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View Full Version : Well another fine mess I've gotten myself into



bcipam
12-07-2006, 05:51 PM
So for the last two 1/2 weeks I had some back pain. No biggy. I get it once and awhile. This last Friday I experienced some new pain. It was so intense I had my good buddy Richard take me to Mission Hospital ER. They found nothing wrong but said I should go see my orthopedist. So I saw Dr. Legome on Tuesday. He noticed some weakness in my left leg. I advised him I was experiencing some very intense pain and if it were not for the Vicodin prescribed by the Hospital I would not be able to function. He gave me another prescription, and ordered an MRI.

I had to do the MRI in 2 sessions. I could not lie on the table for long due to the intense, sharp pain in my lower left leg. I had session 2 today and just received a call from Dr Legome. Getting a call from the doctor was scary. They did find something unusual on the MRI. He thought I had a herniated disc. I don't. What I do have is a large cyst on my spine and its impinging on the nerve causing my pain. The only relief is surgery. WHAT?????? Oh no not again! Doctor will try and get it scheduled asap. I see him next week and he'll try and get me into a spinal specialist (Dr. Legome no longer does spine surgeries so he will be referring me out). Most likely I'll be in the hospital a day or two and home for 3 weeks. Yes I've already told my boss. He was very sweet and felt bad for me but I really can't afford to be out of work. I was just out 6 weeks for the cancer surgery. I just pray and hope this solves the back pain and leg problems I've had the last several years. Wish me luck. I'll know more next week. And uh oh yeah, Merry Christmas! 2006 sucked for me! :-(

PS: The only good thing is if I can get the surgery done this year - I have already met my insurance cap and deductible so no out of pocket other than a co-pay. But if it's next year, I'll have to come up with another $3,000 or so. I'm still trying to pay off the cancer surgery!

SadieKate
12-07-2006, 06:10 PM
Oh, sheesh, when it rains it pours. I can feel a little empathy for you. I have a lipoma on my back that is too close to a regular injection site and it's been getting a bit upset so I trotted off to doctor who prodded it . . . and I hit the ceiling. It's right over the sacroiliac joint and has been mimicking sciatica for years. Who knew? I can feel your pain.

My surgeon's appt is Monday. I'll be thinking of you.

bcipam
12-07-2006, 07:04 PM
Oh, sheesh, when it rains it pours. I can feel a little empathy for you. I have a lipoma on my back that is too close to a regular injection site and it's been getting a bit upset so I trotted off to doctor who prodded it . . . and I hit the ceiling. It's right over the sacroiliac joint and has been mimicking sciatica for years. Who knew? I can feel your pain.

My surgeon's appt is Monday. I'll be thinking of you.

Sadie is it the same thing I have? I would like to know what your surgeon has to say about the surgery and the down time after. I cried all the way home from work (surprise I didn't have an accident - I don't remember driving home). I'm not afraid of surgery I just don't need another right now Seems like things are always keeping me from riding. What's up with that???

SadieKate
12-07-2006, 07:29 PM
A lipoma isn't a cyst at all; it is an amorphous blob of unencapsulated fat. My lipoma just happens to be, probably and maybe, in the same place as your cyst. Mine is probably a lot more in the elective surgery status. It doesn't like any pressure on it and I have to locate it for whoever is giving me an injection in the posterior. So I'm just going in for an evaluation whether 1) it is even possible to remove the thing and 2) weigh the risk against the need. I'm nowhere near in the pain you are - at least until my doc pushes on it.:rolleyes:

I have been dropped to my knees by sciatic pain but I learned how to control the pain before I learned that the lipoma could be causing it. Fortunately, I've been pretty pain-free since then. But I have to have the injections the rest of my life. Therefore, I'm just in exploratory mode right now.

We need Lise or Doc. Did I get my description of a lipoma right?

