Posted 10/26/2008 10:47 PM (GMT -7)
Hey ashley, it's been a while.
So it's been about 3 months since I finished my ketamine hospitalization. I don't have time to write a lot now but I can make a few general comments.
The ketamine treatment was the only treatment that I have tried in six years of never stopping pain that has made a significant impact on my headaches. I was in a state of intoxication for about 5 days. The relief is a little difficult to explain, mainly because I did NOT have any decrease in pain. I went in with a baseline of about 7.5 out of 10 and left with the same. However, I am now living my life closer to "normalcy" than I've been able to in four or five years.
The reason that the ketamine helped is that, while it was being administered, I (much like someone who is drunk from alcohol) was so inebriated that I didn't notice my pain unless I consciously thought about it (most of the time). Unfortunately, this effect went away once they took me off. However, just having a few days of relative peace really just gave me a bit of time to assess my pain as objectively as possible (without hurting so much that I wanted to die, for example) and to really recover the energy that I need to cope with all of this pain, emotionally and physically.
Even now, my headaches are just as bad as they've ever been. But I have an easier time not thinking about them as much, even when the pain is searing. It's almost as if that time in the hospital served as a reminder of what regular life was like. I remembered how it felt to actually WANT to be social and enjoy talking to friends and family. I remembered the joy I used to find in listening to music and reading books (which I was surprisingly able to do in the drunken state, unlike the last few years when I've rarely been able to read at all, not to mention enjoy). Really it was just a brief break from having pain dominate my conscious mind. And in that time I realized that I could do more than I thought that I could, having felt so useless, disabled and defeated from the never ending pain over the years.
Now I am getting close to being able to live by a daily routine and am back to reading for pleasure and many of the other hobbies and activities that I had lost, being so blinded with pain. I'm just learning to be functional again. Though my head still continuously feels like it's been electrocuted, I'm starting to just do everything except for the things that I am truely, unalterably unable to do (as opposed to the things that hurt too much to do). But it's a slow road turning around from not leaving my apartment for weeks at a time. Still, even though I continue to sometimes become disheartened thinking of the things I was capable of before the pain started, more often I am encouraged by how much more I can do now than the little or nothing that filled months and years more recently.
It almost feels strange to be moving forward, however slowly. But a few months ago I never expected to be moving forward at all. So, yeah, the ketamine certainly helped.
DX: NDPH, Recovered CRPS
RX: Lamictal, Provigil, Clonazepam, Ambien CR, Emsam, Namenda, Oxycontin, Oxycodone
PRN: Haloperidol, Zyprexa, Lodine, Zofran, Skelaxin