No matter the purpose of my appointment with the neurosurgeon, the conversation always comes down to autoimmune disease. Today’s visit was no different.
This is the same neurosurgeon’s office that–a few weeks ago–rescheduled my appointment without telling me. Beyond that, there was an additional conversation about another scheduling error.
As I strolled through the door with my walker, I was greeted as if I were an old friend. Doors were opened for me; lots of chatting ensued.
By the time I saw the neurosurgeon, my volume was on voluble. This was my annual appointment regarding my C2-C4 neck fusion. Only screws and a metal plate are holding the donor bone in place. There has been no fusion.
Until today. What looks like a bit of a blur on an x-ray turned out to be the beginning of healing. It’s slow but it is happening.
“Is my body just slow?” I asked her. The surgery was two years ago.
“Yes. It’s the autoimmune disease, the biologic, and the steroids. They slow down the healing.”
I’ve struggled with this since the initial surgery that released my pinched spinal cord. It kept me from becoming a quadriplegic. Methotrexate and prednisone make it possible for me to write every day AND perform my activities of daily living. They give me a life.
The neurosurgeon and I have had long, usually thoughtful–sometimes lively–conversations concerning this obstacle that is my path. We both know that stopping the medication does not guarantee the fusion process will continue, much less speed up.
The war within my body—autoimmune disease—will go on whether I stop the medication or not. I will just know its effects more readily if I reduce my troops.
This is the rock and hard spot that is my path but it is not without a sliver of light. That I am healing means more than a blur on an x-ray. Full fusion is not guaranteed but now, it is a possibility.
Consistency in diet, yoga, and meditation have had an effect. None is a quick fix; all are a lifetime practice. For now, the practice includes methotrexate and prednisone.