Pam, I know this is incredibly difficult news right on the heel of your cancer surgery but I truly believe things come in cycles. For a while, I was afraid to pick up the phone for the bad news. My mom was in the neuro-surg ICU with a brain tumor (all is well now) when my dad discovered a lump which turned out to be non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, but things work out. Doesn't mean I don't pound my fist on walls at times but then I focus on the light at the end and start putting one foot in front of the other. It's the only way I know how to get through it.

salsabike
12-07-2006, 08:04 PM
Everything SadieKate said.

Jeez, Pam. There are times when life just piles it on. Luckily, there are those other times when we have clear, lovely sailing for a while. Just know that those times will be back too.

LBTC
12-07-2006, 09:57 PM
{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Pam}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I'm sorry you're hurting so and have to go through this again! Trust yourself and the universe, honey. This, as with all things, will pass.

You've been an inspiration to me. Thank you!

ps maybe when you get a chance you can tell me what my scopes will be like. I don't want to think about them until late Feb....about a week before they happen, okay? Is it a deal?

Thanks!

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

Duck on Wheels
12-08-2006, 12:12 AM
My formerly fellow Americans,

You have just GOT to get it together and get yourselves a national health plan! Why on earth should it be the poor working person's tough luck if they happen to get cancer, and then a cyst, or maybe a broken leg, or whatever? In sensible countries your surgery AND your down time from work are covered by national health insurance. Everybody pays over their taxes, and everybody is covered. Companies love it because it means there's a level playing field amongst them and a generally healthy population to recruit from. Too expensive, you say? You're already paying twice what we Scandinavians pay per capita for your health coverage, and not getting half the service we get. And don't think you don't pay for those who aren't covered. One way or another, the bill comes around. For instance in the form of antibiotics-resistant diseases because of all those poor working folks who can't afford to take a whole series of medications, just the first few doses until the symptoms fade and then sell off the rest.

Well, at least your insurance is now covering the direct costs, Pam. Hang in there! Sorry I can't get this pushed through Congress in time for your upcoming surgery. I don't even have a vote back in California any more.

bcipam
12-08-2006, 04:42 AM
I have to say I am fortunate to have the insurance I do. My cancer surgery costs were close to $100,000 and I will be paying something less than $3,000 I had the best of care at Mission Hospital, was treated royalty. Because of my insurance now, I will no doubt be able to expediate this surgery in order to have it done this year (and save me money). I'm not knocking a National plan, I hate to think people are not covered for this sort of thing but I can't imagine a National plan will be better than what I have.

I know this debate can go on and on. Frankly right now I am just so depressed about having surgery and another hosptial stay, and being down off by bike I don't want to think about it. The tears haven't stopped. And this has been a particularly sucky year for me. So much has happened between recovering from my collarbone surgery late 2005, having to move out of the house I was sharing with a roommate because he got a girlfriend and moved her in without asking me, financial issues, lost of a long time girlfriend (no she didn't die - our friendship ended for Inguess a million reasons done of which I know), the cancer, the betrayal of my friendship by a man I thought cared for me, and now this. Boy I can't wait for 2007!

Thanks for the advice you all about just getting through this. The time will pass soon enough and plus, maybe all the back and leg pain I've had (and thought was due to an old back) will go away. I can't tell you tha last time I had a really good nights sleep. I usually woke up several times due to back or leg pain. Of course right now the Vicodin is helping. Like I said, I can see why folks gets addicted to pain killers. My body usually has tons of aches and pains. Not right now! Oh Vicodin, sweet Vicodin! ;)

spokewench
12-08-2006, 05:28 AM
Oh No! Pam I just can't believe it - more surgery! I wish I could make it go away but I can't. So, here's wishing you a quick surgery, a fast recovery and as always healing thoughts. I know it is incredibly hard to keep up the faith, but hang in there, you'll have the surgery, and get better quick. At least you can look forward to no pain after the surgery!

