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Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre - Newport trip

I haven't posted an update after my trip last week because we're currently in a bit of a strategizing phase.

Last Monday, Craig and I flew back to Baltimore for my third visit with Dr. Crutchfield. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, given the lack of progress I've made with the occipital injections thus far, but the plan was to get the third round and get his take on whether my response to the dorsal root ganglion diagnostic blocks warranted the radiofrequency ablation by my docs here in Phoenix. Once we were in the office, Dr. Crutchfield decided that it didn't make sense for him to proceed with the injections (which was fine with us because we know the likelihood of relief drops significantly after he first, and especially the second one).

Dr. Crutchfield also said that he did NOT think it was a good idea to do the dorsal root ganglion ablations (at least at this stage of the game), citing the much higher risk of more serious damage. It's always kind of tough to have two well-respected doctors echoing different opinions about the most appropriate (and safe) course of action.

Dr. Crutchfield explained that he believes the source of pain could very well be coming from the nerve roots at C1 and C2 and recommended that we go after those with steroid injections. It's not easy to find physicians that work this high up in the cervical spine, simply because it's prime real estate. If the needle misses by the smallest bit, you could easily injure the carotid or vertebral arteries and that is NOT something you want to mess with (think paralysis, etc.) He has a doctor in Baltimore that he knows does it, but we had actually just reached out to one of my former neurologists at Mayo Clinic and got the name of a doc at UCLA who is recognized as one of the very few who work that high up in the spine.

So we actually left Baltimore feeling pretty encouraged. Though one of Craig's colleague with a contact at UCLA, Craig was able to connect with this doctor there last week. Unfortunately, after reviewing my history, he did NOT think that the nerve root blocks were appropriate and instead recommended some headache center in Chicago.

Ahhhhhhh. Maybe that would be less overwhelming if my baseline wasn't already a groundhog day headache.

Anyway, the set-in-stone plan right now is to travel to Newport Beach next Monday for my 10 day physical therapy visit at Wetzler PT. There's still a chance we could be seeing a doc in another department at UCLA while we're there, but that's TBD. There's also a chance that I could be seeing another pain doctor for an additional opinion in Newport Beach (someone that a friend is putting us in touch with this week).

So, there you go. Now the REAL question is...

What would I do without this puppy to keep me on my toes (and laughing) every day??

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