When I go to my doctors with a problem, I’m never under the impression that it’s something permanent. Rather, I’m usually optimistic that they will offer a solution.
Recently, I have been experiencing pain in my lower back and knees. After a few X-rays and MRI scans, I learned that the pain is a result of low oxygen around my bones, which causes parts of the bone to die. The medical term for this is avascular necrosis (AVN).
AVN isn’t typical for someone of good health at my age, but for someone with sickle cell disease, it is common for the crescent-shaped blood cells to block blood vessels and prevent the flow of oxygen around the bone, which leads to its decay, and consequently, pain.
After I was told what was wrong, I was recommended a pain-management program to join. This program involves interactions with various physiotherapists and doctors, who would advise me of different things to do to make my life more manageable with the pain.
But the recommendation left me feeling disheartened. I didn’t view it as helpful, because it seemed as if the damage caused by my blood was irreversible. I wanted solutions, and I wan’t willing to accept anything else.
Initially, I turned down the offer to join a pain-management program, because I wanted to do my own research to see if anything could be done to reverse the damage to my bones. Unfortunately, I came up short.
Surgery and electrical stimulation were suggested, but they seem too drastic for my case. I believe I’m in the early stages of the pain and the damage, but I don’t want to sit around until it worsens. I’d rather act now.
Eventually, I concluded that my doctors know best, and I’m sure they’ve seen similar cases before. So, I decided to join the pain-management program after all, but I still haven’t embraced it entirely. I guess I just want to remain optimistic.
I’m familiar with sickle cell’s effects on my body, and I’m aware of what could happen in the future. Nevertheless, I never thought this would happen to me — at least not in an irreversible way, and not so soon.
My current position is that I still don’t want to accept defeat, and I’m doing what I can to manage the pain. I’m also doing what I can to prevent the pain from worsening or spreading to other areas of my body. I’m focusing on things that will help to improve my blood circulation, I’m stretching, and I’m continuing to research other practical suggestions.
Have you experienced AVN? What were you advised to do about it? Do you have any tips for pain management or prevention? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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