Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

Medical Update

My latest visit to Mayo Clinic went as I expected it to, but not as I hoped. I went to see a neurosurgeon who Dr. Dyck had referred following my first visit at Mayo. Dr. Dyck’s diagnosis based on a new MRI and a variety of other sensory tests was that I had spinal stenosis primarily in a couple of the lumbar vertebrae as well as general arthritic deterioration of my spine.  He sent me to Dr. Atkinson because he felt that a laminectomy would resolve the crippling effects of the stenosis. He gave me great hope that this common surgical procedure was 80-90% effective in treating stenosis. He also warned me that Dr. Atkinson might not be open to doing this procedure on me because of my weight. 

My weight was the central focus of Dr. Atkinson’s consult. He felt that I was a significant surgical risk. In reviewing the same MRI had a different conclusion from Dr. Dyck. He did not see any stenosis, only body fat crowding around the spinal cord.  He recommended that I self-heal by losing a significant amount of weight. He recommended that I have a bariatric consultation. I thought my visit with the Dr. was completed, but then he said ”there might be one way I would consider surgery: have a steroid injection in two different spots in your spine” (he defined them) and if that made a difference I was to let him know two weeks after the injection. 

In a follow-up note Dr. Dyck agreed with Dr. Atkinson’s bariatric recommendation, but he still listed spinal stenosis as my primary malady. I have arranged for the injections at the end of May since I would be going to Mayo for a consultation with another doctor that I was referred to. I will see what happens with the injections. If they provide relief, I will see where Dr. Atkinson will go. If they do nothing then Dr. Atkinson said there was no use in doing surgery. At that point I will open the next door to my medical journey and begin a bariatric consultation. 

I am writing this on a beautiful Monday afternoon sitting on my front porch. This is the first Monday in months that I have not been going to a medical appointment. It feels very different not to be busy with my medical hobby! As always, I will keep you informed as to what is going on with my health.



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