Xrayted
12-08-2006, 07:00 AM
Wow, Pam. I agree, you've certainly had enough happen to you this year. I'm sending you a big hug from the east coast hon.
Yeah, I think you got it right SK. I learned in school that a lipoma is a fatty tumor under the skin. They don't usually remove them unless they create pain. Otherwise, it's considered a cosmetic type of surgery. There usually aren't easily definable edges to these so even if they are removed, they can come back. They typically would have to take extra tissue around it to make sure they got it all.
Now cycts are a bit different and that's good news. They have definable edges. They are non-cancerous and have a kind of sack-like membrane around them. When they go to remove them, they know they've got it all. So Pam, if you're gonna have to have something there, that would be my choice I guess. Easier to deal with.
I hope for your physical as well as financial well being that they can get in there this year yet and take care of it. Keep pushing those docs. There is always OR time open. Make them work for that holiday break!

Good luck to you dear and let us know what's going on. Take care.

-X.

Thistle
12-08-2006, 12:21 PM
Pam that just sucks :( I am so sorry to hear you have to do the whole surgery/hospital thing again. Hugs and hopes that this is the last one for a loooooong time, and that it all goes as well as it possibly can.

SadieKate
12-08-2006, 12:40 PM
My body usually has tons of aches and pains. Not right now! Oh Vicodin, sweet Vicodin! ;)Pam, here's a positive thought for you. Vicodin wires me. Makes me spin somewhat like epinephrine in Sudafed. The dentist gave it to me so I could get through the night to a root canal the next day. Instead, I arrived at the endodontists with no sleep for 2 days, in cold sweats and nearly throwing up from the pain. The endo was being a good doc and kept trying to talk to me about what he was doing, but once he'd drilled through the crown and released the pressure, I asked him if he could be quiet so I could sleep.:p

See? Small things to be grateful for.

bcipam
12-08-2006, 01:28 PM
I've always had mixed reactions from taking VIcodin. I agree - it also wires me out (at work I'm just buzzing along - I think my typing is all weird however) but then it also lets me sleep. Go figure???

Trekhawk
12-08-2006, 01:43 PM
Oh Pam that is terrible news. Keep your chin up and just think after all of the crap you have had to deal with in 2006 07 will be smooth sailing.

Feel free to PM me anytime if you need to vent.:)

mimitabby
12-08-2006, 01:51 PM
My formerly fellow Americans,

You have just GOT to get it together and get yourselves a national health plan! Why on earth should it be the poor working person's tough luck if they happen to get cancer, and then a cyst, or maybe a broken leg, or whatever? In sensible countries your surgery AND your down time from work are covered by national health insurance. Everybody pays over their taxes, and everybody is covered. Companies love it because it means there's a level playing field amongst them and a generally healthy population to recruit from. Too expensive, you say? You're already paying twice what we Scandinavians pay per capita for your health coverage, and not getting half the service we get. And don't think you don't pay for those who aren't covered. One way or another, the bill comes around. For instance in the form of antibiotics-resistant diseases because of all those poor working folks who can't afford to take a whole series of medications, just the first few doses until the symptoms fade and then sell off the rest.

Well, at least your insurance is now covering the direct costs, Pam. Hang in there! Sorry I can't get this pushed through Congress in time for your upcoming surgery. I don't even have a vote back in California any more.

Boy, you have got that right. I am always worried about my sons who alternately do not have insurance (right now one does the other doesn't)
what if something HAPPENS to them??!?

eclectic
12-08-2006, 02:23 PM
{{{{{Oh BCIPAM}}}}} sometimes life really sucks :(

I hope they can get you in before the end of the year - deductibles really suck too.

Take care of you and prayers that all turns out timely and well

Eclectic

Bikingmomof3
12-09-2006, 06:33 PM
I am just now seeing this. ((((((((((Pam))))))))))))) My continues prayers!

bcipam
12-10-2006, 08:32 AM
Jen - how are you doing?

