Nerve stimulation, a treatment that’s tough to find information on, is the focus of It May Come as a Shock, an article from today’s New York Times. The article examines two main types of nerve stimulation for headache (occipital nerve stimulation and transcranial nerve stimulation) — what they are, the theories behind how they work and what they may mean for future treatment.
This in-depth article is the most thorough, understandable and thoughtful one I’ve read on the topic. (And I have to admit that I’m pretty excited that I was quoted in it!) While this treatment is promising for some people with intractable headache, nerve stimulation is not a panacea.
To learn about my experience with an occipital nerve stimulator, see the nerve stimulator category. Specific posts that may be helpful include:
Hart took photos of the stimulator before my surgery. Thought you’d be interested in seeing what it looked like. Click on the images to see a bigger photo.
If you’re thinking about getting one, don’t let these pictures dissuade you. My stimulator was considerably larger than those used now. Also, the current trend is to implant them in the lower back/upper butt. I assume time has shown this stresses the leads least.
Mayo is supposed to send my stimulator after their legal department clears it from inventory. I’ll post photos and dimensions then.
Also included for your amusement is my current haircut — my remedy for the huge uneven rectangle in my hair. The surgeon needs remedial training for his shaving skills. (Sorry, Mom, I know you hate it.)
Thanks for all your kind words. I feel so loved, which really helped me through the week.
I’m still shaky (literally and figuratively) — not sure why I’m trembling, but at least it doesn’t interfere with reading. I stopped taking Vicodin on Friday night because I was worried about being nauseated on the trip back to Seattle. Traveling was still uncomfortable, but we got a free first-class upgrade, which made the flight much easier.
Most of the surgical pain is gone, so Advil is serving as a decent replacement. The surgical sites are sore to the touch (of course) and I can’t turn my neck or use my right arm without pain. The biggest annoyance is that the incisions itch. It’s a sign that they are healing, but it’s awful to have an itch that can’t be scratched.
Previous surgeries were followed by terrible headaches. The theory is that my nerves weren’t happy about being touched, so they let me know it. This time I made it to yesterday afternoon without a bad headache.
I’m OK so far today and even managed to run errands for a couple hours. I’ll try to take it easy the rest of the day so I don’t wear myself out. Unfortunately, typing and using the mouse causes pain in my chest, so I can’t post much.
I’ve read a book a day for the last week and will probably keep up the pace. I stocked up on $1 clearance books at Half Price Books and have about 10 left, which will keep me occupied for a while. We’re having some meals delivered from a local service, so I won’t even have to aggravate my neck or chest by cooking.
And that’s the minutiae of my recovery. Hope you’re all doing as well as possible. Thanks again for all your support. I swear I could feel you cheering me on.
First, I want to say thanks again for all the supportive comments and emails. It’s been great for both of us to know that so many people are thinking about Kerrie and her recovery.
I just wanted to post a quick update that she’s still doing well but now that the anesthesia has worn off she’s feeling a bit more battered than she was last night so she’s not going to be up for posting today. Still, I know she’s doing a lot better than when she had the stimulator put in because she’s already sitting up reading, talking on the phone, and occasionally puttering into the kitchen for a snack. Hopefully she’ll returning you to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
I’m sitting next to Kerrie in the recovery room and she’s doing great, eating Graham crackers, drinking water, talking about baseball, and generally enjoying having a few fewer ounces of metal in her life. We asked to keep the stimulator and hopefully they’re going to clean it up, inspect the unit, and then send it to us so she can post a bunch of pictures of it.
Oh! Gotta go–the wheelchair is here. I’m sure Kerrie will provide more thoughts soon.