“Can I still run?” I said somewhat lightheartedly with a somewhat fake smile and laugh, as a big ol’ knot formed in my throat and I had to force back the tears I know were forming in my eyes.
“I’m not necessarily saying you can’t, but there are other options, there’s the elliptical and there’s biking,” the doctor said.
“But running is what I do. It’s my life. I ran in 30 races last year. Running is what I do,” I said sternly, even though I know my voice was quivering.
Pretty much everything before this conversation and pretty much everything after this conversation sounded like, “Blah, blah, blah.” Or if you remember the teacher in the Charlie Brown series, yeah, it sounded a something like that.
So in a previous blog post, I wrote about the shoulder pain I was experiencing. I first talked to my regular doctor about it. Her predication was a torn rotator cuff, but because she wasn’t positive, I had to have an MRI done on my right shoulder. After the results came back, which did indicate a slight tear, along with some bursitis and there was even a small cyst, she referred me to an orthopedic doctor. He then looked at my shoulder, did some X-rays and he also thought it would be a good idea to have another MRI done, but this time, of my neck. He thought maybe there was pinched nerve or something. So, after two MRI’s of my neck (the first one didn’t work because I moved too much!), he referred me to the Tristate Brain and Spine Institute (don’t worry, the name sounds scarier than what it is!).
Yesterday, I had my doctor appointment with Dr. Abbasi, who by the way is a really cool guy. Very friendly and has an extremely good “bedside manner.” He was very personable and had a great sense of humor. I really liked him, despite the news he gave me.
We went through my MRI results, which were REALLY, REALLY cool to see. The detail, holy moly, it was awesome! The results? Not so much. But…IT COULD’VE BEEN WORSE.
Turns out, according to the papers Dr. Abbasi gave me (because truly, I didn’t really remember anything he said to me so I was so happy to have a handout to look at!), I have C3-5 (these are the three discs in my neck that aren’t all that great) degenerative disc disease with herniated disc and foraminal (an opening, hole or passage) stenosis (abnormal narrowing of a passage) with neck pain and cervical radiculopathy.
Say what? Exactly my thought!
In essence, I have herniated discs in my neck that are causing all the pain in my arm, back and sometimes, neck. They are wreaking havoc on the nerves that run through my right arm, collar bone area and right shoulder blade/back area, which causes everything to hurt tremendously, tingle and at times, become numb. The pain is always there. It’s just that sometimes, it’s a helluva lot worse, almost intolerable. Although I have been “tolerating” it since last summer. However, in the last month, it has become WAY WORSE!
So now what?
Well, first things first. I get to have an injection in my neck on Monday, as well as be fitted for a collar (neck brace) that I have to wear for approximately six to eight weeks when riding/driving in a car or doing any excessive activities or activities that provoke pain (yes, he actually suggested that if I wanted to, I could wear the brace while running. So he didn’t actually say I COULDN’T run!). I informed him and stressed to him that running actually feels GOOD and DOES NOT provoke pain. I’m not so sure he believed me! Dr. Abbasi advised that I am not to wear the “collar” at all times because it can lead to muscle atrophy (I have no idea what this is and didn’t feel like looking it up!) He also said I get to start physical therapy, which I have my first appointment Tuesday morning.
So that doesn’t sound all that bad, does it? It’s just a little lemon I’ve been handed. Not a gigantic lemon like cancer or other devastating disease. This is just a little hiccup compared to so many other things in life. It’s just a pain in the neck – literally!
I have a follow-up appointment the first part of April. According to the papers Dr. Abbasi gave me, if symptoms are not improved at that time, I get to have another MRI, this one in a standing position, instead of the typical laying down one. And…we get to discuss surgical options.
Well, that’s that.
So far, the hubby and I are only signed up for four races this year – on February 8 (a 5K), March 15 (a 7K), April 26 (a 10K) and May 10 (a half-marathon). Yes, I will be doing all of them. But, I guess I will have to wait to sign up for anymore. I guess that would be the right thing to do. (Although, as most of you know, especially my mother, I am not the best rule follower!) But I guess this time, I kind of have to be. But again, the doctor didn’t say I couldn’t run. He just slightly indicated that it would probably not necessarily be the best thing for me!
I will keep you all informed and if you don’t mind, you could surely keep me in your thoughts and prayers and if you really wanted to, you could send me some positive vibes. Anything would surely be appreciated!
p.s. Since my last post, I have been 100 percent back on track and made it to the YMCA both Tuesday and Wednesday and will be going today, tomorrow and Saturday! GO ME!