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This is my journey from pain to passion, from darkness to living again...
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The Beginning... Continued

Posted 04-30-2011 at 10:34 AM by ssofalvi

This post is going to focus on my steady decline after the most hellish night I have ever had. Read on…

Some night at the beginning of June I woke up drenched with sweat and shaking violently. I had an unavoidable need to vomit, but it hurt my head to just open my eyes. At this time, I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I felt more horrible than I ever had. It wasn’t just the nausea, my body ached, my head ached and my back pain was excruciating. Soon, I realized I hadn’t taken a percocet since the previous evening and I was experience withdrawal for the first time, first hand. I remember stumbling to the bathroom and flopping down on my knees, I didn’t have the capacity to contract my T.A.’s in order to protect my spine and get down properly. I hung my head over the toilet and vomited through my tears.

With every heave of my stomach there was answering tightening in my back. Within twenty minutes (I had no watch, but it felt like hours up to this point, and I only ended up spending just over four hours in the bathroom, so it had to be at least twenty minutes, right?) I felt the nerve pain travel down my bum, slicing through my thigh, burning along my calf to come to a point of concentrated burning that shot out my baby toe. It had never been this bad before. I couldn’t stop heaving and I was shaking so violently I was having problems aiming at the toilet. Eventually, there was just nothing left but I was still heaving so I curled up into a ball on the floor and cried. A long time later, after taking three Gravols, and three percocets (I voided the first two doses as they simply weren’t in my stomach anymore) I finally began to feel like I could stand and I tried to get up. That as when I noticed a weakness, an unresponsiveness plagued my already oh-so-painful left leg. By this point, I just didn’t care that I had aggravated my injury again. I was still trembling and my head still felt like I was thinking through water. All I wanted was to crawl into bed with a couple more painkillers in me, and that’s what I did.

I didn’t know it then but I had gone back to square one…

To sum up the weeks after my night in hell and the last six or seven months before surgery, I will simply say that I lived in a very dark, very depressing place. I hit some of my lowest lows, lamenting the fact that I turned twenty-five high on painkillers, but still in ridiculous amounts of pain. Inexplicably, I just kept getting worse, really slowly though. If I didn’t have a medical team measuring my pain levels, and I didn’t have the increasing need for more painkillers to control my nerve pain, I might not have noticed my gradual decline into limping. On second thought, how could I miss it?

It was also during these months that I went on and off almost every other painkiller on the market. I had surpassed the recommended daily dose of percocet and it wasn’t working, so we tried three different painkillers finally settling on Dilauded extended release along with quick acting tabs of the same medication for breakthrough pain. It worked okay and with incremental increases every six weeks or so, Dilauded has seen me through the months before surgery right up until now. I am currently taking almost twice what I was at the very beginning of this drug regime, and am frightened that I won’t be strong enough for the weaning struggle. But I am sure that will be a future post, back to the last three months leading up to surgery…

I had my first consultation with a surgeon mid-December ’10. By this time I had gone through two MRI’s and a CT scan as well as over 7 months of physio. I was not getting better. The surgeon immediately told me he thought a fusion of three of my vertebrae would be the best solution. I nearly broke down. I had come to the consultation fully expecting some sort of surgical intervention, but I was expecting something less drastic like a discectomy, which you can recover from in about eight weeks. Instead I was faced with a surgery that was so complicated it would take me a minimum of six months to recover. This injury had already stolen ten months and now I was told it would be at least six months (to two years!!) more after the surgery, which wasn’t expected to happen for four to six months. I was kind of devastated… But it was my only option left…

So I agreed to the surgery…

In my next blog, I will bring you through the last anxious weeks before I went into the hospital. I was so emotionally volatile at this point, I don’t know if I will be able to explain it clearly, but I am going to give it a shot nonetheless.

As always, thanks for reading! -S.
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