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    Old 05-31-2017, 05:41 AM   #1
    MADTH
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    Newbie with lots of questions!

    Howdy. Mel from Mid-Michigan. I need some help/advice. I was an active healthy 70 year-old male. I have been fighting prostate cancer for 8 years but doing well with that.



    On March 6, while vacationing in Ca., I fell hard onto concrete, leading with my head. Initially, I lost all feeling in my arms and legs. Within a day I regained some feeling, but very little utility. Turns out I had severe spinal stenosis, and I now have center spinal cord syndrome. (Incomplete injury). I spent 9 days at a hospital in La Jolla and then 6 weeks at an acute rehab facility in Century City. I was finally able to travel home a month ago.



    But my improvement has greatly stalled. Spasticity has increased tremendously, really handicapping any more progress I am currently using a wheelchair – I also use a platform walker, but it is difficult going from sitting to standing, especially hard with my spasms. My hands continually feel like there is electric current through them. I have minimal use of my hands.



    I am on garbapentum. I went from 600 mg. Per day to 900, to 1200 mg. I don’t think that is doing a thing. First query: Might an increased dosage help?

    I was on baclofen briefly for the spasms. That caused nighttime disturbances which freaked out my wife, so we switched to tizanadine. We have been trying to adjust the dosage since then. It causes many issues. My BP often nosedives. (Midodrine sometimes helps with that). Even worse, when it relaxes the spasms, my muscles get flaccid and I then have difficulty walking, doing exercises, etc. We can’t seem to adjust the dosage to relieve spasms and yet allow me to function. My max. dosage has been 1200 mg per day. Min about 800. Suggestions? How do I switch from tizanadine to baclofen? Can I just drop one and use the other? Can I taper the tizanadine while at the same time add the baclofen?


    I did an MRI on Monday and saw a neurosurgeon on Friday. He wants me to see a rehab doctor as he cannot answer many of my questions. He does say that I have the same condition, stenosis, that led to my issue. He recommends doing a laminectomy, as my risk of falling is great and that could be catostrophic. Can surgery for my stenosis improve matters (ie: my current symptoms)? After reading the horror stories about surgery aftermath, I am having second thoughts about doing the surgery.


    Finally, I seem to have bladder/bowel issues. At first I could not pee at all and needed catheterization every 6 hours. Finally, relief! My bladder started working. But many nights, I have to go about 10 times! Not good for my wife. Some nights, I am fine. During the day, I am fine. Doctor has me on Mirebetriq. I don’t think it works. (Update: last few nights have been better)



    Finally, the bowel situation is disturbing. I am now incontinent. I feel it coming and cannot stop it. I have to the bathroom in 5 seconds. Can’t do it. I suspect the tizanadine has relaxed my anal sphincter, making it useless, or it is just due to the spinal injury. Also, everything feels weird, so I may not be interpreting early bowel feelings correctly. Any suggestions? I have tried regularly sitting on the toilet…which does nothing.
    (Update: improved yesterday)



    OK., enough for now. I hope someone can help. It is hard to stay positive with this devastating injury, but I am trying.

    Mel

    Last edited by MADTH; 05-31-2017 at 05:56 AM.

     
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    Old 06-02-2017, 08:15 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Newbie with lots of questions!

    Welcome to the board. I am sorry you had such a life-changing fall. I am wondering whether any doctor in California suggested you needed surgery to correct the spinal stenosis?

     
    Old 06-03-2017, 05:33 PM   #3
    MADTH
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    Re: Newbie with lots of questions!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teteri66 View Post
    Welcome to the board. I am sorry you had such a life-changing fall. I am wondering whether any doctor in California suggested you needed surgery to correct the spinal stenosis?
    Thanks for your reply. We were given the option of immediate surgery or acute rehab/back home/new evaluation.
    We chose the latter. Got home after 6 weeks of rehab.
    Saw neurosurgeon here (did a repeat MRI).
    He is recommending a laminectomy (no fusion, apparently), but says to take my time. He wants me to first see a physiatrist (rehab doctor), get referred to outpatient P/T, and THEN decide. I am leaning towards the surgery. Right now, still severe stenosis, so major danger since I am a bit fall-prone. Surgeon does not know if the surgery will improve any current symptoms.

    The decision is daunting, as I read about horrible surgery experiences.

    Mel

    Last edited by MADTH; 06-03-2017 at 05:35 PM.

     
    Old 06-04-2017, 09:11 PM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: Newbie with lots of questions!

    Two things:

    Most people who have a successful experience with surgery do not return to the board. They are out living their lives, trying to make up for lost time. The stories you read on boards such as this one are often written by those who have had a less than satisfactory outcome, or have developed additional issues post surgery.

    Before proceeding with surgery I strongly recommend you get more than one opinion. You might want to see an orthopedic spine surgeon if your first opinion is with a neurosurgeon.

    Do you know if your stenosis is at more than one level? Do you know the extent of the spinal cord compression?

     
    Old 06-05-2017, 06:22 PM   #5
    MADTH
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    Re: Newbie with lots of questions!

    Teteri:

    Looking at my MRI report, I appear to have severe stenosis at C3/C4

    mel

     
    Old 06-11-2017, 07:12 PM   #6
    teteri66
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    Re: Newbie with lots of questions!

    If it is pushing into the spinal cord, it could be causing the bowel and bladder issues.

    With severe stenosis, it is important to get the pressure relieved so there is not further permanent nerve damage.

     
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