Bikingmomof3
12-10-2006, 09:59 AM
I am going to live, I think. Thank you for asking. :) I am far more concerned about you! How are you today? When can you get in? What can I do to help? I have bene meaning to tell you how much I love your avatar. :D

margo49
12-11-2006, 07:08 AM
Everything SadieKate said.

Jeez, Pam. There are times when life just piles it on. Luckily, there are those other times when we have clear, lovely sailing for a while. Just know that those times will be back too.

What Salsa and SK sed too
Live your life 1/4 of an hour at a time till things improve - you can stand anything physical or mental for 15 minutes.

In my thoughts and prayers (a local call from here!)

bcipam
12-11-2006, 09:33 AM
Just an update... I rode my bike Saturday. I felt sluggish and was worried I would have some pain, but although I'm clearly out of shape since my surgery, I did OK. We did a relatively flat 30 miles with one big hill. I was slow up the hill but was able to crank up it.

But the good news was after the ride, I felt like well normal. My leg didn't hurt. I went to Michaels and bought some craft stuff, I did the grocery shopping, got home, cleaned house, worked in the yard, took stuff out to the garage, cleaned my bike, worked on Christmas cards, did laundry and finally around 6p, took my shower and hit the couch. I was tired, but a good tired.

Sunday was also a good day and so its today. My leg is numb but not aching. I'm going to try and wean myself off the Vicodin and hopefully not have to take any starting today. It's made me all constipated with is another issue I have to deal with, but that I can deal with.

I see the doctor tomorrow to discuss the MRI and his findings and with the surgeon later this week. I'll update once I know more. Thanks for all the HUGS, they keep me warm and fuzzy inside!!! :)

Triskeliongirl
12-11-2006, 09:56 AM
I am glad to hear you had a good weekend. Hang in there and keep us posted how the visit goes tomorrow. {{{HUGS}}}

Bikingmomof3
12-11-2006, 10:47 AM
I am pleased to hear your weekend went well. :) Keep us updatted on what the doctors say.

Ninabike
12-11-2006, 04:33 PM
Hey Pam, I'm so glad you went riding. There's something about "the bike" that takes everything else away.

Nina

Aggie_Ama
12-11-2006, 08:32 PM
Boy, you have got that right. I am always worried about my sons who alternately do not have insurance (right now one does the other doesn't)
what if something HAPPENS to them??!?


Not to threadjack- Mimi I worry about my friends who think health insurance is an unnecessary expense. They can afford it, but cut it to have extra disposable income. I think about my DH who seemed very healthy and had only been to the doctor one time in the past two years, until he spent 6 days in the hospital. Turns out my "healthy" DH has Crohn's disease and currently goes to the doctor once a month. Without insurance we would have a $30k+ hospital bill and could not afford the $8,000 IV therapy that his doctors feel is keeping him off the operating table. I may sound like a nag, but all my friends have received my $.02 worth! <<Off my soapbox>>

Pam- I am so sorry you are enduing more discomfort. It is great your doctor is trying to get you in before the new year! ((HUGS))

bcipam
12-12-2006, 01:14 PM
I met with Dr. Legome and we went over the MRI results. It is very clear at about L1-L3, maybe even before that at the thoracic level, I have a cyst; quite a large one (it covers 3 vertebrae). It's funny, I've always known something was there. I can feel it. I just didn't know what it was.

Dr. states it's benign and unless it causes me problems does not need removal. So here's the bad news... the cyst is not causing me the pain and leg weakness. Very clearly starting about L3 my back is arthritic. The vertebrae are all gnarly and spikey looking. Starting at L3 and difinitely worsening at L5, the spinal canal is narrowed (stenosis) due to the arthritis. This narrowing is cutting into the spinal cord causing the pain and the leg weakness. Dr. thinks the leg is permanently damaged and will remain weak, just getting worse with time.

