Frustration

I've got to hand it to m y doctor .... there's no sugar coating with him. I told his resident what's been going on , then rela...

I've got to hand it to my doctor.... there's no sugar coating with him.

I told his resident what's been going on, then relayed it to my doctor.  He looked over his notes from last time and my MRI from 3 years ago. He had me stand up and lean back (ouch!) lean to the side (ouch!) and then touch my toes (remarkably proficient!).

He then had me sit down and he said "Well, even if you got a new MRI, my advice would be the same."

"What's that?"

"Keep on doing what you're doing."

"You don't think all this running is doing damage? Why am I unable to walk an hour without feeling pain in my back and in my leg? What if the degeneration is affecting other discs? Wouldn't an MRI show that?"

"So you just want peace of mind?"

"I guess, yeah."

"I'd still say to exercise when you can, rest when you need to, take some Aleve, strengthen your back.  You're doing real well for most people who have degenerating discs.  If there was a significant, operable change you'd know it.  You're 29.  Go and live your life.  Come back when you're in a wheelchair."

"When?"

"Look, you have a mulit-level situation. Operating now would cause just as much damage and no guaranteed result.  But in terms of the progression of the disease you are in good shape. You have good range of motion.  You're doing okay."

"Well more often than not I'm doing okay, but the nots really suck."

"I'm sorry about that, and I understand you're frustrated.  You're still doing much better now than you were three years ago."

"Yeah I'm frustrated. It's hard to feel this much pain and be told that I'm doing well."

"Your back is going to seize up. You will feel pain in your leg.  But you're walking."  He then got up to leave the office.

"That's it?"

"I hope it's another three years or more before I see you."

. . . So part of me wants to strangle him.  The other part of me is trying to hear what he was trying to tell me -- that I'm going to have good days and bad, but that it could be much worse.  I appreciate that he won't operate on me (as that's his bread and butter).  I don't think he was being dismissive of the pain, but rather trying to put the pain in context.  So I have a few bad days.  I also have good ones.

A friend of mine said "We all have to pick ourselves up and press forward" -- that's what I intend to do.

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23 comments

  1. Hang in there, chick! Health inlcudes taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Do what you can but don't overdo!

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  2. This is the best news, truly. I know the hard days suck, but no surgery means no 6 months of recovery time, no site pain, no rehab, no loss of muscle tone from being in bed=more pain.

    *Hugs* We will be here with you always.

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  3. I think I just need to go home and have a good self-pity cry. I know it's good news... even his attitude of "do you really want to know if it's worse?" -- but i just want to be a normal 29 y/o and not have to deal with this, yanno?

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  4. there are some natural remedies for relieving nerve pain and inflammation. I took the spice turmeric (curcumin) and studies show that it relieves inflammation (inflammation causes pain) and there are little to know side effects. I have another supplement that I took last year when I had a pinched nerve in my neck, but I will have to find the bottle when I get home.

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  5. It's amazing how diet affects the body. I've heard the same thing about tumeric/cumin.

    Right now ice is my buddy.

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  6. I understand your frustration. I have different medical problems, but it's the same story -- I just want to feel okay, but there's really nothing else to do. All I can say is HANG IN THERE, because you're doing fabulously. And if you need that self-pity cry, go ahead. We all need that sometimes! :-)

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  7. Would be nice if there were easy answers to help you, but the whole wheelchair thing is one heck of a smack in the face, isn't it? Here's to many, many more good days than bad, forever.

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  8. Carly: Instead of the self-pity cry I went for the mind-clearing walk. It's not as clear as I had hoped, so maybe a cry is warranted. Down but not out, eh?

    Mel: thank you for the kind wishes. I think the way he phrased it... the wheelchair. It just brought home an eventuality that I don't like to think about.

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  9. *HUG*

    (I don't think I have anything to add that hasn't been said).

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  10. I can relate to your story as if it were my own, because it pretty much is. In 2003, I fell and herniated my L5/S1 5mm, I required surgery and had a discectomy in 2004. Even though the surgery went well (I would totally do it all over again!), bc of Workmans Comp and the slowness of their appoval process my scar tissue wrapped around my sciatic nerve, causing permanent and random nerve damage before I was approved for therapy (my legs would give out on me at will). I saw several specialists and after seeing the Top Dog of spine doctors, I was told I would never walk right again and I would always be in pain. I was 27 years old and mad! I was one of the lucky ones and was accepted into a pain management program that ultimately exceeded everything every doctor told me. Long story short, yes I still have some pain at times but Im alot better off than alot of people in my situation. But there were several times where I felt like you did, that there was no hope, this was never-ending, I felt the frustration and cried the tears. I just wanted to be normal. I screamed, begged, prayed, cursed and damned until I was blue in the face. So when I read your posts my heart goes out to you bc I truly know what you go through on a daily basis and what most people take for granted. I guess what Im ultimaley trying to say is there IS hope, it DOES get better, youre NOT alone and we're ALWAYS here when you need us :)

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  11. wow. WTF!!!!

    i'm so sorry Robby. I wish I could take away the frustration for you.

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  12. that does sound incredibly frustrating. Fish oil/Omega 3s are also helpful for pain & inflammation. I swear by them as they have helped my knee pain more than anything

    Keep working, maybe there will be medical advances in the next 3 years that will make it all go away!

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  13. SV: Thank you for your comment. I think that's part of the frustration -- I haven't herniated a disc yet. There's no decisive action of "we must do this" -- it's a waiting game. I hate how the financial business of medicine gets in the practice of it. It's so hard to just want to run and play like all the other kids our age, isn't it?

    Pinky: thanks hon -- but i think it's just going to have to be what it is.

    Lanie: I already take a fish oil supplement as well as try to get it in my diet (Avocados to the rescue! I'm hoping that the medical advances in europe (multi-level disc replacement) get research funding in the US. More people are going to be having issues like this as the baby boomer generation ages.

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  14. Feel better! I know it's useless (and cliche) to say to look on the bright side. I wish there was something they could do to make you feel better.

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  15. Sorry to hear the back has been a real pain lately. Have to appreciate a doc who gives it to your straight. As long as you trust his words, then you know where you stand. Chin up as they say. You get to decide what defeats you and I am guessing this it nothing you intend to give in to.

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  16. Hugs! I totally feel you and having just gotten over an episode where I was told to do exactly the same thing. Go walk and exercise. Save running for a week or two when you feel more like yourself. Ice and drugs. seriously, I thought my chiro was on crack when he told me to walk. I could barely move.

    He was right....

    I'm sorry that you are dealing with this and not out being a happy go lucky 29 yo! Think about the good days and make the most of them. Never dwell on the bad.

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  17. Patrick: I do trust him. He's not going to operate on me until it becomes the better/best option. I can appreciate it. While I wanted to punch him for a hot second, I understand where he's coming from.
    I haven't given in yet. I'm not going to start now.

    Brigitte: I think sometimes you just need to be told that you're doing okay. That considering all the options and outcomes, you're doing well. So we get back on the horse time and time again, until we just can't.

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  18. BIG HUGS
    and big reminder if you need me...tweet me!!


    Miz

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  19. So sorry you are dealing with this. I had the same problems at age 26. They tried a procedure that made it worse and I had lumbar spinal fusion 2 months after my wedding. Not fun.

    He's right...until you absolutely can't move. Sucks but true.

    Email me if you want.

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  20. Cynthia -- you're one of the few people who understand the gravity of what I'm trying to avoid...

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<3 Robby