Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spinal Cord Stimulators

I have been living in pain for the past 18 years, thanks to a condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS.) Heard of it? Most people haven't. If you're curious, you can read a little more about it here: 

That's a web site that I created a while ago for a class assignment. It's a year old, and I haven't done anything with it since the class was over, but it still has some good information. I'm sure I'll talk more about my long, miserable, 18 year history on here eventually, but it's not the point right now.

The point right now is that in a few hours I'll be going in to surgery to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my neck. It's kind of a freaky proposition, and it's definitely not something I'm going into lightly. But like I said, I've been dealing with this for 18 years, and I've tried a LOT of different treatments. This is what it has come to.

The gist of it is, they put little electrode paddles in my neck, then thread the wires down to a battery pack, which they implant somewhere in my lower back. Once it's turned on, the unit sends electrical impulses through my nerves, interrupting the pain signals. So, if all goes as planned, I will from then on feel a tingling or pulsing sensation instead of the horrible pain that I usually feel.

So I want to share my story of surgery and recovery with all of you. I know those of you who know me personally are concerned, and I appreciate all of the well-wishes that you've been sending. But even more than that, this is also for those of you out there who might be going through something similar, and need to know that there is someone here who understands. Or if you're considering the surgery, I hope I can help shed a little more light on what it's actually like, and maybe offer a helping hand as you go through it. 

I'll let you know how it goes, and keep you updated about my recovery along the way. I'll post again as soon as the drugs wear off and I'm coherent again. ... Nah, scratch that. It'll probably be more amusing if I don't wait. :)

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