The language is, “My back hurts,” because, technically, that’s where the injury is. That’s where the bright red scar lives. But the pain itself starts like an electrical fire in my hip and burns right down my hamstring, jumps into my calf* like a hundred screwdrivers, and lands in the right side of the bottom of my foot as a strange, anticlimactic numbness. The fact that I’m mentioning the it today is either a sign that it’s worse or that my mania is better.
It’s only fair to point out that the pain was roughly 13 times worse before I had the surgery. Before the surgery, I could not stand, I could not sit, I could not use the toilet without sobbing. Nursing the baby involved labor breathing. Now I function, so the surgery was not a complete failure. It was simply not the home run everyone claimed it would be.
The mistake my first surgeon made was making the promise that I would be completely pain free after he sliced me open and cut out the broken pieces. We still don’t know why he was so wrong. Maybe he missed all the pieces? Maybe the injury was older than we thought and I just didn’t notice (what!?), or the damage to the nerve was so severe it formed scar tissue and is hurting itself. How tragic.
At the last visit with the new surgeon, we reviewed the latest MRI and he determined that there was no way to avoid more surgery, but gave me the option of taking a month off of epidural steroid injections, to see what chronic pain felt like, to see what I could live with. At the time I was high as a kite on brain chemistry so I cheerfully agreed.
So, I am bouncing on my stability ball this morning, counting out my millions of pills, wondering if I’m going to have to add more to deal with the pain, and who I will become if that happens.
*Gastrocnemius. Say it. I say it in my head about five hundred and twelve times a day.