I just wanted to say thank you to the forum for assistance as I made my decision to proceed with the implant. Despite the awful pain as I recover, the surgery has undoubtedly, thus far, been a success, even with some setbacks along the way. Dr Courtney was a great surgeon.
I have started a blog about the whole debacle in case anyone is interested in the procedure, or its effects.
Great to hear it went so well, please take the recovery time seriously, no lifting above 2 1/2 kilo or above shoulder height, you need the scar tissue around the leads to hold the securely in place, and don't be afraid to ring the tech about any concerns, they will usually see you within a couple of days to sort it out, it will still take some time to get the stim to where it does the best for you, a lot of tweaking and reprogramming will take place, you could end up with multiple programs just like me.
Yes know what you mean, the stim was my last resort to get any pain relief, I am intolerant to pain medications and having 10+ pain 24/7 was taking it's toll, sleep was virtually becoming non existent, if you call 4 hrs every 4 days sleep, so when the dtim trial came up I did have second thoughts but decided to give it a go, even having it external those were the first 7 days of pain control, the last 6 days I slept every night and then out they came, I was told it would last a couple of days, no such luck, made it to the car park and then the pain hit back with a vengeance. I was told it would be 8 weeks before I could get the final implant by the surgeon, what he didn't count on was the public system, 8 weeks turned into a year until funding was approved and then the day came when in it went, the morning after the op the stim was turned on and programed, then came all the training on what and what not to do and carting home my new toys.
I was lucky, I was allowed to shower after my op as long as I didn't get the bandages to wet, they went overboard with clue over the stitches and cuts followed by layers of bandages and finally a waterproof top cover, my surgeon was a stickler for infection prevention, skin swabs were taken to make sure no nasties on my skin, bloods as well.
After a couple of weeks of letting the incisions heal and having stitches removed it was hard to hold back on not doing things, simple things like making a coffee, a kettle ways too much not that you would think so, even 2 litres of milk has a bit of weight, things you take for granted but you had to keep reminding yourself 6 months, lucky I had my wife for support, I often got reminded you can't do this or that.
Have I ever regretted having it done, not on your nelly, it doesn't stop all the pain, and I still have some bad days, but it is a hole lot better than the constant relentless pain from before, oh and I have had mine in for over a year now, still I forget sometimes to turn it down when I go to bed, but you soon get reminded as you lay down, thats how comfortable you become with them, I charge mine the same day every week regardless, the battery level indicator I don't feel is accurate as one minute is says full and the next it says quarter
As the years go by the technology can only get better, they are in the process of testing a new device which apparently predicts when a nerve fires causing pain and cuts in to limit its transmission, but that is a few years away yet until it is available for full scale implants, so do have alternatives to look forward to in the future when and if the ones we have need replacing.
I hear you Don! I was certainly at last hope stage. Thank goodness for this technology. The technology for my stim has only been around for last 3-4 years- it reaches singles nerves rather than 'problem areas' (from what I understand), and I don't think the other devices would have been as helpful with chest pain. It must have been like torture waiting for the final implant after you'd had the relief from the trial!
A the moment, Mum is doing everything for me, but I don't know how it will be when i go back into my own place!! It's going to be hard to resist my own independence.
My stim is on permanently as my particular brand of pain is 24/7 too, and I don't have to recharge.. which i guess means more surgery in the future. Unless the nerve retrains itself like it's supposed to right?!
Thanks again Don, your words of encouragement mean a lot!