So lots of people have been asking about spinal cord stimulation because I just had one implanted. Go figure, I get one implanted, so I talk about it, now people want to know more…funny how that works! So the company that I went through is St. Jude Medical because both my surgeon and my pain management doctors like the system they put out, have had a good success with the system, etc. So if you click on the link above it will open a new window and you can learn more.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you when they had initially said to me that I might need one I did not want one. You are probably now scratching your head thinking ummmm she’s been singing it’s praise and is so happy why would she have ever doubted it? This is why they have attached 2 wire leads inside my spinal canal. There are a lot of different things that can go wrong. When they first suggested that I might end up here, the last thing I wanted was some doctor sticking wires into my spinal canal.
When the first discussions/mentions of spinal cord stimulation came up I had a lump about the size of a grapefruit that sat on the base of my spine that no one could explain to me, my legs would spasm something fierce, and I was in high levels of pain all the time. I felt like sticking wires in my spinal canal held a higher risk than benefit at that point. I also knew that I needed to do proper research and really list the pros and cons and make an informed decision rather than a gut reaction. I also have a close friend who has a spinal cord stimulator, and had had it for years with success and I knew that it could be a possible answer.
So after the last surgery didn’t do everything we had hoped for, I looked into it more, had long discussions with my friend, the benefits, what she likes, what she dislikes, etc. I talked it over with my wife we decided to say yes when the doctor offered to refer me for the trial.
The first step in the trial is to have a psychological evaluation because they will be putting wires in your spinal canal. They need a base line on where you are at mentally, they are looking to see what sort of support network you have, and if there are any red flags. So after the green light was given from that doctor I went to the pain management doctor for the 1 week trial version of the stimulator. They put temporary wires in, and the leads come out of your back (so you have to be very careful with your activities that week), you have a box that you connect the wires to and I had 3 programs to chose from for my trial. Each day I wrote down which programs I used and what I did or did not like. At the end of the week I went back in I talked to the rep from St. Jude Medical, my Pain Management Doctor and then had the leads removed. They wrote the reports for my surgeon.
Then it was back to the surgeon’s office. I gave him the thumbs up to do the surgery and well you know the rest. Now can you hear the system while it is running? No. It does feel like a buzzing from my waist down to my legs. Right now I have 1 basic program. I am going to be meeting with the rep soon to program more specific programs for me. We are giving my body some healing time. I have a rechargeable battery in my hip. I use a wand to turn the program on and off, I can use a very strong magnet to turn the program off quickly. Nothing better than rubbing a magnet on your butt! HAHA
I am still getting used to it. Mine is positional, which means that it gets stronger/weaker depending on which position I am in, so sometimes I move and I am startled because the stimulation is much more intense. I cannot lift anything heavier than 5lbs right now. They have to give my body time to grow scar tissue to cement the leads in place. I also cannot bend, or twist.