Dealing with Pain, Part II

As you probably guessed from my previous post, I have resisted including narcotics and other interventions that would be considered “Western” medicine in favor of including alternative/complimentary remedies.  I don’t do this lightly and, while I am not a doctor, I have become an expert on my own body and being in tune with what/how I am feeling.

However, I am not so proud to admit that something isn’t working.  Ever since January of 2017, I’ve been having pain.  It interferes with so much and while my trial and error of various complimentary remedies began to help, I realized that I needed something more.  When I had to see a new orthopedic oncologist because my original doctor left the cancer center I typically work with, she suggested I consider an ultrasound guided steroid shot.

At first, I was skeptical.  Honestly, this is how I approach just about any suggestion from a medical professional.  No, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve learned a little over the last several years of dealing with my cancer that I need to be 100% comfortable with what is being recommended.  My sweet husband can often be frustrated at how I view doctors as consultants, people who have knowledge who can advise me, but that I make the final decisions.

After some research, I agreed.

It was a bit of a surreal experience–I was awake for the entire procedure and not immobilized by anything outside of locally administered lidocaine.  Then, the radiologist utilized the same skin puncture to insert the steroids directly into that inflamed bursa in my left hip area while watching the ultrasound screen.  I got to watch it too.

One caveat about being treated at a teaching hospital, which is where my new orthopedic oncologist works. She, of course, sent me to her colleague within the same system. So, when the radiologist entered the room, there were 4 or 5 residents/fellows who followed him in.  The area for the injection is high on my left hip, so I was not clothed and was relying on strategically placed towels and a blanket to preserve my modesty. When those men (and yes, all of the residents/fellows were men–the only women in the room were me and the medical assistant) all entered and lined up on the wall to face me, it was pretty uncomfortable.  Initially, there was no attempt to introduce all of the people standing around and so, once it appeared that there was no intention to introduce them, I spoke up, stopped the activity and made sure everyone did.  I share this experience because I felt incredibly dehumanized and uncomfortable to have such little clothing/protection and being stared at by a group of men.  By speaking up, I hope I demonstrated to them that they need to treat us patients as humans and not forget basic manners.

I walked out of the procedure feeling no pain.  Let me say that again, I walked out of the procedure feeling no pain.  CRAZY!!  It felt so foreign and other aches and pains (from getting older, I’m sure) because much more obvious.  Clearly, the pain in my hip has been overshadowing everything else.

The hope is that the injection will break the pain cycle in my hip and lay the foundation for less painful movement into the future.  I’m still crossing my fingers there.  One concern from the procedure is that the radiologist mentioned he could see that one of my tendons is rubbing against one of the screws/nails stabilizing the titanium rod on that side.  The radiologist said that he could see swelling in all of my tendons (side effect of Letrozole), but that that one was particularly swollen and inflamed.  Something to note.

I’m continuing all of my other pain management strategies, but thankful for the additional remedy!

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Pain, Part II

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