Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At last! A diagnosis!

For the last month or so, I've been wondering whether I was just being a giant wuss after the first MRI showed nothing more than a small tear that apparently isn't worth surgery at this point, but then the spine specialist suggested a second MRI and I began to think that that was also going to be inconclusive. Last night I said to my firefighter that I was pretty sure something was pushing on the nerve. I had said the same to him a week ago when a night out rendered me useless the next day, and I hadn't done much more than a gentle side to side foot shuffle on the dance floor.

Ok, well maybe I dropped it low a time or two, but the wine blurred the pain....

Anyway, suffice it to say, I was probably one of those rare patients in his office that WANTED him to find something wrong. Something to explain the pain and discomfort. For the last week it has been getting progressively worse to where I dreaded any type of movement. My blood pressure was sky high after walking from the waiting room to the treatment room. The nurse even commented that it was abnormally high for me and was a real indicator that it was not all in my head! Yay. I think....

Now this specialist is young and attends my gym (so I've been behaving and not exercising lest he busts me!), but he also knows how stubborn I can be and that as an athlete my tolerances are different, so before he said anything, he did the usual 'checks'. Reflexes are good, but when he tried to raise the leg at the hip, I noticeably winced... at which point he said "Yep, the MRI confirms your symptoms are correct. You have a small bulge on the left that happens to be pushing on the nerve and a little on the spinal column itself..." Really? You don't say.... He carried on: "We can treat it with meds and hopefully avoid surgical intervention, typically, I'll do an epidural injection of cortisone....." Uh, well, there are two problems with this statement. I hate needles to the point that I delivered three children completely naturally. And I'm allergic to cortisone injections. Just a small problem. "Oh, I forgot. What was your reaction?" "well with the cortisone, it felt like thousands of ants had happily burrowed under every inch of my skin and were merrily travelling up and down." "Oh, no breathing difficulties?" "No, that was with Dexamethasone that I had that." Silence. "Well, that happens to be my preference, Dexamethasone, so maybe we should try something else." "That would be good since the last time resulted in a trip to the ER."

After some back and forth discussion about current meds, schedules and the necessity of being able to care for three children, we settled on Lyrica and some pain meds. Now apparently Lyrica has some pretty nasty side effects of it's own. Well, that's awesome. "If you get any leg swelling, stop taking it immediately." Fantastic.... It's dress and shorts season, and my legs could end up looking like balloons? Terrific.

The good news is I should be ready for the Colour Vibe 5k in 5 weeks, I can start back on my core workouts, gently, and should, with luck, avoid surgery! The relief at finding out I'm not crazy, confirmation that my pain tolerance is extremely high (his eyebrows raised at the length of time I had 'ignored' the pain and carried on combined with his being impressed that I'd even finished the 10 miler were enough on their own, but he even made a statement that I should have been rendered useless months ago), and hopefully a quick resolution to the pain and suffering have put me in a slightly better mood.

Now on to the next problem.

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