Monday, July 25, 2011

Good News and Bad News from the Neurosurgeon

Today was the day I saw the neurosurgeon about my medical mystery. 

The Good News:
  • I don't need surgery.
  • I didn't need an injection today.
  • The doctor and his assistant (hereafter referred to as "They") are going to start me off with physical therapy three times a week for a couple of months and are confident it will help with my back and hip pain.
  • My physical therapy copay is only $10.  I expected I would have to pay half, so that was definitely good news.
  • They agree I have a nerve problem extending from my back down to my foot, making normal walking activities impossible.
  • They agreed electric stimulation could help.  They gave me a booklet with a DVD to review to decide if that's a good solution for me.
  • They gave me a sample of meds to help my foot pain.
  • The meds knocked me out cold for four hours and radically improved my recent irritability. 
  • My kids appreciated my lack of irritability when I finally woke up.
  • My kids agreed to do the dishes every day just because I asked.
  • The doctor told me not to give up hope on my foot (although they had no solution - see Bad News below).  Then he and his assistant stared at me to see if that made me feel better.  It didn't.
  • I didn't fall apart and only teared up a little when they offered me hope.
  • When it was over and I walked out to the waiting room, I asked my toddler if he was ready to go.  He screamed, "No!  I'm pooping," and made everyone laugh, brightening the day of about twenty people that were waiting in line for some medical torture or were already in pain. 
The Bad News:
  • I might need surgery later.  They aren't sure.
  • I might need an injection later - also not sure.
  • The meds they gave me are one of the ones you see on TV with an endless list of side effects including a strong urge to commit suicide. Super.
  • While they agreed I have nerve damage extending to my foot, they don't know what is causing it and therefore don't know how to fix it except random attempts at different things - like meds, injections, or surgery. 
  • The electrical stimulation they recommend involves surgically implanting an electrode on my spine with an electrical cord extended down my back (on the inside) to power a device that would be permanently implanted in my back to periodically electrocute me.  I really don't think so.  However, it gave me an idea for a horror story (but I suppose that's good news).
  • I forgot to explain that I am a Type A personality.  I want a clear cut plan, not an imprecise go-with-the-flow we'll see what works and go from there because we aren't really sure approach. 

The bottom line is I don't feel particularly hopeful, but I'm no worse off than I was yesterday, so it will be OK.  I will carry on.  I am walking a little more every day.  I have no choice but to learn how to go with the flow if this is the best that the best doctor can do.  Learning acceptance is a gift in it's own way.   


    1. Thanks for the update--was thinking of you today. I'm sorry they don't have a clear-cut solution, but I'm holding on to the hope that th PT will help you and that they'll find a permanent solution.

    2. Hugs and smiles to you! Just know people are reading your posts and believing the best for you.

    3. I really hope the physical therapy helps. Electric stimulation sounds scary. But I wish you all the best. Hopefully someone will find a permanent solution. You are in my prayers.

    4. Laura - Thanks. I think even if it's not 100% better, it will be better.

      Shelly - Hugs and smiles back. :)

      Murees - No way am I doing the electric stimulation. Thanks for your kind words and prayers.