It’s been a while, internet traveller. To quote a great philosopher of our time: ‘I aten’t dead.’ The 8th anniversary of my accident has been and gone and I’m just coming up to the end of my first year as a cyborg. So how is the implant doing?
Unfortunately it’s doing bugger all. I’ve been working through various programmes and settings and while the ‘pocket pain’ (around the site where they implanted th battery) resolved itself, the higher intensity modes cause more pain. I’m disappointed but not devastated; I knew going in that this was a long shot with only a 30-40% chance of doing anything.
I’ve run out of biomedical options to try. I’ve had every single drug that can be prescribed for nerve pain from anticonvulsants to opiates to synthetic cannabinoids. I’m currently in the process of weaning myself off the last medication I’m taking (Pregabalin) to see if it’s actually doing anything. I’ve been on the max daily dose for 8 years now and would obviously rather not be on it if I’ve developed enough of a tolerance that it’s not effective. The only way to judge that however is to come off it and see what happens; currently I’m reducing by 25mg every few weeks and am taking a little under two thirds the dosage I was on.
Surgery-wise there’s only Dorsal Root Excision Zone (DREZ) left – that’s where your spine is lasered to ablate the nerve endings and prevent the pain signals being generated. However it’s a chore to get hold of in the UK as there’s only three places that do it (Liverpool, Southampton and somewhere in London I think) and has quite serious risks, as you’d expect from any procedure that puts ‘spinal cord’ and ‘lasers’ in close proximity.
That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’ve got an appointment with the pain clinic in a week or so to discuss options so I’ll request the removal of my implant and see what they suggest. I’ll be back when I’ve got more news!