Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Spine Doctor

I heard some terrible news today about a teenaged boy who may have accidentally killed himself.

The morbid side of me wanted to read his obituary. But I can't do that without reading other people's obits. As I have mentioned before, I tend to read obituaries of the unknown (to me).

As I passed through many obituaries, I found this one on Dr. Stephen Montgomery: http://www.legacy.com/newsobserver/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=119797268

Dr. Montgomery was one of several doctors I saw in late 2006.

On August 12th, 2006, I was hit with something that made me nauseous, dizziness, and chills. So awful were the symptoms at the onset that I could not stand and I had to rush back home from where I was (at the library). I hoped to make it the two mile ride home without passing out.

I made it. I ran up to my room as I overheard my girls tell Tim that "mommy doesn't feel good". I fell asleep and when I awoke, I had the most excruciatingly painful headache I have every experienced *and* my neck hurt like hell.

This pain, along with a 'vertigo' like feeling, haunted me for several months. I've mentioned this in several posts. This mysterious illness had me thinking that I was 1) going to die or 2) have a chronic condition where I would never be "normal" again.

I am so grateful that I have overcome whatever happened to me two years ago. And no matter how great I feel, any head or neck ache, dizziness, *anything* remotely close to the symptoms I experienced for three months in 2006, makes me concerned that whatever I had has come back.

I saw many doctors and had many tests, include two MRIs. One with ink; one without. I was diagnosed with Lyme's Disease, migraines, and/or severe degeneration of the c-spine. In fact, I was told that my neck bones appeared to be those of an 80 year old woman who was in a car accident.

Dr. Montgomery was one of the many specialists I saw in 2006 who tried to figure my puzzle out. He was a confident surgeon who took a look at my c-spine x-rays and explained that my neck appeared to look like any other 'average jane'. This would later be questioned by the Neurologist I would see soon after.

But Dr. Montgomery was an confident-but-a-whim-of-arrogance that Tim and I needed. This man was a spine surgeon and nothing that I was afflicted with was 'worthy' of his expertise.

This is my interpretation of my meeting with him. And it's not meant to be negative. We needed to hear from someone who wasn't just agreeing to 'just' anything. We needed to hear someone say, with confidence, that I wasn't suffering from something...instead of hearing 'it could be this' or 'it could be that'. He was one of the only doctors who would proclaim 'you are not my problem...you need to see another doctor'.

And I did.

And although the subsequent doctor couldn't pinpoint my illness, he was as confident as Dr. Montgomery, albeit a bit more 'tender' to my dilemma.

But without Dr. Montgomery, I don't think I could have figured out who or what I needed to do next.

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