I'm glad to hear that you'll be trying this soon. I'm a bit surprised to read that you need to have a psych eval before the implant trial. During the course of the two trials that I ... tried ... there was no mention of anything of this sort. I don't exactly understand how a psych eval has any relationship to nerve stim trials. My best guess would be that, if you're seeing the specialist who's doing the trials for the first time, it may be something that s/he requires of every new patient. It's possible that I wasn't asked to have a psych eval because I had seen the doctor several times in the past (as many as ten years prior) and he's somewhat of a family friend.
What sort of specialist is going to be doing the implants anyway Sara? If she or he's a pain specialist (as in my case) then a psych eval does somewhat fit the protocols that they frequently use. I'm inferring this from the nature of pain treatment--with the variety of sources of pain that they encounter (and especially with unknown sources), pain specialists, by necessity, focus more on the psychological component of pain than a specialist treating a specific physical condition. As you know, with chronic pain psychological treatment can be almost as important as more direct treatments, especially considering that their direct treatments focus on pain and their efficacy can live or die depending on patient psychology. If they're going to try an interventional treatment (eg, nerve stimulators) they'll want to make sure that it has the best possible chance to succeed.
Regarding questions, the only thing that occurs to me is to flesh out the logistics of the trial. In particular: will the rep be available (and when) to change the stimulation programs?; how long should you be trying the programmed patterns if they aren't working well?; and what are the criteria for determining success or failure (if you aren't experiencing relief after a significant period of time--or if the stimulation is worsening your pain--will you continue to try them until you reach 2 weeks (or however long the plan is) or will they be removed early?; or if you find a program that helps a great deal would you likewise continue?)?
The last question, I think, is particularly relevant. In some ways it seems best to try as many variations of stimulation as possible in the time that the trial runs. However, if you find a good pattern (and have tried a reasonable number of variants) you'll likely want to start using it in your daily life as soon as possible. With the trial your movement will be restricted and you'll be heavily bandaged and, believe me, after a while you'll be itching to be done with it. After the trial has ended and the leads are removed, if it's been successful the next step will, of course, be the long-term implants. Most likely, however, you'll have to wait several weeks at least before they'll do another implantation in the same
location. Of course we've learned patience after years of suffering but, if you find something that will really help, waiting even an extra week can be tortuous.
Anyway, I'm just throwing out ideas--I'm having trouble focusing as you can probably see. I'm very eager to see how things go (I'm sure you are too!). My thoughts are with you Sara.
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