Degenerative osteoarthritis of lumbar discs 4-5

September first will mark six months since I sustained a major low back injury that has dominated my life in a way I have never before experienced in my 26 years of existence.

Last Saturday, I valiumed up my claustrophobic ass (meaning a friendly radiology tech with a great Russian(?) accent gave me a safe dose), allowing me to lay in wonder at all the crazy noises produced by the MRI machine for ~30 minutes.

This morning, three days after the taken-far-too-late-MRI, my husband and I anxiously awaited the results while we sipped our iced coffees in the waiting room full of deterioriating senor citizens.

Correction- I was the only anxious one, visibly, at least. Denver patiently played on his phone while I held my breath waiting for the medical assistant to call my name.

They’ve always called me back early, but I wanted time to finish my coffee today, so we intentionally waited till the set appointment time, expecting to go right back.

But not today. Of course not today.

Why would they today?

Denver looked up from his phone to tell me to relax. My anxiety must have been palpable.

“Carrie Jensen?”

FINALLY! (only 15 minutes late at that point, but it felt like an eternity)

We made our way back to the exam room. I assumed 'we’, as I was so anxious I didn’t look back to ensure Denver followed.

Sure enough, he did. We stood in the exam room, alone, reviewing the images pulled up from my MRI.

There was one frame in particular that showed immense detail in my spine, calling to attention a noticeable difference in my problem area.

Two of these discs are not like the others…

Denver told me to sit down, and once again to relax.

Back to the waiting game. I stared at the impressive spine replica hanging across from me while Denver continued to wage war in Clash of Clans (aka, more phone play).

Finally, there was a short knock followed by an abrupt entrance from the long awaited spine specialist, and an even more abrupt explanation of my diagnosis.

“You have a degenerative osteoarthritic disease in lumbar discs 4-5, associated with annular fissures that may be contributing to your pain.”

We continued to discuss my options (which did not involve a cure- apparently there is none- awesome..), which included a long list of anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections and basic fitness regulation.

Correction- Denver discussed these matters with the specialist while I sat there trying not to cry.

Degenerative disease

No cure

Those few words consumed me then, and for the rest of the day. (Which made having to go to work afterward a real bitch..)

I know I should be relieved by my MRI results, and trust me- I’m relieved to finally have some answers, but I wasn’t quite prepared for that diagnosis.

I’m glad they found SOMETHING, but I was hoping that something would come with a cure, and also not be such a commonality.. Now it feels like my pain for the last six months is so negated by the mass numbers of others who have and are probably enduring worse conditions of osteoarthritis.

Fuck that.

I get to have my pity party without everyone’s consolation only consisting of reminders that it could be worse.

I. Know. That. Fagle.

So now we get to delve into the world wide web to further research our next steps and probably return to the specialist for a steroid injection in my spine soon.

But I’m not ready to grow up and accept this information yet. I’ll come around eventually, but for now, I’m just going to be throwing myself a pity party in my head that no one else is invited to.

*FYI* this article was published one day late per tragic death of phone battery and user laziness to plug it in.

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