in the NICU for more than a month and I was scrubbing and gowning next to another mom and we had this major in-depth conversation about what day of the week it was.  All we both knew for sure was that it definitely was not Sunday 🙂

Anyway, last week my friend Maureen set me up to have an appointment with a pain specialist.  My left arm has nerve damage from surgery, and I have now been hurting for six months.  I have been on so much medicine and tried to be patient but still, I’ve been hurting.   So last week Maureen called the best pain guy she knew… you know, the kind of specialist it takes three months of waiting to get an appointment with.

Well, right after she called him, he called me.  No kidding.  He asked me lots of good questions about what was going on, suggested that perhaps a brachial plexus nerve block might really help, and then told me he was only going to be in the pain clinic three days out of the next three weeks  (He also does anethesia in the hospital)   “Which day do you want to come?”  he asked.  I was shocked.  I chose my day, then he asked me what time I wanted to be there.   Still shocked.  So I chose 8 AM Monday morning.  No eating or drinking after midnight before, can’t drive myself.  No problem,  relief was in sight.

(pictures from proceduresconsult.com)

(pictures from proceduresconsult.com)

So I went to the appointment and after lots of discussion and an exam, he decided that a thoracic steroid epidural would be more likely to give me relief from the arm problem and also help with the chest wall pain from radiation.  He told me it might help a lot, might help a little, might not help at all, but he thought it was the best thing to try first.  I appreciated his candor, but mostly I appreciated that we were going to start on the path to fixing this problem.

thor21

It was an interesting, though painful, procedure.  Sure, I know as much anatomy as any other retired physician, but it still amazed me when he started injecting dye and anesthetic into the back of my neck and all of a sudden I could feel intense hot pressure exactly where the pain problem is in my arm.  Guess he got the right nerve!

thor1

The other thing he did, though, was to take over management of my pain medicine.  He put me on a protocol of gradually increasing regularly scheduled meds with a different kind of pill for breakthrough pain. 

Is it working?  Yes, there is progress, and that was our goal.  The epidural steroids didn’t totally make the pain from the nerve damage go away, but he didn’t promise that it would.  But between the procedure, and the new medicine, there have been HOURS that I didn’t even think about my arm.  That totally surprised me the first time it happened.  I guess I had gotten used to having my painful arm just hanging out in my consciousness all the time.  There have also been hours that the pain has been just as bad as before, but I’m getting better at taking the new medicine just right, so that shouldn’t happen as often.

I go back to see him in 10 days.  It’s such a relief to know that we’ve gotten started on the path to fixing this.  I was getting really, really tired of hurting all the time.

10 thoughts on “Monday on Friday

  1. I’m so happy for you that you are finally getting a handle on the pain with the new protocol. Mostly, I am happy that you have found a doc to fight the good fight with you.
    The pictures of George and Emily are wonderful. I understand that his low weight is not a good thing, but angel George looked absolutely perfect to me. Nancy

  2. Oh my goodness! I have TEARS OF JOY!
    I so totally know what it’s like to suddenly realize “Hey, I’m not thinking about right now and haven’t even noticed for a couple of hours!”
    What a TRUE BLESSING THAT IS!!!
    You have been a rock of wisdom for me as I’ve endured (not patiently, not quietly, not gracefully) pain in various body-part-Xs.
    I’ve been praying. Praise the Lord for a few minutes of relief.
    Thank you so much for sharing the joy with us.

  3. Well, the above made NO SENSE.
    I guess I can’t put things in angle brackets.
    Here’s the real comment, with no vanishing text in angle brackets.

    Oh my goodness! I have TEARS OF JOY!

    I so totally know what it’s like to suddenly realize “Hey, I’m not thinking about BODY-PART-X right now and haven’t even noticed BODY-PART-X for a couple of hours!”

    What a TRUE BLESSING THAT IS!!!

    You have been a rock of wisdom for me as I’ve endured (not patiently, not quietly, not gracefully) pain in various body-part-Xs.

    I’ve been praying.

    Praise the Lord for a few minutes of relief.
    Thank you so much for sharing the joy with us.

  4. That is WONDERFUL! I am so glad you have one less thing to bother you so much!!!!!! GOD IS GOOD!!!! hugs on this rainy day!

  5. I agree with Lynette, GOD IS GOOD!!!

    It is so frustrating not being able to “see” you and give you hugs, but hope you feel them in our messages!

    I know you will feel better soon, because with another caring doctor on your side and your medical knowledge…retired or not… you will be teaching that doctor even more!

    Lots of prayers coming your way that your path to relief gets better and better…soon!

    Hugs!

  6. OH HALLELIUAH! i’m so glad for you, pain can be exhausting and i pray that this course will continue to give you relief. i promise to hug you ever so gently when i see you.

  7. Wonderful news. One of the amazing parts is that you NEVER complained about this pain despite all the opportunities to. Every blog entry could be about how bad it is to hurt all the time but you don’t even mention it. You are truly an amazing person Elizabeth and I have tremendous respect for you.

  8. Oh, dear Elizabeth, I am so happy that your pain is, at times, losing its controlling power. How wonderful and fortunate that wise Maureen connected you with this particular pain specialist who treated you with respect and has helped you make progress against the pain.

    When I read your updates, I am struck with how you are reclaiming your life with resoluteness and courage and trust. You may not feel amazing, but you are. You may not feel strong, but you are. You may not feel brave, but you are.

    The pictures of Emily and George are full of love. You have an incredible ability of isolating slices of your life and sharing them with us in beautiful prose and photos. Thank you.

    Love and prayers from Kalamazoo.

    Jan

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