Friday, December 7, 2012

My disc is trying to vacate my spine, and it hurts like a muther.

The results are in on my back: I have a herniated disc in my lumbar region. To save you from having to check the Googles about this, I will do a little Q & A on your behalf.

You: What does that mean?
Me: It means that I either screwed up a disc with wear and tear over time or I injured myself at some point and it never healed properly. It means I have sciatica radiating down my right leg. It means I'm annoyed at the fact that it hurts to pick my daughter up and I'm thrilled that I can't carry laundry baskets, although Jason still doesn't let me use that as an excuse to not fold laundry.

You: So how did you ruin your disc?
Me: The doctor thinks I probably injured it a long time ago and it never really healed, and then when I gained three baby's worth of weight during pregnancy and tried to lug my 18 lb baby in a 20 lb car seat, I pushed it over the edge. And now it wants to leave my body.

You: But I lift heavy things and weigh more than I should. Why does my back feel fine?
Me: Because you're not a lemon, and because there are other factors that contributed to my defect. Apparently I have a 14mm difference in the length of my left and right legs. The doctor thinks I probably jacked up my right knee at some point (I'm looking at you, 7th grade softball injury) and stunted the growth plates. My body decided that I would either wobble like an elderly hobbit or remedy the situation by forming a moderately crooked spine. My body chose the latter, and this also contributed to the susceptibility of my lower back to injury.

You: What does that look like?
Me: Here's an image from my MRI.

You: Does it hurt?
Me: Would it hurt if  your knee cap was trying to leave your leg? If your knuckle was trying to exit your hand? If your tailbone was trying to leave your butt? Yes. It hurts like a muther. It's a consistent throbbing lower back pain. It has a heartbeat. Sometimes if I move the wrong way, sneeze, or laugh too hard it's a shooting pain that takes my breath away.

You: How are you going to treat it?
Me: I've done a trial period of decompression therapy and so far that seems to help. I'm not going to have surgery. I refuse. I suck at recovering from surgeries. If decompression therapy winds up being too expensive (not sure yet what insurance covers) or doesn't help, I'm going to investigate my other non-surgical options. Like maybe losing 40 lbs. to see if that lightens my spinal load. Or yoga. Or percocet. Whatevs.

You: When are you going to stop griping about it? It's kind of annoying.
Me: First of all, quit reading my blog or standing within earshot of me if you don't like it. Second, I'll quit griping when it quits hurting. And then I'll have a little pity party and complain about how I'm always sick or injured. And then I'll drink a glass of wine and feel better and write about how nice life is and how it could be worse and I should be grateful for what I have. And so on.

Thanks for your concern, you. It makes me feel better knowing that you are interested in my physical well-being, and that you continue to read even though I can be slightly annoying at times. I hope you have a nice weekend.

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