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Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Frances. Just a post seeing how you are and hoping you are having a lessen pain day. I was going through some old posts and read that you have the SCS device implanted. I was wondering if it worked for you and what results you were having with it? Is it a Medtronics? or another brand? What should I expect from the surgery when and if I actually get the luxury of getting this device?

I am preparing for the third and (I'm assuming) final psych evaluation in March in which the hope is that I will get to do the trial soon after words. Whether this is going to happen is another story as my WC feels that this is a waste of time and does not work on anyone with my problems. I got to thinking about a few things and I am wondering if maybe the fact that I saw a neurosurgeon before my doctor chose to start the paperwork for this procedure did not help to push it through. A group of nerves that are very close to my spinal canal are impinged (doc called it something really high tech) and my claims adjuster asked me when I was first diagnosed with this why a neurosurgeon could not go in and fix this surgically instead but the surgeon told me there is no way that he would or any surgeon would touch it because of all the problems that I have had in the past with my back in the first place. So I am wondering if this is not the reason that WC decided to try the trial or at least look into it. I was going to call my adjuster about it but I don't want to get upset about it and thought I would just leave it be and do the eval without any outside influences.

Anyway whatever you can tell me about the stimulator I would greatly appreciate.

Hugsss

Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2280
   Posted 1/30/2009 1:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Scarred,
If you're too negative about things then you will not get past the MMPI. On the other hand, if you're only positive they will suspect you of lying. So, choose your battles carefully. Try to find a way not to be so worried about the test, because that will not help your case. Trust that the psychologist will be able to read your results & give a positive recommendation. Maybe you & your sister can talk about it more in detail so that you feel comfortable taking the test. There are also lots of websites & books available that discuss how it works & how its scored.

The trial implant for me was a piece of cake. The permanent implant was not so much. I don't do sedation, so it was five and a half hours of substantial pain while they pushed the tunneling device through my connective tissue & up to my neck. I had it for post-op pain that never resolved due to a nerve being trapped in the scar tissue & an unstable C-spine since C1 was removed & C7 was deteriorated. The pain does need to be limited to one or two levels of your spine (in my case C2 only) or the implant won't help. If getting injections in a level or two really helps, even if only for a day or two, I would say roughly that there is a decent chance you could benefit, but only a doc could say for sure.

Mine is Boston Scientific. I like it b/c the battery pack is about half the size of Medtronics & I am underweight so it makes a difference. The battery is in my derriere and it does stick out a little, so I can feel it when sitting. Post-op there was a TON of pain for a couple of months. I went from 11 to 15 medications per day for the first 2-3 months, then started getting off of them. It took them 12 months of reprogramming to get me some programs covering the areas I needed. Once they got the programs lined up, I was in pretty good shape. Pain went from a 7/8 (can't ignore pain even for a few minutes, nausea, dizziness) to a 5/6 (can't ignore pain for more than 20-30 minutes) with an occasional day every couple months without any pain. I got off of all but 2 of my meds & am on less than 1/3 of the dose I was on before for those two.

It is my life. I love it so much. Being at a 5/6 means I can drive, I can work, I can pick up my house & every once in a great while go out with friends for an hour or so. The one thing I would say is that you have to really want to be off your pain meds. People who get upset in my experience tend to be the ones who feel they are entitled to take the same meds as pre-op in order to get the pain down to, say, a 3/4 or even a 2/3. The pain meds + the stimulator technically could do that for you, but few docs let their patients stay on medication to go down to those levels and even if the doc is okay with it doesn't mean the insurance people will be. For me the decrease in meds was a big deal; I have a lot of family members, even some who never drank ever, who died from cirrhosis so I don't like having drugs in my body if there is any way at all to be a responsible citizen without them. I'm not saying you have to have such a compelling reason to want to be off them, just that it does seem to be important to have a desire to take fewer meds, even if that means only a slight decrease in your pain.

Over time, my SCS has gotten even more helpful. I don't use it as often, but the headaches & neck aches continue to stay at a low level. I do hope you are able to get this or something else that can bring your pain down as much as mine has been helped. It makes such a difference.

Recently, I got an RF for my low back at L5 & S1. Now that I've got some pain meds, I realize how much that helped. I'm looking forward to going back to work as soon as I get a job. :) Is that procedure an option for you? I had to fight my PM to get him to do it, but it really has helped.

I so hope everything works out for you. Try to keep positive & keep reminding yourself of all the good things that have happened in your life. All the people who have helped you at one time or another. All the successes you have had when the odds were against you. It's good practice anyways, but that's something I did when I was getting ready for my 2nd round with the MMPI & it worked (plus, I made sure to tell them I had a normal, happy childhood b/c mentioning abuse counted against me big time the first go-round)!

