I’ve been joking about my back issues. Really, what other option is there? Complaining? Not really my style. If I joke about it there is that little shot of endorphins to go with the chatter. Free high .
I hurt. I have medication that takes away most of the hurt, most of the time. Sometimes some as yet unknown combination of meds and food and life make me almost pass out and toss my cookies. Complaining about it really isn’t going to change anything there, so I won’t complain, gripe , bitch, bemoan or yammer on about it. What I will do is tell you the story of the day I got my results. It’s a lesson in keeping your eye on left field. And Juggling.
Before the doc called me with my MRI results, Bekah had a well child exam. We go every year, on schedule. We see the same doctor unless someone has moved - us or them. We get most of the recommended shots and tests. It’s very routine and other than needles, no one has any issues with going to the doctor. This exam was no different. Routine Well Child Exam. I was bragging about how healthy and well adjusted Bekah was as she careened through adolescence. Totally positive, completely routine. Up to the part where the doctor had Beks touch her toes. I looked at my child’s spine and thought “ what the hell is that”?
There was a definite curve to her spine in a direction that it should not have been curving. The doctor was very calm ( I adore this woman) and said “ see this? Usually shows up in adolescence” then she used the word that was already going in my head along with the image of Joan Cusack’s character in 16 Candles..” scoliosis”.
I really do think I heard a screeeech of brakes. I actually said “ wow, didn’t see this coming.” The doctor sent us right off to get x-rays. Beks and I kept up the light banter of the day. I taught her my “ new adventure” theory for medical tests. She embraced it and knowing that she got to miss school all day made the whole experience pleasurable for us both. Weird as it sounds, getting her x-rays was enjoyable.
When I got home I did a quick internet search, and tucked the whole thing into “ wait and see” in my brain files. Then the phone rang.
There was lots of medical mumbo jumbo that I wrote down but didn't understand completely, but the line that stands out is ' nerve sheath tumor, 7mm, most likely benign". It's on, or right next to my spine from what I can figure out. Someone that I told , who is a doctor, said it was probably about the size of a pencil eraser. Other than a little bit of internet research, and then a moratorium on internet research, I’m hanging on the word " benign" until my appointment with a neurosurgeon in a couple of weeks. I expect to find out that it is the neuro equivalent of popping a zit. Badda bing, snippity snip, here is your bill. Have a great life.
I also expect that when I tell people I will get a whole list of people who know, or know of someone, who had the same thing. That it wasn’t a big deal. Happens whenever anyone has any medical problems. I do it myself to offer encouragement and proof that excessive worry might be unnecessary. Truth is, that from this seat, I have mixed feelings about this phenomenon. On one hand it’s reassuring to know that it isn’t a big deal. On the other hand , it’s my back, my surgery, and in my world it is a very big deal.
“ How do you feel?” Someone asked me that. I feel the same but, yet, a bit different. I still hurt but now I know it isn’t a herniated disc or a pulled muscle. It isn’t anything that is going to get better on it’s own or with ice or muscle relaxers or anti inflammatories. I physically feel the same, the same hurt, but knowing that there is a pencil eraser on my spine is a different feeling than a week ago.
I have a recurring memory of Brain telling me it was probably a pulled muscle, as in “ you just hurt yourself, lots of people do, where is my dinner, Edith?”. In a brief moment I thought “ it’s probably a tumor, wouldn’t that make you feel bad!”. Once he was teasing me and actually said “ what if it is a tumor? That would suck.“ That’s how I feel. I feel like when I didn’t know what was going on and let my mind wander over to Worst Case Scenario Land I saw one word there: tumor. And then the frightening fantasy became reality. It feels bizarre.
I still have not heard back on Beks scoliosis screen, but I will take that as it comes. Today I am nursing Noah who last night began a nifty “ Spike fever to almost 104, barf, barky cough, bring fever down repeat” routine. I sent Luke to school with a borderline sick cough . As parents it really is always something. Just gotta juggle as best as we can while looking at life through the filters that work best for us.
The night of the X-ray and the Phone Call I was tucking Beks into bed. She looked a little worried about the bizarre theme day we had. I gave her a kiss and sang one line from a song that got her smiling…“ baby got back..”. I think I have my filter in place. Commence juggling.