Health Update

Hey Folks,

I wanted to give you an update about my spine as some people have asked for me to keep them updated. I had my MRI last week and today I saw the ortho doctor to go over the results.

I was a bit nervous as I’d seen the test results before seeing the doctor. Our hospital systems around here have this thing called My Chart. It’s a website/app that you can log into to contact your doctors, set up appointment, get test results, and pay your bill. It’s one of those good and bad things. Good, because you get your test results quick, bad because you don’t know any of the medical terms and everything sounds horrifying. Once I had some tests ran and was walking to my car when I got the notification the results were in.

Everything I’m about to write in this paragraph sounds worse than it actually is. So, after a week of waiting and trying not to freak out I finally saw the doctor today. I have a benign tumor inside my T5 vertebrae called a hemangioma. The tumor is not causing any problems and are pretty common. A lot of people have them and don’t know it. The pins and screws in my lower back from the previous spinal fusion look fine (S1-L5). I do have a bulging disc in the L4-L5 area and tons of bone spurs in my whole lumbar area. There is also some mild to moderate neuroforaminal narrowing, which is narrowing of the opening in the spinal column through which the spinal nerve exits. All of this sounds horrible but the doctor assured me that none of it was advanced enough to warrant surgery. He said there are arthritic changes in my lumbar area associated with my previous surgery. His plan of action is to preform an epidural/steroid injections, which I’ve had done twice nearly 2 decades ago before my back surgery. Also, he believes the burning sensation in my shoulder blade is coming from my neck and wants an MRI of that area. I will be waiting until February before setting up the MRI as my employer is switching our insurance at the end of this month.

Here’s an image so you know where I’m talking about.

Now for some good news. The facility the doc uses for the epidural and injections does not charge the patient anything. It will all be free. Yeah, free healthcare, WTF. I guess they have an agreement since most of the time they’re out-of-network for most insurances. They bill the patient’s insurance and whatever the insurance company sends them is what they accept as full payment. I was floored. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve paid in doctor’s bills the last three years. I’ve met my max out-of-pocket each year, and my insurance isn’t that great. Now if I could only get them to do that for the next MRI.

I hope all of you are doing well and I hope your 2023 is the best year yet.

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