Kelly S.'s Story
- Back Story
- SI Joint Trauma
- iFuse Implant Procedure Date
- August 2021, right side
In 2016, I was in a serious car accident. I was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended. My seat belt locked but my air bag did not deploy. I tried to exit the car, but my legs felt like Jello, and I fell to the ground. I was assessed in the ambulance -- I was able to walk and was released home without a hospital visit. The next morning my legs were tingling, and I had severe lower back pain. I tried to get up from the bed but could not support myself and took another fall. My son got me up and took me to my PCP. She told me this would resolve on its own and was normal after a serious car accident. She suggested ice and rest. After a few days of continued feelings of instability and increased pain I returned to my PCP. She ordered an x-ray that came back normal and suggested Tylenol for pain control. I had to use a cane to walk because my legs would go numb unexpectedly and I would fall. I was sent to a pain management physician who believed my hips were not level and sent me home with a heel lift. The heel lift did nothing for my pain and feelings of instability. I was finally given a nerve block at L5-S1. It also provided no relief. In November of 2016, I decided to see another physician for a second opinion. I had an MRI that revealed I had a sacralization of the lumbar spine (a common irregularity of the spine, where the fifth vertebra is fused to the sacrum bone at the bottom of the spine.) He felt that my sacrum was putting pressure on my sciatic nerve. I was still working full-time from home, but finally had to resign due to my increasing pain level. I was sent for an epidural steroid injection (ESI) at L5-S1 that increased my pain so significantly, I had to go to the ER. It was determined that too much air was injected during the procedure. The severe pain after the injection did resolve and my overall back pain was slightly improved. I was told to follow up in 3 months.
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” Bob Marley.
I had been doing Spartan Races and 5K runs prior to my accident. Now I was unable to leave my house. I decided to consult another physician in 2017. During this time, I had numerous ESIs with minimal relief and had several more falls due to the feelings of instability and giving way in my legs. I attended physical therapy which aggravated my symptoms and was taking gabapentin. My pain management physician offered me a nerve stimulator for the pain, but I refused. I had a sacroiliac (SI) joint RFA (radio frequency ablation) in 2018 that did provide some pain relief. The episodes of numbness in my legs were less often and my nerve pain improved with the gabapentin. I continued with ESIs and SI joint RFA for over a year. I was in a bad head space at this time. I started meditation and chair yoga which helped my mental status. I finally was seen by a PA (physician assistant) in the pain practice. She thought my pain could be coming from my SI joints. I was sent for an SI joint injection and had great relief from pain. I had a second injection with the same result.
In 2020, I wanted a permanent solution to my pain and instability. I was referred to an iFuse trained surgeon who sent me for a diagnostic SI joint injection which gave me immediate relief. He offered me the option of an SI joint fusion surgery. I started to panic when my surgery was scheduled. I had been on social media sites and was overwhelmed by all the misinformation. I found the SI Buddy® program provided by SI-BONE. I connected with SI Buddy Kelly who gave me reassurance and shared her SI journey. In August 2021, I had a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System®. I stayed one night in the hospital and used a walker for 2 weeks. I did have surgical pain, but my feelings of instability improved. Once I got over the fear of falling, I felt like a new person. I wish I had found my surgeon earlier. My procedure was life changing. I was released to normal activity at 6 months. I am back to walking my dog, doing yoga, running, hiking, and playing with my grandchildren. I decided to become an SI Buddy volunteer so I could help others, like Kelly helped me. I am pain free and feel like a whole new person!
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