Tag Archives: MRI

MRI Results Are In!- SOL#16

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Earlier this week I had an MRI on my back. I’d been having some acute back and leg pain lately, which was more than the normal dull pain I have, so I went to get it checked out. In my initial evaluation, the doctor thought it was nerve damage and ordered an MRI to check it out. Well, the results are in!

The good news is that the damage is not new. It’s all old damage that’s been there a while. Most of it, coincidentally, is congenital and nothing I did caused it. The results are lengthy, and I can’t pronounce or defineย most of the words, but I can tell you that the words “mild” or “no evidence of” are in front of all of those big, scary words. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have scoliosis, which I’ve known about for 20 years, which has contributed to the wearing down of my vertebrae. Everyone’s born with perfectly squared vertebrae (I’m speaking in 2D terms, I know), but several of my lumbar vertebrae look like someone squished the square in on all sides, the result resembling more of a square drawn by a four-year-old. In addition to the worn down vertebrae, I found out that I’m part of the small percentage of the population (less than 10%) who has 6 lumbar vertebrae instead of the normal 5. Again, I was born that way. I don’t quite understand how that correlates to my back pain, but apparently it causes issues. Then there’s the issue with the opening containing my nerves being smaller than normal, causing pressure to the nerve root. This is what’s causing the pain in my left leg and foot.

The good news in all this is that there isn’t anything majorly wrong that would require surgery. Whew! We are going to continue with the physiotherapy and increase the amount of exercise I do. At my PT appointment this weekend, my third one since I started, my therapist said that the pain has decreased and he’s noticed some improvements. Hooray! Thanks for all the prayers and kind words!

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From Inside The Machine- SOL #11

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Have you ever had an MRI? Until today, I hadn’t either. To be honest, I don’t even know what MRI stands for. All I know is it’s a machine that sees inside your body. And I’ve heard that it can make people freak out. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one on Grey’s Anatomy before.

If you know me, or if you’ve read my blog lately, then you know I’ve had some problems with my back recently (and chronically). When I went in last week, the doctor ordered an MRI to see the extent of the nerve damage on my left side. Today was the day. In honor of my MRI, here’s a firsthand account of what it’s like inside the machine.

When I first arrived, I had to fill out a questionnaire asking me things like illnesses, surgeries, etc. that I’ve had, whether I have any metal inside my body (i.e. pins, plates, pacemaker, etc.), and whether I’ve ever suffered from claustrophobia before. Apparently people get really freaked out inside the MRI machine. Luckily, I’m not afraid of small spaces. ๐Ÿ™‚ Following the questionnaire, I was led to a changing room where I had to remove all clothing, jewelry, etc. except for my undies. Wearing only a robe and pink crocs (ugh!), I was then ushered into the MRI room.

The first thing I noticed was the danger sign at the entrance. Pretty sure prolonged exposure to this machine can’t be good for you. Once I entered the room, I realized it was freezing! Not to worry, the nurse said, I’d have a blanket during the scan. The MRI machine looks like a white space ship/tunnel thing. It’s huge and nearly fills up the room! Climbing the stairs, I got up onto the “bed,” which is essentially a narrow table with an area at the end designed to hold your head in place. I laid down, and the nice nurse covered me with a blanket. Due to the apparent noise level I was about to encounter, I was given earplugs. In case of emergency (i.e. a freak out), I was instructed to hold a ball attached to a string. If I got scared or felt like I needed out immediately, I was to push the ball. Now I was ready to go into the space ship.

The MRI would take about 15 minutes I was told. During this time, I was not allowed to move a muscle, otherwise it would mess up the scan. The nurse pushed a button, and I slid slowly backwards until I was completely encased in the white tunnel. Closing my eyes, I listened to the sounds. Boy were they loud! I’m thankful I was given earplugs. I can’t imagine what it would have sounded like without them! At first, it sounded like sirens. You know the ones, where the ambulance tries to get you to move out of the way so they can get by. Following that, it sounded like I was in a club, listening to a trendy new techno jam. There was even a point where the table began to shake. I’m not sure if it was intentional or a byproduct of the loud noises emanating from the machine.

All in all, the experience was not exactly what I expected. I kind of thought I’d be freaked out or that the machine would do some crazy twists and turns with me inside it. It was a bit of a let down. I did get to see the scans of my bones…pretty cool! I’ve got an appointment on Friday to find out the results. Fingers crossed for good news! ๐Ÿ™‚

In case you’re interested…here’s a picture of my insides!
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Good News and Bad News- SOL #4

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For the past two weeks, I’ve been in pain. It started in my back, but then about a week ago, it traveled to my foot. What’s weird is that it’s only on my left side. Yesterday and today were pretty unbearable, so I decided it was time to see the doctor to figure out what’s going on.

Now, I’m no stranger to back pain. For nearly 20 years, I’ve experienced lower back pain (and I’m only 32!), but for the most part, it’s been a manageable kind of pain. I don’t regularly take pain killers, and I don’t normally complain about it. Quite frankly, it’s just a part of my life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone deals with this. For some reason, however, the pain has become pretty severe since February 22nd. Ever since the pain traveled down to my foot, I’ve acquired a noticeable limp, and I have not able to get comfortable whenever sitting, standing, or lying down (which is pretty much all the time). After being brought to tears today, I decided it was time.

Dr. Kyoko, the eccentric doctor with the blue hair, was very thorough. I spent two hours at the doctor’s office today getting all manner of tests, discussing my medical history as it pertains to my back pain, and even getting a referral to a physiotherapist. Through our discussions and tests, I came to realize that when people (frequently, and for as long as I can remember) ask me if I’m OK because I appear to be limping, it’s not just the way I walk (as I always respond). It’s due to the fact that I’ve been dealing with nerve damage for so long, that I’ve overcompensated by putting my weight on my right leg. There’s actually a 1.5cm difference in circumference between my left and right legs, which apparently is uncommon. My left leg has some muscle atrophy due to this issue.

The good news is that I have a diagnosis and an initial treatment plan. My vertebrae in my lower back are pressing on my nerves, causing nerve damage, pain, and tenderness on my left side. The doctor ordered an MRI to assess how much damage is actually there, but we are waiting on the insurance to approve it. I’ve been approved to start physical therapy to help alleviate the pain and strengthen my left side, and I’m planning on starting this as soon as possible.

The bad news is that we don’t know yet how extensive the damage is to my nerves. Considering that I’ve had pain for so long, it’s likely that I’ve done some major damage. Surgery was mentioned, but only as a last resort. Some other not so great news is that no matter which course of treatment, from physical therapy to surgery, it is highly unlikely that the pain will ever completely go away. What we’re hoping for is to minimize the pain and reduce the pressure on the nerves, resulting in a more normal life. Sheesh…I sound like an old person!

I’m a little worried about what the MRI will show, but I’m more relieved because now I can start to treat it and alleviate some of this pain. Positive thoughts for promising results! ๐Ÿ™‚