Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 196: symmetry

Posted on May 30, 2013

MRI of my neck from the left side

For years, my past doctors thought that I had high blood-pressure. Really, I was just frustrated that although there I sat in their exam rooms again and again with pictures of my insides on the wall, they could never help me.

• • •

Before having Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) back in February, my chronic pain condition was isolated to the left side of my neck. Being right handed was definitely lucky: most of the time my left arm had to remain not only motionless, but fully supported for as much time throughout the day to limit my baseline pain level.

Starting from the week following RFA on my left side, the right side of my neck started to experience similar pain. I have to admit, I was freaked. It took a giant act of will and a very supportive partner to stop me from having a panic attack.

Why this new pain? I felt cursed. After a couple days, the right side pain subsided. Crisis averted. Despite this initial scare, my outlook on life has forever changed. Good things happen and they can even happen to me.

Over the past few months, I continued to have episodes of what I came to think of as sympathetic pain. The new but familiar experience would linger for a couple of days at a time, and then just as suddenly go away. During this time I was able to ween myself off all of my various daily meds for pain management and went from two vicodin every day just to sleep at night down to half a pill every two weeks or so as needed.

Last week, I went back to my pain specialist to take a closer look. He appreciated that I had taken the time to really explore this new pain, working thru it with rehab and other types of pain management. Apparently it is common for Cervical Facet Syndrome to be symmetrical, generally one side worse than the other. Turns out that my left side was so severe that it wan’t until after RFA that my body could handle even sensing that anything else was wrong.

Next Wednesday I’m having RFA on the right side. Now my blood pressure spikes in the doctor’s office because I’m happy to be there.



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