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Having first epi L-5, S-1 tomorrow.....scared

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Spinal Injections
After reading a few posts, I have to say I am terrified. I kinda thought I'd get lucky and this would be similar to the diskogram I got 10-21-08. What exactly am I in for tomorrow??
P.S. As an Rph, I see the stigma (of narcotics use) every day at home, out, at the doctor's office (his nurses, mostly), and especially at work. I wish some "pain" detector device could be invented to "weed" out the abusers and let us get on with our quality of life!!!! Let those abuser guys figure out something else, already! If they want to be "stoned" and think they are enjoying life, fine. Leave the real pain to us poor souls so we can be helped without regulations, etc.
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Comments

  • Good Luck! I had my first ones (FOUR bilateral Transforaminal Injections under a Fluroscope), last Nov 2 08, and am scheduled for another go round this Wednesday! I work in a major Trauma hospital in In-PT Pharmacy. I had mine done in the OR where I work as an out patient. My surgeon who did my neck surgery does my back injections too. He would not prescribe me any Valium for the second round even though I begged. :''( He said it was too dangerous to take the chance of me going to sleep during. I will not kid you - the procedure for me was ungodly painful. I almost think child birth was easier. Thank God it only lasted 30 minutes. But I have read others have not had it so badly, and it did help, so I am doing it again. The anesthesiologist administered 6mg of Versed to me before and during the procedure, but it did nothing to even sedate me even a little. Afterward I was so numb from the waist down I could not walk out of the PACU to get home. My husband came with me so I finally dragged myself into a wheelchair, into the car, and my husband half carried me into the house. I could not walk until 4:30 PM that day.
    My surgeon started me on lyrica and it has really helped with the pain and numbness. I need to get back to work full-duty and as you know the techs do all the grunt work. Even though I am a senior (lead) tech, and do mostly purchasing, projects, and supervision of work flow on my shift, I still have to be able to lift up to 50 pounds, and bend constantly to go back full duty. I was able to go back to full duty after my neck surgery, but now have a back injury and that has been more problematic for me as far as working.
    Fortunately my surgeon knows me and knows I am not drug seeking. I started breaking out in hives with Codeine, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone. Demerol gives me black out spells, Ansaids make me retain fluids badly. Thus I am on Darvocet, Tizanidine, Ambien, and Lyrica.
    I have worked in several states in Pharmacy and so far Las Vegas is the worst for MD's not believing anything you say. I got to the point I wouldn't even say I worked in Pharmacy because they would immediately assume I was an addict! I had one guy say I didn't need a script for an antibiotic because I worked in a pharmacy and could get anything I wanted! I have been here almost 7 years and it has taken me a long time to find really good MD's. There's too many weirdo's in LV! Too bad, it's really not a bad place to live otherwise. Good luck tomorrow, let me know how you do, I'll be thinking about you!
  • I had to go through a terrible spinal headache when I got my CT Myeogram before cervical surgery but I knew I would not die from it so I sucked it up (was alone and too sick to go in for a blood patch which would have helped). Hang in there and remember-it has to be done and you can take pain meds afterwards to relieve any ill effects. I hope you'll be in good hands! Tell us how it goes-pain shared is pain halved.
  • Good luck with your surgery today! We'll be thinking of you. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Read a few of your posts, you seem really nice and thanks for the "thinking about you" it seems to me unless you've been there you don't think about people like us. So far the epi seems ok but the nurse refused to give me the fentanyl the doctor ordered. (She did the same thing with the diskogram--same nurse--can you believe it?) She may someday know I suppose.
    Anyhow, thanks. to everyone. If any pharmacy related questions I may be able to help, be glad to if I know the answer.
    Will reply again later after I know all is really well.
  • I hope your ESI tomorrow gives you some relief. I have had 5 and it never helped me (L4-S1). I had them done without sedation, and it can be a bit rough; certain parts of it is intense. If I got through it, anyone else can :) I know you'll do well and let us know how it goes. Take care
  • Mine is tomorrow, wish me luck ! :''(
  • I wish you MUCH LUCK and I am still doing fine, 7 hours later. I wish you the same and more.
    Don't let those know-nothings get to you, but at the same time, I'd try working through some of the pain so you can show the idiots you still know how. (even though pain relief is still the most important thing, however you have to get it, i.e. injections, pt, accupuncture, or even real doctor vs. pain mgmt money-hungry doctor)
    Down here, if you want, you can walk into a clinic (my patients have told me this, unbelievably) and pay a certain amount per whichever med you like just like at a liquor store. I got lucky and knew the neurologist from when I worked in his area and that he was the best. He then sent me for the diskogram and now the epidural. I do take meds, but its hard, to work and function. I need it to go away, and hopefully these md's will get my life back a little for me.
    I like the person's blog that said shared pain is pain cut in half; I wish it was true, and am glad it is for them.
  • Yes, sometimes I even get the Ho-Hum attitude from my husband. When my pain meds are working properly and I can make dinner, wash clothes, etc., He usually makes some comment like I must not be in THAT much pain then. I have to drive myself to my procedure tomorrow, and wait for it with no support from him. Then I have to call him to pick me up from his work. He didn't want to take a few hours off at all really, to even come get me. He suggested I take a Taxi! I reminded him that the first set of shots left me unable to walk for most of the day, was the Taxi driver going to help me get into the house? What if I couldn't get to the bathroom? He said he didn't even recall the issues I had with the first shots, I don't know where his brain is. ~X( When he said good night and went off to bed (we sleep in separate rooms because of our opposite working hours), he just pecked me on the cheek. I asked him if he was even going to wish me good luck? He said, "OK, good luck". I said "you know I can get paralyzed or die during this procedure don't you? He said that's not going to happen!
    Well, thing like that sometimes do happen, and the person left behind pays in guilt the rest of their lives.
    I love my husband, and I know he would be sad if something hapened to me, but it's what I get for marrying an Engineer. :<
  • Hi

