Hi, my good friends!
I havent been posting very much lately but thats because I have a lot going on. Here's all of the updates for anybody who is interested.
Over the last summer, I had tried an unusual approach to attempt to cure all of my chronic ails, including PD and back problems. The method I used was outlined in the writings of Dr John Sarno in his many books such as Healing Back Pain and The Divided Mind. My previous posts tell the tale of how I started feeling better in every way. I tell you, friends, I was absolutely EUPHORIC! But alas, in my euphoria, i overdid it at work and at the gym, which takes me to the next chapter:
For the past few years or so, I had occasional nuisance leg pains here and there. They had been becoming more frequent in the last year or so. I looked up my old Neurologist and decided to make an appointment after not seeing him for 2 years or so. After all, I was doing well on the Hinz Amino Acid protocol. What did I need him for? I decided to make the appointment to see if my leg pain was Parkinsons related. Unfortunately he was booked 3 months out so I had to wait to get in. In the meantime, I resumed normal activities and ignore the pain as psychological (as recommended by Dr Sarno's books) but my leg pain got worse. And worse. And WORSE! I couldnt walk without really bad pain anymore. I decided to get a new primary, then, since my beloved Dr Robinson had passed away last July. He was the Dr that helped me establish myself on the Hinz Protocol. By the way, for those of you unfamiliar with The Hinz Protocol. you can see my past posts for full details about it. I'll just say that I was on it because I had a fear of taking Sinemet (carbidopa/Leveadopa) for the potential side effects of dyskinesia. My primary was convinced that my leg pain was due to pinched nerves in my back. So to prove this, we set up for xrays and and MRI. The xrays showed nothing structurally wrong, so I was euphoric again, reinforcing my belief that it was all psychological. Then I had the MRI. That showed severe spinal stenosis in Lumbars 2-3, 3-4 and moderate in L4-5. At first I was thinking, great, no change since my MRI 7 years ago! But as I overdid it and overdid it, thinking I could not hurt myself...I really hurt myself. The pain was intractable. My PD symptoms got worse as well. (I think theres a link there)
I got a referral to a neurosurgeon to reconsider the laminectomy surgery that was advised to me 7 years ago. HE was booked out several months, too! (whats up with doctors in Florida? We need more of them!) In the meantime, I took one day off of work because of the pain and it became a whole can of worms at my job. I had to apply for FMLA at my supervisors advice to protect my job of I was going to start missing more days (which I will not, too much grief about that! I 'll suck it up as much as it hurts!!) My coworkers have been so incredibly wonderful, taking all of my on-call (I work in a cardiac cath lab and inteventional radiology) and helping me get through each painful day till I get through this.
Finally my neurologist appointment came around. By now I already was pretty convinced that the back issues with the leg pain was not only not caused by the PD, but that perhaps the PD was caused by the adrenaline of the pain and stress of the back issues. After all, the PD diagnosis came a few months after the original Lumbar Spinal Stenosis diagnosis 7 years ago. Hmmm.... So my Neurologist has a new Nurse Practitioner, and I got to see her instead that day . She was delightful. So delightful, in fact, that she convinced me to (join the dark side!) get off the Hinz Amino Acid Protocol and try Sinemet again. She said it IS the Right drug. Ok, I'm trying it. Heres why - Dr Costantni, our beloved patron saint of Thiamine B-1 has pretty solid evidence that if I continue t o take my B1, I will never progress in PD and never develop dyskinesia. plus its about $11 a month for sinemet versus about $100 for Amino Acid precursors!! Worth a try, indeed! And some good news, she made me draw a clock, which I did successfully, proving that I dont have Alzheimers. God I hope not, Im not even 50 yet! Anyway, I cheated, I already knew about this test.
Next, the spine surgeon drama... their office called and wanted to push my appointment back another SIX WEEKS! I was ready to cry. my appointment would have been in a week and I was in so much pain I thought about going to the ER every day. The only thing keeping me out of the ER was the remote chance that I could get the sloppiest surgeon if thats who was on call. Better off waiting for the good one, any day! Well I called his office EVERY DAY to see if they had a cancellation. And they did! AND it was a day earlier than my original appointment!! So the first thing he says is, we're going to do that laminectomy! The MRI was on the screen. He told me Im probably feeling this symptom here and that symptom there, and he nailed every one of them We briefly talked about the PD. I showed him how my tremors were mostly intention tremors (tremors with movement) and he noted that that is probably Cerebellar based. And I told him how its worse when I have pain, adrenaline and anxiety. Well, he didnt comment further but I said maybe this will improve when I get the back taken care of. He shrugged a bit as if to say maybe, who knows? He wasnt concerned but he was glad I stopped taking the herbal stuff due to potential blood thinning properties. Surgery, you know.
So Im booked for an L3-4,L4-5 Lumbar laminectomy with fusion (a little instability was noted on special xrays). It will be in a week from Wednesday. My sons birthday. I'll be in the hospital 3-5 days till my birthday probably. Then 5-6 weeks till Im back to work, which sounds pretty good to me. And he'll have me walking 3 miles a day! Im most excited about that since right now walking to the bathroom KILLS me!!
LESSON LEARNED: Verify with a qualified doctor that you dont have a structural problem before starting a mind-body program to fix your back pain.