SCARIER Than Halloween

DSC_0154So this is my spine.
You might have to look closely to see it.
David took the picture for me in our bathroom Thursday night.
I had him take it because,  earlier that day, at our weekly session,  I had asked the very gifted woman who works with such care on helping strengthen the muscles that hold me upright to do something:
I had asked her to draw…
in white chalk on my brown shirt…
where the ‘buttons’ of my backbone were.
This she did and here are the results. This picture below is a close-up.
The lateral line is my braline.

If she had kept going and drawn the ribs too, we could all see that I’m listing sharply, like the Titanic, 30 minutes after impact. 

In the last few days I’ve been fixing to blog light-heartedly about this scoliosis that has so recently expressed itself in my body, even though one is apparently born with the condition. But then, just now,  when our ridiculously late Saturday mail finally came and I saw that Mass General had sent me  the images on CD of the MRI they did of my lower back, my comic impulse kind of drained away.

The hospital failed to include any narrative about my case  – I will have to ask my PCP for that on Monday – but the images are pretty horrifying if I’m reading them right.

The timing is funny because just yesterday Dr. Scott Fuller, the wonderful chiropractor I see every other week, took a notion all on his own to draw a sketch of my back,  based on his X-rays, and mail it to me.

2014-11-01 09.06.18
I consider it such a kindness that he would do this for me. I have wanted so much to be able to really picture what was happening in there in there, so I could understand where the pain was coming from and maybe help alleviate it. 
Now I have these official images and I’m feeling more alarmed. It’s what behind the little beaded curtain that’s significant. And the curve looks different because this ‘picture’ is taken from the back and Dr. Fuller’s was looking at me from the front.
2014-11-01 16.32.57

My lumbar spine looks like the tail of a lobster! Now I just want to SEE Dr. Fuller, I just want to SEE Dr. Bennett and get somebody to explain what I’m looking at. It’s hard to be alone with pain at night, but in the daytime at least it’s nice to have some other kind humans willing to help shed some light on what’s going on in your little insides. I don’t feel hurt or mad; I don’t feel like my body betrayed me – nothing like that. I just want to befriend this faithful servant who has done my bidding so uncomplainingly all these years..

13 thoughts on “SCARIER Than Halloween

  1. Yes, daytime is a much better time when there are worries. Other people, daylight, a sense of greater mastery…all of those are comforts. I used to welcome night because I was a fabulously sound sleeper. Now, aging seems to have removed that warm comfort and if I wake, every anxious thought sets up shop. This is all to say that, if it helps, Terry, when you’re lying awake with worries about what’s happening and what’s ahead, know that if I’m awake, I’ll be sending thoughts to you. You won’t be alone in the night.

  2. Praying, Terry, although that seems like so little know that it isn’t. Peace, comfort and love while allowing people to surround YOU with what you have always given out. Thanks for your candidness.

    1. I never got a chance to respond to what you said about altered activity the other day dear friend. What people did I ever do to deserve someone like you so near and yet so far !

  3. Terry, I wish this wasn’t so. It is much harder in the dark for sure. I wonder if it was beginning way back when you gave up doing massage therapy because of the pain. Praying for the best possible outcome for you. With love, Andrea

  4. I have the X-rays taken of my cervical column back in 1990 when I was told I would be paralyzed from the neck down because of disc degeneration. I am going to throw those out now; they have copies at the lab and if they took X-rays now, they would probably look quite different. My Scott had an MRI last week and his pain appears to be caused by an inpinged nerve but they don’t know where yet. Our bodies are marvelous, complicated things.

    1. Yes they are Andrea and weren’t they just wrong about you being paralyzed! You are going strong and are such an inspiration to the rest of us! I hope your boy comes out okay…

  5. Your chiropractor didn’t draw the disks between your vertebrae, Ter. The corners of L3 & 4 are locked in combat. The disk between them must be in distress. In a lot of pain, an MRI in ’01 showed severe degenerative cervical and lumbar disks for me. Surgery was recommended. Instead I found a non invasive orthopedic doc who gave me a series of exercises, isometric for the neck and various floor moves and free weights for the lower back. After a few months, I was pain free with no physical limitations. These exercises strengthen the muscles around the spinal column, supporting it well. Have you tried physical therapy?

  6. I should tell you that those exercises – I do them about 5 or 6 times a week. Too many missed days and they start to lose their strength.

  7. Terry,
    Obviously the beaded lines are scales so the Dr. can measure left / right and up/down to determine your pain area. Sorry, I can’t read the MRI nor Kathy. As you know the Radiologist writes the report and the back specialists reads between the lines. Yes, your night friend turned into your enemy and “sleep” doesn’t want to “slow dance” with you anymore.

    Have you noticed negative information comes at the beginning of weekends and answers have to wait till Monday’s. This is when a weekend turns into week if not a month. Looking for some good tonight, turning the clock back an hour eliminates one torturous hour and closer to Monday’s call. No, that wasn’t much help.

    My only advice is make numerous copies of the CD. Don’t believe the doctor can pull it up on the network when you go to see him and get your own copies of readings and carry them. Take both with you when you travel. That’s your present baseline for future readings.

    Don’t listen or focus to their “isn’t any cure”. You want to know how to cope with this and get through everyday. You will find part of that answer yourself. “The strength is within” and that is what will get you to Monday.

    When everyone is asleep tonight, your not really alone, talk to your mother, she is always awake to help you.

    Your in my thoughts too.

  8. I had disc problems (L-4 and L5) back in the 80’s, so I feel your pain Terry. I wish the marvels of modern science could just put you in an alignment machine and you’d be as right as rain in a few minutes. Alas, this isn’t Star Trek, so all I can do is wish the best for you my friend.
    You are a strong person ‘T’, but the human body can take only so much. Do what you need to do to get well. I’m thinking……and pulling for you buddy!

    1. Nobody can strengthen those muscles for you. Only your own exertion with the right regimen can do that.

  9. I’ve been away from your site for months, but felt the need to check in and am so sorry that you are struggling with ongoing pain. Sending thoughts, prayers and HUGS, as well as good luck wishes for your interactions with doctors and their staff today. Your courage and determined spirit continue to inspire me and I am more grateful than I can express …

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