|My partner & I at the Carolina Renaissance Festival|
The short version of the story is that I have another fracture on my L5 vertebra on another stabilizing point. This is causing neurological signs of spinal cord injury (instead of just peripheral nerve damage). I'm waiting to hear about the results of an MRI that I had on Thursday to see if avoiding spinal fusion is still an option.
Based on what I've gathered from all these physicians is that I may not be able to avoid the surgery much longer, or I risk losing bowel and/or bladder function along with more mobility problems. If it was a matter of just mobility impairment, I would probably keep waiting. However, the combination of pain levels that hover between a 7/10 & a 9/10 (along with the increased risk of loss of bowel & bladder function) may make the surgery a more urgent concern. While I wait for the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, I'm pursing a second opinion with a neurologist and trying to see if I can find a spine specialist that performs fusions on people with some sort of dwarfism (I don't want the surgery to fail just because the surgeon doesn't understand that pituitary dwarfism impacts bone density and healing).
In the meantime, I'm doing my best to keep my life afloat in the midst of chaos. It's hard to do my scholarly work with this much pain, and the anxiety of not knowing what the future holds for my body. I'm also not sleeping well because of breakthrough pain, leg spasms, and electrical jolt-feelings down my legs. I'm also really concerned from a financial standpoint, as the US medical system is really broken.
It's hard, really hard. Hopefully I'll at least have something solid, even if it's bad news. Dealing with the knowable, no matter how bad, is sometimes easier than dealing with the unknown.