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Old 10-18-2003, 07:26 AM   #1
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CLJones64 HB User
Post C5-C6 bulging disc...severe pain!

Hello all. New to board, and new to dx of bulging C5/C6 disc. Am in extruciating pain in right shoulder blade area and down my right arm. Numbness/weakness from armpit to fingers. Saw neurologist 3 weeks ago, had MRI, ESI last Monday, and am seeing chiropractor. Nothing is helping with this pain. I'm scared to know I may be facing surgery, but this pain is incredible. I can't work...I drive for a living ...because I'm having to stay doped up on narcotics and muscle relaxers to even function. I've had several pity parties for myself, and am now trying to educate myself for what the future may hold. The potential of relief from surgery makes it a viable option right now, but after reading some of the posts here, I'm not so sure anymore. My neuro has mentioned another ESI before proceeding with other options, but the first one didn't help. I feel like I'm just prolonging the inevitable, but am scared to death of that, too. All I know is I can't stand this pain, and I hate taking narcotics! I feel so hopeless...like there isn't a answer at this point...and I don't know what to do. How do you all cope with the constant pain? And do you have any quality of life? Oh, and by the way, I'm female, 39 years old, and already live with a dx of Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks for letting me vent, and for any advice or experiences you can share.
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DX with Multiple Sclerosis 12/97. Weekly Avonex injection for MS.

2 bulging and 1 herniated disc 09/03. Bulging at C5/C6 and C6/C7 levels. Herniation with foraminal narrowing and obvious nerve root compression at T1/T2.

 
Old 10-18-2003, 08:16 AM   #2
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LisaM HB User
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Hi CL,
I'm new here too but I have been thru what you're going thru to some extent. First off, I'm not a strong believer in chiropractors. I was misdiagnosed by one and I truely believe for the 2 years he treated me. I got worse. I suggest a NeroSurgeon. I just didn't trust an ortho on such a delicate area and I even went to another city to have it. I live in a small town and again, didn't trust anyone here. When I first found out like you, I weighed the pros and cons. Live in a haze on drugs or hopefully, get my life back. I have 4 children and 3 stepchildren. I don't have time to be ill. I don't regret the surgury at all. I'd do it again. In my case, I just don't think I was prepared for the post op. I thought it would be a snap and I'd be back to normal in 3 to 4 weeks. Wrong! It's major surgery! Yes, for the first weeks it is painful but slowly it does begin to fade. The only pain I feel now is when I've done too much thru the day or my case I caught 2 illnesses that irritated it. Please keep in mind this is my experience. There are some people on here that haven't been as lucky as I have. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. The pain before had gotten more than I could handle. Is it a long recovery? Yes, you're body has been thru alot. What ever your decision, I wish you the best of luck and truely hope you're out of pain soon.


------------------
Lisa
Anterior Cervical Discetomy w/Fusion C5-C6 on Sept 9, 2003
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Old 10-18-2003, 10:15 AM   #3
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Thank you Lisa for sharing your experience with me. It's great to hear that you had success, in spite of the long recovery period. There are so many differing opinions posted, some positive, some negative, so I really don't know. The thoughts of being pain free and back to normal tend to make me lean toward the surgery, then you read some of the horror stories, and you have to rethink it. I don't know how you ever make a decision and feel totally comfortable with it, but I suspect the longer this pain continues, the more likely I'll be to consider surgery...just for some relief. In the meantime, I'm going to keep learning and researching as much as I can, and thank God for the pain killers.

I take it from your note that the doctor went in the front of your neck, right? And did you use donor bone or plates or what? Are you still having to wear a cervical collar or anything? Is your feeling back in your arm/hand? What about pain, other that post op pain? Are you free of the prior pain now? I know I have lots of questions, but I value other people's experiences as a tool to help me make my decision. Thanks again...Carla
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DX with Multiple Sclerosis 12/97. Weekly Avonex injection for MS.

2 bulging and 1 herniated disc 09/03. Bulging at C5/C6 and C6/C7 levels. Herniation with foraminal narrowing and obvious nerve root compression at T1/T2.

 
Old 10-18-2003, 11:35 AM   #4
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slow walker HB User
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Carla,
I had acdf surgery on August 22nd. I had no choice, because the disk was pressing on my spinal cord and was beginning to make my legs weak. I used donor bone and hardware. My surgeon doesn't believe in wearing collars. She said the titanium plate acts as your collar. Not having to wear a collar made a big difference. Since I had a lot of spinal cord damage, my recovery hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be. Every case is different, but with me it is going to take about 18 months for the nerve damage to heal and disks to fuse. If I do too much one day, I pay for it the next day. Basically, the back of my neck hurts like it did before the surgery. I had a hysterectomy years ago, and I thought that surgery was more painful. I was on morphine for that. I think the biggest surprise with this surgery, is that it didn't automatically take the neck pain away and I have to be patient for that to happen. Not everyone has the same experience or recovery with their surgery, but it helped me to read about all of them. Angela

 
Old 10-19-2003, 10:44 AM   #5
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After all the results of all the other tests are in you should still seek a second opinion. Make sure the surgeon is someone you trust and someone who has lots of experience with your problem.

I had ACDF with own hip bone and plate. I am 6 weeks post op. I start back full time on Monday. I am in outside sales.. so I do a lot of driving for my job also. Driving is still challeging as I am not supposed to turn my head much yet. Try looking over your shoulder by rotating your whole body... its hard.

