I don’t spend a lot of time writing about my chronic pain, my use of opiate medication or my disability. It’s mostly managed now, but it was a journey that started in 1998 and didn’t really settle until about 2013, so approximately 15 years of my life.
Fellow blogger and all around awesome dude Rory has been having a very bad time with pain and a failed procedure and a jerk of a doctor. These are things I know all too well. It breaks my heart and pisses me off that anyone has to go through the crap that I went through. What did I go through, you ask? Get comfy, I’ll tell you…
It started with headaches and pain and numbness in my hands. I worked on a computer eight hours day. I was in management and carpal tunnel syndrome was having a surge in popularity as a work comp claim. Everyone wanted extra breaks. Yeah, I was a little jaded by the slackers. Anyway, because of the surge in claims and my own stubbornness, I didn’t see a doctor for a long time.
I won’t go into all of the details in this post, it would take several post to document everything. I’ll sum it up with a very broad outline.
My first diagnosis was a problem in the neck, C6-C7 region. Physical therapy, ice, rest, Vicodin for pain, Soma for muscle relaxer, modifications at work, etc…still had pain and numbness. New doctor, new diagnosis…cubital tunnel syndrome. That’s in the elbow, the nerve that tingles when you whack your “funny bone”. I had surgery to move the nerve in February of 2000. Then recovery, therapy, more work mods, more Vicodin and Soma, but I was still in pain.
New doctor, new diagnosis… Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The nerves and blood vessels that go into the arm were being pinched between my first rib and my collar bone. Surgery to remove the first rib. This was a pretty major surgery with the incision in my neck and bone removal near lungs and major nerves and blood vessels. I had the surgery in December of 2000. I haven’t worked since. Complications from the surgery and I lost the use of my arm for three months. On top of that, I still had pain.
The same surgeon realized the first surgery for the cubital tunnel syndrome failed because the nerve had moved back. So another surgery to fix that nerve. That surgery was in November of 2002. A lot more invasive, muscles moved around, scar tissue scraped off the partially dead nerve, moving and securing the nerve. More recovery, more physical therapy, more Vicodin and Soma.
By summer of 2003 my surgeon was done with me. He was ready to write paperwork for the Work Comp insurance company and their attorney and my attorney (yeah, I had to get an attorney after fighting over a year in my own) that I was all better. But I was still in pain. CONSTANT PAIN! This is when I went to the first Pain Management doctor.
I think I’ll stop here and continue on another post. Even trying to be brief, it’s a long story. So…part two soon…