Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Post-2nd Alcock's nerve block

It's 3 weeks after the second try at the nerve block at the Alcock's canal site.  This is a lower spot on my butt than the first nerve block site, which was the ischial spine.

My overall pain level is still higher than it was before this nerve block.  Emotionally, I've been all over the place about it.  Sometimes it's no big deal; sometimes I want to give up.  It's the implications that are more upsetting than the pain itself.  Mostly, I am frustrated that this pain has been around so long, and I am scared that it will be around forever.  I'm also worried that this increased pain is my new reality.  I'm worried that the doctor nicked the nerve or something.  That worry is probably unfounded, but I don't really know much about it.

This nerve block numbed the area but didn't take away the pain.  That implies that the injection wasn't at the site of the nerve entrapment.  The block at the ischial spine numbed the area and took away about 90% of the pain.  I didn't see lasting improvement afterwards, but a couple weeks after the block I peed 5-6 times in a row with very little pain.  That was encouraging.  I'm hoping that Dr. Westesson will want to try that site again.

If my pain were like it was while the anesthetic was in effect after the block at the ischial spine, I would be ecstatic.  The pain increased as my bladder filled and went away after I emptied my bladder, and peeing was painless.  If that were my life, it would be a huge improvement over where things stand now.

As a side note, my period has been around for more than 2 weeks now, and my first period after the first nerve block was around for 10 days.  I googled and found a number of accounts of women having screwed-up periods after getting steroid injections, so I'm not too worried.  I will ask the doc about it at my next appointment.

I don't know if you can tell from my blog posts, but I am feeling pretty....bland these days.  I don't want to engage intellectually.  I am afraid that any good thoughts or feelings will be taken away from me, so I'm avoiding thinking or feeling at all.

I don't even know how to write this goddamn blog post.

I feel like I've told this miserable story too many times.

I am less fearful than I was a few months ago.  I think about what I told my psychiatrist at our last visit -- March 27 -- and many of those things do not apply anymore.  It drives home for me an observation I've made over the years that the brain heals itself if it's in the right environment.  I stopped taking a crazy-making med, and I curled up in a ball and watched every episode of Monk.  It's like putting on a helmet after getting knocked in the head for a while.

It has made me realize that I need to look at my periods of recovering from mental problems as analogous to physical rehabilitation.  It is the same thing; we just don't recognize it.  I am not seeing friends, not eating well, afraid of the grocery store, afraid to laugh.  So, I need to work step by step to get back to functioning fully.  That means exposure and practice.  Just like learning to use a leg again -- you have to expose the muscles to the act of taking a step, and then you have to take that step again and again.  After you get the beginner step down, you expose the muscles to taking a bigger step and practice that one.

One of the ways I am compounding all the stress in my life is by comparing my life to others'.  Facebook is terrible for this, looking at people getting engaged, married, having children.  I have been struggling with this issue a lot over the past few months.  I've stopped believing that I have any kind of future.  I never thought that before.  I always thought that no matter my troubles, the coming years would bring marriage and kids, work I believe in, floorboards that don't trap kitty litter.

I am getting jealous of my peers.  That's a new one for me too, and it's not pretty.  I wonder why their lives seem relatively straightforward while I'm bivouacking or something.  I used to think my pain and mental illness were taking me places I never would've gone and making me into a stronger, wiser person than I would've been otherwise.  Now?  I don't give a shit!  I just want to be normal.

Bivouacking might not be a bad idea.  I need to disconnect from others' lives (and the internet) and reconnect with mine.

My next nerve block is on May 22, a week from tomorrow.  I have an appointment with Dr. Howard in June.  He will probably do the Q-tip test again to see if my sensitivity has gone down.  If it hasn't, I'll probably be off to see a urologist about whether I have interstitial cystitis.


  1. I'm not sure about this approach Esther, you're still in a flare up from the last procedure. It took me 5 weeks for my flare to begin settling and I just thought it hadn't worked. It did settle and I"m about 4 months into some decent relief. Stay hopeful love. I won't lie to you though, PN is a tough life.

    1. Thanks Soula. I appreciate your input. I'm going by my doctor's advice. He thinks nerve blocks should kick in within 1-2 weeks. But I believe you when you say yours take longer.

      In this case, if the anesthetic had taken my pain away, I would be thinking the blocks might actually kick in and help at some point. But they didn't, so I think they weren't at the right part of the nerve.

      It's always good to hear from you!!!

    2. Don't lose hope love. PN is all so new. I've had 3 blocks and all 3 took 4-7 weeks to kick in. Everyone suffering with this condition knows you just don't mess with this nerve easily!

    3. Hello Ester and Soula,
      I am so glad you are both out there blogging. Sometimes when I feel utterly defeated I turn to your websites to help me through the rough days of living with PN.
      I am very curious if my blocks are taking longer to work as well. Have either of you had pulsed radiofrequency ablation done?
      Take care

  2. Hi Esther! I sent an email but unsure if you received it or not. Spam filter might have caught it. I didn't read through a lot of your posts but did go through some of them. You've mentioned vulvar issues, hip pain, sleep issues, anxiety, and feeling like a total crazy person. You've also mentioned acne and smelling bad for no apparent reason. I'll bet you've got Lyme disease or one, or more, of the co-infections that go with it. I would specifically say Bartonella. The anxiety and crazy feelings points to this. I think the vulvar and bladder issues also point to Bartonella as well. It likes the bladder. It also likes to sit down by your tailbone and cause back pain. I forget why, though. If you get the sugar munchies, this would point to Bartonella as well. Feel free to contact me for more info if you would like: jenifer at ceruleanpixel dotcom.