Thursday, July 14, 2011

Myelogram and Massage Therapy

At the behest of my pain management doctor, I have given deep tissue massage a chance after he noticed several large "knots" in my muscles in my lower back and upper back/shoulder area.  Though I've had deep tissue massage with my PT quite often, I have never had it for more than 10 or so minutes and almost exclusively on my legs.  My first session was painful as expected but definitely produced minor relief for me, the next session did more so, but again this was temporary for maybe 1-2 days before pain returned to normal.

I also received a Myelogram 4 days ago but am still experiencing severe side effects from the procedure.  After standing upright or sitting for around 30 minutes I feel an intense spinal headache and must lay back down, I done nothing but lay in bed or get up to go to the bathroom or eat the past few days and the headache still persists.  After getting one I am usually in severe pain for up to an hour and have to get back to rest, this worries me as I was told that I should be able to resume normal activity after 2 or so days.  I also am still experiencing a sharp discomfort in my lower back where the procedure was done and elevated "pressure" on my tailbone, much like I had while my tailbone pain was disappearing a year and a half ago...which just further leads me to believe that my sexual dysfunction and back pain is stemming from something in my tailbone.  I am looking forward to hearing my doctor's interpretation of the results and am continuing massage therapy once a month.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Intermittant Pelvic Pain

I have been noticing some intermittent pelvic floor pain, and a pulsing, aching sensation at the rear of my saddle.  It almost feels like a small object is stuck in my pelvic floor, not unlike that of Pelvic Floor Syndrome.  Pain during erections is also increasing and I have been noticing more "shocks" into my right buttock.  I have also noticed that my penis, especially the tip, is ice cold to the touch after lifting or almost any form of exercise, again, almost as if bloodflow has been severely reduced as well as feeling.  The most disturbing and worrying part is noticing a "bottleneck" forming just before the foreskin of my penis as if it's not receiving regular bloodflow, which it obviously isn't.  Erections are increasingly rare and consistently poor, probably 50% of normal, with most of the issues being with the bottom cavernosa and head to fill.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Follow Up: Urology Reports

As a quick follow up to my last post, I'm going to go over the urology reports I received in person.  The reports show that I have "fairly normal" blood flow as well as no bladder issues whatsoever.  As you can see in the letter, the doctor believes the erectile issues are most likely of neurological origin, like the last urologist I saw before him.

Thorasic Results & Abdominal/Side Pain

To start off the month, I am going to go through a quick recap of my Thorasic results then talk about even more new symptoms I am experiencing.

I was a bit frustrated when I specifically chose Dublin Methodist for an MRI because it has produced the clearest images I've seen so far, I had to use a temporary machine because of remodeling.  According to my GP, the Thorasic MRI showed degeneration among multiple discs in my mid back, which I guess would explain the growing pain and weakness.  He also said that there were a couple, small disc issues that could be seen.  I am now wondering if it is possible that my mid back degenerated from the lower disc degenerations/bulges or whether my sexual dysfunction is coming from my thorasic, instead of my cervical or S2 degeneration.  Now, I don't necessarily see anything (with my uneducated eyes) anything in particular, but here's a small sample:

