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I Need Answers!

Thank you guys for all your votes and support last week!

Yesterday, I had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who specializes in cervical spines. I had spoken with his assistant last week when she called to ask me how I was doing. I like that they don't just schedule follow-ups.

I told her that I was beside myself with the pain and the fact it has taken since August and I really needed answers.

When he entered the room an greeted me, the first thing he said was, "I don't have any perfect answers."

Fortunately, I had to drive myself to the appointment, so I wasn't zoned out on narcotics. I answered calmly, "I am just frustrated and this condition is stealing my life. Can we review where we are at? I just need to know that we are making progress towards a cure"

I confess I felt a little bad that I caused him to be defensive.

"We are trying to isolate nerve pain. Each treatment we have done is meant to rule out possibilities. It's not a perfect science."

"I guess that's why they call it practice," I replied.

He was not as amused as I was. "I have reviewed the MRI and first, there is a dehydrated disc at C5-C6. I believe that is causing the neck and upper shoulder pain," he said gesturing to his shoulder. "The shoulder specialist believes the shoulder joint pain is due to a thinning labrum." he continued. "There are a number of things going on here."

"Wow." was about I could say.

Then I pulled out my phone to read some questions I had in the notes. "What do you think is causing the headaches? Do you think it could be occipital neuralgia" I asked.

Gesturing to the back of his neck, he said, "that would cause pain here and end up here just above the forehead."

"Bingo!" I replied.

Finally, we have a diagnosis that has a defined treatment path. Tomorrow, I am in for a cortisone injection of the disc. It is temporary but will help them isolate that possibility. Soon I will have a nerve blocker injected to see if the headaches are from Occipital Neuralgia. If the pain goes away, they’ll do a surgery to open up the nerve cavity. They have already done an injection for the shoulder. Once they get everything else figured out, they're likely to be a surgery to clean the shoulder joint up.

So that is it. I am just hoping to be pain-free at some point soon. :)

I just have one more question, doc. "Can I still run?"

"For the time being, I don't see how it will hurt if you can stand the pain," he said.

"I will take that as a yes."

He laughed and smiled. Based on the exam, I don't think he really believes I will.
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