MRI Results: Spinal Cysts? Or Junk in the Trunk?

For those new to my blog, I injured my lower back shoveling snow on December 9th. Then within the next two weeks, I slipped and fell on ice TWICE. Since then, I’ve gone to countless physical therapy appointments,  had a series of traditional and alternative medical treatments, rationed out my Lortab conservatively to not become addicted, and I just don’t think I’m doing better. Actually, I’m certain that I’m doing worse.

Earlier this week, I had an MRI on my lumbar spine. It’s the first time I’ve had an MRI, and I’m glad that I was scheduled with a facility with an Open MRI machine. I dressed in scrubs, took off all my metal, and was strapped to a hard, cold table.  They gave me noise-canceling headphones, and I was able to choose from a pretty extensive list of music. Since I already have some negative memories associated, I chose The Fray. After 30 minutes of strange noises (Ka-CHUNG ka-CHUNG ka-CHUNG; Re-HEE Re-HEE Re-HEE; Thump Thump Hiss Thump Thump Hiss) I got dressed, and was told my doctor would have the results in the next  day or two.

It took a few calls to my clinic before I actually got to talk to a nurse. She read portions of the radiology report to me. I don’t have herniated L4-L5-S1 as originally diagnosed, but it’s possible the spinal injury has resolved itself. But there was “strange activity” in my lumbosacral region, which was consistent with spinal cysts….or could be caused by subcutaneous fat irritation. In her words, “So, it could just be that you’re in pain because you carry a lot of weight in your lower back/hip area, but we just want to make sure that you don’t have a spinal tumor.” SAY WHAT? SPINAL TUMOR? She scheduled me for a follow-up MRI with contrast, and told me to take it easy.

I will not lie. I’ve got a big butt. A huge one actually. One that even Sir Mix-a-Lot would shun. It would be just my luck that I’m in so much pain because of my bootyliciousness. I hurt my back shoveling my snow, for Pete’s sake! I’ve always carried a lot of “junk in my trunk” and never had back pain from it. In my expert Google opinion, I think I may have had cysts on my spine for a while, but they were traumatically irritated by the injury. I never felt like my 3x-weekly physical therapy was doing me much good, and I was REALLY creeped out my my physical therapist. Through these 10 weeks of back pain, I’ve been encouraged to keep my physical activity “light,” and not do anything to aggravate the injury. I was into a pretty intense workout schedule before, and was starting to lose weight. Now I’ve gained another 20 pounds since the injury, and weigh the most I ever have.

Allow me to vent for a moment:

I am sick of being sick. I’m sick of doctors appointments. I’m sick of going to the pharmacy. I’m sick of being in pain. I’m sick of my creepy physical therapist. I’m sick of having medical bills I can’t pay for. I’m sick of waiting around ER’s and Urgent Care Centers. I’m sick of the shortness of breath. I’m sick of antibiotics. I’m sick of yeast infections and thrush. I’m sick of my skin peeling off. I’m sick of the threatening letters from labs, specialists, radiologists, and other healthcare providers. I’m sick of not being able to exercise because the pain makes me cry. I’m sick of crying. I’m sick of being tired. I’m sick of it all. The End.

  • Speaking of big butts, here’s my favorite movie clip about it:

    “But WHAT? Everyone I know has a big but. C’mon, Simone, let’s talk about YOUR big “BUT.” (start watching at 1:40)

  • Hang in there friend. I had an MRI in High School when they thought I had a brain tumor. Not fun.

  • Oh, Nicole. I feel your pain. I’ve never had the awful back pain, though, thankfully. But I understand the mess with the doctors, bills, meds, etc. It’s so frustrating. I hope it’s nothing more serious than the booty, lol.

  • Jennette

    Stupid pain.Back pain can be so frustrating, sorry to hear you’ve been going so much. You could start a blog on reviews of medicine. I thought of doing a post on Ultram lately. Funky MRI readings aren’t very helpful either. I recently had to google “Schmorl nodes” from an X-ray result recently a few minutes before I saw a patient. Hope you feel better soon ::More hugs::

  • I’m so sorry – I know how you feel. Sometimes it just feels like one thing after another. Sending you virtual hugs that don’t hurt –

  • This sucks so much! There is nothing worse that being in poor health.

    It was good to meet you yesterday! You seemed in good spirits!

  • Sorry to hear that you are feeling so rotten. I always say when your back hurts, everything hurts. You can’t move an arm or a leg without it hurting, so it particularly sucks. I’m a big believer in positive thinking. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or interest to get your mind off feeling so lousy. Hope things start looking up for you soon.

  • Tarlov Cysts are frustrating. Many doctors do not believe that they produce pain & that they can only cause damage through bony erosion (like yours appears to be doing). Here is an article that was published a few years ago:

    Studies show that 5% of the population has Tarlov’s cysts and that 1/5 patients with TC are symptomatic

    Good luck


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