All of my arm pain and numbness in fingers and hand were gone immediately after surgery. Of course it was replaced with hip pain and neck pain. One month after surgery I could get around with out my cane...and most of the hip pain was gone.. unless I do too much walking.

My neck does hurt some at the end of the day but I have weaned myself off of the narcotics and two Aleve almost take care of the pain at the end of the day.

Surgery is not for everyone. and everyone's results are not the same. Talk to several surgeons before you decide who should do your surgery.

------------------
Deborah
anterior cervical discetomy w/ fusion C5-C6 & C6-C7 Own Bone and Plate Sept 2003
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ACDF C5-C6 & C6-C7 Own Bone and Plate Sept 2003

 
Old 10-19-2003, 07:01 PM   #6
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Hi CL,
Yes, my doctor went thru the front right side of my neck and I must say that although there is a scar. It's not bad at all. In my head, I had visions that were worse than it actually was. Yes, I did use a donor bone and there is a metal plate there now. I did not wear a collar at all. I woke up in recovery thinking I could feel my arm...and the toes were still working, so nothing had gone wrong! The pain after the surgery was bad but the pain shots are god sent. My doc sent me home with Percocet. It helped me sleep and he had to call in 3 times other pain meds. When you get home, the worst part for me was standing up. It's kind of hard to explain. But it's like when you stand up,everything stretches and ouch! That was the worst. That only lasted for about 4 days max. Pain now, you asked? I was out of pain for the most part. I started back to work at 3 weeks.I would get tired at the end of the day if I did too much but for the most part pain wasn't the issue. The problem for me was the limiting of myself. I got depressed. I hated not having any energy and getting so tired so easily. Then, I found this board and realized that it was ok and I had to give myself time to heal and not feel rushed to. This is major surgery and although our loved ones love us. Until someone has been thru this. They don't understand. Now, also....I had a slight set back. I caught a stomach virus and a rotten cold w/sneezing last week. So, my doc checked me over and put me on an antibotic and a small prescription of pain meds to get over this. I'm feeling much better now. There was a posting on here with some helpful hints on post op care for when you get home. It was great and I wished I had had it when I came home. I'm still looking for it for you. The one thing I couldn't have lived without was straws. So, stock up!
Any other questions, I'd be happy to answer. I wish I had found this board before my surgery.

Take care,


------------------
Lisa
Anterior Cervical Discetomy w/Fusion C5-C6 on Sept 9, 2003

[This message has been edited by LisaM (edited 10-19-2003).]
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:13 PM   #7
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Hi CL,
I found the posting I was talking about. The topic name is "RamonV-an answer for you" started by winged phantom. It's in 2 parts and really good. Hope it helps.

Take care,

------------------
Lisa
Anterior Cervical Discetomy w/Fusion C5-C6 on Sept 9, 2003
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Old 10-19-2003, 09:25 PM   #8
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Hello! I had surgery in Feb. I can honestly say that the surgery itself was not bad at all! And the recovery as far as pain, well I never took a painkiller! I have alot of other issues going on in my neck, so I still have alot of problems. But the pain in my shoulder, arm, etc... were gone as soon as I woke up in recovery! I can tell you that I did not wear a collar and my surgeon never gave me any restrictions, except not to overdo it. I drove my car in less than a week after surgery, he said it was fine. I have to turn my neck all the way around to go down my driveway without hitting the brick wall, and I think that was a bad thing to do. I would definitely say don't turn your head to any extreme after surgery for awhile! I may have to have surgery again and so I am in the same boat as you are questioning what I should do? It seems like the results are so different for everyone who has this type of surgery! I guess you just have to get atleast a few opinions on your particular case, and go from there! I wish you the best of luck and let us all know how you are doing and what you decide!

------------------
Feb.2003-ACD w/o fusion at C5-6.
Oct.2003-C4-5 disc bulging, C3-4 disc protrusion.
Degenerative Spondylosis, DDD, Arthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Bone Marrow Edema, etc...
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Feb.2003-ACD w/o fusion at C5-6.
Oct.2003-C4-5 disc bulging, C3-4 disc protrusion.
Degenerative Spondylosis, DDD, Arthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Bone Marrow Edema, etc...

 
Old 10-20-2003, 06:42 AM   #9
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CLJones64 HB User
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Hello again all. Thanks so much for your responses. I'm figuring out that almost everyone has different results..not a lot of help really, but it's good to know there are positive outcomes along with the horror stories. I'm still in the conventional treatment phase, under the direction of my neurologist, but thus far nothing seems to be helping. I'm going to try to see him or talk to him today. I really need to know what he's thinking, and what his plan of action is. My biggest question at this point is how long is he going to let me suffer with this pain. He wants me to start taking Neurontin now, and has mentioned another cervical ESI. I'm also seeing a chiropractor, but I don't know if that helps or makes it worse. I'm trying anything at this point to relieve this pain! I fear that I may end up having surgery, based on many of the posts I've read, and as scary as that is, the hope of relief far outweighs my fears. I don't want to suffer needlessly any longer that I have to. There's just no easy answer, and I'm extremely frustrated. I'll keep you all posted as to what's going on, and thank you for your continuing support...it really means a lot! Carla
__________________
DX with Multiple Sclerosis 12/97. Weekly Avonex injection for MS.

2 bulging and 1 herniated disc 09/03. Bulging at C5/C6 and C6/C7 levels. Herniation with foraminal narrowing and obvious nerve root compression at T1/T2.

 
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