After three doctors, two MRI’s, an EMT the verdict is still not very clear but the long and short of it all is I have a little arthritis in my spine and a pinched nerve. It could get worse, maybe not. That is was my neurologist told me on Friday. I wasn’t very happy with what he told me because he kept referencing my age, which I think is complete BS. He knows I want to be able to get back in the game and we both actually joked if someone else had heard this news, they would be off to the social security office to collect disability 🤣 it’s true! Anyway, the neurologist knew I was upset, he told me about some of his issues, and that he still runs but stops when it becomes uncomfortable. He also said to do what the pain doctor told me to do, the physical therapy and possibly pool exercise to build the muscle in my left leg. The injections have not been scheduled yet pending the approval from the insurance company.
So I had my moment about the news. In retrospect, compared to other people and other issues it’s not bad. I still had both legs, to stand on and use. People have overcome much worse than this and have done incredible things. Venus Willimas is playing in the French Open and had to sit out of tennis for a year because of an illness, now she is back getting some serious butt. So I can do this, I was being seriously impatient and frustrated, so I started doing my own research about running with a pinched nerve and arthritis in the spine. Physical therapy seems to work best for it. Once I start that I will see what other exercises I can do while I’m doing PT. I also looked at getting a bike, already picked one out but I’m going to ask the physical therapist if I can do this before I make that investment.
I also have to work on my diet vegetables are antiinflammatories but I’m picky about the ones I eat. So I’ll have to increase the ones I do like to be sure I’m getting enough. This can help to decrease the pain. From what I’ve been reading that’s why many who have back pain or chronic pain either go vegetarian or vegan it helps significantly decrease if not eliminate their pain.
That’s the new game plan with adjustments to be made as needed. My physical therapy starts June 1st. I guess I’ll need some new tunes for my playlist you know powerful yet motivational Rocky type stuff that will get me up those steps. Any suggestions are welcome.
I had my appointment with the neurosurgeon today my wing women Susan was with me, like I said before she’s just fabulous. She went in with me to see the doctor, Dr. Schmidt, who by the way is just the coolest, laid back, straight forward dude. Susan took notes the whole time. Anyway, when we got back in the room, one of Dr. Schmidt’s assistants came in to talk to me first while he was reading the MRI disk. I can’t remember her name but I think she was a Nurse Practitioner, I think I blocked on her name because when she came in she spoke to me in that ridiculous high pitched voice, with her eyes really wide as if I was six years old. Why do people do that?! I came so close to asking her “why are talking to me like that?” but I didn’t because I didn’t want to come off rude or be labeled a “difficult patient”. Susan noticed it too and it’s a pet peeve of both of ours. Honestly that drives me crazy I don’t even it think it’s appropriate to talk to a six year old like that. Susan said “you know when a 70 year old comes in there she does the same thing”.
Anyway, she did an examination asked some questions (😡) told me she noticed pretty much what everyone had noticed, weakness on the left side, poor flexibility on the left side and of course the pain in my lower back. She poked me in my back which irritated my pain..blah! So Dr. Schmidt comes in, he’s an older gentlemen and he hops (literally) up on the examination table and starts his speech. You know there is good news, he says, he had looked at my pictures from my MRI and my spine looked okay, said some things that happen with age (whatever) but he didn’t see any bulging disks or anything like that; he said my spine looked fine and I would not need surgery (great!). He said however, “we still don’t know what’s wrong with you and why you are having this pain in your back an down your leg”. Long story short, he is going to refer me back to my neurologist for an EMG, no idea what that is, I’ve not been on Dr. Google, but apparently it has something to do with checking the nerves. He is also going to refer me to pain management, which he could tell by my reaction I didn’t want. He then said those are the experts who can handle this; to which I said I don’t want to manage the pain, I want this resolved. I almost broke down in tears, instead I became frustrated.
I asked if I could run or exercise, he told me as far as my back was concerned he thought it was safe, he saw no problems. I told him if I stand too long I start to hurt so how on earth can I do that? He didn’t have an answer. I’ve been so frustrated and preoccupied with this today it took me awhile before I could form the words to write this post. I don’t know what do, even as I write this I’m hurting. There were some folks who were texting me today to find out how it went, and I was getting crap back like “maybe they will start you on Lyrica” or “is it fibromyalgia”. Really people?? I don’t want medicine! Not that I’m putting medicine down, but we live in culture that is so pill dependent, have you watched TV lately? Every other commercial is about some medication..and I want to know what’s up not mask it!
So I think I will look into this new place that does aerial yoga called Yoga Power. You can get a week free to try it out so I have nothing to lose; who knows it may help. Susan thought that was a good idea too. My left side is still weak and the longer this goes on the weaker it will get; that can’t be good. I can’t keep waiting for the doctors. Or maybe I need to go somewhere else like Cleveland Clinic. I’m already going to miss the half-marathon next month and I’ve already registered for one in the fall I don’t want to miss that one too; not to mention all the 5k’s going on right now. I miss all of that as well as the people I’ve met in the running community.
That’s the update. My apologizes for it not being as positive as I usually try to keep my post I’m in the middle of a moment but it will pass.
