The trial period with my spinal stimulator ended yesterday. Layers upon layers of bandages and tape were removed, stitches were snipped, bruises were revealed, and wires were extracted.
Yes, I'm VERY sore as a result – thank you for asking.
It had to be a relatively short trial because of the high risk of infection when wires are hanging out of a person's body. Although the implant is not a magic bullet, the positives of the unit definitely outweigh the negatives. I will be moving forward towards receiving a permanent implant.
I was informed, upfront, the implant would not be a cure-all, but I was disappointed anyway to realize I still had some pain even with the electrodes working. I did, however, find I was taking way FEWER pain meds and sleeping much better at night. Dr. Painless explained to me the implant is just one weapon in the arsenal against severe chronic pain.
Neurostimulation won't increase the function of my arm. It won't make me completely pain free … it's just a tool, but it's my best hope for a more normal life. During the trial period I had days when I saw a big improvement and other days when it didn't seem to help as much – probably because I also had some surgical pain in the mix. Apparently, that is a normal experience and my trial came out with a positive result.
I have to heal for two to three weeks from last week's surgery before they can proceed with the second surgery for the permanent implant. Receiving a permanent stimulator (giggle- yes, I AM a 12 year old boy!) is a much bigger deal than what I just went through.
I'm dreading the whole ordeal.
I'm also choosing to block the impending surgery and two month recovery out of my mind until I absolutely have to face it head on.
By the way, during the next surgery I will be getting 24 electrodes put into my arm and shoulder.
My favorite number!
How ironic is that?
Not fifteen, not twenty five or thirty – but TWENTY FOUR.
And no, I had nothing to do with the decision to implant 24 electrodes into my body. That decision was made by my doctor.
Although it may not seem to be the case, I've always had trouble writing about The Accident and The Recovery. I don't want to bore you for one thing. Also, it never ends … there is no ending to the story. I didn't know that would be the case a year or two ago, but I've (sort of) accepted the reality of it now.
And yet, I do write about the accident and its horrible aftermath, even when it makes me feel uneasy.
For those of you who merely think I like to ramble on and on about it, I'd like to explain why I continue to write about this topic.
Sure, it's therapeutic for me to vent, but mainly …
It's because of The Letters.
I get emails every single week.
The emails come from people all over the world. People with disabilities. People with chronic pain. People who have suffered so much more than I ever have, and some people who feel embarrassed because they HAVEN'T suffered as much as I have. Some people suffer from depression or mental illness, some people have physical disabilities, some people are dying from terrible, merciless, diseases ….
They write to me and they share their stories with me.
Every single letter touches me deeply.
I feel those letters. I do.
I'm not an expert in chronic pain.
I'm not an expert in being disabled or coping with a disability.
I do, however, know what it feels like to be isolated by a situation you don't have control over. I've learned to empathize in an entirely different way now.
I also know what it means to struggle, to fight, to give up, and to try again.
And again … and again.
The people who write to me?
They understand IT too.
They reach out to me, because they know I understand IT.
I hear, time and time again, about how my writing, the mere act of writing publicly, has helped other people in some small way.
And so …
I continue to write about whatever I'm going through.
To those of you who think, "Oh God, here she goes again," I apologize.
This blog is a mix of many things. It's me. It's Orange County. It's humor. It's travel. It's photography. It's sadness. It's laughter. It's my battles and triumphs. And yes, it's also pain and the ongoing struggle to overcome obstacles.
I'm not everybody's cup of tea – I realize that.
And now I've explained why this part of my life is one of the topics I continue to write about.
It's because of The Letters.
The Accident and The Recovery are not my whole life, and they aren't my whole blog.
To those of you who write and tell me, "If you'd stop thinking about it and just move on with your life, you'd get better," I say –
I hope you, or someone you love, never walks in my shoes.
It's not an easy path to walk.
I'm not everybody's cup of tea …
But – I'm genuine.
Twenty Four At Heart is me.
© Twenty Four At Heart