....... with video below
Patricia Barry-Faillers, RN
When I met my dear wife, Pat, she had a gorgeous smile and a vibrant personality that I found irresistible. She loved hikes in the local mountains and canyons and thrived on workouts in the gym. She was very health conscious, taking excellent care of her body.
I soon learned that she was a dream wife for a field biologist. Despite some understandable reluctance, she was willing to draw blood from the tails of live rattlesnakes (what more could a guy ask for?). She cherished our research trips to far-flung places to study iguanas and birds (mosquitoes and no-see-ums notwithstanding). She thrilled at snorkeling among exquisite coral reefs (provided no sharks were around). We indulged our passion for tropical expeditions whenever we could.
Unbeknownst to both of us, there was a time bomb ticking in her body. A few years before I met her in December 2000, she had begun to experience pain on the left side of her perineal region and lower back. We eventually learned that she had pudendal neuropathy and sciatica, resulting in part from some intense bicycling and running while training for several half-marathons.
Her long 12-hour shifts as an Emergency Department nurse, frequently bending over patient beds, were also a contributing factor. Fortunately, she could calm down the flare-ups with relative ease, taking a very small dose of medicine once or twice a week. Her pain gradually increased over the years, but still remained very manageable. In May 2006, she began having Botox injections every 3 months to reduce muscle spasms associated with the nerve irritation.
By October 2006, the pain was becoming overwhelming, flaring up particularly in association with menses. She was diagnosed with adenomyosis, a painful uterine condition, and had a hysterectomy. Things improved over the next few months and she resumed work. However, she soon developed what she assumed were shin splints from the long hours of walking in the hospital Emergency Department. By February 2007, they became so acute that she had to take a leave of absence. Little did we know that her career as a nurse might well have come to an end.
The shin pain was incredibly intense and simply would not go away. Over the coming months, she had multiple tests to identify the source of the pain, but there was no tissue injury.
Then, in July 2007, the pain in her pelvic and lower back regions became acute. She had a caudal block, which only made her coccyx (tailbone) pain skyrocket. From that point on, she endured an unimaginable list of failed treatments, including sympathetic blocks, more Botox injections, pulsed radiofrequency stimulations, and low-dose ketamine anesthesia. Most medications, including oral opioids, were intolerable and/or had negligible benefit. In February 2008, she had an intrathecal pump implanted, which provided no long-term benefit. In April 2008, she also failed a spinal cord stimulator trial. Since then, the pain has now spread to her hips and she is becoming increasingly sensitive elsewhere, particularly where needles have been inserted. Although her local pain physicians believed she had RSD/CRPS of the pelvis, we were not entirely convinced until we flew to Tampa, Florida, where Dr. Kirkpatrick confirmed the diagnosis.
At this point, the ketamine coma scheduled for next month may be her last chance to find relief from the pain and resume a normal life. Having undergone a number of low-dose ketamine treatments over the past year, she is no stranger to the side effects associated with ketamine emergence. However, she is one brave Ketamine Queen, and is willing to do what it takes to find a cure.
Pat draws inspiration from her son and daughter, and from my two daughters. She has been buoyed by the prayers of family and many close friends. Our collective hope is that we will see her gorgeous smile and vibrant personality, largely stolen by her illness, return in more abundance than ever before.
William K. Hayes, Ph.D.
Department of Earth and Biological Sciences
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, California
June 16, 2008
PRE-COMA VIDEO ~ 14 Minutes ~ 340K
6 MONTHS POST-COMA ~ 15 Minutes ~ 340K
Pat's Progress Report
Other Research Subjects