Here’s the update on the second nerve block. It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon when I visited the bowels of the Vancouver General Hospital….blah blah blah. Fast forward.
So we checked in for my appointment, which they had me squeezed in for at 2pm. We waited patiently, staring at our respective iPhones like typical modern day humans. When that got boring I started making fun of people to make Wendy laugh. It worked. It was like the good old times. You know, before smartphones, when people used to talk to each other in waiting rooms.
Anyways, we were informed that there would be a delay, due to an in-patient emergency (there’s always someone whining, they just happened to be checked-in so they get priority). I wanted to say, “Oh yeah?! My pain is at a 9.5!! How do you like them apples!”. But I didn’t. I let the in-house whiner get their turn before me. Turns out, the delay would be 2 to 2.5 hours! Luckily I managed to get a stretcher and a couple of pillows, which allowed me to find a comfortable waiting position.
Finally, Dr Radu, Dr Pennycooke and Dr Indian Guy (whose name I can’t remember) arrived to update me. Dr Indian Guy informed us that he is the guy they call when things are complicated or unusual. Now, that sounded a little egotistical but he was a pretty good guy, so I let it slide. Seriously, he was really nice. Anyways, he said that the procedure would be relatively easy and I should feel relief within seconds of the anesthetic injection. The steroid injection may take a few days to kick in. So I may feel some discomfort for a couple of days. I was ok with that, signed the consent form and saluted all three (or shook their hands, I can’t recall).
I was rolled into the CT Scan room because it turned out that the x-ray table they were planning on using was not available (because of the whiner) so they opted to use the CT Scan which as it was explained, would work just fine. I was then put on the CT Scan bed and powered into the machine while lying on my stomach. Did I mention that the worse position I could be in pain wise was lying on my stomach. Oh yeah, it sucked. I was lying there for about 10 minutes while the Drs presumably discussed my procedure (or the last Whitecaps games who really knows – although they seemed pretty professional so I’m guessing my procedure) before I almost lost my mind. I began reaching in front of me, hoping to latch onto something so I could pull myself out of the machine. Did I mention the pain was a 10 out of 10. It was ridiculous. I was shaking and broke out into a sweat because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Dr Indian Guy rushed into the room, apologized, consoled me and allowed me to change position for the procedure (I told you he was cool, right). Now that the pain was at an 8, I was waaaaaaay more comfortable (sarcasm) and was ready for the procedure. It didn’t take long for the pain to reach a 10 again, but luckily they were all gloved up with needles in hand.
Dr Indian Guy was right, after the first couple of anesthetic injections, I did get some pain relief. Dropped down to a 5, actually, which made the rest of the procedure go a little more smoothly. It took them about 15 minutes to complete the procedure which involved anesthetic and steroid injections with several visits to the CT Scan monitors to make sure the needles with in the right place. Finally it was done and they wheeled me out.
After they checked to see how well the nerve block had worked, Dr Indian Guy told me that the procedure was unusual because my tumor seems to be growing and pushing through the holes through which the nerves travel. They couldn’t inject the steroid directly into the holes because much of it would have been absorbed by the tumor. So they injected a stronger steroid solution in the immediate areas in the hopes that it would have a similar effect as a “normal” procedure. If the procedure worked I could expect the relief to last from 1 day to a few months. There are too many unknowns. Time will tell.
Wendy and I thanked them all profusely and we got up to go home. Well, funny thing is, my ass muscles were 100% numb. Could not feel them at all. They are a very important muscle for movement and I had no control over them. Needless to say our walk back to the car was kind of awkward, but we finally made it. The feeling returned within a few hours and everything was fine.
Well, it’s been 3 days so far and while I am not 100% pain free, it has been significantly reduced. Things flair up when I do too much (walking, standing, chores around the house – that’s my excuse) so I have to limit that. But compared to before the procedure, I am relatively pain free. For now.
We both remember it’s temporary. But everyday it lasts, is a great day.