Seven years ago, way before I was diagnosed with Crohns, I discovered I had mild degenerative disc disease in the lumbar region of my spine. Sure, it caused some pain, but I dealt with it.
Fast forward to March of this year. I awoke one morning with a mind-blowing pain that started in my mid-back, went over my left shoulder, down my left arm, and into my left hand. Mind altering, scary pain. I had no idea pain existed on this level, and I had had my appendix burst years before, so I thought I knew what real pain was. I *thought* that was painful. Not even in the same category as this pain. Definitely a 10 on the scale.
I immediately made an appointment with the back specialist who had diagnosed my lumbar degenerative disc years before. Luckily, he could see me in 4 short weeks. Yes, that was sarcastic. I was put on his cancellation list, and was able to see him in three weeks. Luckily by that time the majority of the pain was gone. He didn't like what he saw on the xray, and ordered MRI's done of Lumbar and Cervical spine areas.
The MRI showed not much change to the Lumbar degeneration, but a brand new set of problems: Three cervical discs all in various stages of degeneration, most likely caused by long term prednisone use. Only option: surgery. My neurosurgeon told me that I needed to taper off of the steroids as much as I could possibly stand before surgery. Steroids inhibit new bone growth, and I was having a disc fusion, which is dependent on new bone growth. I tapered down to five mg before surgery.
As I tapered down past ten mg of pred, I had another flare of the same pain.. through the back, shoulder, arm, hand. I was just about
to the point of chewing off my own arm when the surgery day came. I awoke from surgery in pain from the surgery itself, but that was such a minor thing.... the huge nerve pain was gone, and I darn near broke down in tears. The recovery room nurse was alarmed.. "are you ok??" I said, yeah, more than OK, I'm fan-freaking-tastic.. the nerve pain is gone! According to my neurosurgeon, I still have at least one more (and probably more like two or three) of these surgeries to go through, if (when) more discs degenerate as badly as the one I had fixed. He also stated that my bones were losing hardness; he screwed four screws into two vertabrae and discovered the bone was pretty soft. This is also due to prednisone.
And of course I'm a pred-dependent Crohnnie. Such a decision... Spend most of my life in the intimate study of porcelain, or end up with a mostly metal, completely rigid spine before I turn 45. Guess I'll flip a coin...
Just trying to be a "Regular Member".
Entocort 9 mg/day, Prednisone 20 mg/day, started Humira 1/22/08, started 100 mg of Azasan (Imuran) 2/20/08. Increased Azasan to 150 mg 10/15/08. Discontinued Humira 11/03/08 after extreme fatigue and moderate muscle aches. Started Cimzia 12/4/08. Down to 5 mg/day of Pred now, and will continue to taper until completely off as long as the other meds keep me off the porcelain.
I'm convinced that Prednisone is the root of all evil, and primarily responsible for global warming.
Post Edited (CrohnsDaddy) : 6/27/2009 7:51:48 AM (GMT-6)