Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Lesson about the Spine!

Another weekend has arrived.  There has been a significant flurry of activity here for the last several days and it feels good to reach Saturday afternoon and have some time to relax.

I've gotten a number of phone calls and e-mails from people asking me how I am doing based upon the blog post I left on Tuesday.  I had a consult with a neurosurgeon on Wednesday afternoon concerning the situation with my herniated disc and my spine.  I learned lots and lots of interesting things in that appointment.  First the doctor gave me the shock treatment by telling me I had one of the largest hernias of disc that he had ever seen in his life.  Unfortunately he was not joking - but it at least explains the unbearable pain that I have been experiencing.  The second shock was the he told me that I had not one but two herniated discs and that in all likelihood, the one disc had been herniated for quite a log time.  Thankfully those were the only two pieces of bad news that he passed along to me.  The rest of the information was good or at least made me feel better.

Did you know by the time you reach your mid-forties, approximately 80% of all people have herniated discs in their backs.  In most cases they aren't even aware of them because they aren't causing pain.  Of the 2 messed up discs there was one that had been there for a while and a recent one that appears to be causing all of the pain. The surgeon can tell a new versus old hernia by the way it looks and the shape of it on the MRI.

 (The lower portion of the highlighted area is the area effected by my disc injury.)

My lack of knowledge of anatomy prevented me from knowing that your spinal cord comes to an end before the end of your spine.  The location of the two herniated discs in my back is after the spinal cord has already ended.  Instead of the spinal cord, there are large numbers of root nerves in the hollow space that the spinal cord occupies further up the back.  The good thing about that is even if herniated disc applies a ton of pressure to those root nerves, they don't damage like the spinal cord damages.  Therefore, in the absolute worst case scenario that the disc puts so much pressure on those root nerves that they are pretty well smashed, they are able to repair themselve and I won't be in a situation where I would be paralyzed for life.  I might suffer a temporary paralysis as the absolutely worst case scenario with this injury.

The plan of action to resolve this problem starts Monday.  I will be going to Littleton Hospital for another medical procedure that will start the healing.  They will knock me out and then spend about 30 minutes putting between 15-20 shots of cortisone directly into the effected areas of my back with the intention that the drug will cause the extremely inflamed disc material to shrink back into it's normal space.  These shots should take effect within 4 - 5 days.  If it doesn't work we can make the attempt 1 - 2 more times with cortisone.  If none of the those attempts work - then it will be time for surgery.  The whole point of this exercise is to get it so I don't feel the intense pain that I am feeling now.  As long as the pain goes away and my body functions normally, then it won't matter how bad things look on MRI, the doctor will call it a success!

Not much else going on in our world this weekend.  I am attempting to finish most of my Christmas shopping as I am doing it online and having it shipped directly to my brother's house in Charlotte.  That will be much easier than doing the shopping here and then packing everything up in boxes and sending it on my own.

I also had another update from a previous blog post.  In relationship to a blog post from earlier this week in which I talked about compassion and cruelty, I solved my dilemma.  The dilemma was a situation that I was dealing with in which there were very strict guidelines and the application of those very strict guidelines would force a very cruel outcome to the problem.  Through a lot of discussion I managed to get the strict requirement that those guidelines be followed waived.  I think this conclusion to the problem that I faced will bring some great happiness to the person involved.  I hope it does anyway!

Well - I think I am going to call it an evening.  I started writing this blog entry in the afternoon but then I got waylaid by things and I am only now finished at 8:30PM.  We did a bunch of errands this morning and then worked around the house (as much as I could with my back all f'ed up) this afternoon.  Then this evening Zack's cousin has been with us as Tim and Celinde were at a party. Zack and Cole have been having a great time spending the evening playing games and stuff.  (I only had to get snappy once when they were rough-housing in the family room and making way too much noise.)  Got to love when that works out well!

Have a great rest of your weekends!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

1 comment:

Elasti-Girl; Kris said...

Eesh! I hope the cortisone shots work- the first time! I had heard that these shots help for herniated discs, but I had no idea it was such an ordeal to get them; I always though 1 shot in the back and done! Good thoughts to you and Z during this frustrating time. Not having control of your body...well...it SUCKS! :)