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It's showtime, Permanent SCS tomorrow...

BionicMomRNBBionicMomRN Posts: 37
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I've got my bag packed for the most part, didn't sleep last night so I should sleep good tonight. I spent a good part of the day on distraction activities (pedicure, lunch out, etc) I should be home Thurs or Fri, I'm taking my laptop so I will try to check in and let y'all know how it went. Thanks for all the input during my nervous nellie phase, I'm ready to get it done! The hospital just called to confirm and remind me I'm NPO at midnight (duh, I'm a nurse I knew that)...she's a friend of mine so she reminded me I'll be fine and she'll be with me when I wake up. So, here we go!


  • Good Luck, I'm sure you'll be fine.

  • with your SCS implant today. Great that you took a day of pampering yourself.

    You will be in my thoughts. Wishing you great success and decreased pain.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • You will be just fine. Hope SCS help as much as mine does. Will be thinking of you.

  • Fingers crossed for you that all will go well.
  • Thanks everyone, off to the shower and out the door. :O
  • I do hope this will be the answer to your prayers and kicks your pain out the door!!

    The surgery is not bad at all!! Keeping you in my thoughts.

    Patsy W
  • Sitting in my hospital bed...

    I remember pretty much nothing from the surgery or immediate post op. That wasn't bad, had quite an audience for the surgery as they don't do this particular surgery very often here. So, lots of peeps I know and work with, now know me much better ;)

    All the local has worn off and I'm pretty damn sore now. The incisions aren't where he told me they would be...but oh well. The IPG is actually implanted right on my side, not my abdomen...still near my ribs as opposed to my hip. Did I mention that I'm sore...ouch :( I know this pain should get better faster than when I had my fusion. So far, the morphine, percocet, AND norco aren't helping too much. I go back to my PM doc on Monday to see the rep and get some more programming done. I remember my rep talking to me about post-op programming...honestly I can't remember if he told me he would turn it on today or not and my torso hurts too much to tell. Oh well...the deal is done and now I'm on to the newest chapter!

    Thank you again for all the positive thoughts and all that jazz. I'll keep you posted.

  • I'm glad you are done, but weird they implanted in a different position that what you had planned huh?

    Your surgeon (or someone) will let you know about programming in the morning and probably don't expect you to remember-lol.

    I hope you get a lot of relief from the SCS.
  • Instant itching, redness, and huge hives. Great. So, Dilaudid and Toradol shall now be my friends. Definitely stay on top of the pain, it isn't worth trying to tough it out. I know all this as a nurse, but I sure am a lousy patient.
  • Glad to see you are alert! Sorry about the hives, though. What a bummer. I remember the engineer from Boston Scientific waiting on me in recovery and wanting to start programming me right away. I was not very interested in that at the moment, but we persevered and got it done and then she came to my room a bit later and worked on it again. I imagine that the same thing will happen on Tuesday when I have my revision. At least it will be a morning surgery this time. The last time it was early evening by the time I was in recovery and I'm sure she was ready to leave the hospital.
    Have a good day today!
  • It was a long night with not much sleep. I woke up this morning and the IPG site is super swollen...my surgeon thought I was okay, but it sure does burn (now I understand the comments about the site burning). My St Jude rep came out about 0830 and programmed me with several options, showed me how to run the thing. Turns out my T12 laminectomy ended up being T8-T9...they advanced the lead because they were actually able to get coverage to my lower back. Anyway, I'm parked in my recliner with an icepack on my side and honestly feeling pretty punk at the moment, I'm sure some sleep would help...I'll work on that. I'm in an "I don't feel good and don't give a damn" mood so I'll sign off for now...thought I'd let you know I made it home :)
  • lol- I thought "feeling pretty punk" meant that you felt pretty good (hehe) shows what I know. I actually think that I feel a little envious of those of you with the SCS now, and this is a brand new feeling for me, as far as this treatment is concerned. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy for anyone who get any pain relief in any way at all, I just never really thought seriously about the SCS before & doubt I could ever even be a candidate..hmmm.

