Facet Joint Injections
My blog has been a little bit inactive for the last few days, so I would like to apologise for that… but! I do have a decent reason; on Friday I have my second round of facet joint injections, so over the weekend I wasn’t able to do much writing, & I’m starting to run out of scheduled posts (oops). I have a week off from now until I start my new job so I’m hoping to catch up on reviews & to catch back up on my pre-scheduled posts – firstly though, I want to tell you about Friday.
Sometime in 2017 I was told that I have inflamed lumbar facet joints; this basically means I have a form of arthritis in the joints at the base of my spinal cord, which causes me quite a lot of pain & stiffness in my lower back. My specialist believes this is a side-effect of my syringomyelia & it is not something that can be cured – but, it can be treated via steroid injections.
Lumbar facet joint injections involve anaesthetic & a long-lasting steroid being injected either into the lumbar joints themselves or around them; when I had steroid injections done in 2017 I was given injections around the joints, in an attempt to cushion them & lower my pain levels… but, unfortunately this did not work – in fact, for a couple of weeks I was actually worse off than before. My specialist later suggested that I have the injections done again, but this time directly into the joints themselves to try & reduce the inflammation in the joint space – this can help to reduce nerve irritation, therefore lowering pain levels.
Going back into hospital to have these injections repeated was a nerve-wracking experience for me, as they obviously didn’t work last time – for at least a week I was in an extreme amount of pain & for two weeks I was unable to bend down without screaming. Despite this, I agreed to have the injections done again as my own specialist would be carrying out the procedure this time (whereas I was sent to another hospital for them previously) & of course, the procedure would also be slightly different from before.
So, on Friday I arrived at one of the day-surgery wards in my local hospital just before 8am: it took a while for anyone to come over & speak to me, but when a nurse was eventually available I answered all of the typical pre-surgery questions & had the procedure explained to me more than once. As usual I was the youngest person on the ward; the ward next door was full of children whom were there to have dentistry procedures done & because of how young I look, one member of staff thought I was on the wrong ward… alas, I was not. Instead, I was there among a bunch of elderly patients to have my spine injected by six rather large needles. Oh joy.
There was a lot of waiting around before I was finally taken down to surgery, but when I eventually was the porters & nurses were beyond lovely to me – one member of staff asked why on earth I was having the procedure done at such a young age, & when I told her & the others about my history they were so shocked & sympathetic. I just laughed it off, as usual. When I was taken into the actual operating room I had to lie down on my front; I had two pillows, one under my head & another under my tummy. Once I was on my front the nurses started to undo the back of my hospital-gown; in doing so they revealed the BADWOLF tattoo I have on my back, so I fell asleep to the sound of the doctors & nurses talking about how terrifying they found Doctor Who when they were children – I definitely think this helped me to relax & I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
The next thing I remember is waking up to a nurse holding a straw in front of my face in the recovery room; I remember having a drink but not much else until much later, when I was out of recovery & back on the day-surgery ward with my mum. I wasn’t actually asleep for very long, especially compared to when I had the injections done before, but there’s a large amount of time when I was awake that I have absolutely no memory of. This is one of the reasons I really don’t like being put to sleep via anaesthetic, but the main reason is because I hate having no control over my body & not having any idea what’s happening to me. With both the spinal injections & my cystoscopy, vulnerable areas of my body are totally on show &, for me at least, it’s a very unnerving environment to fall asleep in. Does anyone else feel this way too? It would be nice to know I’m not the only one who wakes up anxious that something awful could have happened to my body during my drug-induced nap.
Anyway, I came home a few hours later & have spent almost all of my time in bed since. I can confidently say that this time around I am not in as much pain as I was the first time, but I am definitely still in a lot of pain. I feel like I have high-waist shorts on that are causing numbness & stiffness in my lower back & the top of my legs, & I’ve actually got a lot of pain higher up in my back as well (especially the right side???). Friday night was a bit stressful as I wasn’t able to get much sleep (anaesthetic always makes me shake loads & get cold sweats so it’s almost impossible to sleep for very long whilst its in my system), but I have managed to sleep on & off since them – albeit not as much as I would like. I’ve also had some nice time to read, which I’ve really enjoyed (even if I do now have even more reviews to catch up on).
Generally, I’m doing okay now – I’m moving around okay (as in, I can walk but not very well), but I still can’t bend down & my shoulders are hurting a lot. I won’t be able to tell if the injections have worked for at least two weeks, so for now it’s just a waiting game, but I’m really hoping that I will have positive results this time around. Regardless of whether they work in my lower back or not, my specialist is considering doing something similar to my shoulders & neck so this definitely won’t be the last time I have massive needles stuck into my nervous system.
I’m not very good at concentrating on writing at the moment, so I feel like this post hasn’t flowed very well – in which case, I apologise for being so rubbish & I’m grateful you bothered to read until the end of this post. I think this is all the writing I’m going to manage today as I’m stressed out because of some other stuff, but hopefully my blog will be back up & running properly by next Monday.
Thank you for all the well-wishes I’ve received on Twitter;
y’all make my heart burst & it means so much to me.