All my best -- let me know if you have any other questions!
frances smilewinkgrin

Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Frances; Boy your post really helped a bunch! I've been through the MMPI twice now and the first time I had not done any research nor had any clue as to what to expect from this device. So when I went in there to speak with the Psychologist I came off as some psycho woman wanting 100% relief from this procedure and blaming everyone and anyone for making this big mistake that had now cost me such horrible pain. Of course he denied me and he had every right to. I was not even close to ready for such a huge undertaking at that point and time. The second time I was more prepared I had done my homework and knew what to expect from the Stimulator. I told the guy I did not expect 100% relief from the procedure nor did I blame anyone for this. But because I had recently found out that my nephew had cancer and was dying it was a horrible day and the doctor felt that I had some issues in my life that I needed to deal with. He did however did give me a better review then the last one and said that he would consider me a good candidate for the stimulator if I did some biofeedback, pain control with a psychologist and some cognitive testing once the trial was scheduled both before and after the trial was implanted. Unfortunately WC turned this around (don't know how they could have gotten to this conclusion) and said that he concluded that I was not a candidate period...end of discussion.

I went through the biofeedback.....did the pain counseling both of these things helped tremendously and I use daily in my life to help me bring down my pain when it is out of control. When my last doctor ordered the last Mylogram and discovered that there was a set of nerves close to my spinal canal that were impinged my claims adjuster immediately discussed the option of surgery which I have seen a neurosurgeon for and he has said no surgery to. This is basically my last option to relieve my pain and I pray that WC will see it in this manner. I mean even if I can go from a 8-9 to a 6 I'd be tickled pink....heck a 6 would be a god send in my eyes. Told doc that last week and she was amazed when I said that. She expects we will get even better results then that...she told me that we will probably get a 4-5 with my condition and I went from sad to ecstatic in 2.3 seconds a that thought!

The RF I have tried...no luck with that. I got 4 hours of relief from the numbing solution that they inject in the back and that was it otherwise I didn't get any relief at all. Sad too cause I really heard some good things about the RF procedure too. I am amazed that my doctor is so aggressive with my WC people and a small part of me has hope but is afraid to show it. I have 2 months to prepare myself both mentally and physically for this and in that time I am going to concentrate on getting rid of every bad feeling that I have and really getting ready for this. I want off the medications sooooooooo badly that I would jump off of a cliff if someone told me that it would help LOL. Not literally but you know what I mean.

anyway thanks for all the info Hugsss and I am glad it is helping you.

Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/30/2009 3:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Scarred,
Hope you don't mind if jump in a bit. I know nothing about the stimulator (and wow the info. Frances has given on this post sure should be saved for future questioners!) but you've had a recent loss and you can't make that go away. When we try to get rid of all negative feelings we will always fail because we're human. It's better to learn some mindfulness approaches to allow ourselves to experience all the normal human feelings without becoming attached to them. I fear if you try to be 100% positive you may end up shooting yourself in the foot. Your father's death will be in your subconscious no matter what you try to do consciously, as well as a lot of unresolved issues with your brother and sister. I'd suggest maybe getting a self-help book for grief work, and doing a little journaling (you're doing some of it here) so process your feelings, so by the time you go for that psych eval you've worked through them some. The psychologist and the MMPI will pick up if you're trying to hide something.

Again, hope you don't mind my tossing in my 2 cents!

PaLady

Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 3:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Ohhhh Nooo PA hun I did not mean it to be taken that way at all. My emotional baggage at this time has to be foremost the biggest thing that I have to deal with. I will mourn my dad's loss as I have been and I will be speaking to the psychologist about him as well about how I feel about losing him. I can't hide all my feelings and don't intend to because that would just be detrimental to my cause here. But what I won't do is try to fix things that I have no control over or try to show him something that I am not. I'm a genuine person that has feelings that go way beyond just me. My sister and mom really have nothing to do with weather I am a good candidate for the stimulator if you understand what I mean because I rarely see them and they live a very long way away. The fact that they really don't care whether I am healthy or not is no matter in this case because my support around me is my husband and his family who are more supportive towards what I am trying to accomplish here and can relate to my pain.

When I mention anything about my pain or what the doctor said when I went to my appointment for that day my sister and mom seem to change the subject and make it all about them anyway and after 45 years of living with this I have learned to ignore it and deal with these things on my own. The last pain evaluation seemed to focus so much on them that I don't want to go that direction again because they are not my support before and after this stimulator is implanted. I hope I kinda cleared that up a bit.

hugs


Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2280
   Posted 1/30/2009 3:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I gotta agree with PALady.
Balance is the key. For me what helped was I was studying neurolinguistic programming. You can maybe find some resources on your own, but the basic premise that I learned was that memories are tied to emotion. When we think negative thoughts & are feeling down, it is easier to remember other negative experiences than to remember positive ones. Conversely, if we make a point to think positive thoughts, it is easier to recall positive experiences that engender confidence & hope. It did help me. When I'm feeling down I write down what's irritating me in one column & then list 2 positive for each of those in the other column. For me at least, it helps activate the positive, problem-solving side of my thought life & I am usually better able to either leave the negatives behind or to deal with them.

That's all I was suggesting. 24/7 happy-go-lucky people don't exist so no reason to pretend you are one. :) If you are having a bad day that morning, why not call your counselor (or better yet, set-up an appointment with her the same morning) so you can talk about what's troubling you & deal with it before the interview. I still really think that some things are better left unsaid, but that's up to you. Answers are interpreted differently depending on your history & stuff so that's why I believe that the interview is so important.

