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the state of my back

so after i got my mri done, my doctor forwarded the info to a neurologist and then called me to say, "set up an appointment." i called that person up and discovered that a) that person was out of my insurance network, and b) he didn't have an available appointment until the middle of november. that was too long for me to wait to deal with this, so i went on to my insurance website to find a neurologist on my own that was in-network and had at least a few decent ratings on the various "rate your doctor" websites.

Last week i set up the appointment for monday (two days ago). Over the weekend between the time i got the appointment set up and the actual appointment date, the pain i was in from the extruded disc flared up to such a degree that i wasn't able to do much other than lie about writhing in pain. The pain was pretty severe since i have a generally high pain tolerance (i can get cavities filled without novocaine and generally don't bat an eye the entire time). I was able to fall asleep that night eventually and when i woke up the next day, the pain had subsided and i was back to a more normal sort of ache. It was all very perplexing because it's not like i did anything different with how i slept or how i generally tried to move around. It was just better and i could more or less do normal things.

I had the neurologist appointment on monday, and after going through random symptom checks and what have you, he took the two discs i had obtained of the MRIs i had done and gave them a lookover. From this, he ascertained that between the time i got the MRI the first time and the second time (about a year and a half apart), there was significant change to how the extrusion was affecting me - the first MRI i had done had the disc jutting up against my L5 a little, but not in a severe way, but the second MRI that i had done shows that the disc is pushing right up against my L4 and in a pretty severe way. I have a suspicion that this might have happened because of the traction therapy that i had gone through, but that's only an educated guess based on how much my pain had increased after two sessions of that deal, potentially shifting around the extrusion and also my spinal cord.

The neurologist basically said that there were two potential options - one was to do the epidural steroid injection similar to what i had gotten done close to a year ago, the second was to go through microsurgery to basically try to shave off some of the disc that's pushing right up against the L4. Whether or not it went one way or the other is dependent upon how the extrusion is affecting the nerves going down my leg. If the extrusion continues to aggressively push itself against that nerve, it could cause permanent nerve damage in which he would recommend the microsurgery. If it doesn't seem like the nerve damage has hit that point, then i could choose the more conservative epidural option with the understanding that that is not necessarily a permanent fix depending on how my body reacts to the injection and what happens with the extrusion.

At the end of the appointment, he basically gave me a muscle relaxant prescription to try to help me sleep and set up the paperwork for me to get a nerve test done to see what sort of nerve damage was going on. Apparently that's somewhat difficult to schedule, but i should get that scheduled in the next 3-4 weeks. When i was done with that, i went to work and then rehearsal and was experiencing various degrees of moderate to severe pain - not as bad as saturday, but still annoying - but i got through the rehearsal fine and drinking with mark fine.

In the middle of the night, the pain started to flare up again, so i made a tough decision to not go in to work both yesterday and today (although i am going to go rehearsal tonight) and i also called up the neurologist to say, "i know we may not know what the permanent solution is going to be, but can i get an epidural anyway to help with the current state of pain?" The neurologist said no problem and was going to coordinate that with the pain management clinic where he works. Hopefully it won't take too long for me to schedule that, but i know that the one guy that works there only does that stuff on tuesdays and i don't know how booked up he is.

The interesting thing about all of this is where i am mentally with it, which is mainly a state of annoyance. The pain has affected my ability to really focus on things i need to get done even not involving physical activity, so i now i feel super behind on a bunch of crap i need to get done, and given the normal sort of high pain tolerance and stubbornness i have about it, it's annoying to discover that i actually have a breaking point.

we'll see what happens from here. whatever happens, i've always been good at adapting and still keeping a pretty optimistic outlook on the life that i have lead and will continue to lead, so i'm not too worried about it. i'll do the best that i can and take whatever comes. there's not much else to do.

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Comments

( read spoken (7) — speak )
eskarina1000
Sep. 20th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
the state of your back
So the naggy woman part of me wants to say "I told you to get that taken care of years ago, and if you had it probably wouldn't be this bad now." But I won't

See what I did there? Clever, huh?
lifeofmendel
Sep. 20th, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
Re: the state of your back
i tried having it taken care of before. it worked for a while, but it came back. so there. :p :)
eskarina1000
Sep. 20th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
Re: the state of your back
So you tried to have this taken care of back in college? I don't know...I don't remember that so it must not have happened :-)
lifeofmendel
Sep. 20th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Re: the state of your back
the extruded disc issue i have right now didn't happen until two years ago, dear. i've been going to doctors and physical therapists off and on during that time.

so nyeah nyeah. :)
eskarina1000
Sep. 21st, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: the state of your back
You win this round...don't get used to it :P
suerocks
Sep. 20th, 2012 05:04 pm (UTC)
Back pain is no joke. I hope that whatever course of treatment they go with solves the problem and that you can get it taken care of soon.
marseille
Sep. 23rd, 2012 06:24 am (UTC)
So sorry to hear you're in such pain, I hope they can do something to help! Take care.
( read spoken (7) — speak )

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