THE WEEK OF THE OPERATION
The doctor inserted the embolization coil by passing through my neck artery. I didn’t feel a thing, I was under local anesthesia. After the operation he told me that he placed two coils, not one, because he discovered a second defective vein.
I was told to take it easy for a couple days after the operation. Directions were not very specific but I followed the guidelines and rest I did. My testicle had reduced in size and my abdomen felt a bit sore but I felt no really specific pain. I felt like blood was circulating in my genitals as it should, finally.
Three days after the operation, I was lying in my bed on my stomach. I pushed my shoulders up with my arms to stretch, into a position resembling the cobra position in yoga.
All of a sudden, a sharp, lancing pain shot through my abdomen, originating from the area where the embolization was placed. It was pulsing and agonizing. It did not go away, but burned and enflamed. And it frightened me immensely. It was clear that something happened with the embolization—perhaps it had gotten dislocated. The pain lasted for days and was terrible.
I saw the embolization doctor and he performed an ultrasound. According to him, everything was fine. The embolization was functioning properly. That was the end of the story for him. I later tried to stay in contact with him regarding the persisting pain, but he stopped responding to my emails.
Out of sight, out of mind.
(Note: I would be happy to communicate the name of the doctor, but this is not about him, it’s about embolizations in general! I do not think that he, specifically, made a mistake.)
PERSISTENT, RECURRING, LOCALIZED, AND RADIATING PAIN
In the months that followed, the pain was constant but of varying intensities. It slowly diminished to the point where I could almost ignore it. But it would often come back after certain quick movements while exercising. Acute pain often flared up after a movement or action while playing soccer, doing yoga, or, worse, having nice active sex.
I noticed that when I went running, a strange left side, dull, mid abdomen cramp would come out, painful enough to make me stop running.
When an acute pain flare would occur, the radiating pain would last for about a month, ever-so-slowly dying down, and would be present even when I wasn’t exercising. It was very deep, internal inflammation.
It was strongly aggravated by sitting down, which caused problems as I work a desk job. It seemed like the crease of my waist pinched the inflamed point while sitting. I found myself slouching in my chair to avoid it. The pain was slowly taking over my life.
I noticed, also, that pain was worse when my stomach was empty. I began to have digestion problems. I noticed a knot in my lower intestine, around the area of the embolization, that would come and go. I became constipated all the time. I didn’t feel good for days after drinking alcohol. I didn’t understand it and it created many different theories in my head. Worries abounded.
All of this was like torture to me as I was, and still am, a very active guy (I played semiprofessional soccer, amongst other things). It undoubtedly was conditioning me consciously and subconsciously with regards to exercising or even my sex life.
This waxing and waning of my pain symptoms was terrible but above all, didn’t seem to be getting much better, until….
NUMB, DEAD FEELING
Towards the end of 2009, about a year and a half after the operation, I suddenly began to notice that the pain was slowly disappearing. But so was my energy. I no longer felt like doing anything. Going out. Flirting. Exercising, anything. No pain, but I felt dead. It was as if my nerves around the embolization area had just gotten burned out, and they no longer transmitted signals.
The difference in my energy level was so distinct that thought I had mononucleosis. I got tested for it and many other things; all negative. No doctor could tell what was going on. Nobody could help me.
I started to have sexual problems as well. Whereas, I was very active sexually, I no longer got excited. Erections became more and more difficult to have. My girlfriend at the time thought it was her, that I wasn’t into her any more. I tried to explain—no I don’t feel it for anyone!
The flow, as I call it, was gone.
ATHLETES AND VARICOCELE EMBOLIZATIONS = BAD IDEA??
I began to panic. I lost weight. I sought help and in 2012, I found an amazing osteopath. The first time I saw him I explained my issues, and when I mentioned the varicocele embolization, he rolled his eyes and said “oh putain”. It wasn’t the first time he had worked on athletes who experienced problems with embolizations. He told me he wasn’t sure he could help me.
But, amazingly enough, after just a couple sessions, the pain had died down tremendously. He used massage techniques around the waist line and muscle insertions; very little bone manipulations, though I was out of wack.
It wasn’t perfect, but I began to play soccer again, and run, and do yoga;
I have various theories as to what happened. Currently, I believe the following (yes, these are THEORIES, they are purely guesswork, backed up with some research and some lab tests):
The yoga cobra position I did days after the operation pushed the embolization into neighboring nerves and possibly touched or scratched the intestine. The scar tissue that formed as the body was healing melded with the outside of the intestinal wall, pinching it.
A possible infection, with biofilms, occurred, possibly migrating from the intestinal tract.
THE BODY AS AN ENERGY CONDUIT
If there has been one positive thing to come out of this horrific story, it’s that I’ve become incredibly aware of the body as a system and of possible natural healing alternatives.
Our bodies are gigantic masses of energy paths and electrical currents. This is well established in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, for example, but has also been proven by western medicine by simple electromagnetic studies. Languages have integrated intuitively the idea of rhythmic flow—in English we say “that doesn’t resonate with me”, in French we say “ça ne me fait pas vibrer”.
Embolizations work by blocking blood flow to damaged and malfunctioning areas of the body.
But I believe that, although they block blood flow, they are also foreign, electromagnetic objects that affect the body’s natural energy pathways. And they are metal. Although perhaps they may help for some, it was truly devastating to me.
I no longer feel pleasure in the same way.
I don’t create in the same way, because my internal compass, my resonating “receptor” doesn’t work in the same way anymore.
Varicocele embolization is permanent and irreparable (as far as I know).
Now, before someone thinks about getting one done, after having read my story….
Is it worth the risk??