As those of you have read this blog know I had a MRI scheduled on Thursday to hopefully find out what is going on with me. But before I get to that I want to talk about my friend Susan. As I mentioned in my last post she is now my emergency contact she had no idea what had been going on until I asked her permission to use her for this position. We had made plans to meet for dinner on Thursday; well as things sometimes go, when we finally got the approval for the MRI the appointment would be the same day and time we were supposed to meet for dinner, 530 on Thursday. I let Susan know about the appointment and without missing a beat she asks if I would like her to go with me. Honestly was taken back by her question, I mean really it was just a MRI and if you know me I function pretty much independently. I mean I’m the one who takes care of everyone else, that my job, it’s my role. So I gave my typical response, “Oh that’s okay you don’t have too, I’m good”. To which she said “it’s no problem” asked me what time the appointment was, she was not letting me off the hook. 😄
The day before the appointment I get a text from Susan asking me how I was feeling and what time we were meeting, it should be noted Susan and her family have a lot going on right now, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to “bother” her with this “simple” appointment. Anyway, I told her what time to meet, but here’s where I realized what kind of friend Susan was, when I told her what time to meet, she asked me if I wanted her to come and pick me up and take me to the appointment. Instantly I started to tear up and cry. Now this may seem silly to some but let me explain. My friends are very important to me, when anyone describes me the one word that is typically used is loyal. I know I’m a good friend but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that friendship has not always been reciprocal. I’ve since learn my patterns of dysfunction that have contributed to that and I’ve “trimmed the fat” so to speak and let go of some people that were not healthy for me (hard lessons). When I bought my house (my current address), “my friend” whom I had known since I was five years old and at the time referred to as my “best friend” she said to me “I won’t come and visit you down here”. I was stunned by the comment from my “friend” one because she said at all and two because it wasn’t that far away. But the statement did have an impact on me, from then on no matter who it was I would always accommodate them so they wouldn’t have to go out of their way to come see or anything. And it all went back to that one statement. So you see when Susan graciously asked to pick me up for my appointment, that person and her statement came to mind; and the difference between her and Susan and the type of friend Susan is to the type of friend I thought the other one was given our long history together, brought me tears. True friends are so very hard to find.
Needless to say I didn’t have her pick me up, not because I didn’t want to inconvenience her I was leaving from work and to go home would have been out of the way and I would have been late for the appointment so it would have just been easier to meet at the office for both of us. Had it not been for that I would have accepted her offer. But it gets better. Thursday comes and I arrive a little early, (traffic was better than expected). So I start with the paperwork, Susan arrives a few minutes later, and we talk until I’m called back, she keeps my purse while go back. It turns out I was glad she was there I was a little nervous.
The MRI technician, Sally, was so very nice, she did everything to help me to be comfortable. She told me the MRI would take about 20-30 minutes, I had no idea..so I went out and told Susan, she said “oh yea, I know, I got my book”. I was like okay..still in disbelief she was going to sit there and wait for me. I get into the room and there’s that tube I had to go into, Sally, gives me earplugs, a sheet to cover up and asks me what I like to do. I told her running of course, she says close your eyes and picture yourself running, to help me calm down as she puts me into the tube. She then offered me a small cloth to put over my eyes to further help me calm down. She was so great, as she got me ready she offered me headphones to further block the noise, she said relax you are running and before I knew it I was in a meditative state, my breathing was slow I could feel my body, and I was running a full marathon in my mind. It was a beautiful sunny day and I saw myself running and completing the marathon before I knew it, the MRI was over. Meditation is a wonderful thing. I was somewhat startled when this guy started taking things off of me, I asked where’s Sally? He said she’s at the control panel. When I got up, I went in gave her a big hug for being so nice to me and making this a pleasant experience. Being a healthcare provider myself, I know all to well that healthcare providers too often have a tough go of it and are not told they are appreciated, I wanted Sally, to know she was.
Anyway, Susan was waiting for me when I finished I hugged her too and thanked her so much for coming and staying with me. She had a pretty stressful day so that fact that she was with me, speaks volumes about her. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant and then we parted ways for the day. I haven’t gotten the results yet, hopefully early next week I will know something. But even without the results yet, I learned a lot from the experience for which I am grateful. 😊
Well gang I went to the doctor today to have my back checked as recommended my physical therapist. Actually I had my annual exam today to just took care of everything while I was there so it was a thorough check up! Anyway my doctor checked my legs, back and did an assessment of my muscles in my legs as well. She ordered and did a pre-authorization for both an x-ray and a MRI so we are waiting to see which one the insurance will approve. We are hoping the MRI is approved but just in case she has the order for the x-ray. She thinks I may have a compression fracture in my back. I didn’t know what to think when she told me; I know I have been in a lot of pain lately but I guess we will have to wait and see.
I haven’t told many people about what has been going on because the minute I do the first thing I hear is “did you get that from running?” To which I instantly reply “running is not bad for you!” Most of the people who ask that question don’t run of course. So I write about it here as many of the people who read this are runners or understand health and fitness. My doctor and my uncle did ask me if I had fallen at any time and I haven’t; so if this is in fact a compression fracture I’m not sure how it happened. When I had time when I got to the office today I did search “Dr. Google” to find out what a compression fracture was and I didn’t like a lot of what I read; which is exactly why I don’t like going to good ole google and why I tell my clients not to do it either. Geeze!
