So, what happened was……..
Two years ago, whilst teaching a class, I felt an enormous pain in my back/hip area. I managed somehow to finish the lesson, clutching at tables, trying not to cry in front of a room full of 15 year old pupils etc (wasn’t my finest lesson ever 😥) and stumbled home.
Managed to grab an emergency appointment with my GP the next morning, he sent me to physio, the physio said it was sciatica or something similar, gave me exercises and a crutch and sent me home. One of those exercises was to lie on a tennis ball that was placed in the painful area and put all my weight on it for as long as I could cope with ( those of you thinking “ouch” are quite correct) that was agony and after many sessions of doing this and crying my eyes out because it was so so painful, I insisted on a MRI scan. Paid privately obviously, couldn’t cope with waiting any longer (would’ve had to wait 6/8 weeks at best in the NHS)
I remember clearly the next ‘moment’, I was sitting on the settee when my mobile rang and a very deep voice said “can I speak to Lynley please, it’s Dr D?” I thought, ‘what the hell is he doing ringing me?’ The tone of his voice was instantly worrying as he said “are you sitting down ” ‘yes’ “have you got crutches with you?” ‘yes’ again, “thank goodness, because I’ve just looked at your scan and I can’t believe what I’m seeing but it’s showing that you have fractured your sacrum”
I have to say my first reaction was ‘what’s a sacrum?’ but thought better of asking daft questions at this point. His next question really floored me. “Have you been in a car accident?” I was so confused that I just started mumbling and thankfully he jumped in to say that these fractures are rare and often seen in car crashes which really started to worry me. His parting words were “don’t walk around, stay as still as you can and don’t do anything else until I see you in clinic next week“.
This just left me totally flummoxed and so I did what everyone else does in these situations…. Turn to Dr Google…. 😱
OH MY GOD! I was now overwhelmed with pages and pages of medical reports, X-rays and woeful diagnoses. I knew that the sacrum was a bone in the spine but didn’t realise how it also joins your pelvis together at the back, to all intents and purposes, my pelvis had ‘snapped’ in half, that scared me immensely. I continued to search until about 3 am when I finally gave in, shut off the iPad and just burst into tears, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed…….
All of Dr Google’s pages were full of reports pointing to the conclusion that if I hadn’t been hit by a car or hit the ground heavily after sky diving then the only other diagnosis was osteoporosis. I just couldn’t get my head around this, I thought that was for little old ladies with bent backs, couldn’t be happening to me at 47, God, I wasn’t even admitting to being over 40 yet let alone getting a disease that only the very elderly get!
Anyway, off to the hospital we went, on crutches and hardly able to walk along the corridor to see the consultant. What followed was, surprisingly for the NHS, was a whirlwind of blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, Dexa bone density scans and many examinations and poking and prodding.
Many months of more scans and different medications followed but unfortunately after one memorable visit, I also left with a diagnosis of severe osteoporosis, so bad that the consultant said that I had the ‘bones of a ninety year old‘. It also came with a 60/70% chance of fracturing more bones which absolutely terrified me. Yet again, I went home and consulted Dr Google, this time was worse, I read page upon page of doom and gloom and according to them, faced a life with a humped back and would probably die after breaking my hip. All worst case scenarios and all very unlikely in reality but it all completely overwhelmed me and yet again, the tears and sobs started. I could not believe that I could have osteoporosis, not me! I was young (ish), fit (ish) and ate healthily (ish!), this could not be happening to me…..
Unfortunately, it was and there was worse to come. The doctors then all agreed that the nerve damage and pain that the fracture had caused was now permanent. This floored me completely, I now faced the future as a disabled woman needing to use a wheelchair and no prospect of improvement or cure.