About a month ago I had blood drawn, which was then sent to Rush in Chicago for testing. The purpose was to see if I had a high level of various metals in my bloodstream, which could be a sign that my body was allergic to, or rejecting, the artificial disc I had put in place back in May 2005. My dad initiated the conversation with my original surgeon at my desperate request (they work together), so the testing was done. I had not heard anything, so I asked my dad to check with the surgeon to see when the results would be available. As it turns out, the surgeon had received them this week.

The results show that there is an "elevated level of nickel reactivity". The surgeon was quick to point out that nickel is not a component of the disc. However, after a few minutes of web research, I was able to confirm that one of the main components, cobalt, is a byproduct of nickel. Basically the two go hand-in-hand. Also several of the other metals used for the disc often contain some nickel in their makeup.

I don't know what all of this will lead to, but it's something. Out of all of the test results I've had, only two things have come back positive - the level of nickel in my bloodstream, and my anti-nuclear antibody level. Both items are signs of an allergic reaction based on what I've read.

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but it's tough not to feel consumed with emotion right now. It's good news - great news, actually - but there is also a part of me that is furious for the hell I've gone through and the complete lack of support from the medical community. I've asked every doctor I've seen these past 3 years (over 11 of them) if I could be allergic to the implant, and I was blown off. In fact, most of the docs gave a laugh and told me "If you can wear a watch, you don't have a metal allergy." Right...because wearing a watch on my wrist is completely the same as having a large metal implant inside your body reacting with various tissues and such. Because my watch is made out of the exact metals - and plastics - as an implant. Completely the same.


If I actually get a diagnosis for whatever it is I have and it's related to the disc, I will certainly make it my mission to share my story as much as I can so others who may be suffering from the same thing can get treated. In the meantime these results have given me a much needed boost of fighting power. It gives me something to work with, which is all I've been wanting for a few years now. Something to let me know that I'm not crazy, that it's not all in my imagination and that what I'm suffering from is real. It may not have been real to the medical community up until this point because it's not one of the main "top 50" diseases they are aware of, but it's definitely real to me. And I think this most recent test reinforces the fact that there is something there.

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

What AMAZING news! I'm so glad that this may be the little light at the end of your tunnel you've been looking for! My fingers are crossed that you have a metal allergy!!! (that sounds so weird...!!)!