Zen's Aviary...
Home of the Parrot-Loving, Slightly Neurotic,

Jewelry Designing, Enigmatic Pagan Chick!

surgery update

well surgery is finally over and i just got home. surgery didn't go so well. i was in surgery for over four hours. ugh. and they kept me awake almost the whole time so they could question me about the stimulator..tell us when you feel it turn on...what part of your body is it covering...etc. etc.

when my spinal cord stimulator was originally implanted it was done by my neurosurgeon...he drilled holes in my spine and actually implanted the electrodes into my spine.

the problem i have been having is one of the leads has become detached. since it is not yet time to have the battery pack replaced, the doctor and i decided it would be okay to just replace the broken lead and let my pain doctor (an anethesiologist/surgeon) do it.

the lead would be placed in the epidural sac which the doctor said would work fine until i have to have the major surgery of replacing the battery pack and all.

well...it turned out that due to where the electrodes are placed into my spine there is no room for where the new leads need to go. the poor doc tried for hours! but there just isn't a way to do it.

so, now i am not getting any stimulation coverage in my back or hips! which is where a great deal of my pain is. GRRRRR. i do have coverage in my legs, which is good...but to turn it up as high as i need it...it causes too much stimulation under my ribs which hurts. argh.

the doc said to wait it out a couple of days. it is possible the leads could move some while they are settling and healing.

if they don't; i don't know what i'll do. i can either have surgery again by my neurosurgeon to have the whole thing replaced...or...i can see about going on stronger pain meds til it is time to change the stim due to battery dieing.

so i'm frustrated and in pain. i have two large incisions in my back and THEY HURT! so i'm lying on the couch and doing nothing. the doc told hubby that he needs to spoil me over the next couple of weeks....doctor's orders. LOL

update with more information: (some of this is repetitive sorry!)

the lead that had broken had fallen further down in my back and scar tissue had formed around it so badly it couldn't be moved.

so they put two other leads in...unfortunately those leads couldn't be placed where they needed to be.

the electrodes that are already implanted in my spine (to which the orignal leads were attached) are the size of a large man's first finger...so they take up too much room for the other leads to be placed in the epidural sac around that area of my spine.

the leads they did use were so long, they said they are all looped up, like you do an extension cord or something when you wrap it around your hand...and just sitting in my back.

the new leads had to be placed above the electrodes so i am not getting the coverage i originally had.

i am getting no coverage in my back and hips...where i have degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis in my hips and osteopenia. that's not good.

i do have coverage in my legs; however if i turn it up high enough to provide adequate pain relief it is so strong in my rib cage area that it clenches there.

so basically...the surgery made things worse not better. so i'm left with two large incisions, went thru 4 hours of surgery and i'm worse than when i went in! GRRRR.

i go back to doc on friday where we will discuss my options. i'm not sure my insurance will agree to pay to have the major surgery of replacing everything and totally redoing the surgery, including the laminectomy; where they drill into the spine.

the only other option is to go back on oxycontin which actually worked very well for pain control and didn't cause any side effects; like nausea or tiredness. so we'll hopefully come to some decisions on friday. *sigh*

~zen (hurting and frustrated)
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