All By Myself, Like a Big Girl!

Whew! With the Labor Day weekend behind me I finally have some time to sit and blog about all that has happened in regards to my sciatica or as I like to say, my pain in the butt. My last entry detailed my visit to the neurologist and as promised, I heard from his scheduling department that a referral had been sent over to the pain management center (a different one from last time), and that I should be hearing from them soon. Another day passed and I received a call from the center scheduling me for a "consult appointment" with Regina, the doctors PA for Thursday. "Great" I thought. "Right before a holiday weekend. This always happens to me." I don't know if you are aware but I tend to do things around the holidays and this almost always delays treatment, further testing, etc. I then scold myself for the "bad attitude", choose to be happy I have an appointment at all to address this nagging pain and move on with my day. I take the time to tell my husband, my kids and my besties and slap it on my calendar. I release them all from worrying about who was going to go with me for "hand holding" because this was only a consultation so there would be no needles involved and I was never, and I mean never, going to have another epidural or any kind of injection without propofol and my bestie Laurie in the room while it was being administered. No way! The scheduler from the pain center was pretty adamant about "the rules" when she called. ALL paperwork, including referrals, must be in order or I won't be seen. Under no circumstances would they refill a prescription unless they have seen me first and if I call before then I won't be seen. Lastly, but not "leastly", I MUST be 30 minutes early for my 8:20 appointment (that meant 7:50) or, you guessed it, I won't be seen. She was pretty adamant about that last point so I really felt that if I showed up at 7:51 I might be turned away. They must have been burned a time or two on referrals and what not. I guess I can't blame them for running a "tight ship" these places must be over-flowing with people in pain and I know the rigors of insurance claim filing and my pain is not complicated by being the result of an accident or involved with a law suit. Thursday comes soon enough and I rise extra early so as not to violate the "30 minute rule". I drive directly there without a problem as I kind of know where it is located. I only made one wrong turn and it could have happened to anybody. Anyway, I am there at 7:45. I see lots of cars in the lot and people coming out and going in through the main entrance. Some I easily identify as patients. They are slow moving or walking "carefully" and some just have pain etched in their faces. Others, I am not so sure, maybe family members or already treated and there for follow up. Regardless, I ease out of my car and join them walking "carefully" and wondering if any one can see the pain I feel on my face. I don't think so because everybody I see says I look great. Nobody says "Wow. You look like you are in constant pain." Unless you are my daughter or my husband or someone quite close to me I don't think you can't see it. I notice I am starting to limp a bit. I go in and am greeted by a very friendly receptionist. She goes over all the paperwork and says she already "likes" me because my referral seems to be all in order and I am on time. She gives me a stack of paperwork to fill out. I, in turn, give her my card to pay my "cover charge" of $40 and smile as she takes my picture with her little computer camera for identification. I laugh out loud and say "Nobody wants to be me!" "You'd be surprised." she said. I turned to find a chair and do my "homework". There is the usual health history and then a strange long form about my pharmacy and the fact that I can only use one store and a bunch about their "drug policy". I had never seen anything quite like it. The last form was one stating that the prescription drugs they were going to give me were just for me and nobody else and that I was not allowed to sell them either. All I can think is "wow". I fill them all out and sign them with a clear conscience. I return it to the receptionist and she beams at me like I am an 8 year old that turned in their math assignment on time. I go and sit down. I look around and see an odd mix of folks sitting with me in the waiting room...an elderly woman with a walker, a middle aged man in a pair of khakis and polo shirt clearly headed to work after this, a teenager with his mom in tow and a hugely obese woman and her husband dressed in clothes that were too small and looked slept in. I wondered if any of these people were here to get drugs to sell. I didn't think so. But what do I know. I discover that the very obese woman and I share a name because when they call for me we both stand up but it is me she wants because she butchered my last name but not so badly that I did not know it was me. I follow her through the door and she sits me in a little chair in the hallway takes my vitals and then asks me if I had taken any narcotics this morning. I tell her I don't take them and confirm my medicines from the sheet I filled out. She then directs me to follow her to a room which I do. We go over the drug policy once more and I have to "resign" the drug contracts with a witness this time. I feel a rush of defensiveness but rein it in and sign the papers. When she leaves me to wait for the PA, I remind myself that I am not here for pain pills and it's not her fault that people abuse the system. She is doing her job. I do text my husband and sister and say that I now feel like an assumed "common criminal". They text me reassurance and good luck with the appointment. While I wait I stand. The chair is plastic and not padded. There is an exam table in the room but it looks pretty harmless. There are no implements of torture in here and no stainless steel. This is an excellent sign that no "procedures" are performed in a room of this type. There are a couple of posters on the wall. One describes the pain scale from 0-10. I read all the descriptions and rate my pain as a 4 today. "Not too bad, considering I was living at an 8 before my tumor was discovered." I think to myself. The second poster is all about nerves and sources of pain. I notice the bottom right corner is dedicated to the sciatic nerve and the causes of pain. My source was listed as "tumor" and there was a mock tumor drawn in right where mine had grown. It was black and lined with red (I think). It made me feel sick and I literally had to look away. Just as I was starting to peruse the Medtronic literature on their implantable pain management device