Murphy’s law of Research:
“Enough research will tend to support any theory”
OR “Whatever disease you think you have, webMD will assure you of 5 worse things”
One of the things that I was anxious about in turning 40 is feeling that my body would eventually begin to wear down and I would become weak.
A week before my 40th, my body initiated its devolution with a tingling sensation that first began at the back of neck, and as the night progressed across my face and down my left arm. That’s right–the left arm. This is where the panic begins. So my mind begins to race and I start to compile a list of things that could be happening: stroke, heart attack….let’s be honest, after stroke and heart attack do you care about any other kind of problem?
So the rest of the night I spent mentally on the ledge monitoring the inconsistent tingling and numbness–knowing that I wasn’t having a heart attack or a stroke but still A BIT freaked out. The next morning Beth takes me to the hospital and scans my carotids–all clean, so I can check vascular disease off my list, but don’t worry webmd has provided me with a host of other problems that I could have: MS, Lyme’s disease, Lupus, and spinal stenosis. I was convinced that it was going to be MS. I quickly eliminated Lymes–winter and ticks don’t mix–I know next to nothing about Lupus except that Marty on All my Children had it and she eventually raped by Todd (which I’m sure was not due to the Lupus–I think they’re married now), spinal stenosis seemed to benign so MS could be the only answer. I was determined to prove that point by researching online. At one point over the weekend Beth told me that I was no longer allowed to be on the computer because of my constant obsessing and analyzing the symptoms. By the end of the weekend, the tingling had moved to the right side (a good sign–tingling moving–a good sign!).
The doctor planned on sending me for an MRI. He told me that he was going to write some scary disorders on the script. Words like MS, stroke, TIA, and Lupus. I said, “what no Lyme disease?” and he told me he doubted Lymes in February. So I went for my MRI the day after my birthday.
When the MRI was over the technician says, so did you have a big party to celebrate the big 40, and I told him that originally I was sheduled to get my MRI on my birthday. He responded with, “good thing you moved it. Who’d want to get bad news on their birthday!”
Bad news?? Why’re we assuming bad news? Basic Murphy’s law reminder–anything that can go wrong will! I must have had a WTF look on my face because he quickly followed that statement with, “well good luck with everything.”
Now, I’m sure that his response, the second one, is a pat answer said to everyone, but it was enough to stoke the crazy fires in my brain during the short drive home. The lab had given me CDs of my brain and cervical scans. I loaded them both into the PC and began to search the images for signs of………well I don’t know exactly, but I was sure that if there was something, I would be able to spot it. Beth came over and said, “just stop pretending that you even know what you looking for. Wow, nice eyeball!” Nice eyeball, you can always count on her for having the wit to remind me of the absurdity of it all.
A day later and I received my results. The nurse told me that my brain was “normal.” ( I know you all have your own thoughts on that one.) The cervical scan showed a mild stenosis on the left side.
A stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves which can cause tingling, numbness, weaknees in exteremeties and wait for it…..incontinence (in extreme cases) but it’s still there.
So on my 40th I was reminded about the fragility of the human condition; that I might want to start investing in adult diaper stock. In all honesty the most fragile part of myself was not my body but rather my mind. I automatically assumed the worse. As if the number 40 has a voodoo doll of my body and was poking my neck with a warm pin.
The doctor and I still have a follow up appointment to discuss what is to be done to either correct or prevent any future injury.
I’ll keep you all posted, and the lesson to me is that webMD is not my friend
Drs appointment tonight. MRI results point out that my brain is UNREMARKABLE! The dr could tell that I was insulted, but he assured me that on the MRI that is the best result possible. We had a good laugh about how I could show my students the “unremarkable brain of Mr. Murphy.” It made me think of the scene from Young Frankenstein when Igor picks up the Abby Normal brain.
The stenosis of the spine was not affecting the spinal cord and is resulting from a muscle pull in my neck. I still have some discomfort due to inflammation, but I’ve got meds for that and PT is available if needed. So the old man is feeling better and glad to be unremarkable!