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Monday, April 20, 2015

Bilateral L2/3/4/5 MBRFA x1 with sedation


Today was the payoff of five months of protocol. Month one, see the doctor. Month two, the first diagnostic procedure. Month three, the confirming diagnostic procedure. Month four, see the doctor to evaluate the effectiveness of diagnostic procedures one and two. Month five, the title of the post. I can explain most of it, except the x1. No idea what that means.

Bilateral means both sides of my back. L2/3/4/5 are the vertebrae from about the waist on up. MB is medial branch. That’s the nerve bundle exiting the vertebrae at L2/3/4/5. RFA is radiofrequency ablation. Ablation is vaporizing the ends of the offending nerves by the radiofrequency waves. The hardest part was getting to today.

In the diagnostic procedures the nerves were given a shot of anesthetic to see if numbing them reduced or eliminated the pain in my back, which it did until the very next morning. I thought the second diagnostic procedure actually was the RFA, and was crushed when I woke in pain the next day. A call to the nurse disabused me from the notion I should be dancing on tip toe, and I realized appointment four was not a follow-up, but a review of the state of the work to that point.

I survived the protocol. I climbed up to the table today and listened to the happy chatter of the staff during their pre-surgical check list. Three visits later, we do recognize each other, and they especially recognized my socks.  My hand knit wool socks I wear all winter. One of them idly picked some fuzz balls off and told me I really should wash them inside out to prevent that.

Other fun things about this outpatient procedure: I had to wear the gown, but kept on my bra (hooray) and my jeans and underwear. I merely unzipped and they did a practiced roll down of my jeans and pants at the waist, past the operating field. The warm blankets went on. Dozeville, before the happy juice. The doctor came in, leaned down so I could see him, and got my name and birthday again. It was the real me; the juice went into the IV.

Once again I was not asleep, and this time the doctor asked questions about sensations in my back as he placed the needles. These needles were larger than the first two times, because the radiofrequency wire still had to go through. I mentioned I certainly felt a particular needle, and I got another slug of happy juice. But, in very short order I had to roll over onto the gurney to go to recovery, where my pre-requested snack of two packs of fig newtons and  black coffee awaited.

This time I was not bright as a new day in spring. I dozed between bites of fig newton and could barely finish my coffee. When time came to zip up I swayed from side to side. The extra slug of happy juice.




Home to the ice bag. My sister hit upon ice bag extraordinaire. Back in the days we had little girls filling zip lock bags with acorns for Patty’s critters, the bags went into our freezer until delivered, to forestall the little buggers that exit acorns and metamorphose to something else. One day an ice bag was needed, and a bag of frozen acorns was handier than a bag of frozen peas. Frozen acorns stay frozen and very cold for the better part of a day, and refreeze with no guilty consequences. Jan made a cloth bag to permanently enclose a bag of acorns, and for the last three years it’s been the one. It will go to work with me tomorrow.




My last appointment is in a month, when we will determine if the procedure was a success (for up to two years!). I've already made up my mind.

35 comments:

  1. The ice pack requirement is the harbinger of doom?
    Jane x

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    1. I don't think so, Jane.. Tissue was disturbed this time and is complaining, and nerve ends complain as they denervate. I made sure I asked all those questions this time--before happy juice.

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  2. I really, really hope (but am not sure) that it was a success. Pain is a truly sucky beast.

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  3. oh I knew just what you were in for when I saw the L's hope all is well and it all works out with little to no pain, I just saw some acorns near the bluebells and will go collect them just in case, hopefully if I have acorns in the freezer, then I won't need them.

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    1. But if you do you will be so pleased with the new weapon in your arsenal.

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  4. I am so happy the procedure worked. You will be bouncing around like your teenagers now.

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  5. Hari OM
    LOVE the acorn solution.... and it has been worth the wait then? YAM xx

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  6. You sure kept this one under your hat. Is it a wait-and-see? Fig newtons are a good reward.

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  7. I am hoping for the best for you, Joanne, on all fronts.

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  8. anything surgical on the back and spine is scary. I hope it brings the relief you want.

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  9. Hope it all works, back pain is the worse there is.
    I like the fact they ask you your name and birth date, nice to know they have the right person.
    Merle............

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  10. Come on guys, give joanne a thumbs up instead of a wait and see. Our heads determine the outcome of many a painful situation. I had another procedure done bi-laterally in L-3-5 back in 2000.Wonderful relief. A little prayer tonight might be the best.

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  11. Bye, Bye pain! Now you will really be able to hit that garden.

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  12. My fingers are crossed for you Joanne; I'm SO hoping it goes well with you and that you get the relief you need!

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  13. Now that is the cutest thing with the frozen acorns! I would never have thought of it! Hoping the procedure works; you described it pretty darn well from what I type up with them :)

    betty

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  14. Wow. I never know what I am going to learn! We have several huge oak trees in our yard. Every Fall the acorns are solid. Hours are required to remove enough so the lawn can be mowed. At last I know how to put some of them to good use! Thank you. I so hope that procedure lasts awhile. Back pain is no fun. Seems like you have earned some peace from it.

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  15. I never knew that about acorns! Hope you recover quickly and remain pain-free.

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  16. I take it the procedure was successful and you are now feeling much better? I have to say, after reading this, I'm glad my back pain is relieved by rest and hot water bottles. Also by remembering not to try hula-ing to my favourite songs. L2/3 is where I have a very slight scoliosis, that I'm noticing more as I get older. I find that when I am extremely tired, physically, I sag slightly forward and to the right.

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  17. holding positive thoughts for you over here...this WILL be the magic fix

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  18. All sounds terribly technical Joanne - just hope it all works for you.

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  19. I hope this procedure worked and your back will be pain free for at least those two years promised.

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  20. Here's to a procedural success. I didn't know about the acorns. I bet they'd stay cold much longer than the field corn I have in my bag.

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  21. Good luck Joanne. Fortunately it seems to be working well. Thank you for telling us about the bag of acorns. It is a piece of information that might come in handy.

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  22. Hello Joanne: Wishing you all the very best and hope that back of yours feels better soon. And, yeah, great hint about frozen acorns!

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  23. You are a brave soul, your back must have been really bad. I like the idea of frozen acorns.

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  24. Good luck and best wishes!
    That cloth bag to encase the acorns is a brilliant idea.

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  25. Acorns -- hmm -- I have tons of those on my property. I thought frozen corn was the way to go -- but it would be nice to think a natural acorn could render pain - painless (maybe)? Another good recipe to keep on hand. Best to you in recovering from pain in your back. -- barbara

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  26. Dear Joanne, I am hoping the very best! It sounds a very tedious procedure, but I am sure that you will do a lot to get a constant and nagging pain away. I keep my fingers crossed for you!

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  27. You take me back to my spinal injury nursing days
    L2 was always a fracture site of sucide jumoers who landed on their feet!

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  28. Oh, my. I just caught up on Maria's blog about her post-op recovery, and now we've got you on the acorns. I am sending all my healing thoughts up to the sky and hoping they scatter your direction.

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  29. Oh, my. I just caught up on Maria's blog about her post-op recovery, and now we've got you on the acorns. I am sending all my healing thoughts up to the sky and hoping they scatter your direction.

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  30. I'm just seeing this now, Joanne. Hope all goes well and you get the full warranty period from this procedure. Acorns - who knew?

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  31. Hoping for the best for you!

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