“Back from hell, slowly but surely”
On February 28, I had a radical prostatectomy for cancer, in one of the best place in the US for that surgery. I am 69, but I was, at the time, in the best possible shape: stretching every morning since ten years, treadmill two days a week since 5 years. In the 6 weeks before the surgery, I was running 4 miles in one hour every other day. I felt and looked younger than my age.
Unfortunately it was the beginning of the worst period in my life. After two months, I thought I had added ten years to my age. Even with a lot of pain killers I was suffering and even with sleeping pills I had to go to the bathroom eight or ten times during the night. No pill, no sleep. My surgeon, at the three-month post-surgery visit, was lost, not knowing what was going on and what to prescribe, except a routine pill for the bladder.
I decided to see another urologist, in my area, with a good rating from Consumer-Checkbook, to have a second opinion and hopefully get some relief. Perhaps I had another cancer somewhere? He ordered urine and blood tests and a CT scan and he did a cystoscopy. He saw nothing wrong. Good news, he said; no infection, no cancer. But from there on, what to do? As soon as there was no flesh to cut, I was not an interesting case and he rather rudely told, to my wife and I, he couldn’t do anything for me. Move along, I have other patients waiting! If urologists couldn’t do anything for me, I had to find someone else able to alleviate my pain. I had no previous experience of pain management, but I had heard about that discipline. I thus looked after a “pain management doctor” on the web. I found Dr Ajrawat and took an appointment.
This first appointment was a pleasant surprise. I was used to doctors that keep you ten minutes the first time, and then 3 minutes each time. With Dr Ajrawat the diagnostic took one hour and a half. He told me “It’s an ethic choice: with my patients, I don’t look at my watch”. I was already going better! It’s a lot of things: trigger point injections, nerve blocks, physical rehabilitation, Dr. Ajrawat's Air Pulse Meditation, psychotherapy, strengthening and stretching exercises, and medication. Not surprisingly it takes time: three more-than-one-hour sessions a week for 6 weeks or more, depending on the case. But, surprises succeeded to surprises. First I had leg shorter than the other and that caused posture compensations and then cramps. In fact I discovered that I had low-intensity pains in the muscular mass I didn’t know (or I didn’t want to know). Then I had the feeling of pains moving from one place of the body to another, from thighs to back or to shoulders for example.
In the meantime, I discovered by chance, a urologist knowing what I have: a supposedly rare and probably autoimmune illness, with no cure, interstitial cystitis. There is a remedy but with only long-term effect. The main thing is to follow a diet. That day, I discovered also that my first symptoms – 14 years ago – which were allegedly related to an early prostate hyperplasia were, in fact, the first signs of what I have and that the surgery had wreaked havoc in a weakened bladder. It was a relief to know what I have, even if there is no cure.
After one month of pain management, I discovered its first benefits. My first benchmark, was to recover sleep. Since one week, I sleep without sleeping pills. The level of pain is clearly lower, second benchmark. And I am regaining control on my bladder: yesterday, I didn’t put a diaper for the first time in six months, but a pad.
But there is another benefit of pain management. I had felt ten years older, and now I am going back in time. My body feels younger. The feeling and the appearance of age is strongly related to body stiffness. Knowingly or not, when we grow older, we let our body become less and less flexible. It’s like an inside ‘carapace’ limiting our movements scope. Right now, thanks to pain management, I am shedding away that carapace and going back in time. Thank you Dr. Ajrawat!
Silver Spring MD