I wanted to wait long enough to see how things would settle before I did an update because thus far, each day has been different. Ten days ago, my pain management doctor did a series of facet injections on my right lumbar region. I was given the option of choosing which side and as my right has always been significantly worse than any other area of my body, that was my choice. When I arrived that day, even with my meds on board my pain level was between a 7 and 8.
The nurses checked me into a screened room in the recovery area, checked my vitals, and then took me back to the procedure room. As I lay face-down on the table, they cleaned my back with antiseptic and Dr. Habimana, using an x-ray for guidance, gave me several shots of anesthesia in the areas in which there would be shots. The anesthesia was a quick pinch and then not a lot of feeling on the skin. Next came the injection. It is my understanding that the injection was a mix of an anesthetic and a steroid. The anesthetic to numb the nerves and the steroid for inflammation. The upper two shots were not bad, just a little pressure as the fluid went in. If you’ve ever had a cortisone injection- it was pretty similar, just felt like several times the amount. I say felt- because I don’t know for sure, I just know the amount of pressure and time vs a cortisone injection.
The final injection was directly into the area that has been most painful for years. I try to be pretty stoic when it comes to things like this and to breath through it ( I mean, if I can sit through 8 tattoos and still want more, what’s another needle or two? ) but this hurt like all hell. I was holding on to the table for dear life and in my head I made up several new swear-word combinations. My entire body tensed but they talked me through it and soon it was over. They wiped down my back and applied bandaids and helped me off the table and into a wheel chair then took me back to my recovery area. I had to wait 30 minutes to ensure I didn’t have an adverse reaction and because it’s been several months they wanted a routine drug test so they filled my ever-present thermos cup with ice and water and I sat and read until they let me go. When I left, I would say my pain level was down to a 3- which was amazing! Other than feeling numb, I was fine and was able to drive home.
My after care instructions say to rest for 24-48 hours, not to remove the bandaids for 24 hours, no strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks after the final series of shots and continue normal med routines. Easy enough to follow and so I went home and rested. I was pretty numb for the better part of 24 hours. Once that wore off, I felt like I had a MASSIVE bruise for several days but it wasn’t unbearable. By Monday night even that was wearing away. Since then I have taken a yoga-ish class, walked longer and farther than in 2 or so years and more. As long as I take time through out the day to stretch, I am better than I have been in years. My pain level sits at a solid 2 and I feel like a new person. I cannot wait to go back on Tuesday and have the left side done.
One very interesting thing that I have learned in this process. When you are focused on pain in one area, everything else seems minimal. Once that pain is neutralized- well, the other areas say “HEY! We’re still here!”. I thought to myself “Whoa- I knew my left side, shoulders, hips etc hurt-but not as bad as this!” It’s been an eye opener but I am so, so glad I did it and I look forward to seeing how long this works. I know it’s a temporary fix, but I will take it because I am so, so very grateful for the reprieve.
Have a lovely Sunday!
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