Wednesday, February 26, 2014

results are in

Saw my orthopedic doctor yesterday morning to discuss the results of my MRI for my lower back.

Not the news I was expecting.

I was expecting to hear I have a slightly bulged disc that can be remedied via common nonsurgical means.  What I did hear is that I have a significantly herniated L5S1 disc which is putting tremendous pressure on my spinal cord and sciatic nerve for my right leg. Hence why my right leg is all jacked up and in quite a bit of pain.



As a practicing engineer, tests and data help me understand problems I am faced with. The MRI did just that. It told me exactly what is going on yet also scared the living daylights out of me. I could see so much of my spine it would fascinate me yet give me this out of body experience all in the same breath. I could see every vertebrae and every disc. Everything looks great except this L5 zone. In fact, the L4 disc just above it is every so slightly bulged. The good news here is all my discs are about the same thickness which tells us there are no disc degeneration we have to worry about [now].

The section plot (think of a magician slicing his lady in half) through my L5 disc is the real shocker. I should have taken a photo but forgot. So the best thing I could find is this.
This is pretty much what I have. The disc is protruding into my spinal cavity and in the MRI it basically encompasses the vast majority of the spinal cavity.

very scary

What is next? 

For now, as with this entire month, I am dealing with near constant pain in my leg and muscles that include a hamstring that is so tight I can barely walk (this is so painful I'd rather go through another broken leg). Based up on my active lifestyle my orthopedic doctor wants to do surgery where they come in through a 1inch incision and remove the herniated portion and clean things up. This is the last thing I wanted to hear so I did not agree just yet. Next Tuesday I am getting a shot in the spine with something along the lines of cortisone in an effort to reduce the swelling and relieve the pressure on my nerves and spinal cord. From there I will see my orthopedic doctor again and discuss the future. I am also planning on seeing an osteopathic doctor to discuss other options.

Ironically this is the exact same injury my mother had when she was my age. Back then surgery for this was not as great as today so she opted out of surgery. Growing up I recall many times where she was in pain and could not get out of bed. I do not really want to follow in those footsteps so when I think about that I think I might need to undergo surgery.

Needless to say 2014 is shaping up to be another recovery year.

I doubt I will be racing a bicycle this year and have already signed up for SSAP and Bearscat50. Anyone interested in taking my place for me? 

Needless to say we will get through this!


Blogger Brendan said...

Damn. I hope your back feels better. That sucks.

2/27/2014 1:54 PM  

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