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Ze Pokes and Prods

I've got a semi-significant health issue going on. Something that drives me nuts about parents of all stripes is that their favorite topic of conversation always seems to be various ailments, treatments, and conditions they're sporting. So in order to spare you that, I'm hiding the rest of this post behind a cut.

Anyway, for some time now I've had recurring numbness in my legs, usually when I'm lying down, but occasionally brought on by bad shoes and/or walking on concrete. In the past handful of months (starting around Thanksgiving or so to the best of my recollection), this has become increasingly prominent and accompanied by pain, sometimes stabbing, sometimes burning, often both, especially in my left thigh. A few times it's been so bad that I woke up yelping in pain.

Before FC, I arranged for a doctor appointment, but as my doctor (as well as every other doctor in the area, as far as I can tell) is always booked to capacity, the actual appointment didn't come until this past Tuesday. Oy. Anyway, his prima facie diagnosis is that it's probably one of two things:

a) Nerve pinching caused by spinal deterioration (e.g., a slipped disk), or

b) Arterial blockage preventing blood flow to the muscles.

As I've already got a history of back damage (and nerve pinching), and as the symptoms described fit the classic pattern expected with the slipping of the "#2 lumbar disk," I'm inclined to suspect it's option a. But in order to rule out option b, I'm getting tests for both in the next couple of weeks.

The tests in question are an MRI ("magnetic resonance imaging") for the spine, and a "lower extremity arterial ultrasound" for the arterial blockage. Although both sound scarily House-like, I'm under the impression they're actually pretty humdrum. Both are "non-invasive, outpatient procedures" and neither has any special preparations, so I suspect they pretty much consist of sticking me into a giant Machine That Goes Ping, then charging my insurance company $5,000.

However, this is just the diagnosis. The treatment is another matter all together, and one of which I am completely ignorant at this stage. I suspect that either one of them are likely to involve some kind of surgery ... and I don't mind telling you that the idea of somebody operating on my spine gives me the jibblies. On the other hand, the idea of gradually losing the feeling in my left leg because my nerves are being scrunched isn't exactly a happy thought either. :P

Both tests are happening in the next two weeks, so I expect that I'll know what's happening within a month or less, and be able to adjust my various plots and plans accordingly. We'll see.

-The Gneech

Comments

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cyberhorn
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
the mri can be a bit frightening if your even a little claustrophobic its loud and confining (it dont ping it goes Bang bang bang thud thud thud then it changes to bam bam bam ect ect they give ya foam ear plugs)
you have to lay perfectly still for a good bit soo be prepared for that

they did it on my foot to see the extent of the bone infection silly thing is the xray showed more to the dr than the $2K worth of mri :(

if it is arterial in nature they will try meds first to get rid of the blockage /restriction

either way good luck john
the_gneech
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)

-TG
laurie_robey
Feb. 14th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Surgery is a last resort for treating arterial blockage. They would try meds first. They usually only perform surgery if it's really severe or life threatening or a really big clot.
susandeer
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
Eeeg... we'll be thinking of you. Shall I send Nurse Yffem along to take care of House, if he shows up?
the_gneech
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
If House shows up, I'll tell him to take two Emmys and call me in the morning. ;)

-TG

Edited at 2008-02-14 10:31 pm (UTC)
kylet
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
You shouldn't have been swinging me around like that at FC!

One of my buds hyenapaws had major spinal surgery last year. He was mostly out of commission for about a month afterwards (including even being limited how long he could be in the car) and he's been forbidden from doing certain strenuous activities pretty much for life, but he's more or less fully functional now.
Sounds a bit like what you have, including the gradual deterioration into pain, so that may be it.

Good luck either way ^ ^;;
the_gneech
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I don't think swinging you around had an effect on it one way or the other. ;)

I'm hoping that it's something that can be more or less pushed back into position and then treated with physical therapy. That's pretty much what I had last time. :)

Fear not, I'll be fine either way. :)

-The Gneech
makovette
Feb. 14th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
MRI's are loudish, but meh, not horrible.

Do verify the place that is going to do it has the MRI output in digital format, as you 'll want a copy on DVD or whatever. Film only is not helpful when it comes time to tote the images from place to place. If the place doesn't have digital available, find another place that does.

CYa!
Mako the MRI'd
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
I expect this place is pretty up-to-date, but I'll check. Thanks!

-TG
sirfox
Feb. 14th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Sis is a Chiropractor, one of the legit ones. I can get you her contact info if you like. She's not far from you at all.
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
Sure, send it my way when you get the chance. Thanks!

-TG
walkertxkitty
Feb. 14th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Good thoughts coming your way!

I have another friend with the disc problems. You should be aware of and research all possible treatments before considering surgery. There are now several effective non-surgical options which may be available to you depending on the severity of the slippage.

Not much you can do about the other one except to have the surgery. I've heard that if it is a decreased vascular flow that mild walking can encourage the body to develop new vessels around the blockage but ultimately it ought to be repaired. I understand your fears about surgery as well; I wasn't exactly keen on it either but it is reasonably safe and chances of something going wrong are minimal.

Hang in there!
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
I'll do my best, thanks! :)

-TG
tchall
Feb. 15th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
Hugs and lots of good thoughts, buddy. Oh, and *squeezysnug!*
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
^.^ Thanks, bud!

-TG
kamau_d_lyon
Feb. 15th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
It's good that you're getting it seen to. Neither procedure is anything to fret over and the only discomfort might be a hard pad that you'll lay on for a while. Hope it goes well for you and there's an easy solution to the problem.
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Danke schoen. :) And get well soon, yourself!

-TG
torakiyoshi
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
Another option is to check out Pain Free, by Pete Egoscue. He goes into a lot of detail about why we have a lot of chronic pain and shows some natural ways we can eliminate it (that is, via certain exercizes). It's probably too late to cancel your MRI, and that will be faster, but it won't hurt to add Egoscue's regimen to your own.

Have the best

-=Kiyoshi
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
I suspect that therapeutic exercises will be in the treatment somewhere. ;) Thanks for the tip, tho, I'll check it out. :)

-TG
hbar98
Feb. 15th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
MRIs are boring things where you have to lie perfectly still for a very long time or the nice lady behind the wall gets aggravated.

Still, and I don't want to sound alarming, but is there a history of blood clotting in your family? The symptoms you describe sound eerily like what a deacon in my church had, right before they found blood clots in his lungs and in his legs... I suppose the moral of that story is, if you start feeling sharp pains in the upper part of your back, go to the ER immediately!
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Well, my dad is so old that he has every condition you can think of and a few that are unknown to modern science ... so it's hard to tell. But generally the only known problems that run in my family are related to the heart and back.

I'm keeping a careful watch on the situation, have no fear on that score. :)

-TG
(Deleted comment)
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you, comrade!

-TG
kagur
Feb. 15th, 2008 06:25 am (UTC)
I hope you recover quickly from either malady. Good luck and best wishes:)
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Me too! ;)

-TG
c_eagle
Feb. 15th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
Yikes yikes Yikes! Best of wishes of course, sir!
the_gneech
Feb. 15th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :) Every little bit helps. ^.^

-TG
radbaron
Feb. 15th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
"lower extremity arterial ultrasound"
Isnt all that bad. Same way they do an ultrasound for any pregnant woman or to check kidney functions. Spread that gel that goes *schlorp* over the infected area, turn on medium sized machine, and wave magic wand over the site :)

Hopefully it's nothing too serious and all is well sooner rather than later!
the_gneech
Feb. 16th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
Gel that goes *schlorp*! :D

-TG
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