In January, Bea Fiala and her husband drove eight hours through a blizzard from their home in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Rochester, Minnesota, in search of answers.
Bea had spent three years with terrible pain in her right thigh that began several months after knee replacement surgery. At first, it felt like a needling, tingling pain, but the pain got progressively worse. She had consults with specialists, including two local pain management physicians. And she tried several treatments to find some relief, but the pain persisted.
A stand-up comedian for 18 years, Bea had to stop performing because her pain was too distracting.
"The pain came when I stood for more than 15 minutes," Bea says. "I took Tylenol. I tried massage, lidocaine patches, capsaicin, medications used for nerve pain, physical therapy and acupuncture, but I couldn't find anything to relieve the pain. Most of the doctors I saw thought the pain was coming from my back."
After several steroid injections in her back and one aimed at the nerve in her thigh, which only provided a few days of relief, Bea underwent a spinal stimulator trial. "It made things worse," Bea says. "I felt I couldn't keep living with this horrible pain. I was at my wit's end."
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