I know that living with pain for over eight years reduces confidence and belief. It even (warning, I'm going to use the C word), discourages hope for a cure. But how could I have assumed I found my best self for four years (nearly five actually, gulp!)?
So someone got talking to someone on a plane (you know how that story goes, your eyes begin to glaze over because you're in pain thinking 'if this friend tells me I need to meet someone and sustain a new friendship, I'm going to punch him' - but in the end, it works out that you wished you had sat next to that someone on the plane, and you meet that person and you wished you had met them a very long time ago (like eight years ago for me).
Thinning bones at the age of 43. That's not good, in fact I landed, once again, in that unique and very small group of patients with a rare condition...
Last week, I attended my last acupuncture appointment and for the first time in over seven years, am therapist free. Hang on, I have to just repeat that: I am therapist free Did I ever think this day would come? Of course I did and I believe that's why I am here. I have had my moments, but what I didn't realise through all that heat and whilst pacing like a snail, was that each flare up and pain episode was actually not an indication that pain was here to stay, but rather that it was actually beginning to leave. Although just a difference of minutes initially, eventually I felt the flare ups spreading further apart. And with recognising that change and NOT increasing my capacity past a snail's shell weight, I began to make progress.
(http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/my-story-a-pain-in-the-coccyx-8823596.html) The National Pain Report, my story. April 14th, 2014 by Soula Mantalvanos I begged my neurosurgeon to do anything, even to chop my coccyx off. But after getting opinions from other surgeons, he suggested not to go the invasive path as we had the option for an implant called a peripheral stimulator, a treatment that was reversible. It made more sense.
I begged Professor Teddy to do anything, even to chop my coccyx off but he (and his backed up opinions) suggested not to go the invasive path just yet (removal of the coccyx had also not been very successful in treating chronic pain), we had an option for an implant, a treatment that was reversible, it made more sense. To 'qualify' for a stim you have to go through a trial first. The trial period was two weeks and in that time I had half of two leads placed inside my body (yes this is a full anesthetic/operation), with the remaining half of the leads hanging outside my body connecting to a temporary unit. It's a risky period, one very highly susceptible to infection but it allowed me to test the device and its impact before we implanted the $60k (or so) unit. Am I grateful I had private insurance? You bet! My WorkCover insurer certainly wasn't going to pay, eventually dismissing the surgeons reports as not having providing enough information.
Closure really is something. Feeling like a niggling concern is finally put to rest can be so satisfying, it brings me such calm. Slowly, my pelvic chronic pain niggles are finding their place and providing me with the peace my body and mind needs so I can let go, move on and most of all feel my injury is clearly understood. I had another session with the wonderful Raffaele who continues to treat me fortnightly. I was ready to call the next nerve block last week but after yesterday I'm hopeful again and thinking I was in some kind of a flare. I can't expect (but I will!) that with my effective management flare ups will cease to happen. As I test my capacity and lift my full litres of milk occasionally, walk the dog and go out more often, I've got to expect at some point the body is going to say, 'hang on love, you're lifting too much milk!'
Although I’ve tried acupuncture many times before, I’ve never felt as much of a response as I am feeling now after my four sessions with Raffaele Vavala. It’s possible my body wasn’t ready for it, being in ‘the thick of [...]
I’m not yet clear about the effects of Nerve block No. 3, but I’m calling it… I’m going to be positive… I believe I’m building! It’s just a sorta three steps forward and two back situation.. I hope. So far, my building blocks go like this: • Nerve block No. 1 (December 7, 2011), • Nerve block No. 2 (April 18, 2012), • Nerve block No. 3 (November 23, 2012)
.... As documented many times with this condition, treatment isn't just about relief, it also provides more detail about the issue and this becomes a guide for the next step. It's like taking mini steps of progress and it really feels fabulous, I feel as though I gain some control, I foresee future options and ultimately, I regain some hope. Without this I'm travelling blindly.... I began to really struggle 12 weeks after the first block and even during that time I had a few flare ups. I wondered if my implant perhaps had interfered with my nerve block as it's known to cause pain if you keep it on whilst the pain is at a low-level (yes, try to figure that one out!!) By the time I realised my nerve block was well and truly wearing off I was at the 14 week mark, and having been very excited with what relief I had, Theo and I booked a holiday to Italy. Thankfully the brilliant Dr Courtney was able to fit me in for another nerve block at the 19 week mark which was exactly two weeks before travel time. Why am I mentioning the holiday? Because I believe a nerve block needs support, it needed me to get out of the pain routine and team it up with as much distraction as possible... I felt my brain would freshen up, have a new shot at life and not have to face my day bed, aids, daily pain routine etc etc. I set off to live a dream in hope distraction would bring a positive change and another step forward...