kirsten and the quest for a diagnosis, MRI

Latest MRI Results

a photo of a one lane road in the middle of a body of water; white text at bottom middle "Latest MRI Results" and "Not Standing Still's Disease"
In my last health update, I shared about how I had an MRI coming up on what was last Friday. In reality, it was two MRIs scheduled back to back (HA!) – one of my thoracic spine and one of my lumbar spine. 
The MRI team was great. We talked about tacos, guinea pigs, and fun things to do in the area. More than that, they were incredibly caring and very helpful.
I took a Valium before the MRI and it worked much better than the last time. I was incredibly groggy and wound up sleeping for a good amount of the time I was in the machine. To be honest, I don’t even remember how much of the time I was awake.
That was perfect – exactly what I needed since my head got to be in the most narrow, coffin-like part of the machine for nearly the whole time.
T and I went out for tacos at our favorite local place, and then I came home and slept for a few hours, waking up incredibly alert and ready to do things. In the middle of writing my last paper for my masters, I got an email about my test results.
My thoracic spine MRI came back completely fine. This part of the spine, for those unfamiliar, is between the neck and the lower back. My lumbar spine, though, did not.

“At L5-S1, mild broad-based disc bulge results in mild to moderate foraminal narrowing on the left.”
Yeah, I had to look that up too, but I knew it wasn’t great. The note said that these were ‘degenerative’ changes, though knowing my body this may not be entirely true. The short story is that I have a bulging disc, causing stenosis that is smooshing some nerves.
Now, the note from the radiologist in my test results says this isn’t causing my symptoms. After doing my own research, I feel like this could be, though. Everything I’ve found discusses how back spasms can be a part of this – something I’ve had since 2012-ish but was told this was due to scoliosis that my physical therapist at the time and I found on my X-rays.
Anyway, the symptoms can include pain (duh), muscle weakness, pain along nerve paths, pins and needles or hot feelings, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and more.
The symptoms that worried my neurologist as I explained them were bowel and bladder incontinence that came up during my last big neurological thing. It’s important to note, though, that having IBS can explain that in conjunction with all this. Think about it – muscle weakness and an already-upsettable GI tract?
My back pain is becoming more prominent. I think part of it is because I know this isn’t something to dismiss as I was told to when it was ‘just’ scoliosis-related pain. Thinking back, the summer of 2012 is the first time I also had some of the neurological symptoms I’ve complained of recently, including issues with temperature regulation.
It could certainly be coincidence, but I don’t know. We shall see. I haven’t heard directly from my neurologist’s office. I suspect I will sometime this week, though. If not, I know that my EMG coming up on the 30th is with him so we can talk more about things then. 

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