Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reprogramming my implant

Just felt like it's time to give an update on how things are as well as to share how the reprogramming of my implant went.

In terms of the actually surgery, I am getting there now, I believe. I am gradually building up stamina and getting strength back but I am more or less able to do what I usually would do, just with a slight stiffness and uncomfortable feeling in my neck when I look sharp right, and if I bring my new to my chest or bend over far, then I can feel the battery pack pressing into me. 
The thing I am most worried about is the dizziness I am getting. I am sure it is more often and more severe than before the operation, as I get it every time I bend over or get up quickly.

I have begun training back at the gym, but my personal trainer guy won't let me do anything that means bending over or putting my head down (which seems spot on) so I've only really used the stepper, treadmill and weight machines. Not what is like to be doing ideally, but it's better than sitting about doing nothing and it meant I have begun to care about my diet again too!

Although I had been chasing the pain clinic to arrange an appointment to meet Mike from St Jude's Medical again, after Christmas and new year were over it was relatively easy. I saw him last week and after I described how the programs were pinchy and I could only used one, he had a look and agreed that they would feel like that as they were fairly strong. So at least I feel like I do know how things should feel, without feeling like I know anything at all about how this all works. 
Mike said that probably my lead is very close to my nerve, which makes me very sensitive to the stimulation, so therefore I can only cope with low frequencies. Most people have 4mhtz but I am working between 1.2 and 1.4!!!!
He set up 5 more programs that seem to work further up my neck and towards my ear and therefore aren't causing the muscle to spasm which is what the pressure feeling was. 
He did say to leave my stim off for a little bit as I was very zapped for an hour during the reprogramming. I actually suffered a headache for a day or two after the appointment, so that's something I'll have to remember from now on! 
I tried out the new programs two days later but none of them particularly felt normal enough yet to leave on for any length of time. I then found it extremely difficult to get back in the routine of turning my stim on in the morning, as I felt like it would take a while to get the setting right, so I put it off for a week. I feel bad that I left it so long, so as I haven't had much benefit from it yet, I just don't feel reliant on it. I guess these things take time and I am going to take time to figure all the out!! 

My next venture of going on holiday!!! It will be my chance to see what happens at airport security and how I cope with the implant whist away from home. I'm not particularly worried, as feel I need this time away to relax and chill in the sun to aid my recovery and well being.
It will also make sure I get over showing my scars freely to people I don't know! To be honest, I'm not as worried about that as I thought I would be. 
I'll update when I get back!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Rosehip oil trial

Whilst randomly reading information about scarring, I read that rose hip oil is a great treatment for scar tissue. 
I first tried Palmers skin oil with rosehip extract but found it a bit oily to use, as it went all over my bra and when my hair went over my chest it ended up oily, as well as the neck scar just coating my hair in oil.
So, being as my mum is a complimentary therapist, I used her about it. She says that they use it at her work a lot and she has heard good things about it being used for scars and skin. So she got me a sample and I have been using it for about a week and a half, twice daily.
I have to say that as it is a dry oil, it doesn't make my hair or clothing oily, which is great!! It feels nice to be treating the scars with something and it is very gentle to use on them.
 I feel that the scars have lightened in colour and don't look so purpley/red along the incision, as before using the rose hip oil. 
My head scar is barely noticeable and now doesn't have the lump where the staples were holding it together so much. Although it means that the loop made with the lead protrudes more and is still very itchy. This is mostly under the hair line so can't be seen in this photo.
My chest scar still has the lumpy thick part to it and I am really hoping to see a change in that at some point. 

I am definitely going to continue using the oil, if little else, to moisturise and lightly massage the scar tissue regularly but hopefully to see more rapid improvement.

Recovery is in sight

It's been a couple of weeks since my last update and I can now see that the odd feelings, pain, uncomfortableness will eventually disappear and I should not notice the incisions, battery and wires in my body at some point.
Things are much more comfortable now generally, although my stomach is still tender and wearing tights or jeans done up all day is too much. At night I often undo them or take tights off.
My neck is still a bit tight and turning fully to the right is pretty stiff. I don't force it too much as I don't want to cause any damage.
My chest incision out often pretty itchy and the muscle there still aches a bit, particularly when I stretch across my body to the left.

Overall thought I am now managing to do little bits of normal things. Although if I go too much, I do feel that my leads inflame the area surrounding it, particularly in my neck and chest and my stomach becomes more tender.
I did go to the gym just for 25 mins the other day. I only did low level exercise, just to get slowly back into doing something. I worked on a low impact program on the stepper and walked an incline on the treadmill. To be honest, that was pretty difficult and I had to rest half way through, after only 5 minutes!

My implant though still seems to be doing very little. My head pain has been getting worse and lasting for days at a time and the programs I can cope with don't appear to help. The other programs are still too pinchy for me to cope with for any length of time. 
I have been battling to try and get hold of someone at the pain clinic to get an appointment to see Mike, my rep, and finally today was told I can meet him next Tuesday. Hopefully we can set up a wider selection of frequencies so that I have a bit more choice! 
We shall see, I guess!