I was first diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain and a permanent injury early 2009. The pain is from a car accident that happened in January 2007. The main area of pain was in my right hip, from the seatbelt. From the get go, the doctors thought I may have fractured my pelvis. After a bone scan that came back clear of any fractures, I was still in pain, and kept presenting to my GP with pain in my right hip.
I had multiple x-ray and scans to check for bone or muscle damage, but everything came back clear. After seeing a different doctor in 2008, he suspected I may have nerve damage, and he was right. I started to see a neurologist, who did a few nerve conduction studies, and it came back saying I had a compressed nerve in my right hip, which is really common for front seat passenger car accident victims.
I went to see a neurosurgeon and two days before Christmas 2008, I had nerve decompression surgery. After going back to see the neurosurgeon about 6 weeks later, I told him the pain was still the same.
I still had numbness in my thigh. There was nothing more the neurosurgeon said he could do, and diagnosed me with chronic pain and a permanent injury. It didn't sit well with me. And already being a sufferer/survivor of anxiety and depression, it just made things worse.
Later, one day the pain was so bad it was really effecting my walking. I presented to my local ED, and got prescribed Lyrica, and was suggested to get on the waiting list for the local pain management service. Back in those days, Lyrica wasn't on the PBS (but I had an excellent doctor who collected samples for me - which was great, seeing as I was unemployed at the time.)
After a massive wait, I got in to see the pain management doctor, and had to try Gabapentin, before being prescribed Lyrica by the hospital (as Lyrica was PBS price at the hospital where the pain management service is located at.) The gabapentin didn't work, so I went back on Lyrica and things were good for a while. I did often walk with a limp due to pain, and one day, while walking home from an appointment, I got a disc bulge (the cause was put down to walking with a limp). This is just the smallest hurdle I've faced.
I got over the pain of the disc bulge in a few months (but still sometimes get a bit of back pain, unfortunately - because hip and thigh pain just isn't enough for me.)
I ended up moving to London mid-2011, and spent about 15 months overseas.
Unfortunately, after I got home, in late 2012, the pain in my hip was so bad I couldn't move my leg. I spent a week or so in hospital, getting multiple MRIs done and on strong pain killers and getting about on crutches, and I was discharged, with a lot of physio to get my leg moving again. Things were going well till I got a steroid injection into the bursa on my right thigh. About 3 days later, I couldn't move my leg again, and I was back in hospital. I spent Christmas and new year’s in hospital, and went to a rehab hospital. I spent the majority of 2013 in rehab. I spent the first few months of 2013 on crutches. I spent the majority of 2013 on strong pain killers, sometimes taking up to 50mg of endone a day, and still in pain.
My pain management doctor suggested a ketamine transfusion, as it can help diminish nerve pain, and also set my tolerance for opioid painkillers back down low. I got the ketamine transfusion done late 2013, and amazingly, my nerve pain was close to non-existent for about 6-7 months. Which was great, as a treat to myself for being in and out of hospital all year and taking way too many painkillers to comprehend, I'd booked myself in to volunteer in Galapagos Islands for 3 weeks.
Late April 2014, I set off for Quito, super excited about going to Galapagos Islands and I had a fantastic time. It was amazing. It really was amazing. I also travelled to Mexico and USA later in the year. Also during 2014, I'd been put back on the waiting list for another ketamine transfusion, as the pain started coming back, and I wanted to keep living a relatively pain-free life. After returning home from USA, I started getting quite anxious about the pain, which I guess probably made the pain worse.
I got my second ketamine transfusion done first week of Feb 2015. I kept putting the follow up appointment with the pain management off till last week. The pain hasn't improved. For some reason, the ketamine transfusion hasn't worked. There's not much else pain management can do for me right now, except keep me on Lyrica and a low dose of Endep. I just have to work to keep my pain under control with pain killers, heat packs, creams such as Metsal and Tiger Balm, and get physio when needed, and give acupuncture a try.
Living with chronic pain is difficult, but I've still managed to go out there and live my life and have some fun. It does get hard - really hard, I think I'll be in therapy for a long time to come, as 8 years with chronic pain is not fun, and it’s not easy and it gets tiring, and depressing, and sometimes you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel so you spend 20 minutes in the shower crying. I've only recently turned 28, and most of the time, I'm determined to keep living my life to the fullest, and to keep travelling, and to keep having fun, and to try not let this pain beat me, as I'm sure it has probably beat many others.