Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Yesterday, I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon. He had a little bit of an attitude since I insisted upon having an appointment to see him. I explained what has been going on with the sudden return of my migraines and he said that the good news is that there isn't much change in the condition of my spine from last year. When he reviewed my MRI with me, he commented that I have some arthritis on the left side of my neck. Perhaps he was having an "off" day because I gently reminded him that the left side of my neck is where I'm having the issues. Ah! Finally I had his attention! (He appears to be resistant to fusing the part of my neck that has all the bone spurs and issues because it might make my neck too stiff)
Once he was tuned in, we had a discussion about what is causing the issues with my neck, which in turn causes the migraines. At first he suggested that I try a block. He seemed surprised when I told him that two months running, I had blocks and trigger point injections. In August, I had 14 shots in my head and at the end of September, I had over 20 shots in my head and neck. I said that this past time, I started having migraines within a week of having had the shots. That's when he told me that I should have them again. Hello? Did he not listen? I told him that I was scheduled to have another round of shots on October 29. That's when he told me that I didn't need to wait that long. Then I asked him how often I could get the blocks. He told me that I could get them as often as every 2-3 weeks. What??? Isn't there a limit on how often a patient can have steroid shots? OOPS! Egg on his face!
Now he was both listening and hearing me! He agreed that I can only have one more round of shots this year. When I asked him what I should do after that, he smartly told me to take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. When I replied, "Only if I want to die!" He looked at me funny as if to say, What? I reminded him that I'm allergic to all aspirin products. It was somewhat amusing to see him change his whole attitude and scramble to save face.
I guess there are people who whine and complain and go to the doctor when they don't need to, but I'm not one of those. In fact, I often let things slide and go on fpr far too long. Suddenly, he reviewed my information again and began to discuss treatments with me. It was like he woke up and realized that I was there because I was seriously scared and desperate to find a treatment to end my misery. He went back to the MRI a third time and tried to explain to me why my problem couldn't be the issue we have been watching for the past two years. I can understand erring on the side of caution but this was getting really strange!
I finally flat out asked him if it isn't the cervical spine, then what is causing all of my issues. He said that he'd like to do a nerve conduction test and cautioned that it most likely would be painful. When I said that I have had them in the past, he seemed surprised. He wants to rule out a pinched nerve in the side of the neck. I then brought up the issue of what happens if it isn't that? Well, he said that it may be a damaged muscle, tendon or ligament in the side of the neck. Unfortunately he said that there is no treatment for any of those, except for taking pain medication. Wonderful, just what I didn't want! We also discussed the fact that I can do water jogging only; no use of weights, no housework, bending, twisting, lifting etc. He stressed that I should exercise daily, in the water if at all possible.
I mentioned that fact that during my last set of injections by my neurologist, it was mentioned to me that the area in question was caused by an issue near C-3 - C-4. That was the area that he told me has arthritis, with very few changes from last year. I said that that was why I called his office and asked for an appointment and a MRI. I think he got it at last. Supposedly, someone from neurology is to call me and schedule a nerve conduction test. I'm fairly sure that nothing will show up on the test. The last test that I had, showed no problem but in reality the vertebrae had collapsed onto my spinal cord and I lost the use of my left arm. I'm not sure how, but my body appears to show normal function on tests even when it is damaged.
I was tired, frustrated and hurting by the time I got home yesterday. Discouraged, doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. Today, I felt awful but went and water jogged for a little over an hour. As soon as my head began to hurt I got out of the water and took a shower.
The good news is that I had an appointment with my primary doctor today. I brought him up to speed regarding my neck and migraines. He was able to explain some things to me, which I really appreciated. He also was able to relate some of my other physical issues, back to my issues with the migraines. That was a huge relief. Between my migraines and my allergy problems, I've been miserable for the last three months.
My primary doctor is a wonderful person as well as a great doctor. He took his time talking with me, typed notes into the computer, made suggestions and most of all, was totally supportive. He encouraged me to try to sleep whenever I got a chance until they figure out what the issue is. I'm so thankful to have him as my doctor. At a time when I'm scared, tired and frustrated, he is a true gift.