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.

For me?
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.....


Kristina P. said...

Oh, Melissa, this is horrible. I hope that you can still complete that marathon. It sounds like it probably won't happen, but miracles occur everyday!

MaeRae said...

I am praying for you. Ever since the last "reaction", I have kept you in the top five. I hope they figure this out for you. Hugs and prayers.

MaeRae said...

I am praying for you. Ever since the last "reaction", I have kept you in the top five. I hope they figure this out for you. Hugs and prayers.

Loralee and the gang... said...

My prayers are with you. You have taught me so much by your strength and stamina. I KNOW you can get thru this, too.
(((((((( bloggy friend hugs )))))))
Hope that helped, even if only just a little teeny tiny eneey - weeny bit.
love ya

Vanessa said...

DAMMIT! I am so sorry for your crappy couple of months. I hope you get to feeling better and can drop the crutches.

Pedaling said...

melissa, you are the last person in the world i would have ever thought this would happen to.

and we all know how much you love swimming pools....NOT!

the whole thing sucks!

LaurieJ said...

Sitting here and trying to think of something comforting to say and it all sounds pitiful compared to what you are probably feeling.
I'm sorry!!!
It probably doesn't make you feel any better to tell you that marathons are completely overrated but they are! Just tell yourself that over and over

Terri Ferran said...

You sound frustrated enough you could eat your own head.

Please don' would cause a massive colon blockage...and you don't need that on top of everything else!

Heather said...

This is just heartbreaking, Melissa. Keep relying on the Lord and He'll get you through.

Jillybean said...

I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this. I hope you're able to find something to help you soon.
I hope you get feeling better.

Scrappy Girl said...

That is terrible...I hate that you are going through this. Please take care of yourself and don't overdo it. Listen to the doctor so you can make your dreams come true. {{hugs}}

Sarah said...

So Sorry! You don't deserve to have to go through this. I have to admit that when I got the same kind of shots in my back it went really well, but I am going to have to go and do them again soon, not looking forward to this. You are in my prayers, I hope things get better soon.

Cherie said...

Melissa seriously. I was reading this and it made me hurt.
I am so sorry you are going through this. It really does not seem fair that someone who runs, lift weights and is in such great shape should have to tolerate this crap and this pain.
It sounds like they are just doing trial and error with you to find what's wrong - which is scary but I guess that is what medicine is half the time.
Make sure you get more than one Priesthood blessing.
Sending {{{HUGS}}} - Eat chocolate!!

Shawn said...

Oh, my dear-----you poor thing! Here I am whining about having no time to do even the most menial tasks---and you can't do it, because you physically can't!! I will keep you in my prayers----and think of you daily----hang in there---dahling!

Plain Jame said...

OH my hell! This is madness! This would be hard for anyone to have to endure. I wish I knew just what to say - but all I can say is that you rock. You're an awesome super ridiculously amazing woman and you are a great example to all. There are way better things to do with your life than run a marathon right now. I was told I wouldn't be able to have babies - and you've seen in person 2 of my 3 spawn. Although it's always time to learn something new, create new hobbies and chase after new dreams, you can always keep a fire under the things that are most important to you. It's hard to always remain positive and keep up hope, but in the end you just do.

Chief said...

ALthough I am not one for exercise I feel for you. This sounds very stressful for you and I wish there were some way to help it.

Martha H. said...

Poopy, poopy, poopy! That's what I have to say to all of this nonsense. I hope you get better soon.

Sue said...

crrappp! this is a huge disappointment for you I know.

I refuse to tell you how to feel or what to do..You will figure this all out, and I will be proud of you no matter what.

Sher said...

Holy crap, that really, really sucks!
you could use a miracle or two right now!

Hey, and just for the record, I have seen you naked, and you have absolutely ZERO cellulite!

Love you, get better!

tammy said...

Crap. I am so sorry. I know this is hard news for you to hear. Hoping and praying for the best.

kado! said...

What The Heck???!!!! this is No good, No good at all! I wish i could wish you better.

now you are in pain and stuck in a public pool...and we all know how much you LOVE the gym pool!

...well I got the NY Daily News Special Yankees section sitting here waiting to get off in the mail to you...I'll slip it in Marthas b-day package real soon... ;)

CountessLaurie said...

well, thank god. that your heart wasn't four sizes too small (or black for that matter).

the rest just blows.