Sunday, June 27, 2010

Medical update - 6/27/10

Let's start with the good news. My back is doing much better. It was giving me the usual problems last Monday (6/21), plus some extra aching in my middle back, to the left of my spine. Then at about 9 or 10 that evening, I was able to stand fully upright once again, and have been able to do so ever since. Physical therapy has helped as well, especially the electro-massage on my lower back. My spine still looks like it's out of alignment, I've got a cortisone injection tomorrow morning, then two more physical therapy appointments next week. I'm trying to avoid overexerting myself at work. I'm using the spare roller backpack to "carry" my laptop, using the cart to move equipment around (regardless of size), and taking the elevator to my desk (I know the building only has 2 floors, but still...). The ultimate test will be to hit some golf balls; will have to MAYBE give it a shot next weekend (depending how this week goes, painwise).

The bad news? It's REALLY bad. Met with my doctor on Wednesday, and he informed me that I likely have MS. He can't say with 100% certainty, though. The lumbar puncture indicates I do. The MRI and vision problems do as well. But since my vision problem is the first and only attack, they can't absolutely confirm I have MS, until I have another one.

What does this mean? I'll start treatment to prevent additional symptoms soon. The doc gave me a bunch of homework on various steroid medications that I'd have to go on. I need to go through it and pick one. All of them are about the same; it's a question of how often I'll need to inject them and where I need to inject them (subcutaneously or intramuscularly). Also means I'll need to get yearly MRI's. It's not going to be cheap, either. Insurance will cover most of it, drug companies have programs set up to cover a good chunk of the rest. My doctor is also looking into getting me into a study program for a new oral medication; we'll see how it plays out. Follow up with him is at the end of July, but I'll probably select a treatment program before then. However, there's no guarantee that I'll fully get my vision back.

I'm not too worried about all that, though. I'm trying to think more bigger picture. How this is going to interfere with my life, which I've decided is zero. I'm going to continue being me, like nothing was ever wrong. In fact, I'm gonna start living like tomorrow's my last day on earth (even though it isn't). Prime example: I'm going to the Twin Cities in a couple weeks to see Weezer in concert. I had some concerns about my back problems stopping me, but this whole thing makes me realize that I can't be passing up opportunities like this.

On the other hand, this does handcuff me to my current job, I had thought about quitting so I could move to the Twin Cities and go full-steam on my search for a new one. But I certaintly can't do that now, or I'd lose my insurance coverage (I've been told by friends if I actively have insurance going into my next job, the new provider can't play the "pre-existing condition" card).

Again, I don't want to talk about this much further. That's all I've got to say about that. Let's talk about something else. Go out, grab a drink, maybe a bite to eat and discuss sports, music, movies, stories. I don't care, just anything but my impending doom.

Thank you all for all the good vibes you've been sending my way. Please keep 'em coming. And I hope to hear from you soon.

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