I have begun to experience a few more, very intense symptoms over the past month as well
1.  Pelvic Floor - Though I have experience this pain a couple times before in my life this was definitely the most intense episode.  I plopped down on a chair and my pelvic floor went into what I can only describe as a binding cramp that would not go away for about 30 seconds to a minute.  The pain was so intense that I almost threw up, but when I heaved it put into so much pain I fell on the floor until it subsided.  In my humble opinion, this points more towards my sexual dysfunction as something coming from my lower back/tailbone/S1 S2/or the supposed cyst that was found in my pelvis months ago.
2.  Abdominal Pain - I just recently started to experience the same tightness/shooting pain down the right side of my body, the pain has clasped it's fingers (if you will) from my middle-right center back around to my abs.  Abdominal exercises, which used to be a cinch, and swimming have now become painful like my other exercise activities.  At first I thought it was a hernia, but after a cursory examination of the bellybutton area it didn't seem that way.  Like the pain in the rest of my body, it only effects the right side of my abdominals including obliques, while my left feels as good and resilliant as it ever has.
3.  Increased loss of feeling/tingling:  Over the past month I have noticed increased loss of feeling in my right hand, which can vary from ring/middle/pinky to index/thumb combo, there is definite weakness after running or walking long periods and my hand continually wants to "claw up".  I have also noticed increased tingling and weakness in the big toe and some in the other toes of my right foot.  Most notably, I have noticed a slight "drop" to my right foot, when I do my jog/walks where my left foot responds appropriately my right foot doesn't pull itself all the way to the correct running position.
4.  After using a decompression table 10-30 minutes a day I have noticed EXTREMELY sharp pain in my lower right back where it all started if I jostle too much.  I was told decompression can slowly cause pain at first so I am going at less of an inversion from now on and staying on for just 15 minutes or so a day.
5.  Inability to lift:  Last summer I remember being able to complete P90X upper body routines without any pain except a minor pulling feeling in my right shoulder.  After I tried to return to my very light lifting routine earlier this week I found my right shoulder in so much agony after just a few reps that I had to retire to the pool, where it continued to give my shooting pains into my right hand.
6.  Sexual Dysfunction:  Have noticed no real changes on sexual front besides the continued difficulty to achieve a full erection as well as even hold a partial one.  One new thing I have noticed is reduced anal tone, as well as, as weird as this sounds, a very minor discomfort (level 2/3) in my lower back when I must bear down to try and achieve a full erection...I believe this might be a continued sign that my lower back/tailbone is to blame for the dysfunction.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Priorities & A short reflection on change in sexual symptoms

My PM has asked me my "priorities" of pain when approaching my problem so I have decided to reflect that on my blog and my reasoning why.
1. Sexual Dysfunction: It has been shown that this is simply not transient and that it is worsening, urological tests have shown that it is not related to the genitals or leakage, my history and the way the dysfunction occurs have shown that it is incredibly unlikely that it is mentally related, and blood work and vascular tests have shown that I have no testosterone/vitamin deficiencies, or known vascular issues.  As a 24 year-old male my sexual health is paramount to me as it is to anyone else, though it is not as physically "painful" per se like my leg, back, neck or arm, it is tormenting, life-changing, and I believe reversible since it has just onset in the past year. It affects every part of my life including my confidence, mental, sexual [obviously], and even spiritual health.  I can live with pain, in my back, my leg, my arm, my neck.  I can live without running, without walking normally, without sitting comfortably, without lifting, without swimming, but I cannot live without sexual function.
2. Right Leg Pain:  This is the second most important as it is the most painful, obviously likely from using my feet to stand and walk the most, as well as my passion for running, and desire to be able to give a full presentation without having to sit in a chair half way through.
3.  Right Arm/Neck/Face Pain: When just my tailbone and leg hurt I could still lift, swim, I could still write and type without discomfort, obviously just getting this back would be a huge buoy to my life physically and emotionally but isnt AS painful as my right leg, though it is quite painful and my right hand experiences a minor loss in sensation as well as numbness and shooting pain the more I use it/my neck.  Plus if my neck and sexual dysfunction there's a possibility of a win/win there.  Perhaps the minor slip that Dr. Schwetenschenau saw and the tightening of the muscles around the neck are to blame for this?
4.  Lumbar/Thorasic Pain: Though my back is in agony, and my once excellent posture is completely destroyed, the pain in my back is nothing compared to the pain in my leg and arm/neck, I could definitely live with this pain the rest of my life, but the others, I find it hard to believe I can keep up the fight against.  I've noticed the lumbar pain grow into a little shot into my buttocks, but I also felt like it may or may not have gotten a bit better, though again, this is probably from not working out for months and reducing my sitting time while increasing my laying down time.

