So the telephone meeting with the surgeon, this week,  came and went. I anxiously awaited by the phone with multiple pages of notes from our previous discussions with other doctors and advisors from the MRIs.

I was unsure what to expect from this call because of his demeanor on the last one. I really wanted this surgery to be done and over with so that I could move on with my life. That has been my process of getting through anything medically. My usual process is if I have a symptom (or symptoms), I try and get the earliest appointment with my primary care doctor, get a diagnosis or specialist referral if needed, get a diagnosis from that doctor, get it sorted with medication, surgery, physiotherapy; whatever the professional advice on getting back to living my life.

*Deep Breath* I hear this from people all the time; how unhappy they are with their doctors and/or results. I have always felt sorry and frustrated on their behalf, and, I know that, until this time around, I have been extremely lucky in getting my results, diagnoses, and treatments. I can now sympathize wholeheartedly with them now because of this most recent run-in with the most recent turn of events. I am frustrated, angry, and depressed. Every doctor passed me on to the surgical department due to the pain.

My surgery was scheduled for March 19th, and due to Covid-19, was postponed indefinitely. I’ve been waiting to be rescheduled since that date. I was fortunate to be able to have a second MRI done to see the progress of the area. He reviewed the results of the second MRI and gave his opinion that since I had a little relief for a few weeks after the epidural was performed in the area and worked and that the fragment had shrunk to the point where there were not really any particles to remove, it was not trapping any nerves. His opinion came from “18 years of practicing as a surgeon”.

I was angry because the relief had only happened for about 2 weeks, and the pain was back; just as intense if not more than before. Jennifer asked, “well, why am I helping him off the floor because he’s in excruciating pain all the time!” his reply ” there isn’t anything I can do surgically, Pete’s pain is probably coming from the above vertebrae where there is no cartilage and that’s probably also giving the increase in stiffness in the back, but he’s too young to have the major surgery”. His only comment was to refer me back to pain management and cancel the surgery completely.

I was stunned at that unexpected response and overwhelmed with frustration, anger, and disappointment. I have stepped back to take a few days to reconsider the situation and have spoken with very knowledgeable friends that have helped me re-evaluate my conversation with the doctor. I’m going back in my mind to the surgeon’s final question, “Mr. Isaacs, is there anything I can help you with? Are you getting enough exercise? are you walking?” My brain stalled at his lack of comprehension of everything I had literally just told him. What part of the conversation did he not get???? This conversation confirmed it’s time for a second opinion.