I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for vanishing recently. Life has been... complicated, to say the least.
I should probably explain that my last surgery was an experience straight out of nightmares. The first day I was post-op, my assigned Hospitalist (a doctor who manages your care while you're inpatient) got his hands on my chart and promptly yanked me off more than half of my meds. This included an extended release pain medication that acts in the brain as both a sudo-narcotic (a non-narcotic that can trigger the same withdrawal symptoms as the real deal when stopped abruptly) and a SSRI (class of antidepressant). They also withheld my SNRI (a type of antidepressant used to control long term chronic pain), and nearly all of my GI medications. So I spent 5 days in hell. I was freezing cold one second then extremely overheated the next. I would sweat through my sheets in minutes after they changed them. I've never been so anxious in my life. My heart rate was through the roof and if I so much as breathed deeply, my heart rate monitor would sound an alarm. I actually spent 3 days screaming, "There's bees in my wrist!! Oh, my god, there's bees in my wrist!!" And the doctors? Did nothing but stand there and watch. Only on the 5th day did anyone bother to do anything, and even then they didn't bother to give me my proper meds. Instead, a nurse talked a doctor into giving me a dose of Ativan, which finally allowed me to calm down enough to explain to the friend there caring for me what was wrong. She promptly went and got my meds from the hotel and gave my meds from home, and in hours, I was on my way towards normal. It was only until after I'd been out of the hospital for a full 24 hours before I could manage to hold down any food or drink. In the week I was inpatient? I held down a single sip of Sprite.
So obviously, the word "Surgery" is not a pleasant one for me. We don't know if I have full blown PTSD at this point or just severe situational anxiety, but the idea of an inpatient stay or surgery terrifies me. This isn't a good idea for someone with health issues that require frequent surgery. This SCS implant will be my 8th surgery in 9 years.
Despite the rising anxiety about the SCS surgery, I decided I couldn't let other things slip, and I made an appointment with my GI doc about a month ago. I had been having occasional intestinal pain after eating and combined with a few other symptoms, the possibilities included Crohns Disease and the RSD/CRPS spreading to my intestines. After a round of testing, the results were in. The newest addition to my list of GI issues? Severe Gallstones. Apparently, my gallbladder is "completely filled with extremely large stones". The quote is from the radiology report. After they got done being floored I'm not in more pain (seriously? I have CRPS- pain is as common as breathing), they told me I need surgery #9, to remove my gallbladder. Two days ago I had a gallbladder attack, where one of the stones shifted and caused major pain, which necessitated a trip to the ER for an injection of pain meds and nausea meds. Thankfully, the meds relaxed my body enough to allow the stone to shift again and the pain is back to it's normal level.
Between the gallbladder going bad, I've had one major dental issue after another. My autoimmune issues cause my teeth to rot, and I usually end up with 10-14 fillings per year. In the last 2 months, I've had a tooth chip while eating toast of all things, which resulted in a crown. I've had my normal cleaning and 5 fillings. A filling chipped off, which meant an extra appointment to fix it. Then I ended up with an abscessed tooth out of nowhere- I had no real risk factors for an infection like that. The abscess meant a full root canal. Then the infection came back. Add in removing more material and a second round of mega antibiotics. I go back tomorrow and if I'm lucky, we'll just pack the tooth with permanent filling and I'll be done. If I'm unlucky, I'll end up needing surgery #10, to surgically remove the nerves at the tip of the roots, since sometimes the infection lingers up there. I have no way of knowing which way this appointment will go, since I'm still having jaw pain and sensitivity.
I have to say, the thought of facing 2-3 surgeries in as many months is terrifying. I've spent more than one night lately curled up in a ball trying desperately to remember to just breath. It's not easy to remember. This would be easier if I were dealing with surgeons I knew, but the unknown? Terrifying. Simply terrifying.
So I apologize for the quiet, though I will try my best to keep everyone up to date on the SCS process and various surgeries. Depending on how I feel, the post the day after the SCS might be made by a friend. I promise she's as crazy as I am. ;)