    I hope you are feeling better and get great relief!
  • Ice packs were my best friends during the first several days. Even past the magic "72 hours", ice helps numb up the IPG pocket and reduce the burn for a bit. Since mine is in my backside, I don't know how much the movement difference will be that you experience, but a change of position was always the kicker. Good thing is, that is settles fairly quickly, that is until I changed positions yet again.

    It's good to keep an eye on your battery status the first week. The battery is charged fully before implantation, but programming an IPG chews up a bit more than normal operation. If you have lots of swelling at your IPG site, you may have trouble charging any time soon. By the time I was able to do my first charge, it had been 11 days and I was about on fumes. I also found that initially I couldn't stand to do a complete recharge. So I would charge for an hour and then ice the pocket down. By about the 3rd or 4th charge I was able to do a full charge without stopping.


    What you said makes total sense. I started a thread a few months after I first got my SCS, and talked about how I felt I had an unfair advantage over others with chronic pain. Of course with everyone's situation being different, that makes it an unrealistic view of things, but I still remember feeling like I had a headstart in the race of life.

  • Punk in my understanding=feeling poor, aka: "I feel like crap!"

    My PM doc tried to convince me last summer to get a SCS. I've had a he'll of a time at work because of my surgery...I am an RN, I work 12 hour shifts (nights), as a nurse, I risk losing my license if I take any narcs before, or during, my shift. The only way I was cleared to work by my NS was if I continued to wear my LSO brace...so I work in pain, I just can't continue to do that. Why do you think you are a poor candidate? I was very skeptical until I had my stim-trial.. Aside from the pain of lead placement, my neuropathy was gone. :D. Ack, I'm posting from my phone so I'll cut this short. All I can say is... Never say never!
  • We haven't gone over charging this thing yet, I've got the box of goods and only glanced at it so far. I'm supposed to go in on Monday, it's almost an hour drive so when my rep called me today...he told me that he can walk me through it on the phone...I don't see that as a problem. I have a full battery, but it's only day one ( it feels like a week!)

    Why was it difficult to charge? Does this thing heat up? Or is it just sitting for that amount of time? My biggest problem right now is surgical pain control...my NS sent me home on the exact same meds that I take every day! Exactly the same doses and all. My PM doc told me that my NS would be in charge of my post-op pain control...i think he neglected to tell my NS that. I'm calling my PM doc first thing in the morning to hopefully get some help. 1 Norco every 6 hours is not cutting it...I have no idea what my NS is thinking. When I asked him about surgical pain control, he told me to break a Norco in half?!?? Maybe he wants me to take 1.5 Norco at a time, I dunno. I really appreciate all your input and advice! I did not realize the discomfort I would have...it's for a good cause though :) the burning pain is the worst! Holy cow. so I am trying to lay flat so that when I get up, I don't have to stretch the tissues over the IPG if that makes an sense... it's already stretched over it because I'm not curled-up (much as I'd like to be). I'll let you know how the pain control calls go tomorrow...now if only I could sleep! Not sure what the insomnia is all about.
  • Yeah, the IPG pocket might get a little warm while charging. I believe you said you were getting a Medtronic SCS. If so, there's quite a few of us that can share some tips we use in charging. Take it slow while you recover and this will all be a distant memory real soon.

  • Some folks have experienced difficulty acquiring a good signal when there's significant swelling present. I didn't have that problem, however when charging the first few times I could only tolerate it for so long before I had to remove the charger. I did all my post op pain control with Tylenol and Celebrex. I did not have a laminectomy with my implant though, just percutaneous leads.

    I found that by using a pair of running shorts I could charge more comfortably. No matter how still you sit or lay while charging, there's still small amounts of movement between the IPG, your skin and the charger. By using the shorts, it provided a smoother surface for those small movements and kept the charger from "grabbing" my skin and increasing the discomfort.

