I continue to witness my 72 yr old mother in excruciating mid sternum pain for over 18 months. The onset of pain came on rapidly without trauma, or any medical reasoning.
After exhausting all measures that would make sense, we have just returned from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. After extensive testing- blood panels, MRI brain, chest, thoracic spine, stomach- CT scans, Pulmonary function testing, multiple xrays, Bronchoscopy and consults, we are no closer to a resolution than we were when we started. Not to say that our experiences at the Mayo were anything but thorough, we are still left with the pain and no clarity of understanding this pain. All we have been told is that there is no Cancer or tumors, and for that we are very grateful.
You notice I say "we", when I reference her pain. As all of you know, when anyone in our family units suffers with pain, it effects all of us. The feeling of hopelessness is so overwhelming at times.
My mother and I willl continue this journey in hopes of finding someone out there that may shine a glimmer of hope in all this.
The pain she describes is gnawing, burning, stabbing. It will sometimes radiate to the back. She feels as if it is deep in the chest wall. She often describes it as tortorous in nature. It is localized to one side, her right. In the beginning, doctors followed the path of lung, possibly pnemonia/bronchitis. Of course, this was ruled out in a short time.
Multiple ER visits ruled out Cardiac, as anytime one complains of pain in the chest area, protocol calls for this. It becomes exhausting trying to explain the condition each time we are face to face with new doctors/medical specialists. I even prepared a detailed time history for our visit to the Mayo clinic which included all procedures, tests and results. My one complaint with the consultative medicine MD at the Mayo, was she did not even look at this well prepared history to follow with us. Anyway, point being, she has been through the "process of elimination" to include pain management, gall bladder removal, digestive procedure to eliminate any reflux disease. cardiac, rheumatic,neurology and pulmonary.
The Mayo left us with advice to continue the path of pain management and introduce sports medicine consultation, of which we will do.
To control the pain she has to take high doses of loritab 4xdaily (she is so concerned of the narcotic addiction, but cannot do without them) Neurontin 300mg 5xdaily. Physicians have suggested she go on Cymbalta of which she tried for a short time several months ago. She is willing to try it again.
In our pulmonary consult at the Mayo, the doctor asked if she had ever been advised that this could be the xyphoid bone, and that some people have had to have it removed. This would be the absolute last course of action, was his comment.
Honestly, It was just refreshing to hear something other than Costochondritis. I have done extensive research on this syndrome, and truly do not feel she falls into all the parameters of costochondritis. For one, she does not feel any change in severity of pain when deep breathing.
I pray that someone out there has some supportive measures, or, just some consoling advice that may give us a lining of hope. My mother has never been one to complain of pain. She was actively walking her 3miles around the park 3xweekly. She loves her garden, loves to visit the thrift shops, travel, and entertain her company from England where she is from. She is a people pleaser, and yet steadfast in her opinions making her a strong woman who has been admired by many.
I appreciate those of you who have taken the length of time to read all this. If you can offer any similiar experiences, whether it be yourself, or someone you know, we would be so comforted in you sharing it with us.
Kim for her Mother Anne