Thursday, April 24, 2014

Epidural Steroid Injection

On October 21, 2013, I fell and busted my knee pretty bad in a parking lot.  I got an X-ray of my knee because I thought that I broke it (but, I didn't). Since the fall my balance has been off, I got numbness and tingling/falling asleep feeling in my feet, and more pain in my right foot.  I thought that the CRPS was flaring up because of the cold (since it was at the start of winter).  But, to be on the safe side, Dr. JS sent me in for a MRI of my back in January 2014, and that's when they discovered the bulging discs in my lower back.  

On April 3, 2014, Dr. Patel gave me an Epidural Steroid Injection, to try to reduce the pain that I was experiencing as another plan to my treatment process.  Today (4/24), I got another Epidural Steroid Injection.  Today, they put the injection in right at the bottom of my spine.  When I received the injection on 4/3, they injected it higher up on my (lower) spine.  Also, today (4/24), the injection was more painful than the one on 4/3.  I didn't notice any relief from the injection on 4/3, so I'm hoping that the location that this injection was put in will do the trick!  Time will only tell!  If it does work, then I won't need to return until my scheduled office visit in another two (2) months! 

UPDATE:  Monday, April 28, 2014:

I did get pain relief from the 2nd Epidural Steroid Injection!!!  I've been able to sleep without socks on since Thursday night!  I have not been able to do that since my fall in October.  If anyone enjoys sleeping in a clean bed, shaved legs and no socks . . . it's me!  It's been killing me since October that I couldn't sleep without socks on.  Even though we have a 'heated mattress pad' I still needed the socks, because warmth was the only thing that took away the pain.  For me, I didn't need pills, I just needed warm socks, boots, heated blankets/mattress pads . . . anything warm!  So, the great thing about this last injection . . . MY FOOT IS NATURALLY WARM now!  I'm not sure how long the injection will last to keep my foot warm, but I am sure loving the relief I am getting.  This injection gave me about 85-90% relief - the fastest and most immediate relief that I've ever gotten!

UPDATE:  Tuesday, April 29, 2014:

Last night I noticed that the pain is just starting to creep back up on me.  My foot isn't as warm as it has been and almost needed to put socks on.  But, I was stubborn and put my feet in-between my husbands legs to warm them up!  I also turned on my heated mattress pad.  It seemed to do the trick last night, but not sure about tonight.  I really enjoyed my warm feet while it lasted, and knowing that this injection worked gives me hope!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sympathetic Nerve Block Injection

Went to see Dr. Patel for another Sympathetic Nerve Block Injection early this morning.  This past week or two I've been experiencing more pain than normal in my right foot.  I've had lightning bolt, stabbing, and almost like a snake bite feeling in my right foot.  I've also noticed that when I've been showering, part of my leg has been turning a purplish color again.

I showed the above pictures to Dr. Patel and he agreed that I may be having another flare up of the CRPS.  He went ahead and gave me the Nerve Block and it went very smooth, as always.  Although, it almost felt like the first time I got a Nerve Block.  The "pressure" as he did the injection seemed more intense today, more than normal.  And, my rear is hurting a little throughout the day today.  They always tell me to expect side effects, but I typically haven't had many since my first few blocks.  Other than that, I seem to be having the normal warming sensation that I typically do in my right foot.  We have another scheduled for next week to get the CRPS under control.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stationary Bike

We bought a new stationary bike about a month ago to assist in my recovery process.  Since I still have Foot Drop, it is difficult to walk fast or obviously run.  I still needed to get some sort of cardio in to continue physical therapy at home (on my own), so we felt like the bike was the best option at this time.  Here it is . . . 