    My name is Nancy and I am new to this forum...4 weeks ago I had the facet block in L5 S1 for severe low back hip and some referring pain into knee and into legs...the facet seems to be wearing off as I am experiencing some pain in the hip and referring dull pain in the legs...been doing PT successfully up until this day after reading everybody's postings I am sorry that I am discouraged about my situation yet I am...I work from home and am feeling sad and tired today...need encouragement
    nf622@aol.com
  • Well, it went a lot better yesterday than the first ones did! <:P I had the same anesthesiologist and he remembered the 6mg of Versed did nothing to me, so he started at 5mg and went up to 7. I also really tried to keep my muscles as relaxed as possible and it seemed to help. They used Celestone this time, so I am hoping it works longer. My doc will probably want to do a third one in the near future.
    I am wondering how long this goes on before one has to have surgery. Since my injury was at work, they will close my case next August. If I use up all mu FMLA, I am afraid I will be let go. A Medical Separation as they call it. I am afraid I will end up having to get an attorney, which I don't have the money for. I will loose all my retirement I had planed to get after being at this place of employment for 6.5 years. I guess I'll hope and pray that it won't come to that. :SS
  • Hello Nancy,

    Welcome to this forum and the great people here. We learn from each other and support one another. My thoughts and prayers are with you on this "down" day, and will continue to be.

    After reading that your doctor "wants to do a facet on (your) neck" I was very glad to read "I am hesitant as I am not sure that I will have even worse side affects". I am totally with you. Not once in your post did you say anything about having pain in your upper back or pain radiating down your arms. You only mentioned the pain in your lower back, knee and into your legs. Nancy, PLEASE do get a second opinion, and do so before you make any appointment with your current doctor.

    Nancy, have you ever had an epiddural injection for your lower back pain and leg pain? If not, I would highly recommend that you talk with a pain management doctor and yes a spinal surgeon about having an epidural containing a corticosteroid. Oh yes, make SURE the PM doc uses a fluoroscope to help him/her guide the needle to precisely the spot where the corticosteroid needs to go.

    In the Spring of '07 I had pain in my lower back and pain radiating down my leg with a tingling sensation in the lower part of my leg. A pain management doctor encouraged me to have him give me an epidural injection at the L3/L4 area because the disc was herniated and pinching the nerve. It was amazing - In a week the pain in my leg was gone and in a month that tingling sensation was gone. The corticosteroid in the epidural injection really did reduce the inflammation and in turn the pain. Since that one injection that pain in my leg has not returned.

    I wish you the best. Do stay in touch and let us know how things go for you. And do get that second opinion.

    RichT

  • 2 weeks ago, I had that steroid epi and there is no reason
    unless you already take something that will interact with what they want to give you as to why they wouldn't medicate anyone during the procedure. As long as they use a very short acting neuroblocker, you won't even know you had anything, except no pain during the procedure. My doctor used Kenalog and Marcaine in the injection, and lidocaine locally prior to injection. He also used a fluoroscope and I consider him to be the BEST.

