My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Newsday Tuesday

I'm still trying to process the information I received yesterday regarding my back pain. I'm frustrated, to be quite honest, that I spent a week being treated for a kidney infection... another week trying to get someone to take the fact that I was in pain SERIOUSLY... another week being treated as if I had a kidney stone... and all the while was suffering from this osteoarthritis and degenerative disc problem. The bottom line is that if my doctor had listened to me at the first office visit, I could have been spared a lot of wasted time and misery.

I don't have all the information yet... I had a talk with the nurse at my regular doctor's office. I'm firing my regular doctor... but the person who had the wisdom to actually diagnose my issue as a spine problem, the nurse practicioner, I plan to continue to see her. It was HER nurse/assistant who called yesterday and said... "honey... you have some major issues with your back and we need to see you THIS WEEK"... I was scribbling furiously as she talked, trying to make sure I didn't miss what she was telling me. She faxed over the radiology report which helped... and I spent a lot of time googling words like "spondylolithesis" and "degenerative disc disease" and "osteoarthritis" and such.

The urologist visit was a whole new exercise in frustration for me. Sitting is painful. I figured that out at some point last week... that sitting was causing me great pain... so I go to the urologist's office and they left me sitting in their waiting room for an hour and fifteen minutes past my appointment time. I was literally in tears by the time they called me back.

The good news... no kidney stones. If there were any, they had passed by the time I had my CT scan. There is no blood in my urine (sorry if that's TMI) which was a great blessing because it was the first time in years that I haven't had blood. Instead of having to have the repeat cystoscopy that they wanted me to do a year ago ... and I put off... they want to wait three more years! Unless, of course, I start having problems. SO that was awesome... scratching that off of my stress list.

The bad news... a kidney stone would have - eventually - passed. What I have won't pass. And ... honestly... it's premature for me to start with the "what ifs" and "what could happens" because I don't have all the information yet. I got a copy of my CT scan - which agreed with what the spine xrays indicated - and they were read by two different radiologists so I feel like I've had two opinions on this - so far. It's premature to worry about what this means... but I can't help but worry and wonder.

It does sort of put together a lot of random pain that I've had on my left side for... I would guess about six months. The nurse in the doctors office said that what they diagnosed as pleurisy COULD have been caused by this spine issue. We know that what was diagnosed as kidney stones was most likely ONLY the spine issue. And when I had my annual gyn exam and described a pain on my left side to the doctor... she wondered if it wasn't diverticulitis, since at that time my mom was in the hospital with it (and I had shared that information with her). So there have been at least six doctor visits in the past year where I have complained of pain on my left side and... up until the last two visits, no one took me seriously.

The CT scan also showed an ovarian cyst, which is not a big deal. And some pelvic adhesions which are probably related to the same problem that caused me to have the endometrial ablation in 2008. Neither is a cause for concern at this point. They also confirmed, again, the granulomas in my lung. (ironically, also on the left side)

The urologist - who, of course, doesn't specialize in spine issues - said that my lower spine looks like what they would expect to see in someone 30 years older than me. The vertebrae are overlapping - the disc is degenerating - the nerves are compressed - things they don't normally see in someone my age unless there's been an accident of some sort. And... I mean... I've had a few falls over the years... I've been hit from behind in three different car accidents. But the research I've done (thank you, Dr. Google) shows that the osteoarthritis can sometimes JUST happen.

However, I feel somewhat like what I imagine a lifelong smoker would feel after receiving a lung cancer diagnosis. I did this to myself, to some degree. A life of being overweight has put stress on my back. I have forced my body to lug around an extra 100 pounds beyond what my frame was meant to handle. It's my own fault. And it's the best reason yet to make sure I lose weight and keep it off. Right now I'm under doctors order NOT to exercise but I have a referral to a physical therapist so I'll be able to learn how to exercise in such a way to keep my back as strong as possible. It will totally change HOW I exercise, because now I know that to have the best possible quality of life, I need to have strong core muscles to take the strain off of my spine.

So that's the news today. Keep me in your prayers. I am worried about the long term implications of this. I'm worried that the pain won't ever really go away. I'm so weary of this pain already... it's been 3 weeks since it started and now I wonder how long... how many doctors... how many prescriptions, tests, etc I will have to endure before / if it is resolved. I know God has a plan for my life and I have felt a sort of peace throughout this process that this is no surprise to God, but is just a revelation of the course my life was always supposed to take.

I know I'll be ok. Just a different kind of ok, once again, that what I expected.

Have a great day y'all!


Bookncoffee said...

I am recovering from a bout of Diverticulitis. Just diagnosed a few days ago. This explains why I have had pain, fullness, and minor digestive issues. They say with it, "staying regular" is the key. lol It could also be spleen on that side but you'd be having shoulder pain and it would probably be excruciating to the point of you needing to go to the hospital. I hope you get the back pain sorted out and doctors seem to leave off a lot of information so ask a lot of questions and have them in hand. My doc, for example, did not even tell me how to avoid future issues with Diverticulitis. He just said avoid popcorn and that is now the "old school" thinking. lol Hope you feel better soon.

Myra said...

Re-learning to exercise will be key to your losing the weight and keeping it off. Sounds like you are thinking ahead. We know our bodies the best, and you had to insist that someone listen to you. Glad someone finally did!