Leesa’s Life

Archive for March 2008

Finally heard back from my doctor about the neurologist’s appointment for my back. Looks like I can’t get in to see him until JUNE 6!!! I’m annoyed, but relieved at the same time. I know I need to get some sort of an answer as to why I’m hurting, but at the same time I’m afraid to find out what is causing the pain and how it would need to be fixed. Everything I’ve read about sciatica has pointed to surgery if the pain radiates farther down then mid-thigh. Well, my pain radiates all the way down to my ankle so I just have this feeling that I will need surgery OR that there won’t be anything they can do for me. Both are scary thoughts.

I had back surgery when I was 13 years old for my scoliosis and I really don’t want to have to go through another one. I know there are people out there who are saying to themselves “Why? If it will get rid of your pain, why not go through surgery”. And my answer is this: If you have never gone through back surgery then you don’t know how frightening it is especially when the doctors put the possibility of paralysis out there. I know that there have been lots of advancements in surgical techniques since I had my surgery all those years ago, but there is still that possibility that surgery wouldn’t turn out right. Maybe I’m just a big chicken. Yeah, I know I am.

I guess I will just have to wait and see. Maybe, come June, I won’t even be in pain anymore. I HOPE I’m not in pain that long.


As I said in my earlier post, I had to have a MRI Saturday. I was freaking out a bit, partly because I had always been told that I couldn’t have one because of the steel rods in my back and also because I’m claustrophobic. I asked a lot of questions regarding my rods and the nurses, doctors, radiologist, etc. assured me that they weren’t going to come flying out of my back when they turned the mri machine on. I calmed down a bit on that, but the fact that I am claustrophobic still bothered me.

When I got to the mri place, the nurse gave me a Valium and a shot of Demerol. You’d have thought I’d have been in la la land, but nope. As soon as they led me into the room where the mri was located, I got a knot in the pit of my stomach. Just looking at the opening that I was supposed to fit inside scared the hell out of me. I took a deep breath though and proceeded on. After getting situated on the table and being as comfortable as I could be, the nurse put a washcloth over my eyes, put ear plugs into my ears and told me to relax and breathe. I did as I was told, but even having my eyes shut and the cloth over them didn’t stop me from seeing how dark it got as soon as my head was inside the machine. I took a deep breath and kept telling myself that I could do it. that didn’t happen though. As soon as I felt the sides rub on my shoulders and arms, I freaked out….big time! In my doped out mind, I was being very calm about asking to be removed, but in reality, the nurse said I was screaming for her to let me out and I was kicking my legs and flailing my arms. I just know that I was in tears by the time they got me out of the dang thing.

The nurse led me to a bathroom so I could splash water on my face and calm down. That seemed to take me forever to do, but I did. She then took me to the OPEN mri and told me that they’d just go that route instead. I don’t know why they don’t do that in the first place for people who are claustrophobic. It sure would have saved time and embarrassment. The whole procedure took 45 minutes to complete. I actually snoozed a bit while I was in the open mri. I don’t think I could have done that in the other one.

I’m supposed to have the results this afternoon so I’m just waiting patiently for the doctor to call. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is just a pinched nerve, but I have this feeling that it is
going to be more then that.

UPDATE: Just got a call from my doctor and apparently my mri was too blurry to read. I knew from the beginning that might be a possibility, but it still annoys me that I had to go through something that didn’t even work. Now, my doctor is wanting to refer me to a neurologist. I don’t know if I want to go or not. I don’t want to be shuffled from doctor to doctor, racking up humongous medical bills, but never getting relief. I’ve lived with this type of pain since I was thirteen years old so I am used to it. The only reason I went to the doctor this time was because the pain was lasting longer then it usually does. I guess I’ll see what this new doctor has to say, but like I said, I’m not going to go through test after test. We just can’t afford that.

Yesterday, I was in so much pain from my leg/back/hip hurting that I caved and went to see the doctor. I really thought they would just give me pain meds and send me on my way since that’s how I’ve been treated since this stuff first started. I was actually quite surprised though. I saw a different doctor this time and she actually listened to what I had to say. She answered all my questions, did a thorough exam and basically went above and beyond what a doctor should do, in my opinion.

She thinks that I either have a pinched nerve or a bulging disk in my lower back. Either would explain the problem I’m having. Her first thought was that I needed an MRI of my spine to find out exactly what was wrong. I told her that I couldn’t have an MRI because of the two steel rods in my back (I had/have scoliosis). I’d always been told that I couldn’t have an MRI because of those metal rods. But this doctor didn’t think that was right. I also told her that I didn’t have insurance that would pay the cost. Again, she didn’t think that was right. She filled out a couple of forms and then sent me down to physical therapy to get a few exercises to help my leg/back/hip feel better. I did those and just as I was getting ready to leave, a nurse came up to me and said that my MRI had been set up for Saturday. Huh? I know I had to have looked completely dumbfounded because I didn’t think I could have an MRI. The nurse, seeing my total state of confusion, told me that my doctor had called over to the MRI place and asked several questions on whether or not I could have one. Come to find out that the big magnet that the MRI uses WON’T pull the rods out of my body(thank GOD!), but they might make the images too blurry to read. The doctor said that she really needed to find out what was going on in my lower back and that if it was possible for me to have an MRI then she wanted to go ahead and schedule it for me.

Needless to say, I kind of freaked out. Here, I’d been told all my teenage and adult life that an MRI would pull the steel rods right out of my back, any metal fragments that were in my body would be pulled out, any piercings, etc. would be PULLED OUT! And now they are telling me that isn’t true? How is a body supposed to react to something like that? Skeptically, that’s how. I immediately came home and started researching online to find out every thing I could about MRI’s, how they worked, if someone with metal implants or pins could actually have one. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the MRI people and my doctor do know what they’re talking about. It doesn’t make me any less nervous about having it done, but at least now I can be a little more at peace with my decision to go ahead and let them do it.

I was also worried about the cost. Being self employed, our family only has major medical coverage insurance so unless we’re in an accident or have something majorly wrong happen, any medical expenses come right out of our pocket. An MRI was one of those things that they didn’t feel was a major enough thing to have done so it wasn’t going to be covered. That is until I talked to the nurse at the MRI place today. She said that my doctor, again, was able to get the insurance to cover the cost. Well, all except our deductible. But hey, I can handle $125 deductible just fine. It was the $1735 that I was having problems with.

So, tomorrow morning I’ll be heading over to get this done. I was told to get there 45 minutes early because they’ll have to put me in “the tube” and since I’m pretty claustrophobic they’ll be doping me up big time with valium and demmoral. I’m hoping that I just go to sleep and the time goes fast. I do have hubby going with to drive me home. I thought I would have to go by myself, but once they told me about the lovely drugs I would be getting I knew that I was going to need someone to drive me back home. I’ll fill everybody in on what happens after the MRI is done and read. I am figuring physical therapy a couple days a week for a few weeks, but there is the possibility that surgery will be needed. I hope that isn’t the case, but if it is then I’ll just roll with that when it comes along.

Today is Organize Your Home Office Day. Did you know that? Neither did I. I wonder where they come up with some of these “holidays”? According to this website I found, Holidays for Everyday , today is also Casey Jones birthday, Albert Einsteins birthday, National Preschooler’s Day, National Children’s Craft Day, Celebrate Scientists, Learn about Butterflies, Save a Spider and National Potato Chip Day. Whichever one you decide to celebrate, have fun and enjoy your day!!!

With St. Patrick’s day coming up on Monday, I thought I’d get a head start on the holiday with a little bit of fun.

Your Leprechaun Name Is:

Plucky O’Fiddles