Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 198: vampire blues

Posted on June 12, 2013

RFA PART II – Recovery Journal

Although this wasn’t my first time through radio frequency ablation, the recovery experience has been quite different. My first time back in February was for the left side of my cervical spine which was far more damaged. Following the procedure, my pain levels went wild and it was a bit rough even by my standards. Chronic pain typically flows with agonizing slowness in terms of changing location and intensity and the time-scale is in weeks. This was more like a lightning storm; sharp, erratic and unpredictable and changing by the hour.

Burning out the nerves was not a light decision. The healing process isn’t supposed to be easy nor smooth. My body is trying to cope with traumatic damage and there is no way to explain to it that this is all part of a planFollowing all this, the relief I gained after the first week was beyond all expectations.


Last week, I had RFA done on my right side in order to finish the job. The night before the procedure, I was spiking level 8 pain. Even with vicodin and lidocaine I slept about 2 hours total, watching the sun rise on yet another step in this journey. On Wednesday morning I got to the doctors office early, and they took me to twilight.

  1. Wednesday: pain level 3. Right side injection site sore. Meds feel good.
  2. Thursday: pain level 5. Left side cramps up. Trauma sustained but nerves are confused.
  3. Friday: pain level 6. Left side gets worse. Right side heals up.
  4. Saturday: pain level 5. Left stops, right side pain returns.
  5. Sunday: pain level 7. Right side cramping near scapula. Feels like a burning knife in my back. Nausea begins. Lots of meds and drinking. Sleep one hour that night.
  6. Monday: pain level 4. Stabbing turns to stiffness on right. Nausea less by evening.
  7. Tuesday: pain level 3. Rehab and massage. Left side cramping. Nausea gone.
  8. Wednesday: pain level 2. Stiff on both sides. Had my first night’s sleep in bed versus the easy chair since Sunday.

A strange ride indeed and it’s not quite over yet. They burned a few pain nerves in my spine and the whole system went crazy again. Having quit taking neuropathics and muscle relaxants, my body is still struggling to find an equilibrium between phantom pain and accepting the gentle and long-deserved void that remains… also known as just plain awesomeness. I’ve had to remember the strength and tricks that held me together under this pain for so long. A week or so of crazy aside, I know that soon I’ll be that much closer to who I am supposed to be.


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