It’s here… here they are… the MRI results. This is my actual film. L5-S1 disc herniation. It’s pretty severe as you can see. Great, we can just slide that little sucker right back in with a bit of surgery, right?
What? We can’t?
That was harsh reality for me. I tend to think in a linear pattern. It’s broke, let’s fix it. Doctors are fix-it-up specialists, they can fix this, right?
Wrong. They can’t. What they CAN offer are injections – either cortisone (to take the inflammation down) or epidural (to hide the pain). If that doesn’t work, they can do a discectomy (shave down the area of the disc that is hanging out of the spine and hope that keeps the compression of the nerves down) or fusion (metal insertion to fuse the joint). There is no simply sliding that disc right back into place.
My Mental Issues…..
I’m broke. I cannot be repaired. This cannot be fixed naturally. I’m forever ruined. I felt I was pretty in shape for 36 years old. I’m a strong woman. I’m independent. I’m a fighter. I’m a fixer. I cannot be fixed. This was devastating for me emotionally. Yes, I understand, it could be worse. I could be in a wheelchair, I could have cancer…. I understand that, but as ridiculous as this thought is — my brain just totally exploded at the idea that I am not immortal. Maybe I am just seriously arrogant about myself, but I didn’t realize at not even 40 years old, my back would go bad. I wasn’t overweight. I was active. I ate well. I live well. My spine has failed me.
After I received my options, I had to set up an appointment with a spine specialist in Baltimore.
I called the specialist’s office. It was late November. I’ve now lived with this pain for 10 months. It was getting worse every single day. Now I had shooting pain down both of my legs. My hips ached horribly. Evenings were still worse than mornings. There was no relief. The specialist could not see me until middle of January. WHAT??? They had my MRI results. I was again in tears on the phone. I knew I was not their only patient in the world, but somehow, they just had to see me earlier than that. Are you kidding? I begged and pleaded, “I will drop everything at a moment’s notice and come to you. If you have any cancellations at all, please call me. I cannot work. I can barely walk.”
I got nothing. They stood firm. I was not allowed to be seen until January 15th.