Saturday, November 7, 2009
Bulging discs, injections, reactions and why I've thrown in the towel
Remember when THIS happened?
Yeah so I found a new pain specialist. Met with him. Got a great feeling. Splenda too. We both very good and felt like the things he was telling us made sense. He explained that during that last block, she likely missed and the lidocaine went right to my blood stream, and thus my reaction.
He did a thorough exam, and we discussed my history and current pain issues at length.
He was very straightforward and said he wasn't completely sold on the diagnosis of CRPS. He wouldn't discount it altogether, but he highly suspected I have some issues going on with my back that perhaps had been cooking for awhile.
He ordered a special kind of MRI (spiral view?) and then I met with him the week. He reported to me that the MRI shows a bulging disc at L5 and some degenerative disc disease between L4 and L5.
He explained what that meant to me, although having bulged the same disc 20 years ago, I sorta already knew. No lifting. No carrying. Careful bending over. Smart back mechanics at all times. No running. For 6 - 8 months. DID YOU HEAR ME? SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS!
WTH? I am allowed to swim and cycle - on occasion. On a recumbent bike no less. That's it. No weight lifting, no classes at the gym. I get to smell chlorine and count laps and on occasion, listen to my ipod while I cycle like an old person.
He suggested an epidural block. Mmmokay. I had one 20 years ago, it worked, sure let's go for it. You can get me in tomorrow? All the better!
YESSSSS! An answer. Some pain relief. I'm stoked.
The next day, as Splenda and I headed to the office for the injection, I mentioned that I was a little nervous, but really, what are the odds that I would have another reaction? They are two completely different blocks. I calmed down and looked forward to having some pain taken away.
He met with us before the injection, I presented him with a diet pepsi (I like to take care of those who take care of me), I signed the forms, we reviewed our final questions. He reiterated that I absolutely must be extremely careful for the next couple of weeks. Yes I have a bulging disc, but he cannot say for sure that it is the source of my pain and symptoms until we do the block and give it a chance to work. If I go and get crazy and tweak it, it will completely cloud his trying to diagnose me correctly. Okay. I got it. Nothing. Pool. That's it. I'll find a way to deal.
Splenda is sent back to the waiting room and I head into the procedure room. Drop trou slightly, get a little poke to numb me. He does the big poke, I feel nothing. Well done. Goes exactly as planned. They clean up my upper butt/lower back (which I made them pinky swear that they wouldn't make rude comments about my cellulite after I left the room)
I am taken to the recovery area, settled into a nice lounge chair. Vitals taken. BP a little high for me. Heart rate is a little low. Oxygen sats just fine.
About 5 minutes later, I start to get that jaw sensation again. Next its the wooziness, the out of body, the "I just really don't feel good" reaction. They check me again. BP has come down to normal. Symptoms not getting better.
He checks me again. By now the muscle twitches have started again. I am freaking on the inside. Why can't Splenda come back here? Some stupid ass HPPA rules. I beg. I plead. I promise he'll keep his eyes and ears closed. Nope, the won't let him back. My back if frickin killing by now. I mean serious pain. They move me from the lounge chair to a gurney bed.
They have listened to my heart several times now, and he has even brought in another doc to listen. They explain they hear something strange in my heart. They schedule me to go to the hospital later that afternoon to get an echocardiogram.
This all feel strangely familiar but at least no ambulance ride right?
Splenda takes me home, gives me a benadryl and pain pill and I go to sleep.
Later, we head off to the hospital. Do the echo. Tech confirms that indeed I have a heart. It is not black nor is it 4 sizes too small.
Meet with the cardiologist. He asks me, ever had rheumatic fever? Nope. Taken Phen-Fen? Nope. Okay, well you have this little leak in your mitral valve. Likely have had it all your life. No big deal. Had nothing to do with your reactions.
Swell. Okay. Head back home loaded on pain pills and smothering in frustration.
What the crap happened. And WHY? The only common denominator is Lidocaine in my back. I've have lidocaine plenty of times. But the last two times were in my back. ER doc had said you could build up to a level that you become reactive. Okay. But no rash, no hives, no trouble breathing. Just the jaw sensation, the cold, the muscle twitches, the woozy-not-in-my -body feelings.
So far, the epidural medicine hasn't kicked in. I have done nothing but lay down for the last two days. I have sat up to work. Take a break, lay down, ice and repeat. And cry. A lot.
I finally got out the house today to help Splenda with some shopping. YAY. Like I can help. Can't hold Sissy (who clearly isn't getting this AT ALL), can't lift the groceries, so I kinda just go along for entertainment value.
Doc did tell me that it could take until Sunday or even a few days after that to start feeling the effects. Okay, I can wait until then. I got enough Lortab to get me through.
So where are we at with all of this?
1. Stress fracture femoral neck - still healing
2. Bulging disc at L5 and degenerative disc disease at L4 and L5
3. Possible CRPS.
He will not throw number 3 out. He is being cautious. Let's try a treatment and see what happens. We go from there.
I know that a full marathon is now likely never gonna happen. I'm being realistic folks. Sure, there could be a chance, but let's be realistic. I'm 43. Bone loss outweighs bone growth at my age and beyond. Look how much time I am losing for any kind of training and look at what my body is now going through. I'm thinking there is no way it could take 26.2 of pounding.
It's gonna be a long 6 - 8 months waiting for this to heal to even begin running and training again.
Weightlifting classes that I loved? No more. At least until I can get the back to heal completely. Simply no spine loading
Cycling on my bike? Nope. At least it's off season. I can deal with that. I did talk him into letting me use a stationary bike as long as I kept my spine in correct alignment.
It's the pool with lots of laps and pool running.
As I pushed for more and more options from him, he got a more and more stern with me. In no uncertain terms am I to spine load or tweak this any further. If I herniate it, it will be surgery and then I will never run again.
So yes, I am beyond discouraged. Right now, lot's of pain. Lot's of frustration. Lot's of having to adjust to a new way of life in many different ways.
I think I'll make Splenda take me to dinner and then buy me a swiMP3 so I can tolerate the pool.
Keep your fingers crossed that I don't go postal.....