For those of you who follow my blog regularly you will be aware that a few weeks ago I had an appointment with a Neurosurgeon to assess my back. His preliminary diagnosis was that I was suffering from Facet Joint Arthritis and a nerve root compression that would probably need surgical intervention.
After the appointment I was scheduled for an MRI that took place 2 weeks ago. MRI's don't bother me but I know a lot of people hate them because of their claustrophobic nature due to the tube you have to enter with barely any room to move. I also know that another reason people don't like them is the very loud noise the MRI makes whilst the scan is taking place. Again this doesn't bother me, I just try to relax and practice some deep slow breathing then I tend to drift off a bit. I did make the mistake this time of opening my eyes whilst I was being scanned and had a bit of a mini panic. After always keeping my eyes closed during the procedure it was a bit of a shock to realise how confined I was. I quickly gained self control and stopped myself thrashing around because I knew moving meant the scan would have to be repeated and I didnt want that.
I am curious to see what the scan has revealed I am convinced it will show nothing and all this will be a tremendous waste of money.
So the day of reckoning is here and I have just got home from the appointment. I am exhausted so I will apologise for this being very brief. The report states:
"MRI spine lumbar / sacral: The L5/S1 disc is flattened and returns decreased signal with associated type II endplate changes. There is a mild disc bulge but no nerve root compression is identified.
At all other levels in the lumbar spine the appearances are unremarkable. The distal cord and the cauda equina appear normal. The paravertebral soft tissues appear normal"
Thankfully its not as bad as we feared the damage is contained to one disc however the disc is completely squished and its contents are leaking out into the surrounding tissue. I have opted to try intensive spinal rehabilitation for a few months to see how that helps things.
I will be reassessed in January and if there is no improvement I will have to consider a spinal fusion. Due to the position of the disc it means going in through my abdomen which is a mine field due to the existing adhesions and the risk of causing more. As I always say EDS is the gift that keeps on giving!
The damage has been caused by early onset arthritis and there is no reversing that. I have to decide is 41 too young to have this surgery with all the associated risks or can I live with this amount of pain being unable to bend without getting locked in that position. Its a difficult situation.
I am utterly exhausted after the appointment so I apologise for the briefness of the post.