    Like Dave mentioned, many of us have a Medtronic SCS, so we can easily assist you if need be. I have a Medtronic RestoreULTRA and it is 3 years old. Couldn't live my life without it!

  • I have a couple DVD's to watch about my new toy. It does say not to use the charger if you have staples because of the risk of burns. I have steri-strips this time around so that isn't an issue. I have a stylin' belt for the antennae wand and charger, I'm assuming most of these units operate in a similar fashion. I will definitely watch for a heat while I charge.
  • I'm actually wearing yoga pants at the moment, I can see that these would probably work well...like your running shorts do for you. The good news is...the swelling seems to have gone down some this morning, so maybe the burning at the IPG site will be less today. I figured that if my surgeon let me have Toradol in the hospital...it is probably okay to take ibuprofen at home...in moderation. I'm trying very hard to take it easy now that I'm home, not an easy task with 4 kids (three of which are teenage girls-talk about little slobs!). There is no reason they can't step up and help out more. My husband, well...if he can't fix it, he avoids it...he will help me if I ask him to...I just have to ASK him... Like yesterday when I was laying in bed and found that I couldn't get up, the kids were all gone and I found myself stuck! ( it was the first time I'd been horizontal ). I can't reach my other incision, so I haven't been icing that one. I'm going to see if I can get showered today (have to be diligent about keeping my incisions dry)...I will see if one of my co-workers can come do my dressing changes this afternoon.

    I slept for 5 hours straight last night, more sleep than I've had all at once in days. Yay me :)
  • Yep, that's right. I took a FIVE hour nap, and this evening, with the help of my teen aged daughters, I even took a real shower and they changed my dressings! I managed to keep my incisions dry, from what I can see they look okay...he got a bit carried away with the steri-strips. The bruising is starting to show and you can totally see where the lead wire is tunneled to the IPG...weird. I'm pretty thin so there will be no hiding it, that's for sure. I had a pretty rough morning, which is why I laid down...the 2+ weeks of sleeping an hour at a time...plus working nights must have all caught up with me...however it is 2:30am in Oregon and I'm still awake now.

    I had changed my program earlier, then after a while I found that my IPG wasn't running at all. I have no idea why it just stopped...it's running now that is all that matters. Time to shut down and get some shut-eye. Hopefully tomorrow will be an even better day. My lami incision area is now much more sore so I better find a way to ice it, and my Side..later on and not right now. Thank you guys for sharing your experiences and advice!! How do you guys carry your magnet and programmer? Do I just get a bigger purse? I usually wear a zip-up hoodie and many have inside pockets I can stuff the case into...is it safe to carry my magnet with my programmer? Maybe I should carry them separate. I would hate to fry my programmer.
  • Glad you were able to get a shower. That is one of the greatest feelings after any kind of surgery. I found that by taking the gel ice packs and placing them in an oversized t-shirt, I could manipulate the ice pack to anywhere I need it and then secure it in place by wrapping a beach towel around myself or lying on the pack.

    With the Medtronic SCS, there's no magnet, just a programmer. I carry mine in my purse or fanny pack depending on where I am going or what I am doing. It is small enough to go into an inside cell phone pocket on some jackets. I think everyone comes up with a way that works best for them based on what they do and their lifestyle.

    Hope you get some good sleep.

  • I have not been on here for sometime so am just now reading of your recovery progress.

    Happy to hear everything is going as it should. Yes, the surgery pain is rough for a while. Mine was gone within 2 weeks if I remember correctly. The PM I had at that time gave me Oxycodone for my surgery pain and it worked well for that.

    Also happy to hear you were able to get some badly needed sleep. Hope that continues.

    It's wonderful that it covers your neuropathy pain!! I too have neuropathy but all the SCS did for me was tingle on top of my pain! Not a good feeling at all.

