Soooo…where do I start?
First of all, I got the X-ray results from my NP after complaining about lower back pain and almost coughing up a lung in her office. The X-ray of my lower back did not show anything, but the chest X-ray revealed that I have mild scoliosis in my upper back. They weren’t even looking for that. What the…
Anyway, I was referred to a neurosurgeon for further evaluation. She saw the scoliosis and pointed it out to me on the X-ray. She also said it was mild, and you can see a subtle bend.
My older sister has the same condition, but hers was discovered when she was a teen.
Since I was still having lower back pain, she ordered an MRI, which I almost fell asleep on thanks to the smooth jazz coming through the headphones, but I digress.
Well, it turns out that in addition to mild scoliosis, I also have lumbosacral spondylosis without myelopathy. In English, that means that I have arthritis in my lower spine. Two of the vertebrae down there have bone spurs that are compressing against my nerves, which explains the peripheral neuropathy in my feet and occasionally my legs. The neurosurgeon told me the following:
No heavy lifting – nothing over 15 pounds. There goes my dream of being Wonder Woman.
Start light exercise such as walking, yoga and water aerobics to improve my symptoms. I can do the walking since that’s free, but the other stuff will have to wait until I have some money. Well, I can go on YouTube for the yoga for a while. I used to yoga a few years ago, so I can add that back to my list of favorite things.
Physical therapy. I start that next week. This will be my second time, the first being for my neck and shoulders to help with my migraines, so let’s see how this goes.
Guess what? Once again, my older sister has the same thing. I’m surprised she hasn’t yelled, “STOP COPYING ME!”
Now that I confirmed that my back is raggedy, my next step was to follow up with the rheumatologist I saw a month ago about Sjogren’s syndrome showing up in my blood work. She said that I tested negative on the blood work she sent to the Mayo Clinic, so she doesn’t believe that I have an autoimmune disease. Huh?
Well, at least I still got the shot for bursitis in my other hip. Maybe I can walk kind of evenly when the meds kick in.
I belong to a few Sjogren’s groups on Facebook, and many of them said that their results came back negative in a blood test only to later show up as positive in a different test. I’m not fully convinced that I should assume that the previous results meant a false positive, so she said she would refer me to an ENT for a possible lip biopsy. I am also considering a second opinion as well since I was told by other group members that other tests are available. Autoimmune disease is nothing to play with, so I would rather be safe than sorry and exhaust all avenues before assuming that I feel like crap for other reasons only (depression, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc.).
Well, I am thoroughly confused at the moment, but the journey continues. Maybe I’ll get a definite answer at some point as to why all of this is happening to me (other than aging), but it looks like it will take a little longer to get to the bottom of things.