January 3, 2006
I've had back pain now for eleven years. Since I was 22, to be exact. It's been somewhat manageable. I've only had about four occurrences where I felt is was unbearable (due to frequency of occurrence and time spent under duress). One was right before I got married and the others have been since I've conceived and raised children. (I've been doing that 4 years 8 months, to be exactish.)
I had an MRI a few weeks ago and found that I have two herniated discs and one that's shallowly herniated. A doc recommended a steroid epidural. It sounded rather invasive and I declined... until I finished around 8 weeks of CONSTANT back pain only to be stuck bent over. Worst of all, I can't run (that's my drug of choice, these days). Decided to revisit the epidural thing and went back to the doc. He discussed benefits, risks, etc. I was desperate and scheduled the "procedure" for today.
Looking back, I guess it wasn't "painful." Just unknown pain followed by strange nerve sensations. Felt kind of like a guitar string being pulled and let go. The worst part is the sound of the needle going it. A fair amount of pressure is required to get that monster into the "epidural space." No local was needed, but it was so fast, it would have just delayed things. The pressure from the steroid was unbearable. Felt like 300 lbs of something sitting on my pelvis and lower legs. That went away after approximately 4.5 breaths. See, not bad for 3 days of unknown, followed by 3 minutes of pain that you didn't know was going to be 3 minutes, so you thought you'd have to endure it for hours. I was wheeled into the holding room where my husband was slobbering over a spread of Ann Coulter in Time magazine. She's his "favorite right wing harpie."
They used a pain reliever. It basically made me numb from the waist down and that lasted about 3 hours. I could still walk, however. Stairs were tricky unless I had something to hold onto.
Now (6 hours 49 minutes later), I have this weird sensation in my legs - it's most likely the litocain wearing off. The back feels pretty good. I don't have to stand up gingerly (for fear that it will catch and I'll be unable to stand erect for two weeks more) and they say that the steroid will take effect in about 48 hours.
Will post the results so as to decipher whether I believe it's worth it. So far it's not. Can't run for two days - it's a good thing I was able to manage 8 in the rain this morning. And rain in January? What's the story with that. Will ask God later.