For many years, I had off and on sciatic pain in my left leg. Tried various therapies to relieve the pain, but to no avail. After finding a competent massage therapist, he discovered a lump in the back of my leg at the base of my left butt cheek. After having it investigated, it was determined that I had a benign tumor scaringly close to the sciatic nerve. It was located at the top of the hamstring and very deep. Even though the biopsy showed non-cancerous cells, due to the location, it was recommended having it removed.
This is where things go poorly. I had major surgery in August of 2013. It was considered successful as they fully removed it. As the nerves started to recover, the pain started to increase, becoming worse and worse. They could not find anything wrong so they sent me to pain management. The first doctor was less than compassionate. All he did was try medications that only made me, sick, completely out of it, or both. He finally gave up on me. Found a different pain management doctor who took my situation more seriously. By process of elimination as well as my symptoms, I was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome Type II/causalgia in the spring of 2014.
Over the following years, I’ve had two different types of spinal cord stimulators implanted, with no long-term relief. Tried many more medications with intolerable side-effects. Had a hydro-dissection procedure to separate scar tissue from the nerve, which was successful, but made the pain worse. I had nerve blocks. A trial for a pain pump. I even had a frightening ketamine treatment. Been there – done that. Got the t-shirt. I have had other health issues, including thyroid cancer and normal aging issues such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease (even cataracts at age 48!). I joke that they are either taking stuff out or putting things in.
I have resigned to the fact that the pain will always be with me and will likely continue to get worse, which it has.
What a sappy sad story, right? Well…no. I have always counted my blessings, and this is one of them. I would not be the person I am, nor would I have the cross-country and international friendships I’ve cultivated which mean so much. I wouldn’t be living in the lovely home where my husband, daughter and I now reside if it wasn’t for my need for one floor living. We would not be members of the wonderful church where we now belong if we didn’t move. You wouldn’t be reading about my story right now if this did not occur.
I have learned so much and am far more compassionate with people with disabilities. I am motivated to be a support to those who may be struggling as I know that I am in a good place. I have learned that one needs to meet others where they are and sometimes it’s just listening. I hope that, in my small way, I can be a support to others. I appreciate YOU “listening” to my story and know that it is incomplete as I’m still adding to it. I hope that you are adding to yours too.