Today I had my first EPAT appointment! What’s EPAT, you ask? Well, it’s a painful torture device designed by doctors to get you to tell them all your secrets.
Originally, that’s kind of what I thought it was, but I was actually surprised by how much less excruciating it was than what I had been imagining. There were a few “Ouch! Ouch!” moments, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My doctor laughed when he saw my tattoo: “… You can get a tattoo but you can’t do this?!” He was right, but I do think it was a little more painful than the tattoo, to be honest. But I think that (along with tattoos) it’s something that feels a little different on everybody.
The sensation of the treatment is really hard to try to explain. It’s a very unique type of feeling. It kind of felt like really fast tapping with electric shocks involved. I’m not a fan of anything that involves electric shocks (the electric-stimulation machine at physical therapy, this, or EMG testing), so that’s why I was pretty nervous. It wasn’t dreadful, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I told the doctor that I don’t think it would’ve made me nearly as nervous if it didn’t make such a terrifying noise while it shocked you!
(The photographer conveniently didn’t include the part of the picture where the patient is clutching the pillow in fear, drenched in sweat.)
I was really worried about this appointment. I was practically shaking with anxiety, but I made myself go through with it because I knew that no matter how much it hurt, it wouldn’t hurt as much as my feet would hurt for the rest of my life if they go untreated. If it works, it will definitely be worth it. But I still have three more treatments to go through. Luckily, each appointment is only about 10 minutes long.
The big downside to getting this treatment done is that it costs $500 per treatment site, which isn’t covered by insurance (it’s an experimental treatment that hasn’t yet been approved by insurance companies). This means that I have to pay $1000, since my pain is in both feet. I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have parents willing to help me out with the money aspect of having this disability. I’ve had to spend so much money on my feet since this whole thing started and I’m still not cured.