I do not have any pain in my back. I have no pain in my legs, none in my hip. It’s gone, like magic. I’m going to church tomorrow for the first time in over two months!
My pain specialist, Dr. Loew (pronounced Love) administered the injections I needed on Thursday morning. I was a bit nervous this time, because the pain is coming from the sacrum. That’s the little triangular set of five small bones that ends in the tailbone. If you’ve ever fallen on your tailbone, you know that the pain radiates out and lingers for a long, long time.
As he swabbed my back and began to administer the numbing medication (for which I am extremely thankful) he was also checking out the scars from the sacroiliac fusions I had done in 2017. The doctor who performed those surgeries has an office across the waiting area. He’s a neurosurgeon, and had a lot to do with developing the SI Joint procedure. I told Dr. Loew that I had told my surgeon that he was my favorite guy, after my husband and sons. There was a moment of silence, and then Dr. L said, “Well, where do I come in that line-up?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I haven’t seen you in almost two years. I guess you’re going to have to earn you place back.”
“Well, we’ll see about that. I have a feeling I’m going to get my spot back.”
And then he said, “Okay, a pinch, some pressure, and then you’re going to feel it down the back of your leg. Hang on, this is a big load of medicine. Ready?”
What could I say?
It’s hard to describe the feeling. Again, I’m very thankful for the numbing medication. I have a feeling I’d have been screaming without it. The pinch isn’t bad, and the pressure wasn’t either, but then he said, “Okay, here we go. You all right?”
“Uhuh.” And that has to be the absolutely weirdest thing I have ever felt. It was one of the only times in my memory that I’ve been glad to have such short legs. It felt very warm, traveled down whatever nerve goes there, and had me curling my toes and holding on to the table for dear life.
The removal of that needle was such a relief!
“Can I see it? The needle? I didn’t want to look before you put it in.”
Yeah, it was pretty big–long, and the part that held the medicine was quite roomy.
But you know, I was already feeling it taking effect. I was able to get off the table without any help, got my flip flops on, walked out to the recovery room with no assistance. They keep you for a little bit to make sure you’re not going to faint. Cranberry juice helped with that. They take your BP again, and then you get the instructions for after-care and sign a bunch of papers, and off you go.
The relief I’m feeling is amazing. No pain, after several weeks of waiting, having the appointment postponed for three weeks, not sleeping well, not being able to work or go to church—and in about 15 minutes, it’s all gone.
I don’t know how long it will last. The other shots I’ve had usually kept me comfortable for about 8-10 months.
There isn’t a cure for what’s going on in my back. Degenerative joint disease is an arthritic condition. Stenosis is crumbling bone that squeezes nerves, and the nerves aren’t shy about hollering and pitching a fit. I am well aware that there will be more treatments, and that at some point I will have to depend on my walker and my cane all the time. My two herniations haven’t changed much, so that’s a good thing. I do have a new place about mid-thorax that is showing some degeneration, but so far there’s no real pain. Just some numbness now and then, like your foot feels when it’s gone to sleep.
Well, this has become lengthy, and I need to stop. I do want to mention, though, that I’ve been watching the situation in Turkey with Pastor Brunson, who is home here in the States now and reunited with his family. Not much has been said, but I’m fairly certain he was mistreated, perhaps beaten and tortured. We’ve been praying for him, and we are rejoicing that he has been freed. Why do I bring this up? Well, because it’s so easy to think your own situation is the worst in the world and that your pain is unusually difficult.
I certainly wasn’t having fun for the last couple of months or more, but I was well-fed, had a comfortable bed, had people caring for my needs and just stopping in to say hello. My life was never in danger, and I was not separated from my husband and family.
I’m not ashamed to admit that depression was trying to coil around my mind and my heart, but I recognized it pretty quickly and it didn’t get a grip. I can’t imagine being in the situation Pastor Brunson was in, not knowing at any given time what was going to happen next. I have prayed that depression would not lodge in his mind and heart, because it’s very easy for that to happen when your life seems out of your control completely.
The answer, of course, is to turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.