After nearly 5 hours in the MRI last week and waiting an agonizing week for results, I got something quite anticlimatic. The MRI is all clear. Hallelujah! Obviously, I am relieved. While I have come to some sort of peace with a possible ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis over the past week or so, hearing this crossed off the list is outstanding news. The two findings on the MRI were a very small labral tear on the left hip (the non-painful one) and a small bulging disk in my cervical spine. Neither of these correlate with my symptoms and jsut go to show the dangers of doing imaging without knowing the patient's complaints.
So while I am overcome with relief, I am also very frustrated. I am no closer to knowing why I am having pain. Yes, I know pain can be due to a variety of things, but I'm still concerned. We are going on 3 months of this hip pain, and this thoracic pain seems to be getting worse. Five hours of expensive imaging and I just don't know.
In a way, finding something would have been a relief. It would have been a clear explanation for my pain and I could make a plan or better educated guess on when I'd be all healed up. Truthfully, it would also make me feel less wimpy. Three months of crappy training I can't blame on an imaging finding. All that moping, all those breakdowns the past couple of weeks, and I don't have a name to call it.
The ironic thing is I actually have been drafting a post since this pain started from my PT viewpoint of why you don't need to have a pinpointed diagnosis. But man, did I want one. The good side is that I do have deficits that are correctable- my hips are mad weak and tight. My core is on vacation. My weight can come down a notch. All these things can help.
Since I don't have a diagnosis to make a plan for me, I guess I will have to go back to basics. Strengthen what is weak, stretch what is tight, teach the muscles that don't fire how to fire. I am going to keep with my run/walk plan to ease back into running. And I guess we'll just play it by ear.
Bottom line though, I'd rather deal with frustration than ankylosing spondylitis.
Side note: Major props to everyone out there who does have AS. I can only imagine how it feels to not get the phone call I got but instead the other version. I have also been humbled by the accomplishments of folks I have heard about who do have AS and lead very active lives. Helgi Olafson is one such individual who even responded to a message I sent him very quickly with the utmost support. I have come to see the Crohns and Colitis community as one of incredible people, and it appears the AS one is as well. Three cheers for all of us with autommune diseases- keep fighting the good fight!