It is too an old persons disease!

I like to think that as a 20-something, I am endowed with a charmingly cynical sort of outlook on the world that comes through at the most inappropriate intervals. My family could easily attest to this as I am always spouting some sarcastic phrase here, or perhaps a crudely spoken insult there. I don't really mean it, it's just my way of dealing, but I think that over the years this 'way of dealing' has somehow forged its way into my brain and become part of who I actually am, which unfortunately can mean me saying things that might be considered in poor taste here and there. I just wanted to explain that before I told you guys about my physio appointment at the advanced spinal care centre down in Calgary a couple of weeks ago.

My family doctor hooked me up with them after a family friend had mentioned my issues to her Doc at the chronic pain clinic (which, by the way, I have still not heard back from.) That doc mentioned it to the friend who told my mom who told my family doctor who sent a request in that must have sounded urgent because I was in there for an examination within a week.

Now, over the last ten years I would say I have been poked and prodded an impressive amount. Not as much as some, I'll grant you that, but enough that if we ever needed to resort of cannabalism you could all take comfort in knowing that my body would require no meat tenderizer. So I met with a nice physio by the name of Tim and he proceeded to work over my spine, going up it inch by inch and establishing exactly where the pain is. After he finished up he took out a model of the spine, and this is where the sarcasm comes in to play, told me that I had arthritis in my back.

"But that's an old persons disease!"

Thank god the door was closed because there were a lot of these so-called 'old persons' in the waiting room and I have a sinking suspicion that they would not have found my youthful innocence to be nearly as charming as Tim did. Anyways, back to my point. Apparently I've got arthritis around the facet joints and la-dee-da, pain, pain, pain.

But! Says Tim, There is hope for you yet!

(I like to imagine that at this part he says 'Shazam!' quite loudly as any magician surely must do, because what he was about to tell me could only be equal to pure, unfiltered magic.)

They have things they can do at the Advanced Spinal Care Centre, and those of you with pain issues take note as it may be just the answer you were looking for. Over the course of a month they will inject anesthesia into four separate areas where the arthritis is the most severe, one injection per month. I record my pain levels over the week, return, rinse, repeat. Then at the end of the four weeks they determine where the anesthesia was the most effective and go into my back with a tiny, itsy-bitsy needly-thingamabob and, get this, cauterize the nerve that delivers the pain message to the brain.

That's right, they take that nerve down and kick it in the ribs until it can't get back up. Only, it will get back up, in about nine months or so; then I return and repeat the process.

Now it isn't a surefire cure, and it can't take away all the pain, but, said Tim, it can bring your pain down from a ten to a four, minimizing drugs, restoring some normality to your life. When he asked me how I felt about it I told him it didn't matter how I felt about it, anything was better than this.

Now we've had a second opinion done at another clinic, this one closer to home, and the doctor there is a little more hesitant about doing so many injections in so many areas, but as my mom put it, it's my decision, and quite frankly I'm willing to do anything at this point to assist in stopping the pain. So there you have it, a possible solution, there is light at the end of the tunnel! I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a forever thing, that my back is only going to get worse as I get older, and this burning of the nerves won't always help, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now I have to make another doctors appointment so the requisition can get sent to the Spinal Care Centre, and then another waiting game. Tim thought it would be about six months before I could get in which would bring me to Christmas break. As much as I hate the idea of spending Christmas in another medical centre, I think not being in pain would be a jolly fine present.

So there you have it, my scoli-friends! Talk to your doctors about the possibility of cauterizing the mydeel (mideel? Mydeal? Curse you, Phonetic Spelling! You've failed me again!) nerve. It's low risk, and not particularly invasive. I'm not sure if they're doing it elsewhere, but it's definitely worth checking it out, I think. Has anyone tried it and got anything to say about it? Did it help? Is there any particular reason that on the release form for the physio they listed 'death' as a possible complication to therapy?

In other news, apparently my medical coverage was cancelled when I turned 21. Just a heads up, Ralivia costs $9 a pill, so I'm currently doping up on whatever I can find to get me through the day while I wait for the new coverage so come into play. It would have been nice if I could have been given a little heads up, you know, maybe stock-piled the pills beforehand. Ah well, minor issues and all that! I hope you're all doing okay! I wanted to think of something grand and comical that I could end this post with in order to go out with a happy bang but I can't think of anything, so here's a picture of a lolcat that always makes me happy. Enjoy!

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