Monday, September 11, 2006

Seeking advice

I have a lot on my mind. Since I have become so inconsistent with blogging, I have a lot to share. Work, class, running, JP, Saturday's KICK ASS race, etc. Also, a reflection on this day five years ago is also in order. That will all have to be discussed at a later time. Not that it isn't important, but I have limited time and something more pressing on my mind. Today I went to the Center for Interventional Pain Medicine to discuss a possible nerve block for my pelvic pain. While this may seem unrelated to running, I want to reach out to my fellow running friends for some input.

The evaluation lasted several hours this morning and I stopped by home for a brief moment before headiin to work. Anway... I was evaluated by social worker (I was cleared of depression), talked extensively with a fellow and then spoke with the head anesthesologist. They came with two options for me - medication (which I have already tried) or intervention (i.e. nerve root block). Weighing the pros and cons, I told them that I would be willing to try medication again, only after they reviewed my records to see what the dosage was that messed me up the first time and how the new method would differ. On the other hand, I've been in pain for a long ass time and I want to be agressive with my treatment. They agreed and recommended I do an intervention.

In a nutshell, the procedure would involve a series of three injections - 2 diagnostic and 1 treatment. For the first injection I would be hooked up to an IV and I could be sedated if desired. They would inject an anesthetic into the lumbar of my back (not the spinal cord) and it would be a 30 min. recovery onsite. I'd go home and keep a pain diary for the following 24-hours. They explained the details, which would only put me out for one day. He encourages his patients to go back to work the next day, to see how the treatment is in real world situations, not from laying in bed. We talked about my running, and he was okay with me running the next day. So, I would miss a run the day of the procedure. About a week or so later, I would have the second diagnostic injection. Based on how I responded to the first two injections, it would determine why type of injection I get for my third injection. It could be either a heated-tip needle or steroids. I cringed at steroids and he said they rarely use it. For all injections, they use real-time x-rays to ensure they are hitting the proper nerve.

So, here is my decision. Do I go ahead and get it done now or wait until after Detroit. On one hand, I'm thinking, "hello, what is there to consider? You're in a ton of pain and should jump at a chance of relief. Maybe you can start living pain free again." On the other hand, I'm thinking, "I've busted my ass to get back into shape and there is no way I'm going to risk screwing up my training because of this. I've gone this long, what's another 6-weeks?"

At the same time, both arguments seem completely logical and completely crazy at the same time. I know the decision is mine, but I'd appreciate some input from some runners. After all, only a runner could understand this dilemma.

Well, I need to get to work so I'll post more about the other things going on in my life later. Thanks in advance for your advice!


Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for quite a while, but not since the very beginning, so I'm not exactly sure the extent of your medical issues or where it stems from, but if it were me here are a few things I'd consider. First of all, what is the chance that one or all of the injections would prohibit you from training? Are the doctors sure that you will be able to resume your normal running in a day or two or is there a chance that the injection site may be too sore or stiff making it impossible to run? And second how important is the marathon to you? Would you be devestated if you couldn't run it, but you were pain free instead? If it is absolutely imperative to you that you run the race, and the doctors can't guarantee you that you will be able to continue your training uninterrupted, then I'd probably hold off until after the race. Another thing to consider is how often is the pain affecting your training? Do you have to cut runs short or eliminate them because you are in too much pain? If the pain is already affecting the training, then I'd say what do you have to lose? But if you are able to run through the pain now, and you would be devestated to not run the race, maybe waiting is the best option. I know I'm being wishy washy. I don't have any good answers. Just a few more things to consider to help you decide what's right for you. Good luck with the decision.

Radioactive Tori said...

I just looked at what runnergirl wrote and she wrote exactly what I was going to write, so I have no more advice. Lots of sympathy though! After I had the ovary removed but was still having problems, I had to decide whether to have the hysterectomy right away or wait until after my triathlon. I chose to have it right away and hoped I would be ready for the triathlon. I wasn't, but before I went ahead with the surgery, I thought about whether I would be ok with that and decided that I have many more years to do triathlons and I would rather get my problem fixed right away. Good luck deciding!

E-Speed said...

That's a tough decision. I think if the pain is occuring enough to sideline any of your important runs than go get it done. If it isn't I would wait.

Is the pain relief guaranteed? After seeing your pain at CRIM I would think that guaranteed relief would be enough for me to go ahead before the race, but if it isn't you may want to wait.

Hope you come to a decision you can be happy with.

Unknown said...

I would go for it. It's not major surgery. I have had the nerve blocks myself and they worked very well. If the pain is SO bad that you can not run, it would be huge decision maker for me.

Anonymous said...

Tough decision and I think all medical decisions you just need to weigh out the pros and cons and go with your gut. You'll know what is best for you.

BTW thanks for the advice on yoga - I'm going Thursday!

Taunya said...

I would go for it. My brother has had 3 of these procedures done and the only thing he really had to recover from was the anaethesia (sp).

Best wishes in whatever you decide!

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the options and don't really have any helpful advice except to hang in there! I hope you get some relief soon.