Cleveland Clinic neurology doesn't know what to do with a pelvic pain case, so I made an appointment with pain management. Ohhhh I'm so glad I called them. My appointment was today, and they were so compassionate. And they don't care what the cause of my pain is. I didn't think I'd like that -- I thought all along I needed an explanation, and all the doctors I saw before were either giving me hypotheses or giving me explanations why my pain was something they didn't treat. But these guys don't give a crap what's causing my pain. They only care about making it better. They'll try something and if it doesn't work they'll try something else. Totally empirical.
So they agreed today to try an ilioinguinal block on the right side, the one Dr. Westesson didn't repeat after my February appointment in Rochester. They'll do it by ultrasound. Dr. Westesson did it by CT scan. They say they can see the tissue, etc., with ultrasound, which CT scan doesn't include. (I think CT scan is just a nerded-out, super-spinny X-ray, but maybe I'm wrong.)
I really appreciate that they thought it made sense to start with the block that I thought helped in February. For whatever reason, my instinct tells me it was the ilioinguinal block that provided so much relief. This block will be anesthetic only (I think I am getting this right), which -- if it's at a good site -- might provide prolonged relief, but if not, they can burn the nerve to shut it up for a longer period of time. And if the ilioinguinal site doesn't work at all, they can move on to other treatments.
There is a doc who works in pain management who is the Center of all Pelvic Pain Treatment at the Cleveland Clinic. This is a vortex that did not exist when I was moving thru the Clinic several years ago looking for the right doctor. The doc I saw today said I can move on to see the Vortex for another opinion before doing the block. I decided to just do the block now with the present doctor and move on to see the other doc if the block doesn't work. But now that I'm calling him The Vortex I feel the need to schedule an appointment with him.
And to make this blog post even longer, I will report that on Monday I started a leave from work. I am very low on vacation days due to my visits to Rochester, so as of today I'm on FMLA. (I think. I can't count.) My pain has been so nasty recently that I kept having to work from home or come home midday -- even with the standing desk -- and I kept having to work past the workday to finish up because I couldn't concentrate, and I was sleeping all my spare hours away and not eating, and last Friday I woke up and it was all clear. I said, No, no-no, this is not happening anymore. On top of all that, my panic/anxiety/agoraphobia has been monstrous lately, which is half the pie that is the whole take-a-break picture. I am back to taking valium 1x a day, and life is just soooooooooooooooooooooo much easier when I take it. I am not in space, I actually exist, it is not strange that planets are round, there is not blackness inside everything I see, I do not freak out when the sun goes to the other side of the Earth and I have to wait for it to come back, I am not concerned that atoms have a shelf life, and now that I type this all out, WHY IN THE WORLD DID I MAJOR IN PHYSICS IN COLLEGE?
I don't think I'll be on leave for long. I'm going to challenge my anxiety over the next few days, going INSIDE buildings!!! and things of that sort. The pain is more of an unknown. I think April's steroid injections set it off. They are messing with my period, so maybe it's tied to that. One day it is workable, the next day it is stupid. I've mostly been lying down the past few days, so I'll start challenging the pain too to see where it stands. Worst case, if the pain is still nasty, I'll ask for flexibility to work from home at least part of the time, to make it an official thing, and see if that flies.