So while I wait to have either the x-ray or the MRI done I’m still going to keep up the heat and ice. Also I got some information from a fellow blogger Saoirse (Dreamillblog) who told me about an oestemat or an acupressure mat. So I looked it up on Amazon and found one mine came in this week; I was waiting to see the Dr before I started using it. So thanks Saoirse! Much appreciated.
That’s the latest; once I have either the x-ray or the MRI I will provide another update. Thanks for all the feedback and support. ✌
I had my second session with the physical therapist today. I meant to get a few pictures but I had to get to a conference call immediately after and I forgot to take them. Monday was my first session and the day after I was really sore; it felt like I had done a serious workout when all he had me do was a series of stretches. My left side is so weak any amount of stretching was going to lead to soreness the next day. I have exercises to do at home one is the 90-90 Hip Lift With Ballon (see below) I didn’t realize I wasn’t breathing from my diaphragm and I was using my back more than my hips, so it took me several times to get this down, that’s why he had me use the ballon. He said I was probably using doing the same thing when I ran, using my back more than my hips; which meant I was more than likely running arched putting stress on my back.
Mark said in order to fix my knee we have to work on the whole system. Which makes sense; I tell my clients the same thing. We aren’t just working on drugs and alcohol we are working the whole system, mind body, and spirit. Today when we went through some of the stretches it wasn’t as bad as Monday, there was even some movement in my left foot. YAY! He used a small roller on the lower part of my left leg close to my ankle and when he did that, it was amazing there was even more movement and I could walk a little better. Dang it’s tight! For the now though there is no running allowed…when he said that..I heard that song from the Charlie Brown Movie Snoopy Come Home in my head..No Dogs Allowed..ha! So for now there’s no running allowed I may not like it but I do know it’s necessary..and that’s okay..
Today I met with the physical therapist Coach Matt recommended, Mark Nichols, he did a full body assessment of me. He’s really nice guy, he first had me just to stand in front of him and then walk back and forth. He immediately saw I was afraid to put weight on my left side as a result my body has adapted over the last many months, probably since late last spring, so my right side is stronger in a sense but it’s thrown my gait off. I’m extremely (no exaggeration) tight on my left side from literally my foot to my up to my neck, which is contributing to neck and back pain in addition to headaches. He didn’t think it was my meniscus but bursitis in my knee, ankle, hip, and another place, I don’t even remember because my first reaction was “that’s an old people disease”; to which he said “no it’s a problem runners have from time to time”. He measured how far I could bend my foot back towards my leg and well, with my left leg, he said I had zero, that’s zero movement, and that discomfort I could feel all the way up to my neck. It was insane. On the right I was on target I think it was 115 degrees; felt completely different.
He put me through the tests and I tell ya…my left side is weak. He said it has probably been like that for some time, it just took the running to bring it to the surface and expose it. So he said I probably have Lower Cross Syndrome:
In addition to Upper Cross Syndrome:
Honestly I felt like a hot mess. He said because my profession as a therapist I have to sit all day, then I decided to get up and start running a year and a half ago..it threw my body off, as I said earlier the running just brought the problem to the surface. I need to strength train particularly upper body and basically retrain how I walk, sit, even in my car, breath, the works. Fortunately, the therapist who had my office before me left a ball chair in there and it can be helpful with this process as well.
I still won’t be able to run the marathon in May..bummer..but hopefully I will be ready in the fall. My next appointment is Wednesday… I’m staying positive I can make these changes it will be some retraining of my brain and body…You guys know I like the Rocky movies, at least the first three..and Bruce Lee was THE MAN. If you haven’t seen the Bruce Lee Story I highly recommend it. If he can come back from that injury..then I got this…cue the Rocky music..
Today I finally saw a doctor about my knee and leg. It seems I have damaged my meniscus in my left knee. When the doctor was examining me she immediately noticed my knee was swollen. So she recommended that I start icing it four times a day, get an x-ray so they can have some images of it, start physical therapy, and she gave me a prescription for a gel called Voltaren to use four times a day as well. She also told me to get one of those knee brace things from Wal-Mart or some place to help when I’m standing, because I haven’t been able to stand for long periods of time without it starting to hurt. I had the x-ray done today and I start seeing the physical therapist on Monday. She also scheduled an appointment with an ortho about 6-8 weeks out just in case. The down side to all of this is I won’t be able to run the The Greenbrier Half-Marathon in May that I registered for 😦 total bummer! That shirt and medal were so cool…plus I would have gotten to stay one night at Greenbrier.
In the big scheme of things this is just a small setback, a moment in time, that I know will pass. Running has become my meditation, my space to step away from the stresses of the day and chill. I didn’t realize how much I used it until I couldn’t. So if I do as I’m told I should be back out there soon. I’ll keep you posted on my progress as it goes along 🙂
Oh I decided to change themes for a something a little different and lighter 🙂