This evening I recalled last Spring, when I tried my best not to get an erection in the shower in the morning so that I didn't have to walk past my roommate to my room with one.  I also remember being most sexually active after I exercise, with my flaccid state being at its fullest.  This evening I noticed, after a short walk/jog (I can do about a minute of running and a minute of walking on and off in increasing pain for about 20 minutes before my leg gives out entirely) that I was very, very small.  This hasn't been unusual in the past 6 months, but was disturbingly so this evening, I mean, I didn't know it was possible to get this small, though, it was like it wasn't getting blood at all and it had definitely even further decreased in sensation.  Later in the shower, I realized that last summer, with work I was able to achieve a partial erection with focused thinking and almost no physical stimulation, I've noticed recently that an erection, with Cialis, focused thinking, and physical stimulation produces nothing.  My only chance at a partial erection (I use the term erection liberally here) is only possible while laying down, with serious focus and Cialis.

Current attitude:  Perhaps my lower back isn't necessarily to blame for my sexual dysfunction?  Though I've been told that the S1/S2 area (where much of my degeneration is)  I've also been told that both thorasic and cervical areas can be responsible as well and that sexual symptoms can definitely arise slowly like mine have from a back injury, especially from the thorasic.  Maybe if I examine my cervical more closely, and the thorasic MRI this morning shows something, I will have a better idea.  Though it is just too much of a coincidence to me that I had severe tailbone pain while sitting and then it suddenly disappeared into a light numbness at about the same time sexual dysfunction/numbness appeared. Also, I do feel like my leg pain and lower back pain MAY have gotten slightly better, though this could be because I have stopped working out, again this is only my perception.

I like to add a visual supplement to each post to break up the walls of text, so I'm sorry that this image is also text but it is an interesting excerpt from one of the Neurology books I've been perusing called Atlas of neurosurgical techniques: spine and peripheral nerves By Richard Fessler

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Physical Therapy Tests

Today was a particularly good day painwise from sleeping so long and being relatively inactive yesterday.  I just recently restarted PT after being very inactive for a few months on request of doctors to see if that helped which as we know did nothing.  My physical therapist has noted that I do have a particular weakness in my big toe, as well as very little reaction to the knee reflex test, and right leg sensation tests.  He also did a few stretches on me showing that the pain that radiates down to my hand in fingertips is mostly in my middle finger/ring (thought it affects all of them).  We will start more back stabilization exercises, traction, and deep tissue massage early next week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A tiny clarification, notcing of hand feeling sensation, and new suggestions

I have noticed a small loss of feeling in my right hand as compared to my left.  My hand often feels clawed and is pain after a long day of standing and walking but I have noticed just resting them on the keyboard that it simply doesn't feel the keys as tactile as the left does.  I have also noticed that when I walk, stand, or swim that my penis gets especially small and even cold, whereas in the past it would usually expand to an above-average flaccid state for myself.  I believe this again shows a possibility that the physical activity putting pressure on my back may cause this, paired with the fact that achieving what I generously call a partial erection only seems possible when lying on my back.

For a little clarification on the urologist visit:  I am still in the process of obtaining the urology reports, however, I do remember that the Doctor said that they judge venuous leaks on a scale of something like 1-10 and 1-5 level of leakage is entirely normal and I was a 5.1, which even at that, should never be having problems with morning erections or penetration.

The last doctor has suggested a discogram but made clear that they are excruciatingly painful, I am uneasy since she said it most definitely is not worth enduring the pain if it comes out inconclusive but the braver part of me says to remember that I should exhaust every option.

Disc Decompression was also suggested by the last doctor so I visited his specialist who consulted with me.  The specialist told me very coldly that he only helps people he knows he can help, or he thinks he has a chance at helping, and always turns away people he thinks he cannot help.  He said, that on this scale, I am an outlier in the category of "I have no idea,"  when I asked for a percentage chance he said that there is no percentage he could attribute as my symptoms are so wide spread that even attacking just one problem at a time may be difficult and takes a serious time commitment.  I am going to continue to contemplate getting the treatment for the next week or so until I am done with class and have a little more free time.

Current attitude:
Either way, I am not going to just give up and will come out of this stronger for having fought as hard as I can.