Today I had two appointments that I pretty much blew off as exams that my primary care doctor needed to check off but turns out they might just be the best answers I get out of this trip.
I can never remember what I told you verses my other girlfriends or my mom so excuse me if I’m repeating myself, but this past year I’ve had a few symptoms that have really made life tough. They didn’t come & go like the usual joint pain, fatigue or fever flares. One, which is by far the most intrusive in my life, has been my lower back pain that shoots into my hips & down my left leg. My pain management doctor ordered an MRI months ago but nothing on it showed why I was having this pain. There was a small herniation & a few degenerative discs & since those were the only findings my doctors recommended treating those with their usual back protocol in hopes that it would somehow solve the pain. (Normally this type of pain is nerve related but the MRI showed nothing pressing on the sciatic nerve) First was an epidural injection with the devil in a bottle, Prednisone. When that gave no relief they moved me on to radio frequency where they actually burn the nerve on the suspected trouble making joint, and in between those treatments were a few months of trying a bazillion different pain medications that gave me side effects which ranged from twitching to pooch belly constipation.
After today I finally know the reason none of those treatments worked. The problem was never my discs or aggravation of my sciatic nerve. My problem was my crotch.
Hehe, do I have your attention now?
Let me back up…a few of my symptoms that I mentioned to the Mayo primary doctor were that sometimes I get horrendous pelvic pain, it’s comes on quick & goes away just as randomly. Also this past year peeing is, well, harder than it should be. I had an entire urologist workup in the past which showed nothing & yet the problem remained. I’m guessing this was why she wanted me to see the Mayo gynecologist, and guess what that lovely woman found within 2 minutes of examining me? I have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.
Your pelvic floor is kind of like your house’s foundation. It’s a bunch of muscles that run from your front to your back & they hold everything in place. Turns out mine are in constant spasm. When those muscles are spasming they cant’ relax enough to start a stream of urine, at least not without a heck of a lot of effort, also when they’re all freaking out it causes constipation, pain during sex & a host of other problems. The gynecologist started telling me about causes of PFD…a really bad bladder infection or trauma are usually the culprit. Neither of which related to me, I asked her if any diseases are associated with it, without missing a beat she answered, “Fibromyalgia.”
“Oh, well I have that.”
At this point it’s only halfway through the day & I’m already feeling pretty darn overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with relief that if PFD is the source of my pain than a solution could be just around the corner & also pretty defeated that once again Fibromyalgia is sneakily wreaking havoc. You know, I’m also kind of pissed that no one picked up on it sooner but whatever, gotta let that one go.
Next up on the grind was an appointment with a ‘doctor of physical motion’, I’m still not entirely sure what his specialty includes but my impression is he recognizes when pain is a result of your body not moving the way it’s designed to. Dr. Rizzo was a very nice but very to the point man. He pulled up my MRI (the one my local doctor had done) & was able to show me yet another reason my back hurt. For those of you who are medical professionals please excuse my poor regurgitation of all your jargon. On the outside of your spine there are some small, finger looking muscles that go up & down your back. Not your big back muscles, these guys kind of nestle underneath. My MRI shows that at the top of my back these muscles are nice & plump, when you get a little lower however they start to look a little rough. I believe the term is ‘muscle atrophy’. When those wimpy little muscles aren’t pulling their weight everything starts get out of whack, on the other side of those muscles are tiny little nerves that run impulses up & down your back…mine are pissed. He explained how my wimpy muscles & my crooked pelvic floor muscles are related in throwing everything off kilter, even as I’m trying to explain it to you I’m really not exactly sure how it all works but I do know this, it can be fixed with physical therapy. About 4 months is his guess before I should expect to see results.
When my Dad & I asked what causes muscles to atrophy in a young, relatively active person he gave a few different diseases. Guess what one was? Fibromyalgia.
Between these two visits just stick a fork in me…I’m done.
I really thought that Rheumotolgy would be where I’d get my big answers but after today I’m wondering, could all of my problems really be from the Fibro? I can’t really explain why but I hope not. Fibromyalia is such a vague, confusing syndrome…my rheumotologist always said she thought it was secondary to some bigger problem I had but at that point it was the only thing identifiable. For the last year I’ve been waiting to know what that ‘big thing’ was & that it wasn’t just the boogey man.
Two more days to go, Rheumotology & Autonomic Testing, if they don’t show some unturned stone than I think this whole trip will be learning that a problem I already knew I had, had gotten out of control.