Sunday, March 16, 2008

A visit to the pain clinic

I have had an initial appointment at the pain clinic, and have come away without any pain medications at all. That wasn't my goal, you understand - this appointment was due to the increased pain I had been feeling since January. The good news - the thyroid medication that my oncologist had increased is doing its work, improving my mental state and energy levels. And there is no bad news.

While I was in the pain clinic, I had to fill out forms that would be used to determine what level of pain I was experiencing. Other than not knowing what pain to describe on what line (I guess they don't figure folks could be having more than one pain, such as the one I have on my craniectomy site and the one that I feel where the radiation concentrated on the left side of my face/neck), I came away feeling very fortunate that my pain is not so high as to be unbearable. On the quality of life scale, I am a 10 - I can work full time, I get out for errands and for social occasions, and I don't let pain stop me from doing things. The doctors gave me permission to stop the low dose of gabapentin (the side effects were deal breakers to me at this time), they reminded me that they would be there if my pain increased later, and they said they keep my quality of life in mind with their treatments. I figure I will save their big guns for a later date, if pain increases or if I have to go through more treatment in the future. For now, I can distract myself from most of the pain that goes on and in my head.

The next doctor appointment is April 1 (appropriate, ain't it?), when I see the radiation oncologist. I have not seen him in person since he discovered the pearl in my head - I am looking forward to seeing him and thanking him for that nice bit of detective work.

If you have questions about pain after you have talked with your health care professional, a good place to start for answers on the web is at MedlinePlus:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pain.html Check out the Go Local link on the right side of the page to see if there are health professionals near your location that deal in pain management.

1 comment:

Barbara K. said...

Glad your pain clinic visit was a positive experience. My first one was the opposite - a neurologist who kept looking at her watch more than she looked at me.

I hope you continue to be a 10 (and better).

 
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