    NF.............RichT is right, if you have no symptoms that could be from an upper cervical (neck) region, your doctors or somebody just wants your or your insurance's money. Also, without a diskogram or other contrasted MRI or CAT scan, I don't know why they are on the facets and not using injections directly around the possibly pinched nerve or herniated disc (which can cause the symptoms you described).

    pamlee.........if your injury was at work, was it at the
    job you still work at?? if so, get a lawyer pro-bono. The lawyer should take your case and will sue for his own fees also. I thought an employer could not fire or "seperate" a person injured at their facility. I could be wrong. Most
    lawyers will at least give a free consult anyway.

    meyday.........Wish you were right that if you can do it anyone can. Too bad some people have more substance P than others. I am thinking of you and hoping you find relief soon.

    Lastly, I am so glad we can all relate on so many levels. Like pamlee, unfortunately, I have to take it at home, my
    husband thinks anything can be managed without medication.
    At least he took me to the epidural I guess. But he didn't stick around after we got home--and I have a 3 yr old!! I
    am glad I ended up doing well (for my baby's sake). I do
    appreciate all the thoughts and well-wishes. I have to get
    another epi but not scared this time. I was able to stop
    taking one of the pain meds thank God. One more to stop,
    then I plan to become certified in pain management so I
    can help others to understand what is out there, and to
    hopefully get rid of some of the false beliefs people have
    concerning pain or pain management.

    You guys take care and hopefully some good to great posts
    next time I can get online.

    Your friend in pain (and hope),
    PaMgSt
  • Hello PaMgSt,

    I like your shortened name. lol

    FANTASTIC that your epi is working for you. Question - If it is working, then why do you need a second injection? The rule of thumb is a max of three corticosteroid injections per year. Why "waste" an injection?

    I must ask my PM doc about Marcaine as it was my understanding I was getting the Kenalog to reduce the inflammation and lidocaine to kill the pain of the injection. Is the Marcaine "mixed in" with the Kenalog? Just curious.

    Great to read that you have been able to take yourself off of one of your pain meds. That in itself is not easy to do. Been there done that. I wish you well in slowly getting yourself off of the last pain med you are on. Being a pharmacist you REALLY know about medications. That's super!!

    I don't wish your husband "ill", however, his time will come when he will be glad he has a medication that helps him. Then he will understand.

    BRAVO PaMgSt that you are planning on becoming certified in pain management. You will have so much to share, and you will be able to REALLY communicate with your patients because "you have been there".

    AHHHhh I'm sure your 3 year old brings many smiles to your face. That special "warm" feeling inside.

    Take care, and may your epi work for 4 months like mine have. And longer would even be better.

    RichT
  • Hi PnMgSt and All! Happy New Year! <:P Hope you all have been able to enjoy some relaxation and pain relief during the holidays!
    Thanks to all for your support and prayers! Such a great help to me during all this.
    My second set of injections only lasted a week and a half, but at least I had a little time while on vacation in beautiful Sedona, AZ over Christmas to enjoy myself before all the pain came back. Unfortunately the bowel and bladder issues did not let up. I met with my MD last Tuesday and he did not release me back to work unless light duty and my employer will not let me go back light duty, so I am off until I have full release. My MD is now wanting to do a Microdisectomy, I am guessing L3-4, and 4-5, but he is concerned about the bowel bladder issues and wants me to have an MRI of my brain and cervical spine to check for any MS lesions before he does it. He is sending a request to my regular insurance to have it done as it would not be under my Workman's Comp.
    PnMgSt, I can't really sue my employer under Workman's comp until they are actually letting me go, but thank you for the help. They say they can let an employee go for any or no reason here in Nevada, but whether they actually will or not is the question. I could sue for damages at that time, and there would be substantial damages as I have worked in Pharmacy like I said for 30 years and am making in the top 1% of pay for my position. Also I would loose all the retirement benefits I would have gotten if I had been able to stay employed until age 65 or later. I already had qualified for full SS benefits before taking this job, but have not paid into SS now for almost 7 years. If you get any other retirement, they deduct it from your SS and I would basically get nothing from SS at the current rate. So I am really depending on my retirement and other investments for later on in my life. My boss would let me come back light duty, it is the HR department that makes the decisions. I met with the FMLA guy in the HR dept 2 weeks ago and he said I had till Feb 15th until my job protection ran out, then he said might could get a 30 day LOA on top of the FMLA. When I had my neck injury 2 years ago I was able to get my job position back after my FMLA ran out. However in todays economy, the hospital is facing so many cutbacks they are desperate to find ways to cut costs. Since I am one of the highest paid techs, I think they will let me go even though they may not want to, and that is what concerns me. I don't want to be forced to go back too soon after surgery if I don't fell I can do it, but I may be forced to.
    If anyone has any info that might help me out, let me know!