there was a rap on the door and in walked Regina. I liked her instantly. She was kind and interested in everything I had to say. I recounted my story from the start and she took extensive notes. I took out the disks of my last two MRIs, the "secret one" from November 2010 and the one from this July that was addressing the pain issue. She was delighted to have them both to look at and compare. I told her I did not want any narcotics, period. She acts surprised and then had me lie on the exam table on my left side and she felt around, poking my tender areas and theorizing out loud about the pain sources. She said she agreed completely with my neurosurgeon that a piriformis injection might be the ticket. For those who don't know, the piriformis muscle is right below your hip bone and above the gluteus maximus there are lots of little nerves that come off of the sciatic in that muscle and mine is tight and contracted and tender. The source of my pain coming from above is displayed here. She then looks at me and says the unthinkable..."We can do it today. Right now." She sees me hesitate and tears pop into my eyes. "I, uh, I don't know." I stammer. I tell her about my awful experience with the epidural and she assures me this is different. She would do the injection herself as it was only into the muscle and she would numb up the area first. She offered up that we could reschedule but it would have to be next week..."ugh, another week of pain" I think. She offers to get a nurse to come hold my hand and I find myself numbly nodding in agreement. She calls for the assistant, opens the innocent looking cabinet above the sink and starts taking out vials. She then opens a drawer and pulls out some syringes and needles. I close my eyes to shield my brain from the ability to calculate the size of them. The nurse arrives and pulls up a stool near my head and sits down. She takes my hand and gently says "Squeeze as hard as you need to." Before I know it Regina is around the bed and hiking my pants down to expose my cheek. She sprays a cold numbing solution over the area. "This is not happening." I think. "What on earth have I agreed to?!" I shout to myself but the nurse is talking to me. She is asking me how many children I have. I tell her three and I also tell her and Regina that I had both my boys natural and this should be no big deal for me, but oddly it is. Regina warns me of the stick and the sting and it comes, I squeeze the nurses hand and hold very still and it is not so horrible. As a matter of fact it was not bad at all and before I knew it she was putting my pants back in place and telling me to just lie still for a few minutes before I try to get up. She then snatches up my MRI disks to review with the doctor and she and the nurse leave me. "Wow!" I think. "I did it...and by myself no less. My sissy will be so proud!" I can hardly wait to tell her. Regina returns several minutes later and helps me sit up. She tells me she is starting me on a muscle relaxer to take at night, increasing the frequency that I take my neurontin and giving me lidocaine patches to apply directly over my sore muscles so I can work during the day. She'd like me to ice the injection site for a couple of hours first chance I get and tells me it will be sore for a couple of days and I should see results in 3-10 days. It doesn't hurt at all because it is numb from the lidocaine she administered before the cortisone so I am feeling pretty great. She says I can pick up my scripts at the front desk and to return in 4 weeks to see her for follow up. I can call anytime I need anything. I picked up my scripts at the special window and was re-instructed on the drug policy once more. I just say okay and take them from the suspicious girl running the "prescription dispensing window". I schedule my follow-up appointment with the receptionist that checked me in and find myself in my car. "Well that appointment didn't go as I thought it would" I mused. I text everybody and let them know what happened and what I let them do. I called my sissy and she was proud of me and my unexpected bravery in the face of something I swore I would never do again unless I was rendered unconconscious. When I hung up I saw that my daughter had returned my text with a "Wow!" response. Before I put my car in reverse I text her back and said "I did it! All by myself, like a big girl!"
Jana sent you a hug.
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Congrats!
Michele likes this comment
Good job, Michele! I am proud of you too! I hope and pray that the injection will give you the relief you are hoping for. Hey, we are planning on going to hear Bob and the band play Friday night right down the road from our house. I'll tell him you said hi! Take care, dear one! Hugs-- Martha
Michele likes this comment
Michele, I finally was able to read all your blog postings on your website. Your journey and the way you chronicled it is so similar to mine..at least your feeelngs are...it was quite moving and then funny too...I actually woke up this morning thinking of you and I decided you are half mother teresaand half biker chic!..you are poignant with an edge...you are quite matter of fact about so many things but your feeelngs run deep. I am so glad you made it thru this visit! I hpe the injection helps..I have had clients with this issue and the injections also help...another thing that has helped is deep tissue massage ..but this may not work as you are already so tender ..I really admire your honesty and the simple way you express yourself...that simplicity is very moving. Best wishes and healing to you! God bless, Lori
Michele likes this comment
Sweet !!! I'm going to write some more later in response to this but I just wanted to send you a hug!!
Michele likes this comment
I sure hope this works for you! You did great. Hugs, Mari
Michele likes this comment
I so appreciate what cortisone can do for pain. I have had several shots myself. You must have felt like Wonder Woman after that visit. So brave! Love your stories. Always hit home and with humor. Happy pain-free days! Linda
Michele likes this comment
I can empathize with you completely. The shot will help. I've had two in my neck-cervical spine The doctor asked me questions while the needle was in my neck!!! When I didn't answer, feeling REALLY weird about talking with a needle in my neck, afraid of dislodging it, he thought I was dead or something. lol! because I could hear the concern in his voice when he asked again, "are you okay?!" Good luck to you and pat yourself on the back! (upper back)
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp

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