I had my second set of shots, today. The doctor is hoping but did not sound optimistic that these will last much longer than the first ones. I already have an appointment in April for a more involved procedure so that alone tells me something. If that procedure doesn't work, then I'll be referred back to the surgeon for SI joint surgery. It won't be as invasive as the back surgery, but it's not a walk in the park, either. They will put implants or screws through my pelvis on each side and anchor my pelvis to my spine (the way it's supposed to be). I'm beginning to wonder if everything about me is unstable.
I'm disappointed and I'm very tired of pain. I'm tired of medications and I'm tired of limitations. I'm just tired of it all. The thought of surgery (if it will stop the pain) doesn't scare me. However, the recuperation is long. At least six weeks no weight bearing, four weeks partial weight bearing, and back to regular routine twelve weeks. I haven't given up hope that the shots won't last, but I didn't feel any encouragement from the doctor.
I'm writing this because I know of at least two people who are having back problems who drop by here. If my experience can help just one person, it's worth posting. For anyone now or in the future who is a candidate for back surgery, INSIST that they check your SI joints along with all the other testing. The best way to diagnose the problem is to have a lidocaine shot(s) into the joint. (The first shots I had were diagnostic as well as treatment). If it relieves the pain for a short while, then they know that in about 25% of people with back pain at least part or all of the pain originates from the SI joint(s), not the back. What confused everyone about my back was the lack of leg pain and that the pain was on both sides.
I don't regret having the back surgery because in my case there were so many things wrong and it was so unstable that I couldn't not have it. I just wish they could have combined the two and then maybe the recuperation times could have been combined not to mention the months of pain that could have been eliminated.
Some might find they are in the 25% who are mis-diagnosed and the SI surgery is the only surgery they need. That's why as much as I hate writing about this stuff, I feel it might help someone to avoid a mis-diagnosis. According to everything I've heard and read, it is very often missed and goes totally undiagnosed.
So, my fingers are still crossed, with a little less confidence, but I've not given up. I sometimes want to scream, "Hey, look at this white hair! How much time do you think I have to waste on this?" And, I wonder. Will I ever be able to set out to explore, again? Will I ever get my Jack out camping, again?
Except for Susan, he'd be bored to death. She has kept him exercised and in good shape. I love being at campsite with him. If I do get some pain relief with the shots, I may take him to some state or COE parks in Georgia before my next appointment. I can take my time hitching up and just stay hitched up while at the campground. We'll see.