Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 47/365 Pain

Tomorrow I am off for another neck shot.  I'm getting very fed up with the fact that nothing seems to be working anymore for my pain and so I've put this off for a while now.  The doctor is going to greet me with, "Hi Mrs. Beck.  Wow! It looks like you have really been doing well with this injection- we haven't seen you around here in several months!"
No.  No, you idiot, I'm just sick of owing you all the money that I do and getting so few days relief and sleep from my neck pain.  I've told myself that I'm not going back because it doesn't seem to be helping, but then a few months later when I am at my wits end with pain I make the dreaded call again.
My problem seems like it started about 13 years ago.  Yup, 13.  Richie was 4 months old and I experienced the worst pain I had ever felt in my life (thus far) in the form of a headache.  I thought I was going to die.  That kept happening over and over and I got it checked out and was diagnosed with migraines.  OK, that was fine, they gave me some medicine and it seem to help and I was happy for a couple of years.
Then, I wanted to get pregnant with Stephen and had to go off of the medicine because it would possibly harm a baby.  So I tried chiropractic adjustments.  They helped somewhat, and somehow I got through that painfully long pregnancy after the 4 month bed rest adjustment.  I was downing Tylenol like nobody's business while I was stuck in the hospital, even though that wouldn't have been on my chart...
After I could use my medicine again, I started to use it and then had some very trying times where my neck may have been damaged a bit.  Long story.  Around 2002, pain started happening in the base of my skull where the head meets the neck and shooting up the side of my head.  I still thought it was migraines, and continued the medicine, but had it checked out again just to see what was going on.  According to an MRI I had an oddly shaped neck that curved the opposite way it was supposed to.  One disk was starting to degenerate and I had a bit of arthritis.  They said that might be causing the new pain and gave me some medicine to stop the inflammation along with the migraine medicine.  Around this point in life, ibuprofen became my new find because a friend lent me an 800mg tablet of it and it helped the pain quite a bit.  That would be 4 regular ibuprofen.  That's what I started using and helped for a while.
I can't remember exactly the dates on some stuff but between 2002 and 2007 or so my pain went from head and neck pain to almost daily headaches, pain at the base of my skull, pain in the left side of my neck, and some shoulder pain.  I was sucking down ibuprofen non-stop along with migraine medicine on occasion.  I had several ER visits when the pain lasted more than 3 days straight with no relief.
Somewhere along that time I had another MRI that showed cervical spinal stenosis.  That's where your spinal cord is narrowed because disks are bulging in on it.   The doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon.  That neurosurgeon referred me to a pain management center because he said that the stenosis wasn't bad enough to warrant a surgery.
The first pain management place I went to helped after a few injections. Because the injections were helping, the doctor decided he wanted to burn my nerve and sever it so I wouldn't be able to feel it anymore.  I had to psych myself into that one and went in one day ready for the procedure.  I was so very nervous, afraid that they would sever the wrong one and I'd be paralyzed or something.  When I went in, he asked what my pain level was and I told him not too bad.  I had been up sick with my neck and head the night before popping ibuprofen left and right and so the pain had died down.  He told me that he wouldn't do the procedure since I wasn't in pain and I tried to explain that I had pain the night before.  He wouldn't listen and told me that if I would lose weight my problem would go away.  I stormed out of his office and slammed the door and refused to return.
I found a neurosurgeon that was supposed to be specialized in my area (cervical spine) and went to him.  He sent me to "the best" pain management guy.  One that had a "specialized procedure" that he felt would work.  I've been going to him since about 2007.  Those injections did help for a while and I was very happy because I was getting relief for about 2 months at a time.  Finally, some sleep!!!
After a while I felt like they weren't really helping and my pain had shifted to now shooting pain down my left arm, constant popping sounds in my neck any time I moved it, absolutely no sleep because any time I lay down I was in pain.  I've tried several different pillows, positions, etc and laying down really puts me in pain.  I've gone pretty faithfully for the shots and each time it seemed that it helps a little less.  I am also having weird reactions from them.  By the time I'm home from the shot, I'm red and hot.  I stay that way for about 2-3 days.  My stomach hurts with crampy sort of pain and I'm usually kind of nauseated.  I kind of feel "flu-like" for about a week and then I'll have about a week of relief and I'm back to square one.
I had an MRI about 6 months ago and it showed that now cervical disks 3,4,5,6 and 7 were degenerative, but they were not causing any more stenosis.  The stenosis was still mild.
My latest symptom has been going on for about 3 months.  It started one morning when I got up for school.  I sat up in bed and the room was spinning.  It went away after a little while and I carried on thinking that it was odd.  That happened for about a week when I would move my head or wake up.  It went away for a while and I didn't think about it until about 3-4 weeks after that.  I would be sitting still and it would seem like the room was moving.  I would wake up and be dizzy.  It wasn't constant, but I thought it was weird.  When I had a general checkup I asked the doctor to check my ears thinking it might be an ear infection or my sinuses or something.  No, the ears were clear and he couldn't see any sinus drainage.
Then my jaw started to hurt where my jaw meets the back of my head on the left side.  Not horribly, but enough to be annoying.  The dizziness has gotten worse.  I'm dizzy almost every day now.  The other day, I woke up so dizzy I had to hold on to furniture to walk in to the other room .  I was dizzy the entire day and it was so bad I had to call in sick.  I was having horrible pain in my neck and head, same spot.  I was taking ibuprofen and percocet in alteration.  Percocet to get rid of some of the pain, ibuprofen to settle the inflammation down a bit.
I have my neck shot appointment tomorrow.  I plan on telling him about all of the dizziness and constant pain.  He will probably just say, "OK, we'll take good care of you".  Ugh.


  1. I hope they can give you some answers and some relief. or at least start looking for real answers. Don't forget to tell them about the stuff you found on line.
    Sorry you're in so much pain and so dizzy. I wish I could do something to help.

  2. Oh Melissa, this all sounds horrible. I'm still pissed at that dr who said just lose weight. There has to be some answer to this pain and an end to it. I just wish some doctor would find it for you. I hope the injection gives you some relief tomorrow. Paige

  3. Paige- It's so funny that that's the part that made you mad. I remember when I had that happen and I told you guys you rolled your eyes and said, "They always blame it on the weight no matter what it is!" I agreed wholeheartedly!

    Both- Thanks. Hopefully we'll figure it out one day.

  4. Hey dear!

    So frustrated for you. I hate to see you in pain. Hopefully you'll get some relief soon?

    Dave has been diagnosed with vertigo. Do you think that maybe you could have that as your dizziness? Just a thought...

    Love you!