    Continued success with your SCS. Isn't pain relief wonderful? Just concentrate on healing now and get as much sleep as you can.

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • Thanks for all the feedback guys! I'm on day 7 post-op. The pain is much more managable...still some burning, tenderness, and I'm sore...not at all as bad as the first few days home. That part totally sucked! My swelling is down at the IPG site, but is is red directly over the IPG. It is warm, but not hot and aside from the skin irritation from the dressings (my skin does not like adhesives, even from paper tape), I don't know why it is red. I'm curious if it from icing the area, just normal...or what? The skin directly over the IPG is completely numb and has been from day 1. I'm holding off on icing it today to see if the redness goes away...I've had 2 layers of towel and a shirt between the ice and the skin so I have been careful in that respect. The highest my temp has been was 99.6 and it's been hovering around normal today.

    My teenage girls are doing a fabulous job helping me out and doing all the driving, helping with showers and dressings (I've got both sites open to air as of today) so I'm good there, my husband...not so much

    My husband who has completely ignored me all week...took me to the hospital, wasn't there when I went in, wasn't there when I came out, brought the kids out in the evening (and left), to the bar I found out and then...My daughter brought me home. He decided it would be a good idea to go out Saturday and get so drunk that I had to stay up with him passed out on the bathroom floor with like 30-70 second pauses in breathing...he was rousable so I left his sorry butt there and kept an eye on him all freakin night...embarassing to him or not...next time I'm just calling the medics. He is leaving to Vegas for a week in the morning (business trip...)so perhaps the toxic environment around here will mellow out. He hasn't asked me once how I'm doing or feeling. I had to call him one time because I was in the house alone and could not get out of bed by myself (the first time I was horizontal). Enough of that, yes he's an alcoholic but he rarely gets THAT drunk...usually you can't tell he's even been drinking.

    So, I've been playing around with the programs and can't quite get my right leg and foot covered...they are buzzing right along, but I still feel the neuropathy. I get reprogrammed next week. I'm hoping that my NS didn't put the paddle lead too high in my back. He told me L1-T12, the op report says he ended up putting it at T8-9, I of course don't remember the surgery so I have no clue why it is so different than what he originally planned. My St Jude Rep was there, showed me the xrays from my stim trial...so I know the info was supplied to him... I'll be sure to ask him during my postop visit. Did you have to get reprogrammed quite a bit in the beginning? I don't mind it, I'll do whatever it takes to get this gadget working and get off some of the meds...but it's almost an hour trip there, and an hour trip back... Oh well, I'm just learning at this point :)
  • Unfortunately, it's probably gonna take some time to get the programming right. You should definitely ask the surgeon why he moved the leads. The ANS rep should have been in surgery also, so they should be able to answer that question. Why do a trial if they're going to change the parameters when they do the perm implant.

    I would press them to foot the programming bill if it takes a while to get your coverage right. Just my two cents.

  • Yes, my St Jude reps were at my surgery, even showed me the fluoroscopy photos from the trial. The only reason I know any of this stuff is because my NS told me at my pre-op appointment that he was going in at T12-L1 I told him that seemed pretty low, he flipped through my chart and read my stim trial results outloud and said "oh, they had to advance it to T11". Well, while I was in the hospital I had my nurse look up and read my op report (mostly because recovery told them I had general anesthesia-and i was curious to know if i did, i signed an informed consent for both conscious and general) well she's reading this to me and the op report says T8-T9. So, the incision is exactly at bra strap level...I can't wear a bra (TMI sorry), I can't sit back in a chair or when i drive (only short trips...otherwise someone else is driving) because that's right where the thoracic curve is and I have no extra padding, my IPG is right at my waist (belly button level) slightly in the front but the vertical incision is on my side...weird placement but what do I know? If they were trying for back pain relief, my back isn't that painful, it's the burning neuropathy in my hips, legs, and feet that are my problem. As much as I didn't want to be aware when they woke me up...now I wish I knew what the heck went on in there...I'll ask my reps when I see them for dang sure. Yeah, got my hospital bill ... $67,000 ... Can't wait for the rest of the bills, good thing I have good insurance and I work there!

