Before meeting Dr. Beck, I had seen countless doctors: my family doctor, an ER doctor, 2 orthopedic surgeons, a rheumatologist, internist, and 3 pain management doctors. I was told I was very healthy, had an unremarkable pelvis and coccyx, and some minor, stable lower lumbar degeneration that was “normal.”
As soon as Dr.Beck sat down he asked me if anyone had spoken to me about the fractures in my spine. One other doctor mentioned it but quickly brushed it off as a “normal birth defect.” Turns out it’s a lot more. In fact, Dr Beck informed me that I could potentially have 3, yes 😳THREE😳, separate sources of pain. My wonky pelvis is the star of the show, but I wasn’t crazy to think there was more going on! My conditions are:
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD)– After a minor physical examination (he basically just palpated the SI joint and checked reflexes) and discussion about how much relief I got from 2 sets of SI joint injections, Dr. Beck agreed that I do indeed have SIJD. He said that people who get good results from the SI injections usually do very well with his method of SI Fusion, Rialto, and that I am a great candidate for that minimally invasive method.
- Spondylolisthesis of L5/S1– I was likely born with a weak spot in my spine, and due to trauma over time it has fractured and my vertebrae is starting to slip forward. You can read about it here. Dr. Beck explained that the slippage is very minimal at this point, but that sometimes when the vertebrae starts to shift, scar tissue that has held the fracture together can become displaced, resulting in pain, lumbar foraminal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. Sweet. The solution for this ugly set of conditions? Potentially lumbar fusion in my future. Womp womp.
- Coccydynia– he said, “you have one of those tailbones that can cause problems.” Huh? He went on to describe how my coccyx is long, skinny, and moves more than it should. Awesome. Apparently there can be a ton of referred pain in the coccyx from both SIJD AND spinal stenosis, and that by dealing with that stuff first, the tailbone pain my resolve. If not? The solution? A coccygectomy…AKA, buh-bye tailbone.
After explaining my seemingly countless issues, Dr. Beck asked me what I thought the problem was and what I wanted to do…which will have to wait for another post.
We finished the consult and I got to meet Kathleen who was the kind voice on the other end of the phone who helped me get to Beck. We stopped at the gorgeous chapel and then walked back to St. Patrick’s House for a nap. My mom fell asleep away, as we had been traveling and walking through snow all day. I laid there, eyes wide open, with s million thoughts running through my head…Are you freaking kidding me? I KNEW there was a reason I am in so much pain. Why the hell hasn’t anyone else seen this? What came first? Did I do this to myself? Did it get this bad because it has been untreated so long? How will we afford this? Will it ever end? THREE POSSIBLE SURGERIES?!!!!!! FML.