Right now he wants me to continue taking the pain medication and then after the Holiday I go back and we assess the options. He first wants to try an epidural cortisone injection, under a hosptial setting to see if that doesn't give me some relief and eventally we are talking surgery. Much worse surgery than if it were just the cyst. I'll worry about that when it happens. Dr. said things like bike riding are good for my back since it causes me to flex and stretch it out so I plan on riding as much as possible. I'm still trying to come back from the cancer surgery.

Good news for work - means I won't be taking any significant time off for awhile (whew) and things will be OK so I can enjoy Christmas without being flat on my back.

Bikingmomof3
12-12-2006, 02:02 PM
((((Pam)))),
I am very glad the cyst is benign. :) I am terribly sorry to hear the weakness may forever stay and possibly get worse. Keep recovering from your first sugery and thank goodness you are able to bike. Did he mention other things to help strengthen your bones? My mother has severe arthritis in her back. I tried to get her to try yoga or swimming. She does walk, which is good. Healing prayers are being sent your way.

mimitabby
12-12-2006, 02:07 PM
what grreat news, your Dr wants you to RIDE!
Hope you heal on your own.. core exercises?

good luck.

bcipam
12-12-2006, 02:25 PM
I think I am going to look into starting yoga classes. The stretching and developing core muscles should be helpful. I think hiking/walking it out for awhile as it irritants the stenosis. But I can ride and do spin classes! Yeah!

snapdragen
12-12-2006, 03:47 PM
Pam - check into Pilates too, that will help strengthen the core and surrounding muscles. Glad you've dodged the surgery bullet this time!

light_sabe_r
12-12-2006, 05:27 PM
A lipoma isn't a cyst at all; it is an amorphous blob of unencapsulated fat.
We need Lise or Doc. Did I get my description of a lipoma right?



I may not be Lise or Doc, But Yes you did get the description right. I've the pleasure of growing fat from a lipoma come through our fat research lab. (Don't all get grossed out at once. Every biologist has to make her living somehow)

Looks the same as any other fat. it's NOT malignant. It will grow out but will not invade like cancer.

the cells just undergo mitosis a lot more than usual is all. They're NOT immortal like cancer cells



bcipam!

That's wonderful news about the cyst! Not so wonderful news about arthritis... But more than wonderful news about being encouraged to ride! YAY FOR YOU!

Triskeliongirl
12-13-2006, 07:24 AM
You might ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist (which your insurance then might pay for) who can design an exercise program for you. After my cycling accident I had a problem with my SI joint and general back weakness. The PT gave me a back strengthening program which I found more helpful than general yoga/pilates classes since due to the nature of my injuries not all exercises one might do in a gym or yoga class were appropriate. At her suggestion, I purchased a balance ball which came with a workout DVD and found that also did wonders for my back and core, and can be done in the convenience of your own home. Good luck with healing. At least you can still ride, and at least surgery is off the table right now. I think eating healthy food and doing the right exercise (i.e. what your med experts say is safe) will be good for your to heal, and perhaps slow the progression of your arthritis. Perhaps others with more experience in this area can chime in. Healing thoughts are going your way!

mimitabby
12-13-2006, 08:05 AM
oh gawd,
i had a lipoma for almost 20 years right on my spine. finally it started getting so big that it was showing.. so i went to a surgeon and had it cut out.
It was the noisiest operation. I kept cracking jokes because of all the noise
the surgeon was making cutting through gristle. "I'm a hen that would take hours to cook, talk about tough!"
He wasn't amused. he said i shouldn't have waited so long (and contradicted the doctor that said to wait)

Listen to Triskelion girl, she's right. They are finding that people recover from all sorts of back injuries on their own. Exercise with a focus on posture and core training might be all you need. As a bicyclist, you are already dedicated to fitness, so you can heal yourself.

Trekhawk
12-13-2006, 08:07 AM
Pam - I just read your post and Im so pleased for you that the cyst is benign but sorry to hear about your back problems.

Pilates and Yoga sound like great ideas and Im so happy that riding is a good thing for you.

Take Care

Leslie:)