getting lp tomorrow and scared

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zanadu
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 8/31/2006 8:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
 
I woke up one day with both feet numb. Later that that week it traveled up my legs and around my upper abdomen. Got very scared because it felt like a tight band around my chest. ER doc said i was having a panic attack.  NOT!!  Finally saw my PCP and he figured out i had extremely low B-12 levels and refers me to a neuro. Neuro exam was 3 wks ago and he ordered an MRI of my c and t-spine and sent me to a gastro. I got the call last week that my c-spine has 2 lesions on it and I am to have a LP tomorrow. All of this has really hit me hard. Can anyone tell me how painless or painfull this exam is?? I'm nervous. Neuro also mentioned transverse myelitis...has anyone else had that?
 
 
Thanks so much it means alot to have people to talk to!! 

uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 8/31/2006 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   

I'm sorry you're having so many problems!

Here's a site that talks about what transverse myelitis is:

http://www.myelitis.org/tm.htm

Some of us have been diagnosed with TM (transverse myelitis) early on, when we've had just one episode such as you describe, but if it happens again, then the diagnosis may be come multiple sclerosis.  But you'll see when you read this site there are lots of things that can cause TM, so I'm sure your doctor is going to explore all those options before settling on a diagnosis.  Not all of the things mentioned on this myelitis site also come with lesions that have shown up through the MRI, though, so I'm sure the doctor is taking that into account as well.

The lp, while a serious procedure, is a great tool to help him narrow his focus, as it can sometimes show if you have an infection somewhere in the central nervous system, or some other disease process going on.

Some of us have had several lp's without any complications. Others will tell you awful stories about problems they've had. Remember that lp's are done every day, and many many people go through it without any problems -- you'll hear about the bad experiences here (and elsewhere on the net) because people will complain when it was awful, but not say much when it went well.

Did your doctor give you any suggestions about how to prepare? They'll often suggest you drink plenty of fluids, and particularly fluid with caffeine, like coffee, or caffeinated beverages.

At any rate, what they're doing is removing fluid from your spinal column. So you'll be asked to undress, lie on a table, and (usually) curl up.  The area of your back (usually rather low) will be anesthetised with a local, and then a needle inserted, and the spinal fluid removed.  You'll feel pressure on your back, and then a "pop" sensation as the needle goes in.  You need to lie perfectly still while this is going on. This doesn't take very long....just a few minutes.

Then when they're done, and the needle is removed, you should be asked to lie absolutely flat (without a pillow) on your back for at least 4 hours.  This is to give your body fluids and blood time to level out again in your body, and "fill in" where the fluid was removed. 

If you don't lie flat, you're putting yourself at risk for a really awful headache...which can be quickly treated by going back to the doctor for something called a "blood patch", where he will draw blood from your arm and re-insert it in the area where he did the lp.  Almost instantly you'll get relief from your headache.

Otherwise, assuming you don't get the headache, the next common "side effect" is a bit of an aching back the next day. Usually an ibuprofen, or tylenol, or aspirin, relieves that.

Some doctors will get results right away; others have had to wait a week or 10 days to find out what the results are. You should ask your doctor what is usual for his practice.

Good luck! come back and tell us how it went!

 


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


zanadu
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 8/31/2006 9:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much that was very helpful and makes me feel better!! I will certainly keep everyone posted.

rhondab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 8/31/2006 7:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Zanadu

I wanted to let u know i saw u'r thread here and am praying it all goes well for u. I've known people who asked for the blood patch that Uppity spoke of before the proceedure was done...thereby maybe eliminating the chance of the headache ever happening. I'm sure u'r doc will be able to advise u on that. Uppity did a great job of explaining this to u (as usual ;) ) and there should be no surprises as to the proceedure. Take comfort in the knowledge...it can mean so much to understand beforehand what u'r about to be involved in! I'll be watching for u'r update and hoping for a great experience for u.

rhonda

zanadu
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/2/2006 12:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks to Uppity and Rhonda,

Knowing more helped me alot. It went well for what it is. Really glad it's over. I have had no headache and feeling just fine. My doc did a pretty darn good job for a test that is uncomfortable and scary. He joked around with me and played 80's music which helped me a lot. Now just the wait for the results. Thanks for the prayers and the insight. I'm really glad I found this page!

uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 9/2/2006 12:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm glad it went OK for you. It's never pleasant, but if it gets you closer to a diagnosis and proper treatment, it will have been worth it.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


rhondab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 9/2/2006 5:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Zanadu

Great! I'm really glad things went so well and that u'r doc was able to put u at ease. Sounds like he's a good doc! I hope the results come back soon and i'll be watching for u'r update on that. Take good care!

rhonda
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