Shots, shots, shots (of steroids)
I forgot what it feels like to walk up a flight of stairs.
Well, I remember the basic feeling of moving your legs up one after the other to get up or down a level. But what I forgot was what it felt like to do so without pain. Typically, a walk up the stairs is a pretty slow situation for me that involves a lot of pelvic pain and some white knuckle grasping on the railing.
But after Friday, I was running up and down staircases like I was training for a marathon.
Friday morning I received a steroid shot, known in the medical world as a Trigger Point Injection. This injection was a mix of a local anesthetic and a steroid to help soothe the main source of my daily pain: muscle knots.
These injections are used as treatment for several different ailments and can be injected into various parts of the body. Mine was injected into my right side at the very bottom of my belly area, leading the injection right into the facia where my largest knot lies. (For more on this, check out my previous posts!) I'm honestly not sure how often they are used in the endo / pelvic pain world - I got quite a few DMs on my Instagram from long time endo warriors who said they've never heard of such a treatment.
To clear any confusion: the shot wasn't actually treating endo - but a mere symptom of it. For me, one of those symptoms just happens to be muscle knots. This may not be the case for everyone.
So, let's go back to Friday. I went from my pelvic floor physical therapy over to my wonderful doctor (you'll soon learn I'm basically obsessed with her) for my injection. I was feeling a little sore from internal PT (more on this in another post!) so I was a bit nervous about getting an injection.
My nerves didn't clear up AT ALL when I saw a large, large needle coming my way. I'm not one who has ever been bothered by needles or shots... but this was a big guy comin' right at me.
Luckily, the first needle was for an anesthetic. This was actually one of the most uncomfortable parts. There was a burning sensation around the injection site that was super uncomfortable.
After I got all numbed up, my steroid shot was ready!
The needle was more than 1.5 inches long (those are the only details my doctor would tell me) and went directly into my facia. I felt a bit of pressure as my doc applied the full syringe of medication.
From prep to injection, I was in and out of the doctor's office in 20 minutes.
Within two hours of leaving the doctor's office, I was pain free!
I carried on with my day being cautiously optimistic - could it really be this easy?! Could one shot help manage most of my pain?
I went to bed on a bit of a high and woke up and decided to take this pain free body for a spin. I went to the gym where I did allll the things, all of them pain free. I then went home and repeatedly walked up and down my stairs carrying loads of laundry, trash bags, and other miscellaneous objects just to test myself, and then I went to a bar where I stood, in heels... WITH NO PAIN!
After my first injection, I had three days of no pain. Today, I went back to physical therapy and straight to gym and had a tiny flare up that caused some frustration - but nothing like I'm used to.
This shot, for me, could be the key to some big relief! I can get my next one in four weeks and then get put on an eight week regimen to manage pain until a (potential) surgery.
In the meantime, I have a wonderful physical therapist who does both internal and external treatments with me to help realign my body and manage pain. Until a few weeks ago, I had no clue what pelvic floor physical therapy was or how I could benefit from it. Now, I have some simple fixes to do throughout the day to alleviate any pain I feel.
More on that next week!
The Invisible Illness series will be published on Mondays, detailing my journey with chronic pelvic pain and the various treatments I am prescribed. The next post of the series will fill you in on the joys and wonders of pelvic floor physical therapy!