This isn’t the first time I have spoken about cancelling plans, and how living with chronic pain means we cancel a lot. Holidays, weekend trips, meals out. You name it, we have cancelled it. Why? My back. last year we booked tickets for Eroticon, determined to go. Mr H is not exactly comfortable with large groups and I know he is of the take it or leave it camp when it comes to things like Eroticon; but because he knows I want to go, to meet people I chat with online and to listen to the various speakers, he is willing to go. He does these things for me, and I adore him for it.
I needed hope.
When Eroticon Tickets went on sale last year we signed up. In October, when my back pain flared again, we wondered if I would be fit enough to go. In the end we decided that there was still time for my back pain to settle. There was also a pain procedure planned which we hoped would help. When it worsened further Mr H asked me if attending Eroticon would be too much for me to cope with. I broke down and begged him not to cancel it. I needed something to hold on to, something to look forward to, something that wasn’t another cancelled trip.
I have doggedly held onto that hope because just thinking about not going is heartbreaking. I want to meet the fabulous people who are going, to laugh and smile and have fun. Spending three nights away from home with Mr H- well that’s the icing and cherry on top of the cake. Even as my back has worsened, I have held onto the hope that it would improve. Last week I had the caudal epidural and trigger point injections.
Trigger Point Injections.
Trigger point injections as shown in this video by Spine Health are “an outpatient procedure designed to reduce or relieve the back pain caused by trigger points, which are small knots that form in muscles or in the fascia tissue leading to pain caused by muscle irritation (myofascial pain). ” I didn’t really talk much about the trigger point injections but they seem to be the only part of last weeks procedure that has worked. They injected six points as indicated by the x’s in this image of my back that was taken when I got home. Prior to the injections the muscles in my back were frozen, stiff, and as a result causing pain of their own, the injections have worked so well that my spine is moving (I can wiggle my back) without the intense pain of the past few months.
Removing the white noise.
This reduction in pain from the muscles around my spine, has unfortunately had an unexpected (for me) effect. It is almost as if by removing some pain the other pain has increased, or perhaps my perception of it has. Before I had so many places that hurt it was hard to say what hurt more. Now the pain is focused on the area indicated by the diamond on the below image. It then moves over my buttocks (it feels like pain in my hip), before going down my legs (at the back) and into my calves. Every so often it also reaches my big toe. It is excruciating, coming in waves. If I sit up it steadily gets worse, because the pressure on the L5/S1 space is increased. Standing does it even quicker. I tried to make a sandwich a few days ago and the pain was so bad I was shaking and felt sick within minutes.
Mr Bones the Consultant.
Yesterday we had our appointment with the consultant (we will call him Mr Bones). He spent a great deal of time with us which we appreciated. Mr Bones acknowledged the pain I am in, and actually did a physical examination! Something Mr Ortho has not done in the three appointments I have had with him. He arranged some xrays to see if there was instability or movement in the spine; he was happy with the images and there isn’t any instability. Mr Bones believes the pain is being caused by the spinal column itself. It is therefore his opinion that the epidural is not going to provide me with any pain relief. Therefore he is also recommending surgery. We do not know yet if they will fuse the L5/S1 joint and remove the disc bulges, or replace the disc itself. The first step is a diagnostic procedure. We once again have to wait.
Following the appointment, Mr H and I had a long, long talk. I have accepted that I can’t manage Eroticon this year. I can’t sit or stand for 10 minutes, so there is no way I will endure the journey never mind attending a talk. The hotel has been cancelled, and tears have been shed. In the meantime, we are trying to remain positive. It is unlikely that I will be returning to work until the surgery is done, and I have recovered. We may try to fit in a hotel stay, but this too is dependent on my level of pain. Hopefully, there will still be some kinky fuckery, as keeping some normality is necessary and we all know that good sex, and lots of orgasms, has been shown to improve mental wellbeing. All I can hope for now is that the operation is successful and that this the last time we have to cancel plans because of my back.