Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Epidural Time: Wish Me Luck!

I am fasting now, in preparation for my caudal epidural this afternoon. To avoid nausea, the Pain Clinic asked me to stop eating six hours ahead. I still have a few minutes where I can drink clear liquids, then nothing for two hours.

The epidural will go into my tailbone and be threaded up to my mid-back, where bone mets caused my vertebrae to shatter before I was even diagnosed with this cancer. There, a steroid will be released, which we hope will relieve some of the nerve pain I have been experiencing. Maybe I will be able to say goodbye to the zings that go up and down my body every time I bend a little, like doing something as risky as brushing my teeth. I get a lot of muscle pain in my mid-back too. I think the muscles are trying to firm up what the bones can't. I don't know if the epidural will help with that.

There are a few risks associated with epidurals. If the spinal cord is nicked you can end up with a headache, or dead, if I understood that right. Perhaps I shouldn't Google as much as I do. No, really there were helpful documents online about caudal epidurals. And the anaesthesiologist explained it to me at my last visit. This procedure is safer than an epidural for labour. First, they go in the tailbone, which is farther from the spinal cord, and second, the procedure is guided by X-ray to ensure they know where they are before releasing the medication.

I am not worried or nervous. I think. In fact, I think my greatest concern is that I have to skip lunch. Really, I better go now. I just have ten minutes left on clear liquids. I`d like to get a few more calories in me before I have to stop drinking. Cranberry juice? Oh that reminds me, a possible -- and temporary -- side effect is urinary incontinence. Oh great!

Wish me luck, friends!


  1. Step away from Dr. Google. He is useless and evil. I have not had this procedure but I have had multiple back procedures for pain relief (which are caused by non cancer related things) and have found the process to be relatively painless except the first needles - which are to numb things - always hurt. However the relief afterwards is worth a few minutes of pain. I recommend ice cream after to compensate for any discomfort. Good luck!

    1. Ice cream? I should have thought of that!

      It went well. Uncomfortable rather than painful. I'm not sure yet how well it has worked. We will see.