Doctors don’t take women’s pain seriously. Don’t believe me? See Professor Google. Better yet, here: educate yourselves.
I never knew this was a widespread phenomenon until it happened to me. But after months of steadily increasing pain, after all the doctor’s instances that I was just experiencing !!!muscle aches!!!???, after reaching an inability to work, all the trips to the ER without results, pain to the point of panic attack, constant refusal to be granted an MRI even after I emphatically told my GP “I cannot WALK,” I’m sad to say that I, a grown woman, even had to resort to bringing my FATHER (a manly 54-year-old he took seriously) for him to change his tune and approve my need for leave from work. Listen to this well. (He immediately decided the situation was serious both my enormous relief and righteous indignation. I guess he knew SOMEONE wasn’t getting the answers we needed…)
A few days later, I went over his head and saw a specialist on my own. Only then was I properly diagnosed (by a woman, I might add), only after my condition had deteriorated to the point of utter immobility.
I’ll save you the total drama of diagnosis, injury done me by a chiropractor, and the details of every terrible thing that happened and all the patronizing things that doctor said, but it was exceptionally unpleasant. Downright scary, in fact. Of that, I can assure. When I finally reached the point (quite suddenly in fact) of disability, I was terrified out of my whits. What was I to do, where could I turn? In pain worse than what women who’ve had both describe as worse than labor, there I lay, and the doctor and the hospital had failed me. Acute L5 disk herniation into your spinal column is no joke, friends. I was very fortunate that things didn’t turn out worse than they did.
Thanks to the specialist, more X-rays than I can count, and an eventual MRI, I have some answers. My herniation (the very thing my own doctor refused to believe I had even after it was suggested by both myself and a physical therapist) is as such that the nerves in my spinal column (those that control important things like keeping you from becoming incontinent, for example) are blessedly, blessedly, not impacted aside from painful inflammation/muscular seizing and, because it is a central herniation, my legs are now in proper working order.
The discs in your spine are kind of like jelly donuts; and when the outside cracks and spews out the inner goo, that’s it. The degenerative disk goes dark (unlike those in the image above) and they never regain that fluid cushion. The disc will continue to shrink throughout my life, though what that will mean for my level of pain, I cannot say. It may stabilize and decrease pain, or it may be bone on bone and require intervention. My anxiety doesn’t like it at 3 o’clock in the morning, but it’s reality I’m just going to have to live with. So many people are far worse off, and if this is my thing to deal with, I can live with it. I can deal with this.
I’m much younger than most people who get herniated disks. Due to age and other factors, I’m not a good candidate for surgery at this time. (Hopefully, it recovers to the point that I can go about my life (the specialist feels positive), and hopefully it stays that way so I never need it!) Basically, my back freaked out and seized up because “NO THAT DOES NOT GO THERE DISK; THAT IS THE SPINAL COLUMN THERE ARE IMPORTANT THINGS IN THERE WHAT ARE YOU DOING??” Genetics play a large part in this, as my dad’s family all suffer from disc problems, dislocations, and hyper-mobility. (Read: We’re all too stretchy and things don’t stay where they should. Just ask the wrist currently wrapped and angry at me for blogging.) Having said that, my dad had a similar issue with his L5 disk acutely rupturing at the exact same age I am now, and though he has chronic pain, he can happily live his life. ❤ My daddy has been very understanding and encouraging, and looking to him as an example has given me the drive to know that I WILL get through this. He did it and I will, too.
Positives? I’m walking again. I can sit for a while. I’m slowly getting better. (Not to jinx it as progression is nonlinear.) Yesterday I briefly left my house for pleasure for the first time in at least a month. I managed to blog this post by alternating between sitting in a chair and then lying flat on my back. (Thank you, Lenovo Yoga, for your acrobatics.) It’s getting really uncomfortable, though, so I’m about to end here.
Negatives? Again, nonlinear progress. Atop that, my back is GOING to give out again. It’s basically guaranteed, though whether that’s in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 5 years, the specialist cannot say. To hear my dad tell it, the first few years are the hardest. But, you know, that’s okay. At least I know what is going on. I can live with that.
I’ll end on another positive, though. I’m never going to take walking for granted ever again. Or taking a shower. I nearly cried when I got to take my first shower after being bed bound. ❤ ❤ ❤ Be thankful for those little things, like the ability to get to the living room or sit in a car. (I’m still working on that one.) Honestly, don’t take them for granted. ❤ Husband has been so good and patient with me. (Also, man alive, he’s so strong.)
I was hoping for a more eloquent ending, but there you go. That’s all I have, sorry to say. I’m quite sleepy now and I need to lay down again, so off I scamper. I hadn’t had anything out but scheduled posts in a few weeks, so it was fun to blog again. The email to my giveaway winner goes out tomorrow. I’ll blog when and if I can.
God is so good for taking care of me. I was really struggling before I got answers, but in every dark or scary moment, He never left me alone. And he gave me such wonderful people (Husband, Mom, Dad) to help me through this.
Love to every single one of you beautiful people, anime enthusiasts and otherwise. I truly, truly wish you well. ❤ ❤
Shoujo ❤ ❤ ❤