Hi to you all.
I have received a letter advising me that the permament implant of the Nevro scs device is 'provisionally' scheduled for Monday 21 January - which is very quick for the NHS. I am not complaining and, all being well, will be more than happy to undergo this [relatively] minor operation.
However, I have not fully recovered from the first operation on 3 December (where the electrodes and connectors were fitted, ready for battery implant later on - all the groundwork was done on this first occasion). I didn't realise how painful the first operation would leave me afterwards. It felt like my insides had been turned over - it was quite unpleasant. The surgeon actually said before I went into the operating theatre "I don't think you realise how big this surgery is going to be". Too right I didn't. I thought it would be a breeze. Perhaps it's because I'm getting older and therefore more cranky in my old age, but this is the 5th spine operation I've had and, with each one, I've noticed that the recovery time takes that bit longer and the pain levels are that bit more 'sharper'.
Anyway. The trial went pretty well on the whole. I couldn't feel any vibration/sensation at all when it was switched on (I left it on continually for 7 days). I went through all the programmes as suggested and couldn't believe the device was actually on - cos I couldn't feel it. Still, the results were encouraging - it totally got rid of my sciatic pain on my right leg and helped to reduce the back back too (apart from when I had a bowel episode - my back pain always increases then). The Nevro did not, unfortunately, take away any sacro-iliac joint pain (bilateral), but I wasn't expecting it to if I'm honest.
A good thing about the Nevro is that, because there are no vibration sensations to be felt, it can be left switched on all the time - even when driving etc. The only time they recommend you switch it off is when you go through customs (x-ray machines) at airports - and preferable ask to be searched with a hand-held 'wand' instead of walking through their x-ray machines. Also, if you go through the security posts that are situated at the front of big high street stores, they usually advise you to rush through the middle - and not linger beside them - as the magnets could affect the device.
However, and this is weird, although the operation site (there were 3) all healed very well and the drains were taken out - even though I had lots of 'leakage' from one site in particular which stopped after the drains were cut - I have been on antibiotics for the past week because of a 'soft tissue infection' on my spine.
It started a couple of weeks ago where the area became firey hot, itchy and swelled up in the evening as I was resting my back. It's better this week than it was last week, but I had to have another course of antibiotics yesterday when I saw my local GP (again for a further week) and also a blood test yesterday - to check the 'infection markers' - whatever they are.
Hopefully, I will be able to shift this infection before Monday 21 January when I'm due to have the last operation. I feel personally that I don't have to inform them because they are NOT going into the same site on my spine (they've been there, done that). No, they are going in through my side, where the connectors are, and will channel the leads around to my abdomen, where they will permanently implant the Senza battery - or something like that.
Unfortunately, I'm still off work, which is frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it. I've seen my occupational health doctor who confirmed I was not fit enough to work at the moment. My job is still on very shakey grounds as it is supposed to finish at the end of March 2013. Of course, if I was working, then I could have built up the role by now, but it must be difficult for my manager to fight for funding when there is nobody in post.
Further to this, I received from my manager a notification for a completely different job last week via email - so I think that says it all. I always knew the job was temporary, but I was keeping everything crossed that it would be extended past 1 April.
Oh well, I cannot win them all. The most important thing first is to look after my health (so the occy health doctor says) and having the Nevro spinal cord stimulator fitted will hopefully bring some welcome pain relief for the foreseeable future, please G-d.
After I've had the implant, I'll come back and let everyone know how things are going. However, I've only got a 'provisional' date, so this may be postponed by them at any time if they have other emergencies to deal with in the menatime etc.
That pretty much sums up my Nevro experience to date. Roll on 21 January (if all goes well).......