Thursday, June 4, 2009

Occipital Stimulator Surgery Scheduled

The Turtle Migration Has Started

Finally I am scheduled for surgery to implant the "permanent" occipital stimulator. I have to be in Cleveland June 29th for presurgical testing/interview and the surgery will be performed June 3oth. Now if I can just get the working stimulator instead of the dud stimulator!

The annual turtle migration has started, with a big old snapping turtle getting all tuckered out in the road in front of the house. His shell was a little over a foot across, and I've heard that they grow about an inch a year, making this a 12 year old turtle. Not sure how long they live - tortoises live long lives, but I don't know about turtles.

My brother and I got him into a garbage can (my armadillo trapping experience came in handy) where he couldn't escape and liberated him down at the creek. It was a stinky ride the mile or so to the creek, as Mr. Turtle decided to go to the can in the can so to speak. He was quite snappy but soooo tired he just couldn't get to where he wanted to go. He seemed a bit dehydrated also.

We got him to the creek and my brother gently scooted the turtle out. Mr. Turtle got in the water so quickly I didn't have a chance to get his picture on shore - just barely got a picture of the bubbles as he headed downstream. Mr. Turtle paused and looked back at us like "Thanks" before he went under on his way to the good life at the bottom of the creek. I won't be going wading barefooted in that section for awhile!

I was able to work today. Exciting times - going to build some education materials for online classes! I LOVE learning new software. Also part of the conversion data is ready for me to work on so I get to flex some brain cells! The bosses were so nice about my scheduled surgery. I think I won the boss lottery when I got this job, although I have to admit my old boss Lester would have fit right in.

I had my followup appointment with my oncologist yesterday morning and what I expected to be a short report - yes you don't have any cancer, turned into yet another MRI ordered and more appointments. I was told once more that radiation therapy could not be the cause of my pelvic pain and other problems I have from ennervation in that region. I said I would be very happy if radiation therapy was not the cause of my pain, because then there would be something I could do about it, but everytime I get past this point with a specialist they then decide that yes, radiation therapy is the cause, and no, there isn't anything they can do. Maybe this time will be different and I'll actually get some treatment.

On a sad note, my Aunt Nadine died this morning. Nadine was about four years older than my mom, making her in her early 80's and had been very frail for the last few years. My mother came from a family of 14 children, and now there are only two of them left - my mom and her younger brother. Aunt Nadine had a close and loving family and we all will miss her. She was a strong woman and had one of the most beautiful vegetable gardens I had ever seen. She could grow anything - had a green thumb for sure - and made wonderful blackberry cobbler, homemade noodles, and ham and beans. I think she will be gardening in heaven, right alongside her husband Guy. I'll be driving my Mom back home (even after all these years its still home in my mind) for the funeral this weekend.


  1. Sorry to hear about your aunt. She's sounds awesome. A life well-lived is always something to honour.

  2. The service was brief but very personal. I think the lady who delivered the service did a great job!

  3. I'm sorry about your Aunt. On the stimulator, I'm curious; as I have uncontrolled migraines and cannot take triptans, DHE or several other medications that treat migraines. Now my only pain med I was taking failed me. I do receive cryoanalgesia and trigger point injections, as well as good old hospitalization and infusion. Now my docs are looking into the stimulator. I've also been around the block to a few headache hosp. Has the "dud" worked for you?

  4. Deborah: Sorry to hear that you are at the end of the medication road also.

    The trial stimulator they installed about a month ago gave me some relief, and allowed me to control the pain - where I can only work a few hours now without very bad pain, I was able to "crank up" the voltage and keep on going at acceptable pain levels. I am told the permanent implant works better than the trial one. I get the permanent implant installed June 30th, and since I am participating in a blind study neither I nor my surgeons will know if I get a stimulator that works until after it is done. One out of three stimulators used in the study is a non-working model or dud. I'm praying I get a working one not a "dud"!!! This is a study for ANS stimulators/St. Jude Medical.

    I have several links under headache resources about stimulators - its sorta the end of the road recommendation that seems to work for some and not others. Occipital nerve blocks did not work for me, but the stimulator did for the week I had the trial. I believe I still may need medication but hopefully at levels where my body will tolerate it.

    I pray that you find an snswer that works for you. I'm in a study because my insurance company refused to pay for a stimulator because they are still considered investigational for headache, and I lucked out by getting a doctor who was participating in a study and thought I could benefit!

    I'm still not completely sold on the stimulator because it seems too good to be true and have been disappointed too many times, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life in this kind of pain either. I prefer to live life on my own terms, and hope that the stimulator will give me some control back!!!