It sounds like you did mostly okay the last time. You were just going through a rough patch. Try to believe that this psych will be understanding about that (if he even knows). You've made a lot of progress & realize now that the SCS is not the solution for all the problems in your life. That understanding alone goes a long way.

Let me know when your interview is approaching & I will say an extra prayer for you.

hugs,
frances

Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Frances and PA I do appreciate all your ideas. I think that your ideas are very good ones and in the next few weeks I think keeping a diary as well as writing down some of my feelings might help me to move past some of my unresolved issues with my mom and things in the past. I think its better to deal with these issues before hand then to bottle them all up and have them blow up in my face all at once. But ya you are right Frances there is no happy go luck happy 24/7 person in this world that exists and I was trying to be that person when I did my first evaluation thinking that if I hid all the emotions that no one would see behind the mask. But now I think I am a better person because I have dealt with many of the issues in my life and realized that I am not perfect and can actually show that I have my bad days too.

The one thing that I can do that I was not able to do back then was to be able to look in the mirror and like the person that stared back at me. I love me for who I am and I think I am a stronger person for all that I have gone through through the years. Anyway......I can get through this just fine and I'll give you all a heads up as the date draws closer.

Hugs

Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/30/2009 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow, what a beatuful statement in that last paragraph!!

If you get turned down for the stim, Scarred, my hunch is it will have nothing to do with you and everything to do with WC game playing.

PaLady-----> in your corner!

Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 4:45 PM (GMT -7)   
awwwww thank you PA.
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/30/2009 5:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey, I know! idea Take Big Ben to that psych eval with you! I dare them to turn you down then!! devil

PaLady

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 1/30/2009 5:26 PM (GMT -7)   
You are so right scarred, you have come a long ways baby. Considering 3 surgeries, the fact that you still have optimism says a great deal for you. In addition you have alot more knowledge under your belt that before, you were a kid. I really think you will do very well on the MMPI-I had to do it for the pain pump. My biggest problem was sitting for so long, but I was allowed to get up and move around. I went for mine Scarred not knowing I would be doing one and hell I passed, if I can I know you can,lol.

Keep the chin up gal, cry when you need to and get it out of your system. Lots of hugs coming your way...Susie


Scarred_for_life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 1/30/2009 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm in a different place then I was even two years ago. My mind is much more focused on the things I have to do to keep the pain down rather then whining about it being up. I think that way back when I first started all of this I was more focused on getting myself out of this mess rather then helping myself out. The one thing that I did notice that both of the evaluations did hit upon was the fact that I needed to take a more active role in my care and keep the doctors on their toes. Not be passive but not be aggressive. This I have accomplished quite well. I'm more in tune with every aspect of my care making sure that I do research on everything that the doctors tell me about what is going on with me and truly keeping informed about my care. My last PCP had so many patients that sometimes he couldn't even remember if he had even seen me or whether I was a new patient. I would always carry around a small tablet of paper and write down little things that the doctors would tell me about my medications or procedures and things so that I could look back on it for him/her to remind them of what they did the last time I was there.

Lately in the last 4 months I've been keeping a pain diary and I write how the pain was each morning and each night and what aggravated it more during the day or what I did to calm it down. I've also been using meditation and I have found my "Happy Place" so to speak. It's funny how things from our past or a calm memory will trigger our happy place and give us a few moments to recollect our thoughts. Mine is a tranquil meadow filled with wildflowers and tall grass. There is a tall circle of spruce trees surrounding the meadow and one spot in the center where a lounge chair with fluffy pillows sits. Here I go to and sit....close my eyes for a moment and breath in the scents of the flowers in the meadow. While my eyes are closed I can hear the sounds of a babbling brook close by my chair as it carries the crystal clear water down through the meadow feeding each flower as it trails through to the end to the edge of the trees on the north side. Small brook trout swim around the brook feeding off of the buzzing flies that swarm around the top of the water and I can see them jump to catch their prey. I look up and see big fluffy clouds like soft balls of cotton floating lazily by and I am at peace here. Butterflies with the most amazing colors dance about my head and one lands on my outstretched finger. He sits there as though he is communicating with me in some soft strange language that I can't understand and then with one sweep of his wings he sets sail to the sky and disappears. I hear a noise and turn to the right just in time to catch a beautiful female doe standing fifty yards from my lounger with her two fawns. Her big beautiful eyes tell me a story of such peace that I desire to be her and cannot think of anything better to turn into then a magnificent whitetail doe. So gracious and majestic standing there with her two fawns standing close by, their while spots on their rumps still visible and that tells me that they are not very old at all. But she feels comfortable with em here and I cannot abandon the view that stands before me.

Then with that the vision is gone and I am back to my body feeling refreshed and ready to face the day having now lowered my pain two degrees. YAY!!!!! Hope you all have a LPD nugh

Hugs...time for beddy by

Scarred
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Slight herniation at L2-3 but Neurosurgeons will not operate because of previous failed surgeries. Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain

Medications:

Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Lunista, Topamax and Robaxin.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/30/2009 8:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Love the imagery!! Thanks for the treat!

PaLady
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