SCS Trial

  • Requested approval from my Workers Comp Insurance Carrier (WCIC)  to approve a psych eval to ensure I was mentally fit to live with leads poking out my back for a week or so.  
    • Approval Received!
    • Passed Psych Eval!
  • Requested approval from WCIC for surgical evaluation. 
    • Approval Received!
    • Facts were shared that only 30% of WC patients were approved for Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) Implants
    • Passed Surgical Eval! 
  • Alerted my prayer peeps to pray with me for SCS Approval!!!
  • Requested approval from WCIC to do actual trial
    • Approval Received!
    • Surgical Date set 
  • SCS Trial Surgery
    • Done without any anesthesia or relaxation meds … pain was minimal and meds were, in fact, not needed.
    • Was not anxious about the procedure or pain … but, was anxious about lying flat on my stomach for longer than several seconds … let alone an hour!  Surgery table was placed with foamy arc shaped pillows that made the procedure very tolerable.
    • Surgery & Recovery time lasted about 3 hours
  • Nevro Rep turns on the Stimulator!
    • Nevro Rep asks several ?’s and through his computer sets the starting level & program to begin with.
    • though I was able to feel the stimulator “doing its thing” at one point … the rep set the unit so I would not … and did not feel an impulse of any kind thereafter.
    • I was cautioned to not twist, bend, lift my hands over my head, or lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. ….. Not hard to remember given the leads coming out my back.
    • Pain was DRAMATICALLY improved (by about 75-80% overall) very quickly.  Can I get a Hallelujah???!!!!!
    • Received phone calls from a Nevro rep each morning to monitor my pain levels and tweak settings for ultimate improvement. Very impressed with the Nevro peeps!
  • Week of Trial
    • Pain remained reduced by 75-80% the entire week.
    • No Showers while leads were taped to my back.  eeeeek!
    • Leads were “a little” uncomfortable when leaning against them while in my recliner and the tape became itchy around day 3 or 4 … but, that was the extent of the uncomfortableness.
    • Learned somewhere during the week that just because the trial was approved by WCIC… does not mean the permanent stimulator would be approved … AND approval generally takes 6 weeks time!  WAIT … WHAT!?!?  Locked myself in my bedroom and truly lost my “trial glow”.
    • Day before leads were to be removed, I determined not to waste my last day of “trial success” with negative, poopy, feel sorry for myself attitude.  Walked 3 miles, climbed stairs, vacuumed and more!  Really pushed it!
    • Challenged … almost begged the rep to have the Dr. leave the leads in … but, I eventually consented that since the leads were “external” … it gives way to bacteria and infection.  (I am telling you …. I would have gone 6 weeks with sponge baths and annoying leads coming out my back to wait for SCS approval with such reduced pain!)
    • Leads removed.  I felt the beginnings of increased pain before the end of the day.  As hours evolved, I also realized I was feeling the pain of drastically increased activity from the previous day.  Lesson learned ….
  • Post Trial
    • Pain completely returned with 48 hours.
    • Realized it had been a blessing (pre trial) I was unable to remember what it was like to live life without pain. Having the “fresh” memory of minimal pain made the return to the pain world much more difficult.
    • Fought depression.  I entered back into the pain world MUCH less gracefully than I left it. 
    • Alerted my prayer peeps and even made a social media plea for anyone willing …… to pray with me for SCS Approval
    • Braced myself for the “expected” 6 week wait time for the Permanent SCS Implant approval
    • My husband and I decided to go on a 3 night “glamping” trip in our RV to our favorite campground on the American River.
  • Requested approval from WCIC for Permanent Spinal Cord Stimulator
    • Day 1 of “Glamping” trip, received word that approval was given for SCS.
    • Approval was requested and received within 10 days!
    • Rep gave credit to my Pain M.D. for the way he wrote up the request for the SCS … and I am sure God used his expertise … but, again … full glory to God and thankfulness to all those who prayed for approval.
    • Surgical Date set for the VERY NEXT DAY!!!!