I’ve had so much imaging performed this year, I’m pretty sure I’ve been exposed to enough radiation to give me superpowers or a third arm.
In no particular order (and considering multiple views for each…) :
- Thoracic spine MRI
- Brain MRI with and without contrast
- L&R shoulder arthrograms
- 2x L&R shoulder x-rays
- Abdominal CT
- L&R hip x-rays
- L&R hip MRIs
- L&R ankle x-rays
- L&R ankle CTs
That’s a lot of stuff in just 2018.
Fortunately, I’m not claustrophobic. Otherwise, I think I would have developed an aversion to cylindrical objects by now.
Each test result provides information that is both empowering and disappointing. This year, I’ve learned that: I have multiple herniated and stenosed thoracic intervertebral disks; my thoracic spine is abnormally flattened; my shoulder joint capsules are posteriorly and inferiorly stretched out such that the joints themselves cannot move properly or in a healthy manner; I have bones in my ankles that have fragmented into multiple pieces, compensatory bony growths that limit normal motion, and a chunk of bone missing out of my left tibia at the ankle; tears in both of my hip labra and an early right-sided trochanteric bursitis.
Holy hoofbeats, Batman!*
The only consistent feedback I receive from my physicians is “you’re a surgical candidate, but we aren’t going to recommend it,” thanks to my circumstances. EDS patients are notorious for being resistant to anesthetic drugs and pain-killers – I discovered during my arthrograms that I metabolize lidocaine way too quickly for it to be useful – which is an obvious problem for both surgery and post-surgical pain management. Hypermobility itself introduces a laundry list of potential complications both during and post-op. The more conservative options I inquire about are dismissed with the exception of physical therapy, which is heavily suggested. This is frustrating because: a) I’ve already been doing PT for years b) I’ve found a fair bit of peer-reviewed literature that suggests PT is not efficacious in significant percentages of patients with specific injuries, e.g., labral tears in the hip c) conservative options should always be attempted before surgery d) I feel like I’m expected to “deal with it” until I reach a point surgery is unavoidable (essentially living as a ticking time bomb).
While CT scans and x-rays are unlikely to provide the ability to fly or walk through walls, I could still certainly use some superpowers.
Zebra Batman! ^
*Robin, season 3 episode 7 of Batman. Who knew a 1960s live-action TV show about a DC comic would be so applicable to EDS?