My Story: From Nurse to Pain Patient

My Story: From Nurse to Pain Patient

I am a 32- year old, married Mom of two. My husband and kids are my heart and soul. From the time I was small, all I ever wanted to do was help people.

After high school I went straight to nursing college, graduated and entered the workforce. My whole career has been centered around pain management. After working on a surgical floor at a hospital for a year, I worked at a large pain clinic in Charlotte, NC. After almost 8 years there, I was hired by Boston Scientific’s neuromodulation division as a clinical specialist.

Kira with the late Mike Roman, chronic pain advocate.

Kira with the late Mike Roman, chronic pain advocate.

Everything was great, and then one day during a routine patient follow up appointment everything changed. I got up off a stool and felt a twinge in my right thigh. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it. But over the course of the day the pain worsened to the point it felt like my entire right hip and thigh was on fire. By that night, I was in the emergency room. After a few hours of tests, we left with no answers, more questions, and a script for pain medication.

After two days, I woke up to lesions on my back. I had a terrible case of shingles. My doctor wrote me a script for anti-viral medication and within a week I was back at work, but still in significant pain. The doctors told me over time the pain would subside, but it never did.

After roughly six weeks, I went to a pain management specialist and we did my first nerve root block. I immediately felt better, and was hopeful this would take care of the problem.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After another two months of consultations, failed medications, and unsuccessful blocks, I felt myself circling the drain. I was literally living out my worst nightmare of becoming a chronic pain patient. I was not sleeping, I looked like hell, no one wanted to be around me, and I hurt all the time.

My daughter was two at the time and she really did not understand what was happening. It was terrible not being able to function on a basic level.

My next conversation with my pain doctor (who also happens to be a good friend) was a tough one. He told me if one last procedure — another nerve root block — did not help, then I knew what was coming: a spinal cord stimulator. Yes, the very device I worked with.

I proceeded with the nerve root block with prayers it would work and I would not have to go through with the stimulator trial. However, those prayers went unanswered, and a few weeks later I was sitting with my husband in the pre-op room waiting for my trial to start.

It was terrifying sitting there knowing that if this did not work I had no other options. Thankfully, the trial worked beautifully and two weeks later I proceeded with the permanent implant of a spinal cord stimulator. That has been almost three years ago, and I am almost pain free.

On the day of the implant I officially became “one of them.” I became a chronic pain patient, and I was given a second chance at life.

As I mentioned earlier, at a young age I knew I wanted to help people. In nursing school I would have never guessed this is where I would have ended up. I am now helping people just like me.

Nothing is more rewarding than to help a patient through a trial procedure, and seeing them get their second chance. It is an awesome thing to experience.

Kira Trexler

Kira Trexler

Kira Trexler lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two children.

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The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Authored by: Kira Trexler

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Great story, Kira. Glad Spinal Cord Stimulation worked for you.

Cheryl Theurer

I also am left with pain after shingles. Mine is above my right eye. My pain was a lot worse until I found I was alergic to wheat and soy. Now I use a pain patch and 200 tramadol. As long as I don’t forget to take my meds I do fairly well.

Yours is a great story! I am so glad that you found something that works for you. I bet you even have more empathy for your patients-there is nothing like having been there.