A few weeks back I went for an MRI. It was a surreal experience. You are basically sent, lying down, into a brightly lit cylinder. Before going in you are given ear protection and a panic button. The panic button is there because the cylinder you are slid into isn’t that much bigger than you are and it could feel claustrophobic. As I decided to close my eyes and keep them closed throughout the procedure, I had no idea how close the ‘ceiling’ was until the end. That was a smart move! My scan took about half an hour, in batches of four – five minute scans. Each one was very noisy, with a series of clicks, whirs and bangs and in between each the radiographer reassuringly told me what would happen next.
The results were sent to my orthopaedic consultant and I finally met with him today. The verdict is that I have Spondylosis of the lumbar spine, basically arthritis in my lower back. The third and fourth vertebrae have worn out and the disc between them is bulging out on the left side, pushing against nerves and causing pain in my leg. I got to see my body cut crossways and lengthways – really amazing to see!
The upshot is that I need surgery on my spine. My consultant is referring me for surgery today, in fact he was doing it when I left, and I will have to travel to Edinburgh Western General for treatment. I have no idea how soon that will be and I’m prepared for a long wait, such is the NHS. The good news is that the surgery isn’t as major as it used to be and I should only be off my feet for a few days. Also the MRI showed that the rest of my spine is in perfect condition, even more reason to have the surgery and get on with the rest of my life!
So, that’s where I’m at. After a whole year of constant pain I’m looking at a few more months and then surgery. After that I don’t know if my bursitis will clear up on its own or if I’ll need a second surgery for that. I’ll speak to the surgeon when I go to Edinburgh. I suspect they’ll do the spinal surgery and then see how that effects everything else.
The consultant could not tell me what caused this. Spondylosis is a wear and tear disease. I’ve had back problems since I was 16, so this is probably just something that was bound to happen. It could be that the running aggravated it, it could be that the running held it at bay as I lost weight and gained stability in my core – who’s to know?
I actually feel better knowing what is causing the problem. I feel better knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit surgery. I also feel better that, at last, I have proof that I’m not faking it, there is really something seriously wrong. I can actually use my mobility scooter and not feel a total fraud!