    I'll keep you guys posted
  • 13 days post-op and NS as well as PM post-op visits and reprogramming. It was a tiring day. Finally got to see my incisions, they are healing pretty well...my skin came off with the steri-strips (dumb me, I requested them instead of staples) so I'm a bit raw. My surgical pain is much better, swelling is way down. I now have 8 programs to choose from... Some relief from the neuropathy, they say will get better with time. He can get the stim up to my upper ribs and even to my arms and hands...my problem is my hips, legs, feet...The left side has decent coverage, the right is where the majority of my nerve damage is...it's gonna take some work. I spent an hour getting reprogrammed, so I need some time to try out the programs.

    My PM doc was not pleased about the no post-op meds...that's water under the bridge at this point. My big issue is work. My NS says I can go back in a week or two, my PM doc first asked me if I HAD to go back...umm yeah, unless you want to pay my bills and feed my four kids...not going back is not an option! He said he wants me to stay off for as long as possible ... For obvious reasons, scarring in, I have a very physically
    demanding job, and apparently a very bad marriage issue. ( husband left to Vegas last
    week for a supposed conference, that didn't start until Sunday...he's been there since Thurs morning...no call, no texts, no emails nada...no "are you okay" nothing). Anyway, I am short on leave because I had to use all 12 weeks last year for my fusion recovery. I have some quick thinking to do about when to go back...I wish my diva would come to an agreement on something...anything. Aside from my wounds or possible revisions, I don't see my NS anymore. PM doc...at least once a month. I know my NS will give me a release, but my PM strongly advises me to stay off for more than just a week or two lo I ne to.HR and scheduling know ASAP. I've lost enough sleep over it for the night
  • I meant that I wish my doctors would agree on something ... Not my divas ( although I do have three teenaged daughters...they don't agree on anything either...lol).

    And I need to let HR and scheduling know ASAP how much longer I can be/will be off. They tried to fire me last year when I ran out of leave and came back with restrictions. So, yes politics is a bitch with our new company... They also forget I just made them over $200,000 off my surgeries alone. I'm headed to bed and maybe some sleep now.
  • Good luck Toni, Hope it all works out for you. I kinda wish the scs trial would of worked out for me also. Both trials i was geting zapped every time they would set the program by the time i get home it would change and almost taze me to the ground.

    Hey i heard if you stand on 1 leg and face nw your scs picks up free hbo. That might explain the 65.000 bill. Best wishes. Alex
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Yeah! Free movies :)

    I'm sorry your trials didn't work out Alex. I think my trial actually worked really well...I'm pretty sure after everything settles in, I will get better relief. My St Jude rep told me I'm showing excellent progress (that's his job though). So far my two St Jude reps have been great. My PM doc doesn't want to change any of my meds yet...grrr. I have been reducing my Neurontin dose...why have me on 2400mg if I still needed a SCS. I've been having vertigo for months and I'd wake up with my hands so swollen it hurt to move them. I've noticed a huge improvement since I've decreased my dose.

    Now if I can find the program he set that makes ATM machines spit out cash for me as I near them...I will be a happy camper! Then the whole return to work deal would be resolved :D

    Hope you can find something that eases your pain Alex!
  • How are you coming along with your new programs? Did you make a decision about going back to work? I think I'm ready to start going to the office, but since they won't let me haul my laptop back and forth, I'm going to wait until someone can bring my new desktop computer up to my office and set it up next week sometime.
    I was just thinking about you and hoping that things are improving. My hip has just started to bother me and I think it is because I'm getting more active and the swelling is going down some so I'm feeling it more when I sit for long periods or walk around a lot. I am pretty sure this happened the last time I had this surgery too.
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