Friday, March 26, 2010

Catch Up or Learn?

I couldn't decide if I wanted to finish catching up on information that I am behind on or to take this opportunity to talk about taking care of my health. Finally, the latter won in part because I was able to find this interesting animation about the procedure I had today. It may be helpful to someone?

Let me back up a bit. Some of you know have noticed me complaining about my neck and/or shoulder every so often. One of my discs in my cervical spine is bulging and, therefore, affecting the nerves down my right arm. The muscles on my right side are also affected as a result of this and another problematic disc nearby.

I found a great sports med doc in December that has really treated my pain/strength/flexibility issues I've had with this region with the most effectiveness. I saw several other "specialists" that just threw drugs at me and sent me to ridiculous PT providers that just wanted me to come and watch me do exercises that I can do on my own at home.

My awesome new doc has sent me to a very effective PT group that is very hands-on. That, coupled with several cortisone injections to muscles in my neck & shoulder area have really made a huge difference for me. On top of that, I have been working on my strength and endurance as part of my fitness goals. Let's just say that I am doing really, really well.

One of the last pieces of this health issue for me has been that I have some really incredibly bad pain shooting into my elbow and hand. I was told this is because of the nerves being affected by the disc. This is what sent me to the local hospital today for the an outpatient procedure.

The sports med doc prescribed a cervical epidural injection. I got to the hospital this morning, got into a lovely gown, and had an IV started. Approximately an hour or so later I was wheeled in to the OR. I was placed on my stomach with a particular foam ring to elevate my head from the pillow so not to suffocate. Next, they cleansed the injection site and gave a sedative. I was not completely put under but just enough to feel silly. Next, I was given the oxygen tube (which has really smelly plastic) and the doctor came in to do her part. The procedure is performed under an x-ray so the disc is visible.

I got a little freaked out at first when they hooked up everything but it all went by VERY quickly. The unpleasantness didn't last long at all. Before I knew it, I was back in the recovery area. Quite spacey, I called hubby to tell him I was ready to leave.

The only side effects at this point are the bruise/soreness on my hand from the IV needle and soreness at the injection site. The constant pain in my elbow seems to be subsiding but I'll have to see how it goes in the next few days. The worst side effect is that I can't surf or golf this weekend. Hopefully, it will be worth it and my flexibility will improve for both activities!


Mike said...

So they didn't have to slice or dice anything in your back -- just shoot medicine in there to shrink things back down to normal?

Apryl DeLancey said...

Fortunately, no slicing and dicing! Just an epidural in the cervical spine. I'm quite grateful that I don't need anything more at this point.

Today, the nerve pain that I normally experience feels quite odd...hard to explain. Keep your fingers crossed that it totally goes away permanently and I don't have to do another shot.

Jeff said...

Well, this sounds like no fun at all. I followed a connection from golf armchair blog to your site and was intrigued by your love of all sports, especially golf, and then this blog. I will keep reading and hope you gain a full recovery.

I like anything golf and will like the articles you have done - get well and back out there playing -

Apryl DeLancey said...

Thank you very much for the well-wishes and stopping by! I am a definite golf nut that balances a deep love of surfing and everything sport-related.

Armchair is great! I follow him in my Google reader and on Twitter. Love his content.

Lindsay said...

Wow! That's crazy! I'm so glad you're feeling better and that this procedure wasn't so bad.

I had to laugh when you described the "lovely gown" and how you were "quite spacey" when you called your husband! Ha!

Take it easy and you'll be golfing and surfing soon. Like, tomorrow?

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yes, the gown was quite fashionable...not..

Hubby and I were laughing at lunch yesterday about the conversation we had when I came out. He asked me a question that required more than a simple yes or no and I told him it wasn't going to happen!

The good news is...yep...I am clear to get back to activities tomorrow (Monday). My arm feels really odd but the constant nerve pain has gone!