    Thanks!
  • My neurosurgeon thinks that I may be able to get up to 40% relief instead of the 20-25% from the first injection. I'd do anything to not have to take pain meds.
    Thank you for your support and I'll let you know about the progression. Some wierd guy is saying he is a magazine writer wanting to speak to women who decide not to have surgery. What's that all about, ya think?
    Thanks again and yes they mixed the marcaine and kenalog so I didn't have pain for about 6 to 8 hours at all after the injection. Of course for about 3 days, I had some, then I felt 20-25% pain relief. I saw the neurosurgeon a week later and he suggested the second epi. He also said if I ended up not getting full expected or wanted result, he'd order 2 series of 3 shots (total of 6). I really think he is the best!! He wants pain relief whatever it takes. The PM MD that does the injections is great also.
    Your friend in pain and hope:
    PaMgSt
  • Hello PaMgSt,

    I had an ESI Thursday afternoon. Seems to be working. Unfortunately my PM doc is moving 1400 miles away. Its going to be an expensive injection the next go around if his replacement can't fill Dr. K's shoes.

    Okay, on to Marcaine - After my injection I asked Dr K if he also used Marcaine. His response - "No, you only get the lidocaine and Kenalog. Marcaine has the potential of causing heart issues." Not to alarm you, just info you may wish to check out with your doctor and on the internet.

    Hope you are doing well.

    RichT
  • RICH,
    I DON'T KNOW OF ANY FURTHER PROBLEMS LIDO WOULDNT GIVE SINCE BOTH ARE THE SAME CLASS OF DRUGS, EXCEPT PROBABLY ADDITIVE EFFECT. I WILL CHECK INTO IT THOUGH AT THE PHARMACY WHEN I GO BACK FROM LUNCH. I'LL POST YOU AGAIN AFTER THAT. (HATE TO BE DISRESPECTFUL; SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A GREAT DOCTOR, BUT MAYBE THEY JUST HAD, LIKE ONE INCIDENT OR SOMETHING AND IT MADE HIM NOT LIKE IT). BUT I DO HAVE RESOURCES TO LET YOU KNOW THE LATEST ON THAT AND I'LL TRY TO GET TIME TODAY (MY PHARMACY MANAGER IS A WITCH WHO THINKS NO ONE NEEDS PAIN MEDS). I AM A PHARMACIST, AND I DON'T CARE WHAT SHE THINKS, I JUST HOPE SHE DOESNT HAVE TO LIVE IT ONE DAY, LIKE US.
    YOUR FRIEND IN PAIN AND HOPE;
    PAMGST
    P.S. HOPE YOU DONT MIND THE ALL CAPS, I'M NOT YELLING (MY SIXTEEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER ASKED ME WHY I YELLED AT HER WHEN I TEXTED HER BECAUSE USING CAPS MEANS YOU ARE YELLING), ITS JUST EASIER FOR ME TO TYPE FASTER AND LUNCH IS SLOWLY SLIPPING AWAY. THANKS AGAIN FOR THE INFO, I'LL CHECK IT OUT.
  • MAYBE IF INJECTED DIRECTLY INTO THE HEART???
  • SINCE YOU POST ALOT, HAS ANYONE ELSE MENTIONED SOME SORT OF "PAIN DETECTOR"? AND, HEY, I JUST GOT MY FIRST "THE PAIN PRACTIONER" MAGAZINE. I'M EXCITED!!!
    LET ME KNOW HOW YOUR EPI GOES OK? I'M GETTING ANOTHER ON JANUARY 23 AND HAVE A BAD COLD/COUGH. THEY MAY HAVE TO CANCEL--DOCS A STICKLER ON INFECTION, YA KNOW.
    YOUR FRIEND IN PAIN AND HOPE,
    PAMGST
  • Hello Pamlee and PnMgSt,

    How do I say this kindly, without "stepping on toes", and yet give you my gut feeling.

    First, I do understant that everyone of us is different, that we will respond differently to different medical tretments.

    However, with that said, when I read of all the ESIs you have and don't get the results you hope for, sorry, but to me that points in large measure to the doctor giving you the injections.

