Myelomalacia

So after my wonderful trip to the Emerald City, I was finally granted the MRI from the Insurance companies.

For the first time they actually had to redo a set of images as the myoclonus even in its tamest tends to give me trembles. While I wasn’t expecting the worst, I knew it was the best. Sure enough C3/C4 finally went from bulge a year ago to blown. Something I expected… just not this soon. What was worse is the damage got its label as a myelomalacia at C6 – and by all accounts it not good – it’s essentially a piece of cord that’s essentially short circuiting constantly on hyper drive.

This explains my extreme fatigue and pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (not that I’d have one anyways, just not my cup of tea), the myoclonus jerks and trembling hands that reminds me of my ex husbands late great aunts bout with Parkinson’s, my bladder issues, all of my clumsiness and inability to walk unassisted by a cane to keep the stability and prevent as many falls as I can.

Although the wizard remains optimistic as it hasn’t spread, story is not progressive as of yet, and hopefully it will remain that way, as it’s kept in the back of my head that myelomalcias can ascend upwards, so in essence once it hits C3/C4 it will paralyze my diaphragm and I will be unable to breathe on my own. While no new compressions, c3/c4 herniation is touching the outside sac that the spinal cord resides in, as well in part of my fusion.

So essentially squeaking by the neurosurgeons table for now. Both the neurologist and the spinal pain management doctor recommended to go see the neurosurgeon, which I’m really not inclined to do until we get closer to that, just yet anyway. If there isn’t compression he won’t want to operate and I’m not going to waste that talented mans time who is well known in the neurosurgeon community here, in Chicagoland.

But it would be wrong to admit that the fact C3/C4 has finally blown and is still quite possible to compress the spinal cord is not exactly giving me the warm fuzzy feeling. I keep thinking stable is good. I can live with a stable myelomalcia, and I can live with additional fusions if and when the time comes.

Until that day I will continue to go to my various physical therapy, my counseling to keep my head on straight, along with my meditation that I’ve been slacking on, sticking to a strict medication schedule (Currently managing 11 prescriptions as of today) and while I’m sure I will fall short of all my New Years goals due to set back after set back, I’m still hoping to finish a quilt, a craft that I had just started to getting into before the house landed in Oz.

That is my hope. And hope is all I have that can’t be taken away, even though its simply not possible to have some days that it feels horribly hopeless being trapped in a body that you no longer have full control of, but I will continue to wrestle those days as they come along.

I found this on YouTube and if you’re interested on learning more, take a peek at this quick video.

Feel My Pain – Myelomalacia

We’re Off To See The Wizard – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

So unfortunately this Dorothy with her Ruby Red cane is going to see the wizard (aka the Neurologist) tomorrow as I've noticed some changes in my condition since my last bathroom spill in the bathroom which was over 2 months ago.

To be fair, Glenda (My Primary Doctor), wanted me to get another MRI since it had been 10 months since my last one. And wouldn't you know it, my insurance company aka Flying Monkeys, said I didn't qualify and Glenda told me to go see the Wizard because he would have more pull with those annoying creatures.

And I put it off as long as I didn't feel any worse and thought it was proactive but I would still approach it with the wizard at my next appointment which was only a couple more weeks away from now.

But then that green wench cackled at me and sent numbness down my right arm where I couldn't feel my fingers at all – not a good sign even in the smallest of realms. Combined that with subtle changes of existing symptoms finally made me do the right thing and follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City where all my doctors live.

As I poured over all my latest imaging for clues, using meditation to keep the anxiety to a minimal amount – as stress mixed with what equates to a major power line with a short in it does me no favors and takes no prisoners even on good days.

Because of my case being unusual for the diagnosis because of my age, no trauma, and not a lot of symptoms that shot up red flags for
Myelopathy, it laid undiscovered most likely for years. Which unfortunately that is what myelopathy is good at – masking its identity because the symptoms can be so subtle that the root cause isn't found for a while so most myelopathy patients have permanent damage, the only question that remains is how bad.

For example, you wake up one morning like you slept on your neck the wrong way – and after it doesn't go away your doctor orders X-rays that show arthritis and bone spurs. Is your doctor going to think you have a spinal cord injury based on some
neck pain and imaging shows arthritis? Probably not. That's why it's rarely found immediately because it's so subtle, and usually by the time it rears its ugly head – guess what … you will most likely have some degree of permanent damage.

The spinal cord is an amazing tissue/organ. It starts at your brain stem and is about 1/2" and gradually gets as thinner as less and less information "signals" need to get passed the further down your body. It is a your main electric highway of signals that branch off of cord from nerves that give your body every sensation you feel – from the sand under your feet, to a bulging bladder seeking a restroom while you're doing the PP Dance, to every ache and pain you feel.

That's a lot of information for a pipe only 1/2" in diameter – and that's just in your neck. It actually splits off into branches at the end in the beginning of your lumber region. Which makes it a lot harder to get cord compression in your lower back. It's actually incredibly awesome the way we were built as humans when you look at the anatomy of the spinal cord and how it branches off to every part of your body.

Today I'm just grateful that I'm here and can still walk as my cord was essentially kinked or "buckled" in one space and flattened in 2 others – and with the amount of data flowing through this amazing conduit I choose to be thankful that I can still feel – even if it's only pain.