Did I Mention That I Hate Needles?

Had my 2nd and 3rd nerve blocks done the other day. Not a pleasant experience, I will say. Hell, I think it hurt worse than it did with my first one, and he actually gave the lidocaine time to do its job this time, instead of doing them one right after another. To hell with that lidocaine crap  It didn’t help much. I still felt those damn needles going in, each time–spot 1 being above my eye, and spot 2 being my cheek. I swear he must have done each one, in and out, like 3 or 4 times. And then, as if that’s not bad enough, he went in with this special radio-frequency needle to get an ultrasound picture of the nerves the blocks were targeting. Why he needed a needle to do that, is anyone’s guess. I’m pretty sure these doctors are sadists. No joke.

My face get the other mommy
Messin’ up my face.. 😦 sad face + miserable face

As grateful as I’d be if these help–even a little–I’m not holding my breath. He’d already told me that, given the type of headaches I have, that the blocks probably wouldn’t do much, if anything, to help. But they’d already been approved by my insurance, so he said it wouldn’t hurt to just try it and hope for a damn miracle. If there are any.

Next up is Botox. Or should I say tentatively next. I still haven’t decided on those just yet. There are too many horror stories with that Botox crap…and I’d rather not be one of them.

That just leaves the implant. It’s a little more invasive that I’d hoped it would be, but it’s gotten really great, successful results. I’ve been thinking it over and I think I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to talk to my doctor again and see if there really aren’t any more options we could try. If not, then I guess I have to just suck it up and go through with it. If it does work–even just by a little–then it’s worth it. To be able to stop the really bad headaches with the push of a button is pretty amazing.

And tempting. I swear, I feel like I’m in that teacup ride that it just won’t stop spinning.

I just want to know “why me”?

And how the hell do I get off this ride.




Tabled. For Now.

So I received some pretty unsettling news yesterday. I had my post-op follow-up with the pain management doctor and she seemed just as disappointed with the results of last month’s nerve block injection as I was, and still am. Or lack thereof, I should say. I hadn’t been too keen on the idea of the nerve block to begin with, but I had still hoped that it would work. After all the hell and the bullshit of these past 18 months—all the failed medications and inconclusive tests, the doctors and specialists, the vision therapy, and the acupuncture—I was (and still am) more than ready for it all to be over with. If that meant some simple yet painful needle and injection into the nerves above my eyes—then so be it. But, and as always seems to be the case, it didn’t take. Just another example of my shitty luck, in a string of so many.

We agreed to try the second nerve injection, seeing that I already had the authorization for it from the insurance and that it wouldn’t hurt any to at least try. So that’ll be happening again sometime in the upcoming 2 weeks or so. I’m not at all looking forward going through that again (though I’ll definitely be asking the doctor to give the local some time to do its job and numb things up a bit BEFORE he sticks that needle into the new nerve — but if it works—or if it at least decreases the intensity or frequency of these headaches to some degree—it’ll be worth it. The doctor didn’t sound too hopeful, though.

She talked about the more invasive, surgical approach—the implant—and said that I was a really good candidate for it. It’s called an Occipital Peripheral Nerve Stimulator and for those of you who aren’t familiar, picture a pacemaker…but a little different. She (the doctor) didn’t really talk much about it, only to give me the basics—probably for the fact that when she turned around to ask when I’d like to schedule the procedure, she found me still shaking my head no – which I hadn’t stopped doing ever since the moment she started talking about the approach. From an outsider’s perspective, it was actually a pretty comical moment… me shaking my head “no” and her nodding hers “yes” for a good 30 seconds, at least. Surprisingly—and thankfully—she didn’t push the subject. She just wrote down the name of the procedure, told me to “Google It”, and that we could table that particular discussion at one of my next appointments. I’m grateful that she’s not one of those doctors that push you into agreeing to some crazy surgery that you 1) have no guarantee will even work; and 2) that you haven’t had the opportunity or time to research it for yourself enough to make an informed decision.

That said, I did do some reading on the procedure when I got home and well, as you can imagine, it was a little overwhelming. The good news is that the procedure has an 80-90 percent success rate at completely and/or significantly reducing the frequency of the headaches, as well de-intensifying the pain. Those are some pretty impressive odds, I have to admit. But then again, I haven’t had the track record when it comes to luck and odds, whereas this whole thing is concerned. After all, when it comes to the statistics, less than 5 percent of people that sustain a head injury or concussion go on to suffer permanently from post-concussive headaches and other PCS symptoms. The other 95 percent have no lasting issues and the symptoms go away completely by 6 months to a year after the initial injury, if not sooner. Those were some pretty good odds, too … and we all know how well that turned out. Obviously. I think I’d feel a little more comfortable with the procedure if there were a guarantee of some sort. Even just a little one. Something. Anything to at least back up somehow or support the justification of allowing them to cut into the back of my head.