    My very first two were by PAs. First injection lasted about 2 weeks max. The 2nd injection a couple of weeks later lasted for maybe 10 days. AND THEN my PM doc gives me an injection in the L3/L4 disc area back in Apr '07 which is still working. And subsequent injections in the L5'S1 area and I only need ONE injection once every 4 months. I can draw no other conclusion than the person giving the injections is a MAJOR part of the equation as to whether the corticosteroid was "placed" precisely where it needs to go.

    Sorry PnMgSt, but I can't agree that "I really think he is the best!!" nor "The PM MD that does the injections is great also." - Why you think that I'm not sure.

    No No, two series of 3 shots each is WAY OVER THE RECOMMENDED MAX of 3 injections per year. That just tells me he is a "hit and miss" doc.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but I don't know how else to say it.

    Please take the time to talk with other doctors.

    Take care.

    RichT
  • http://www.medicinenet.com/bupivicaine-injection/article.htm

    I'M NOT REAL GREAT ABOUT PASTE ETC, SO YOU MAY HAVE TO TYPE THIS IN TO READ THE ARTICLE. IT BASICALLY SAYS MARCAINE HAS CAUSED PROBLEMS IN PREGNANT WOMEN AS ANESTHESIA.
    STILL LOOKING..........
    FIPAH,
    PAMGST
  • Hello Pnmgst,

    Thanks for sharing the link and info. The warning statement should give everyone pause to using it.

    RichT
  • I DON'T GET MY FEELINGS HURT, I LIKE YOUR OPINIONS, ACTUALLY. DIDN'T STEP ON MY TOES AT ALL. I MAY NOT HAVE SAID IT YET BUT MY PM INJECTOR DID MISS AND PLACED TO BOLUS OVER THE RIGHT SIDE INSTEAD OF THE LEFT. WHEN I ASKED HIM, BECAUSE I SAW THE PICTURE WHILE HE WAS DOING IT, HE SAID,"SORRY, I TRIED FOR THE LEFT, BUT I THINK YOU WERE POSITIONED WRONG ON THE TABLE". HE SAID IT SHOULD SURROUND THE WHOLE AREA ANYHOW. WHETHER THAT WAS TRUE OR NOT I DON'T KNOW. WHAT DO YOU THINK? I HOPE THIS NEXT ONE IS "RIGHT ON". TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK, I'M GLAD TO KNOW.
    YOUR FRIEND IN PAIN AND HOPE,
    PAMGST
  • Hello PnMgSt,

    Thank you for your understanding and "listening".

    "HE SAID,"SORRY, I TRIED FOR THE LEFT, BUT I THINK YOU WERE POSITIONED WRONG ON THE TABLE"" OMG!!! he obviously did not and does not know what he is doing. That is very troubling. There is NO WAY he could have been using a fluoroscope, NO WAY, or he would have seen EXACTLY where he was. Such errors are a lack of checking and rechecking. It HURTS to know what you went through.

    "HE SAID IT SHOULD SURROUND THE WHOLE AREA ANYHOW." THAT PnMgSt, is untrue. From what my PM doc has told me, if the medication is placed in the correct exact location it moves very very little. How else can the medication remain active for 4 months in my case. If it spread out there is no way it could be effective for long.

    AHHHhhh how I wish you and so many others could esperience the incredible knowledge, exprtise and precison of my PM doc, Dr. K.

    PnMgSt, everytime I read through your posts and MANY of others I'm more convinced, that in May I will fly like a bird 1400 miles away and get another ESI from Dr. K. The cost of the flight will be "minimal" knowing I can have confidence in Dr. K getting the medication to exactly and precisely the location it needs to go.

    It bothers me to no end that the AMA, hospitals, etc. "protect" their incompetent doctors who have caused life threatening errors.

    It is not just in the medical field, it is all around us as I'm sure you have experienced. I always maintained that in the building where I worked, you could fire 50% of the staff, the worthless ones, on Firday, and on Monday return to work with half the staff and no one would even know there was a change.

    Okay, times up.

    Thanks for permitting me to "share".

    RichT
  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL. I KNOW YOU ARE IN PAIN. I HAD ABOUT 6 BEFORE SURGERY. WHEN HE GOT IN THER MY BONE JUST CRUMBLED. I DONT KNOW IF IT WAS THE STEROIDS OR THE ACCIDENT I HAD. THE DR DID SAY IT COULD RUIN YOUR OTHER DISK.
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