In this entry, I am actually going to try to be both serious and informative. Hard to believe….but here it is:
In the past couple of years I have been in a hell of a lot of pain from what has recently been diagnosed as Piriformis Syndrome. If it sounds radioactive, it is. Not in a U238 kind of way but it radiates like a bitch and if you have never experienced chronic pain, do I not recommend it, even to those amongst us who profess to enjoy it. If by some chance, nature did not endow you with an ounce of empathy, this here: tear jerking, fist clenching, teeth gnashing, and all consuming pain, will make you wish you never existed. And the best part of it is, it’s on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and every sorry ass day of the year.
Why am I telling you this? Fear not, I do not need your pity or sympathy, even-though I’ll take your money, but if by some stroke of fantastic luck, you are reading this, and are sitting at home and contemplating the old adage, that dropping like a stone has its advantages, read these here phrases before you decide to leap off the ledge and into the bottomless pit (btw, in you are going to do it anyway, remember that you must jump from at least the 4th floor, to ensure a sufficiently traumatic death? .
As I was saying, in October 2006, I decided that I had had enough of this grief to actually do something about it. I went to see a MDs, and as it turned out, not just one but many. At the time the pain was severe but not yet devilish. I had just finished crossing the country and the Pacific several hundred times, in a three month traveling frenzy, which had aggravated my aches and pains enough to warrant a trip to the clinic. I started to believe that since I was spending all this dough on health insurance, why not give medicine a spin, no more barin’ and grinnin’…. let’s get some relief, you’ve earned it….
Long story short, the pain got worse and worse, the MDs got more and more confused as to why my supposed Sciatica had no visible diagnosis, no herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Hell, at this point, since we can’t figure this out lets shunt him off to the pain clinic; it’s what we do when our protocols are no longer useful and we’d rather not look into it, it’s probably all in his head anyway.
Being the type A that I am, and a strong believer in answers to everything, I simply refused to believe the way this was ultimately going. I decided to enroll my friend Scott, the MD, who one early summer day came bouncing out of the San Francisco mist to casually mention, that I ought to get Botox injections: ” I read a paper recently that Botox injections can be quite effective, if, as you seem to so vociferously believe, that it’s a muscular, not a skeletal thing”.
A quick search (Botox + Siatica) on the internet and there it was, the number three, the trinity(actually six). There are, in turns out, not two but three possible diagnosis for this wretched sciatic misery; and here is my word for it: Piriformis Doloris Vendictis.
I won’t describe it here, just go to these and the other links, I am so generously providing alongside this entry to remind you that medicine is protocol based; to believe in your instincts and listen to your pain, not the physicians who think they seen it all before; just another patient, like every other miserable wretched case before it.
My condition, it turns out, should have been well known to the MDs who treated me, it’s not that uncommon, but thanks to the time constrained and generally disinterested MDs who treated me, I was well on my way to rotting, alongside all the other unlucky corpses haunting the halls of the chronic pain.
Epilogue: I received a Botox injection in the Piriformis last August fourth, and am doing better. Not out of the woods yet, as a lot of physical therapy and possibly many more corticosteroids and Botox injections will be needed to deliver me from this nightmarish affliction, but at least now, it has a name and can be treated like the bitch that it is.
Below, are must reads, if you have any kind of sciatic like nerve pain radiating down your lower limbs. Even if your MRI shows signs of herniation or synopsis, as it often will; do not discount the Piriformis, and mention it to your MD, as a very real possibility. Send him/her the links and nip it in the bud, before it breaks your spirit, as it eventually will as the longer a diagnosis takes, the greater your chances of going insane in the membrane.
Take it from me, chronic pain is unmitigatedly the closest thing to absolute misery. If you have it, wether or not your Piriformis is the culprit, you have my deepest sympathies; I feel your pain, I really do mean it, even if I often profess to the contrary.