But there aren’t any guarantees. However, there are some risks, many of which are similar to having any kind of surgery done. Things can go wrong on the table. Things like my blood pressure (which for some reason tend to always run a little low) crashing (it’s happened a couple of times in the past actually) or misplacement of the electrodes or – knock on wood – possibly even death. Though I guess in terms of ways to go, completely unaware and unconscious isn’t that bad.

In light of my hesitation on the surgery, we’re going to try a few more options. That means another nerve block and then possibly Botox injections—another approach I’m not too keen on—but far less invasive than surgery. I know a few people who get the Botox shots every few months and they’ve seen some radical improvement. Maybe I’ll get lucky and catch a break with Botox, who knows. So surgery is on the backburner, at least for right now. I don’t want to make any rash decisions without really knowing what I’m getting myself into this time. As they say, it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious.

So we’ll see and hopefully my next update will have some better news. Until then. Signing off … xoMESSIE

Nerves and Needles.

Haven’t written in a while, I know…but my life has been crazily insane, more so than usual–somehow.

Today wasn’t the best day. I had my first nerve block injection for my headaches with the pain management doctor that I was referred to by my doctor out at the concussion center. It wasn’t fun at all. To be honest, I’m a little pissed off at the moment that it even got to this point to begin with. It didn’t have to. According to the pain management doctor, I could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering and time—had all these doctors not been so clueless or not have been playing this ridiculous guessing game these past 18 months. If they’d actually done their jobs and sent me to pain management instead of prescribing me medication after medication that clearly wasn’t working for as long as they did, or monitoring me as they should have been while I was taking them. If they had, I would have stopped the one medication they had me on that messes with the kidneys…and saved myself from one surgery, countless ER visits, excruciating pain, and ultrasounds every 6 weeks (until who knows when) to monitor my condition and any other issues that might arise. If not for their negligence, I probably wouldn’t have had to go through even a fraction of the hell that I went through the past 18 months. Knowing that it all could have been avoided just makes me so damn mad. I get that doctors are human and as such, they make mistakes just like the rest of us…but it’s hard to see that as an explanation or consolation when you’re the one it was (and still is) happening to.

I’m not just angry…I feel betrayed. I mean, I trusted these doctors to help. To find and give me some answers.  Hell, I even came all the way up here from Nashville to see these doctors and specialists and to seek treatment, which I couldn’t do in Nashville because my insurance was from New York. As I’d only been just shy of 6 months, I hadn’t applied yet for permanent residency. If not for the pain management doctor and the doctors out at the concussion clinic, I’d probably still be playing lab rat with the others.  It sucked. Correction—it still sucks.

I can’t get back all those months or the time spent in going back and forth from doctor to psychologist to specialists. Rather, I’d like to think in terms of the present. Unfortunately, the journey has led me here–to these nerve injections/blocks. The pain management doctor seems pretty confident that I might have damaged the nerves around my eye when I hit my head on the window in the accident, on top of the concussion. From what I understand, there’s three nerves in that area—so 3 different blocks/injections—and he wants to try them one at a time to see which one will (hopefully) be most effective against the headaches. I really, REALLY hope that he chose the right one and that this one works because I really don’t want to go through this again, let alone 2 more times. I usually have a decent pain tolerance, but that fucking hurt. A lot. I wasn’t expecting it to hurt that much, but it did. The plan was to numb me with a local first, and then do the injection. I just assumed that there’d be a reprieve for a moment between the two just to give the local a little time to kick in and do its job…but no such luck. He literally and immediately followed the local with the injection…so I felt every second of it. As such, I’m a little wary about doing it again. 

Anyhow, for now, all I can do is wait…with fingers crossed…wishing for a Christmas “miracle” to cure these headaches, once and for all. Or even just the really bad ones—I’ll settle for that. I’m fine with the others–after 18 months of headaches nearly every day–you get used to it. But the bad ones have GOT to GO – ASAP!! Please universe…please…

Nerve Injections #1 ...  :(
Injection #1 … Post-Op(Oh, and don’t mind the miserable expression…I was literally in misery. 😦






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