Chronic Pain Warrior Wounded – A Personal Story

Chronic Pain Warrior Wounded – A Personal Story

Gracie Gean Bagosy-Young

Gracie Gean Bagosy-Young

I made my first trip to the ER for relentlessness, unbearable pain. In almost 7 years, I have managed to avoid this. It was in my sciatic nerve. No one has done any scans yet, so we really don’t know the source of the pain.

The pain was the worst I’ve experienced. I was all balled up in pain, for 6 days at a level 9. (I never say 10. I am fundamentally opposed to it.)

I have undergone 17 surgeries, gave birth to 2 babies, and have CRPS, Lyme disease, uterine cancer, and Raynaud’s. But I have never been shot or stabbed, or had a limb ripped off. I feel that there could always be something worse. So my 9 is as serious as it gets for me.

To address the pain, I had to have 2 infusions of several narcotics and steroids combined. It was intense, but it got me over the hump. I came home at a 3-4. I can now tolerate PT. I have no doubt that my absolute largest hurdle was my pride. I am still struggling with this pain. I have some muscle relaxers, narcotics, and 5 days of steroids, which really pisses me off. I know that I need them right now, and I am taking them. Most chronic pain patients will tell you how much we HATE having to rely on pills to function. Vulnerability is exceptionally difficult for me. I type this with tears, not looking for attention, but only to share with you my lesson learned.

Confidence is wonderful, but pride is arrogance. It stands in the way of progress. I should have gone in sooner. I was terrified of being called a drug-seeker for going to the ER for pain relief-even though I take NO NARCOTICS AT ALL! It is a very sad day when we cower in our homes suffering instead of seeking the help we truly need for fear of ridicule.

My experience at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois was wonderful. “Dr. Joe” as he had me call him, was fully knowledgeable on CRPS and Lyme disease. As a strong advocate, I had come armed with a pile of information, expecting to have to teach him. He looked it over respectfully, but he already knew. He was kind and helpful. My fears were quickly put to rest. ”

Nurse Margaret” quickly banded my affected limb so no one would touch it, grabbed a pediatric needle and pulled out all of her tricks as a seasoned nurse, so she was able to get my IV in on the very first stick. Most nurses take 10-12 sticks to get my IV because my veins are so damaged from all of the ketamine infusions.

I am still struggling with pain in my sciatic nerve. But I can walk now. I can manage life, and hopefully with PT, I can begin to recover now. I am so thankful that I pushed past my arrogance, fear, and pride and went to the ER for help. I feel blessed beyond belief to have had my husband beside me. Due to our worldwide network of warriors in our chronic pain support groups, I never once felt alone.

Now back to the fight!

Editor’s Note: Gracie is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report and a well-known pain advocate and learn more about her at www.ggpainadvocacy.com

Follow on her on Twitter  @graciebagosy

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There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Patricia Edmonds at 10:20 am

    I had sciatica down both legs and MRI didn’t show anything. I’d had a discectomy at L4 already. I went to a different place, the Laser Spine Institute where they did an MRI with contrast. The nerve root was compressed. I walked with no pain right after the procedure. I had a one inch scar on my back. Six years later I’m still 80% sciatica free. LaserSpineInstitute.com

  2. Dee Green at 8:04 am

    I experienced the same scenario 😔 Hang in there and we will advocate for others😊

  3. Gracie Bagosy-Young at 7:59 am

    To those of you that are following this story, I did continue to fight for an MRI. I have a ruptured disc at L4-5 and that tissue is pressing on my sciatic nerve. Mystery solved. I had 2 doctors tell me that I did not need an MRI. My PT insisted that I did, and I refused to take no for an answer. NO ONE IS MORE INVESTED IN YOUR CARE THAN YOU ARE! Advocate for yourselves! ~GG

  4. Gracie Bagosy-Young at 7:08 pm

    Thank you to all of you for your kind and encouraging comments. As I mentioned, sciatica is a new challenge for me. I finished the 5 days of steroids. The muscle relaxer and narcotic that they gave me do not sit well with me. They make me sleep and really do not cut the pain. I am attending PT regularly, but it is difficult for them to know exactly how to treat me without an MRI. There is the next hurdle….no one wanted to order an MRI! When I cannot walk or bend over to clip my own toenails, why not take a look inside to discover the cause of the sciatica? Sciatica is NOT a diagnosis. Sciatica is a symptom. I should mention that I am doubly insured. That is not the issue. It has taken a while, but I do now have an order for an MRI. I cannot get in until Christmas Eve. I have been looking into alternative treatments. Natural supplements to reduce inflammation, PEMF, aqua-therapy, and I LOVE my heating pad! The fight continues…..

  5. Andrea Julia Randall at 2:06 pm

    My 80 year old mother suffered this last March and April with SEVERE Sciatica. Since she has my healthy all her life, active and was in her exercise class twice a week this came as a surprise!! The only injury she had was a few months earlier in the winter she had slipped and fell on some ice on her patio but claimed it had not her. She tried heat and ice at home along with ibuprofen and finally went to her physician who did a MRI to get to the bottom of what was “causing” the Sciatica!!! Low and behold…….the answer was found she had several lower lumber buldging discs and one of them was herniated and pressing on her sciatic nerve……at her age she did not want surgery…..so she did the P.T that was ordered and faithfully has done the stretching exercises. She took one days worth of the narcotics that were ordered but they made her nauseated so she threw them away. She is one tough lady, hardly ever complains and I’m proud to call her mother!!!! It took her the whole month of April to get rid of the Sciatica and walk again but she is now doing great and continues her exercise class twice a week plus her daily stretching and exercises the Physical Therapist taught her…… Hopefully you can get to the root of your sciatica because it is a very painful condition to have!

  6. Sherry at 4:34 pm

    My sister, who has fibro and RA, had sciatica and suffered for over a year. She did the steriods, pt, and then a SCS. About 6 months after the scs surgery her pain can back even worse. Finally a MRI showed she needed lumbar sacral surgery. I don’t know why the Dr did stuff backwards with her. But the pain has mostly gone now for her. I had sciatica and did everything my Dr ordered. It all helped a little but what took the pain away for good for me was acupuncture. This happened before I got crps.

  7. Terry Monahan at 2:21 pm

    Gracie: Have just read your article about your sciatica nerve causing you extreme pain. I have had it myself along with lower back pain for well over a year now. Last year I had heard of a Spinal Core Stimulator which is installed in your spinal column which eliminates your pain. It worked for a year for my sciatica pain but recently had stopped on the lumbar section. I now am going in on 12/22 to. Have it replaced with a new high frequency system which will eliminate all pain wherever it is located. My first unit is called Medtronics which is being replaced by a unit called The Nevro System. It has helped me tremendously and I will highly recommend it for you. You can pm me if you would like.
    Good Luck

  8. Barbara W at 1:39 pm

    Oh Gracie, I know this pain well. Saying warrior prayers for you.
    After you have no more sciatic pain . Check into periformis stretches. WebMD has great ones. Also, hubby can help with a periformis hug stretch. I always ask my massage therapist to do this for me every week. Good luck. You can overcome this GF .