I'll start at the beginning.
Symptoms included: Painful spasms upper right arm/tricep down into chest, back. Numbness in both hands but only half of the hand. Trembling/shaking of right hand so much that I couldn't hold a glass of wine at a Christmas party unless I held it close to my body. Extreme fatigue of my feet--always looking to sit down. It had gotten to the point that I couldn't pull my wallet out of my back right pocket due to clumsiness in my hand which would usually result with a spasm. After seeing my regular doctor around Thankgiving of 2003, he recommended a cervical xray. The results showed progressive, severe spurs and soon after, ordered a cervical MRI. The MRI showed 5 and 7mm disc osteophytes and stenosis with spinal cord compression. He referred me to a Neurosurgeon who on the very first visit said that surgery was my only option. He never "examined" me, but based his entire decision on my symptoms and MRI. His exact words were "you're damned if you do, (the surgery)and damned if you don't" He told me that if I were to have a simple fall, it could produce catostrophic results. None the less, he had my procedure approved with the insurance company a week later. My surgery was February 11, 2003. My hospital stay was five days due to a lot of swelling they said. I had one follow-up visit with the surgeon at five weeks who said I could return back to work whenever I felt comfortable. He had me wear a soft collar and didn't seem too concerned about the pain I was experiencing. Vicodin, Demerol, Morphine ..none of the above worked for me so while in the hospital, they started me on Dilaudid which I am still taking.
At this point, I'm going to try to make a long story short cause I could keep writing all day. I've had no follow up with the surgeon. Never called me at home to see how I was doing. Never scheduled the xrays at one month intervals he had talked about prior to surgery. To date, June 29, I still have not heard from him. Oh and I should say I stayed home for 6 weeks before returning to work (I sit at a computer all day)
After filing a complaint with my health care provider, they finally got me a new surgeon for my follow up. I was told to gather my files and records from the original surgeon. They can't seem to locate my MRI.
The New surgeon took xrays and shook his head in disbelief as he explained everything to me. Not only is there NO fusing whatsover, The plate is in at a 45 degree angle. Also, only five of the six screws were used. He asked me twice if I was told of any of this. (I wasn't) None of this was documented in the operative report. Also, the report of findings that the first surgeon sent to my primary doctor after meeting with me the first time was all falsified. He put down all these reflex percentages, right and left side, blood pressure, etc.He never did any of those things. NEVER took my blood pressure. He never touched me. He based his entire decison on the MRI which at the time I didn't question.
I am in more pain now than before surgery. It is more constant pain instead of it coming with spasms. My trembling is worse. My feet are always tired. I am going on six months post-op and I am in a Phila******a collar(which the new doc says I should have been in from the start) The donar bone isn't even flush with my own and the doctor feels the fusion was doomed from the start. He says the hardwear should start to fail and I will have to do the whole procedure over again. Why am I wearing a collar?? Help! By the way I am a 36 yo male who was very active before all this. I am tired of being in pain and more tired of having to say I don't feel well all the time. It's become more difficult to work because now I can't sit for a prolonged period of time. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
What a sad story and what a complicated and miserable time you are having. Having opinions from two separate physicians before surgery is the best thing to do, but since your surgery is already done, I would say change neurosurgeons and also see a neurologist. Sitting at a computer all day in your condition is not a good idea as it just aggravates any spinal problems. I had to give up my life-long profession of medical transcription six months ago and it had really done a number on my spine. I had to have both ACDF and PCDF C2-3, 3-4, 4-5, and 5-6 as any fall could have caused paralysis and I had impingement on the spinal cord at all four levels. I had grafting, plating and fusion and I was in surgery for 6-1/2 hours and in the hospital for five full days. The first few weeks were really miserable but after three months I am feeling so much better and much better than before surgery. I had seen consulted three neurosurgeons and a neurologist before deciding to have surgery and had exhausted all conservative treatment over the past ten years. At my age of 74 years it has been a hard surgery to go through, although at any age surgery is no picnic. I had to wear a Miami J hard neck brace for three full months and have just in the past week been able to wean off of it. I am doing almost everything I did before surgery, although when I overdo, I certainly pay for it with pain and muscle spasms. The only meds I have taken since leaving the hospital have been Percocet and Flexeril and am now down to one of each a day. I have had monthly follow-up visits with the NS and monthly follow-up X-rays and my last X-rays should good healing and everything in place. I wish you could have had as successful a postoperative period as I did, and I don't understand any doctor not even following up after such major surgery. I do hope you can find a good NS and I am sorry you will have to go through surgery again - I can't even imagine going through that again. Whatever you do, good luck!
Had Anterior Cervical Fusion June 16. Saw 4 doctors before having surgery. All 4 said the same thing. Have surgery right now before you end up without the use of your legs or arms. C-4-5 C-5-6 C-6-7 with cadavir bone and metal plate. Had a 8 mm bulge at the C5-6. Was told before surgery I might have long term damage to my spinal cord. Was draging my left leg and holding my left arm down at my side before surgery. I have all the symtoms I had before the surgery and more. Now I have this constant shaking of my hands. I was also told that I have a disk in my lower back that needs the same type of surgery. I think I am in more pain now than before the surgery. Before all of this I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel. All of my fingers, my hands and arms are still numb. I drop things all the time. I feel like I cant hold on to anything. And sometimes my fingers will twist and curl up on there own untill I pry then open. Oh yeah, getting back to the neck and back problem. Before the surgery I had this problem of my legs bouncing up and down. After the surgery it is much worse. Every morning I have this cramp in my left leg now where my foot points straight out and my leg starts shaking. I have to pull my foot back and wait for the shaking to stop. Man, what a awful post. The Vicodin or Norco, the Neurontin the Percodan and Percocet none of these work for me. They might take a slight edge for an hour but thats it. Then its hours of pain untill the next pain pill. I am sick of pills. Is there anything I can do for the pain. They want to give me cortisone shots in my neck and back but the ones I had in my hands for Carpal Tunnel did nothing but make it worse for days and then no relief at all. I don't think I will get them just because I dont think I can take anymore pain than I am in right now. I will yell out when I turn a certain way . Sorry for the negative post... I can only hope things will get better and I know they will.