Surgery-age: in two weeks I will be a cyborg

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Future War-age: two years ago I became a cyborg. This is an old thread. Please refer to the links at the end of this post for a list of updates! :D

So, as I've mentioned in a few of my posts, I have a (what I understand to be) rare medical condition that affects my nervous system. I don't want to go into it too heavily but the gist of it is, I'm in pain all the time and fairly simple activity I once took for granted makes it worse. Standing, walking, lifting things or even sitting up straight for more than a few minutes causes debilitating pain. Sometimes when I'm lying down I'll experience a fairly awful attack of blinding pain.

This has been going on for about three and a half years. I tolerated it pretty well at first; I didn't want it to sideline my goals and after the first few trips to the hospital following a bad attack I learned to tolerate it. Over the past year, however, my condition has worsened substantially, and I have had to put most of my life on hold while my many doctors tried to figure out something that would relieve my pain enough that I would be able to resume some basic activity at least.

I have tried several procedures, ranging from simple steroid injections to having certain unnecessary organs removed to having the nerves along the affected area of my spine frozen. I've also tried a wide range of drugs known to provide pain relief; I'm currently on fentanyl, which I'm pretty sure is the strongest opiate available, and pregabalin, an anticonvulsant that helps with nerve pain. While these drugs help immensely in preventing the more serious attacks I used to experience and in resuming some light activity for brief periods of time, the side effects are sort of a bitch and I'm hoping to stumble on a solution that will essentially allow me to act like a normal person.

Enter the spinal cord stimulator.

My primary doctor at the pain center has decided to try implanting this device which, as I understand it, involves grafting electrical leads directly to my spine, inserting a battery pack in my gut, and giving me a remote I can use to change the sensation from one of pain to...something else. I'm not sure what.

Tomorrow is the test procedure, in which temporary leads are put in (leads and remote but no battery pack) to see if it will help. If it is successful I'll have the permanent device put in on the 23rd.

I've had major surgery before along my road dealing with this condition but nothing like this. I am pretty nervous about it, not just the surgery itself but also because I'm not sure where to go from here if it doesn't work. Anyway, I think the device itself is pretty cool; as I said in the thread title I'll be a cyborg. That has its ups and downs. The good doctor cautioned me that once I have the device I will probably never make it through airport security without a shakedown, I'll often set off store alarms and the device may "interfere with other electrical devices," whatever that means.

What is the purpose of this thread...hmmmm. I dunno. Support, mostly, but I'd also like to hear other crazy surgery stories from away.

Major updates in bold
God Loves Foreshadowing
The Test Unit Goes In
Test Unit Details
More Q&A
Last Question
Implant Day Approaches
After the Implant
Two Years Later, pt. 1
Dr. Stacey
Two Years Later, pt. 2
There are more as you go down but I can't get the hyperlinks to work properly anymore, the post count is all screwy for some reason...
Best of luck with the surgery. I sure hope it provides meaningful life so you can get back to a more normal routine.

My only "major" surgery was having a rod and some pins placed in my left femur to put it back together again. I snapped it after hitting a tree while in Park City, UT. Doesn't come closet to what you'll be dealing with, though.

On an aside, I worked with fentanyl in its pure drug form in a pharmaceutical company around 4 years ago. That stuff is potentially deadly in small quantities. I hear it's 50-100 times more potent than morphine.
I hope everything works fine, 6 Million Dollar GAFfer. :)

The only surgery story I have is when I was going to the doctor's to see this inflamation I had on my right eyelid. Basically, my vessels were constricted or something, so a minor procedure was necessary. That turned into the most excrutiating pain I've ever felt.

The doctor repeating "Oh, wow, look at all that blood" didn't help either. I got Big Boss'd for a couple of days afterwards, but hell if I'll ever do something like that again. There were some drops that felt like someone was spitting fire directly into my eye.

Lord Error

Insane For Sony
Holy crap, the most fascinating thread in a while. I really want to know the result of this. How soon do you think you'll be able to see if this device really can suppress/reverse the pain?
My grandma got this. It definitely helped her feel better and the surgery went without a hitch. I hope that yours goes as smoothly and that it works out for you!
Dude, you're going to be a wii that you play yourself. That's hot. If i were you I'd become a waste of space and sit on the couch all day pressing buttons to activate myself.

Best of luck for a safe and successful sugery, be sure to let us know how it goes.

And no, we have no crazy surgery stories; you've officially stole the crown.
man fentanyl is basically heroin DELUXE, that shit is crazy even to a veteran drug user. I can't imagine the sort of pain you must be in for any doctor to prescribe that stuff.

best of luck with the procedure :(


Hail, peons, for I have come as ambassador from the great and bountiful Blueberry Butt Explosion

Come back safe, dude. :)
Best of luck, man. I hope everything turns out fine.

In two years i'll have my first surgery, my bottom jaw will be broken and reshaped. Still thats nothing compared to what your going through.
WOW, that is incredible. Never heard of this kind of procedure before.
Sorry to hear about your condition, I hope this makes things much better for you.

Good luck! Be sure to post a follow-up.
Marconelly said:
Holy crap, the most fascinating thread in a while. I really want to know the result of this. How soon do you think you'll be able to see if this device really can suppress/reverse the pain?
It's supposed to be effective immediately; I see a couple of doctors again on Thursday to check in and see how it's going, and if it's not working they'll re-align the leads. I'll only have them in until next Monday; they'll remove them then and if it worked out the 23rd is the big day for the permanent unit.

Thanks for all the well wishes, guys. It's also very encouraging to hear from other people with family members who have done this and have had success with it. I don't think I'll be able to swing laser beams but my fingers are crossed for an EMP!

edit: Oh shit a tag! Awesome :lol
Sorry but I don't have any crazy surgery story to share with you, but from your OP you seem strong enough. At least strong than most of the guys that will read your story. Courage man. Respect.


Black Canada Mafia
Ask the doctor if he'll throw in some hydraulics.... Haha no but seriously... ask him.

surgery is scary, tell us in detail how you turn your pain into awesome when you get back though
Dude good luck, but if I had that surgery there's nothing that could stop me from making bionic

do do do do do do do do do dooooooo

noises in whatever I did.

"Ron, can you get that glass for me?"
"oh sure"
do do do do do do do dodoooooo
Xabora said:
Good luck!

And a battery pack... neat. :eek:
The battery pack is actually kind of a bitch because I have to have it recharged or replaced every few years depending on the manufacturer. I've heard stories of batteries that can be recharged without any additional surgery; hoping for one of those for obvious reasons, although I know the programmer who will be there tomorrow is from the company that produces a longer lasting battery that must be replaced. That's 7-9 years off, though.
I'm not saying this will work, but try something for me, and I'm serious here.

Drink 2 full glasses of water, then place a pinch of salt on your tongue - let it dissolve.

Don't call me crazy, but your pain could be caused by severe dehydration. Most doctors don't look for / don't understand the signs of dehydration. Be sure to drink 8+ glasses of water a day and supplement that with a couple pinches of salt - to replace what you'll be urinating away.

Let me know how you feel after a day of this.


One day I realized that sadness is just another word for not enough coffee.
Remember us when the revolution is over.

(Best of luck!)
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