|You better WERK. Sashay. Shantay.
We took x-rays of both my neck and my back. Before I could even get back to the room to change, my doctor saw me in my very sexy hospital gown and said "You look like you've been losing weight." The dude has seen me naked/half naked on a surgical table. He knows things.
The good news is that my cervical implant DID NOT BUDGE A BIT. The pain that I'm feeling is probably just muscular but we're gonna keep an eye on it. He jokingly said that I'd be cleared to play NFL football. While I don't think that will be happening any time soon, I'm super relieved that I didn't mess up my very expensive implant.
So let's talk about the picture below:
On the left is my MRI from March 2007. On the right is the x-ray from today. I've circled the discs L4-L5 and L5-S1. You can see that the degenerative disc disease has progressed a bit and compression has increased (especially in L5-S1). This probably wasn't a result of my fall, but it could have been a contributing factor. He's confident that the pain I'm feeling in my lower back is referred muscular pain. Either way, my doctor said "Just because there's compression doesn't mean there's pain" -- but it's something we need to keep an eye on. I'm going to go to PT again just to help with range of motion in my hip/back.
Degenerative disc disease operates differently for each person, for each body. Some people have rapid decay and compression, some people are able to stave off the effects or the need for surgical intervention by lifestyle changes. So while there's more compression in my back, it's not bad for 7 years. I still have more good days than bad. I still am taking care of my back as best as possible given what's going on. So let's focus on the positives here: (1) I have great health care (2) I have a great doctor (3) and my body is working with me as best as it can.
I'm going to once again profess my love for Dr. O'Brien. He really gets it. We chatted about the fear people have about going to doctors (surgeons in particular) and he really summed it up in one sentence: "I'm going to treat my patients the way I'd want to be treated." More importantly, I've seen this in his care for me. I'm so glad he's a part of my long-term team.