DAY OF: Spine L5/S1 Stem Cell Injection

It’s been just 24 hours since a needle was hammered into my hip bone, had marrow removed, centrifuged, and injected into the herniated disc in my back. The procedure itself was nearly pain free thanks to plenty of sedation and local anesthetic. I was awake through the whole thing.

The hammering? Yeah, I didn’t expect that, but I guess to get a needle through solid bone, a little brute force is required. Dr. Martin took about six swings at whatever the needle was that she drove in. No, I didn’t ask to see it. I did however, ask to see the stem cells, which pretty much just looked like blood. 

The actual injection didn’t feel much different from the cortison injection I had a year ago. It was just a lot of pressure in my lower back. Again, thankful for the sedation, and that this time, they didn’t hit the nerve with their needle.

It was all over pretty quickly. They pulled off my oxygen hookup and the drug drip out of the IV in my hand, and then they asked me to get up and sit down in a chair that they’d wheel me to recovery in.

Uh-oh. My legs don’t work like they did when I walked into the operating room 20 minutes ago.

Now the pain was extraordinary. I could barely roll myself over, let alone put any weight on my left leg. I don’t know if I was being the biggest baby, or if it was how quickly my demeanor changed from chatty guy with his ass hanging out in the operating room to reeling in pain, but at first the nurses just stared at me blankly. They got me into the chair, but I nearly passed out from the pain. My blood pressure was at close to nothing when I got to recovery, but they hooked me up to some fluids and I was all good 15-minutes later.  

They wheeled me out to the SUV my parents rented, I laid down across the back seat, and mom drove me home. We stopped halfway to grab a sandwich (my first food since the night before) and while it was painful and I was slow, I was able to move around Whole Foods on my own two feet. I tried sitting up in the front seat, but the pain — especially on the left side, where they did the injection — was too much to sit for the last hour home. 

Today, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, but I’ve been able to sit at the island in my kitchen and answer some emails. Writing this now, while watching Red Bull Rampage, I’m laying on my stomach, which has been the most comfortable position. 

Stay tuned for the important info: recovery time.

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