Thursday, May 6, 2010

Occipital Stimulator Fairy Tale

I Must Have a Fairy Godmother Somewhere

Once Upon A Time there was a middle aged lady who had had some health setbacks, but all in all she was coping pretty well.  Things didn't always go her way healthwise: she had some bad luck with doctors, side effects, and reactions to things other people never had problems with, but really life was good.  Then after a procedure that fixed one problem another appeared, a curse that lasts to this day - hemicrania continua.

This curse is a fairly rare curse, probably brewed up by some bad mojo somewhere in a past life, but when it hits it sticks.  The middle aged lady was afraid her life as she had always known it was over.  Medicine after medicine failed, spells that could not remove the hemicrania curse.  The middle aged lady thought maybe her doctors did not have powerful enough magic, so she found other doctors with different magic again and again until she found one with a potion that helped -  indomethacin.

Apparently indomethacin could help the curse but it also carried its own poison that hurt the middle aged lady at the same time it helped.  What to do?  The middle aged lady was dismayed.  No one could help, no medicine helped, no treatment helped, no doctor was powerful enough.  The kindest doctor of them all suggested that the middle aged lady get a powerful talisman called an "occipital stimulator".  It had been rumored (so the doctor whispered) that the occipital stimulator could be used to short circuit the curse of hemicrania continua, but it is a rare wonderful charm that only a few wizards in very big castles could install.

The middle aged woman decided it was worth the journey of many days to see the wizard in the Cleveland Clinic who said he knew how to apply the charm of the occipital stimulator.  The Evil Anthem Golems tried to spoil the trip by saying that the talisman was very very expensive and not proven to be effective, and they would not help pay for it.  The middle aged woman drove all by herself through ice and snow and blizzards while in great pain to reach the snowy castle hoping that the great wizards would assist her in her plight.

Praying to God for guidance and help, the middle aged woman met the wizards in the Cleveland Clinic.  The most powerful wizard of them all saw her pain and despair and knew that he could help her with the occipital stimulator and welcomed her into the occipital stimulator trial study even though she was supposed to be excluded because of the curse.  The middle aged woman was happy, yet very skeptical.  After all, many doctors had tried and they had not been able to stop the curse.  Why would this wizard and his talisman be any different?  Surely this was too good to be true.

Many months pass as the middle aged woman battled dragons of pain and pesky palm pilot diaries and Evil Anthem Golems and a surgical trial of the occipital stimulator in order to be worthy to receive the final powerful charm.  Finally the occipital stimulator is implanted by the kindly powerful wizard, and it worked!  The curse slowly started to release its grip on the middle aged lady's life.  The claws of pain that had worked their way deep into the middle aged lady's head started to retract, millimeter by millimeter as the talisman buzzed it magic on her occipital nerve.

Now the middle aged lady still has other health problems, but the curse no longer dominates her life with nonstop pain.  The curse still wakes up and tries to take command, but the talisman beats it back to submission most days. On the days the talisman doesn't work so well the middle aged woman remembers what life would have been like all the time if not for the wonderful wizards in Cleveland and St. Jude Medical, and is thankful for the relatively pain free life she has.  And she lives happily ever after (hopefully!).

The moral of the story:  Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it really is true, but you will never find out if you don't try it!


  1. PS this is my 300th post! WooHoo!!!

  2. Dear one thank you for sharing. And congrats on your 300th post! Wooo Hooo is right.

    Just now trying to catch up on some blogs that I have not been around lately this week.

    As always, thank you for sharing and being such an encouragement to me, even during your difficult times. Blessings.

  3. Hoping you have a great weekend JBR!!!

  4. my own talismen are trying to boost my insurace company (the dark and dreary) into submission to pay for the stim. I, too am still sitting in the wait and do nothing - AGAIN stage. while the "dark and dreary" are laughing at the reins taking away access to medications that work and procedures that could combat the pain monster!!!!

  5. I think most insurance companies despite their stated intention of "preventive" care, are in the business of "preventing" care!

    Some companies will pay for everything BUT the investigative device. Mine paid for the surgeries, the anesthesia, the doctor bills, but I had the luck of having the device paid for by the study sponsor.

    Hoping your talismen can win the battle with the many armed octopi insurance company rules. Also hoping the study I participated in will gain FDA approval for the use of stimulators for headache disorders. They are already approved for neuropathic pain derived from other causes.

    Battle on Deborah!!!