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Monday, October 18, 2010

Health letter - 10 18 2010

Dear Family and friends,

I am overall happy and content in my life. This, however, has made me have a difficult time having any regular enjoyment that I am use too, and therefore, has been a great change to my usually active lifestyle of the last few years, as I had been doing pretty well until these conditions worsened, as they will with age and overexertion that comes with an active lifestyle.

I have Spinal Stenosis. An inheritable disease.

Susan and Donnie in particular... The one condition in particular is a condition that is abundantly clear (at least in my MRI) is a hereditary one, therefore having a highly likelihood of being present in your backs, however again, there is no guarantee. As this has been a long difficult process to get diagnosed properly and finally, I DO NOT want you each to have overlooked this, or your doctor perhaps overlooking it. I am not certain, but I would think it safe to say, even if it was not present in your backs, there still may be a propensity for similar issues that surround this condition, being that it is indeed hereditary.

In my minds eye, it makes sense to me that first and foremost, our (our particular family) DNA coding has a likely probability of having a sequencing flaw. This being said, it would leave me to believe, that even if this disease were not evident / present in orthopedic or neurologic graphical geometry as presented in an MRI, our own natural propensity to this area of DNA coding and potentially being "flawed" could easily mean this; that another "wrong" (wrong only in the meaning as not functional for us by todays ways and means of living) code could be inserted as well and maybe only minimally show up with symptoms and never show up in three dimensional imagaing.

As a hypothetical, picture if you will 200 birds, of which 100 have migrated to a new island close by, with the others staying behind. Having different seeds to choose from, they could (and have as studied) have mutated (beaks in this instance) and become a new species. Perhaps their beaks work on their new island. However, a tsunami wipes the island out. The birds now migrate back to the other island from whence they came (perhaps) or elsewhere, as suitable.

Their main diet now consists of seeds that are harder for them to eat, as the seed itself is a harder seed on the original island in comparison to what they left on their old island which was wiped out by the tsunami.

Now their mutated beaks may break ocasionally and more easily, as they are a newer and different species now with beaks that perhaps, from their most recent ancestors that have mutated having been eating a daily diet of the seeds that were once suitable for these now inferior beaks. Perhaps even more prevalent further down in the gene pool (most recent youngest birds), as this became the dominant gene.

Perhaps examining even further you can now consider, the propensity for a thin and more easily breakable beak stays with the species, after it has again mutated trying to correct the issue, now back on the island from which they once evolved.

In a nut shell, we do not know our own very genetic mutations through evolution and I think it is safe to say, by a very very plausible example, that a lack of three dimensional imagery showing proof of such a condition is not by me in any way or means dismissable 100%. This is the very reasoning behind our doctors inquiring about disease or conditions that run in a particular family.

Let's say even further examining this hypothetical example, that the new species of bird now has a more normal looking beak again, however still with the propensity to break more easily. This would illustarte why I believe a normal looking bone in our backs (your backs) does not mean that the more easily breakable bone is not in disguise, still holding on to this propensity.

These bones are different for a reason and that reason may never be known. More then likely it was due to environment, as in the example. Evolution appears to be able to go left or right, and then perhaps, even backwards so to speak, if the situation insists.

Just make sure your doctors know that I have this and it is an inheritable disease.

What are each of your diagnoses?

-excert from my email to Gregg Schaff my attorney friend here in town- I did this to save some time typing-

I am writing this to cut and paste for mom and dad and other family and friends as well, so it will be thorough and perhaps long.

Great doctor...thanks...super thorough and friendly, very well educated and able to speak layman's terms as needed, we reviewed the MRI.

I have a cracked disc, several bulging vertebraes, an inherited condition where (it is believed) the vertebraes are structurally not as strong. There is a small narrow amount of bone to each side of the spinal cord (look at a cross section of an L3 (lumbar 3rd position) and its adjacent spinal nerves (one on each side). Here is a great picture.

Looking at in in a cross section view, the narrow bone areas first described above (and seen as pictured) are longer then what is typical, therefore, much more likely to crack along this now more easily able to be broken area. I have a cracked one of these (if I am not mistaken by what the Dr. Dey told me).

I have nerve damage on my left side. This was determined after I was pricked with over 30 needles that emitted electrical charges to test neurological responses. Some of the needles were very painful.

The entire area in the lumbar region shows arthritis on the x-rays. The rest of the imaging is from an MRI.

I have this condition as well, Spinal Stenosis.

I am also in great discomfort in the cervical (neck) area of my spine, and I am awaiting an MRI for that as well. The disease that I have that causes the narrowing of the spinal cord cavity can and may be present throughout my entire back, thus effecting it in it's entirety.

In addition to these issues concerning my back, I have a few heart conditions (enlarged heart, arrhythmia, mitro prolapse valve murmer), as well and 4 cysts (one has reoccurred where it was removed. it is a pilonidal cyst) . One on/in each foot, and one on my left hand that makes my fingers numb always and cold feeling at times.

I have consults scheduled for these other issues as well and will have surgery on the cysts in my feet soon.

On my right foot, I have torn ligaments, and my large toe is turning (changing shape) due to gout. Fortunately, my gout has been very manageable with only one acute attack in the last two years. However, the gout pain at its dull level seems to be present in many joints from time to time, and usually more often then not.

My shoulders are both in moderate pain. Each has deteriorating cartilage between the clavicle and the scapula. The right side was scoped out (acromioplasty) in about 1998, but was left with a torn rotator cuff. My Dr. (Dr. Palumbo, orthopedic surgeon, Washington Redskins and Washington Capitals doctor) said this was by far hands down, the worst shoulder he had ever seen. He was equally shocked when I had 95% range of motion after two and a half days. He was shocked and wide eyed in saying that I should not be able to do that for at least six weeks, maybe even eight. He showed me off to all employees, other patients, and the orthopedic rehab office down the hall from his very own office. He said I was a true miracle, however, I think he was my miracle, may God bless that man in heaven. My left shoulder, suffering the identical issues as the right) has had no surgery yet, however will likely need it as well, and also has a torn rotator cuff.

Treatment Course for my back:

Immediate treatment, (and perhaps you can share with Deb this letter in its entirety) continue with Tramadol (pain), Relafen (inflamation), and Methocarbomal (Muscle relaxer) (all as prescribed, as needed dependent on the pain level) I usually try to bear through the pain, but at times it is unbearable and leaves me bed ridden and unable to move around freely. My feet get extremely numb as well with the damage in my back, and every morning, I awake to numb feet and I am having a hard time walking when it is this way, as my balance gets thrown off from the sensory input through the central nervous system right into my back. It is like my highway has a wreck on it and traffic gets jammed up, or simply never arrives at it's destination, or goes astray and send pain and/or numbness. I will be in at least 2 weeks or therapy in the pool for strengthening the muscles in that area. I will revisit the doctor after the initial treatment and therapy. We will monitor pain, depression and anxiety, and medication levels carefully. He did not feel that I was in need of immediate counseling , however, I told him I am depressed off and on and anxious because of my immobility, my finances, and being concerned of losing my home, cut offs on utilities, etc...Thanks to my Father's help, and downsizing my cars to older yet more efficient models, I am alright for the very short term future.

Eventually / Possibly:

Surgery is possible anytime, but at least not imminent if I respond well to the treatment.

That's it for now...simply keep me in your prayers, I need them.

I love you all and look forward to seeing each of you soon...

Since so much is going on with my health, I just decided this was the easiest way to explain it. Please do not worry, I simply meant to help inform my loved ones as easily as possible, without having to repeat myself.

What do you all think?