Friday, April 11, 2014

One Year Post - PAO Incision

One Year Post - Periacetabular Osteotomy Surgery ( PAO ) Incision
Some of it is nearly invisible now, but towards each end it is still a deeper red/purplish color.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

X-Ray of PAO Hip Reconstruction and Hip Dyplasia

  X-Ray of PAO Hip Reconstruction and Hip Dyplasia

X-Rays from the day of my surgery, 03/29/2013 (over 1 year ago).  Never posted it to my blog!  Here's a before, and kind of after.  The screws aren't in place yet, but that is the exact placement they did.  I now have a total of 3 screws holding the placement.  According to the CT scan that I had on Wednesday, everything looks good.  The reconstruction is still in place and healing well.  However, because I had such a big correction there will be a part of my bone that will not grow back together (non-union). They said that it should be ok, and doesn't need extra surgery at this time.  The fracture I got last year seems to be calcifying and healing as well.   

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CRPS Diagnosis and Summary

My story started when I was diagnosed with Bilateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia that required a hip reconstruction surgery (Periacetabular Osteotomy - PAO), which resulted in CRPS and Drop Foot.  The first sign of CRPS was ten days after surgery, when I woke up in the middle of the night to the feeling of my right foot being on fire.  As the days went on the symptoms I was experiencing increased and became intensified:  My foot felt like lightning bolts were hitting it, someone was stabbing it, it was getting poked with a thousand needles, it was getting strangled, like I was walking on hot coals, etc.  I would also be in excruciating pain if someone would simply brush their hand across my foot, a slight breeze would hit it, putting on/taking off my socks or hot/cold water touching it.  I started to struggle with day-to-day activities such as: sitting, standing, walking, etc.  I couldn't even sleep in my bed anymore because it hurt to lay down.  EVERYTHING hurt at that moment!  Overall, the pain just kept getting worse and I was barely getting any sleep.  I needed to find some answers and relief for the extreme amount of pain I was experiencing!  Finally, my surgeon and his nurse referred me to: Advanced Pain Management (APM) - MCW Wauwatosa location to see Dr. Nileshkumar Patel.

My first impression of Dr. Patel was that he was very knowledgable and funny, especially since I was so down the first time he met me.  He cheered me up and made me laugh!  He did my initial exam and noticed that my right leg would turn a blue/purplish color when I stood.  He actually had a Resident come in to look at my leg as a learning tool.  After the exam he diagnosed me with "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome" - CRPS, which is a serious malfunction of the nervous system.  I never heard of CRPS before my first visit with Dr. Patel, so I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.  But, I trusted him!  He stated that day, that CRPS is more likely to go into remission if treated early, so he recommend that I get a Sympathetic Nerve Block Injection immediately.  APM and Dr. Patel were able to squeeze me in and give me the first of several injections.  Sedation is optional, but I never got it with all of the Nerve Blocks that I received, as I figured the pain in my foot was probably worse than the pain of the injections.  You basically feel pressure while getting the injection, but it only lasts a minute or so and quickly goes away when the injection is finished.  Kari (APM Nurse) has held my hand for every injection I've received and has made getting the injections a more positive experience.  After each injection, my right foot feels warm for several hours.  During my first appointment, Dr. Patel stated that the warmth was a good sign that the blood vessels were opening up.  I now look forward to the warmth, as my right foot is usually colder than my left since getting CRPS.

It took several injections until I started to finally get some relief from the pain.  The first 2 injections didn't do anything, or so I thought.  But, as I got the 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on and so forth, I started to finally experience relief.  I was able to play with my kids again, I could sleep, take hot/cold showers, putting on/taking off socks (without flinching), etc.  I felt like I was getting my life back again!  The CRPS pain was so bad for a while there that I didn't know how I was going to be able to live my life.  Many people that suffer from CRPS are addicted to pain medications.  I am very proud to say that Dr. Patel respected my wishes to not use any pain medication.  I wanted to fight this battle without it, and I have.  At first, I thought it was something that didn't need to be said in my blog, but the more I hear about people that suffer from CRPS, the more I hear about the many pain medications they're taking.  I want those people to know that I changed my state of mind, and they can too! I knew I would get better with the nerve block injections, physical therapy and positive attitude!  I thank Dr. Patel everyday for giving me my life back.  It means everything to me, especially with two toddlers at home!  Thank you, Dr. Patel, for believing in me all along.  You truly are an inspiration and are making a huge difference in this world!