It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

  • Newbie with questions and needing support please

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 04-08-2004, 09:58 PM   #1
    secondfiddle
    Member
     
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 53
    secondfiddle HB User
    Newbie with questions and needing support please

    I'm an RN, but have been out of work for 2 years after I was rear-ended in January 02 and February 02 (what luck). MRI's show 2 small herniations in my neck and three in my T-spine, some with cord contact and slight displacement (I don't have the report in front of me). I've had previous thoracic (T-6/7) microdiscectomy (1995) with partial success, but a post-op MRI in 1996 showed THAT disc was fine. It's not fine anymore.

    All conservative treatments have failed and I still have tremendous pain - in my neck, shoulders, down my arms (mostly left) but the worst pain of all is in my mid-back. The only position where I am halfway comfortable is lying on my side (removes pressure from discs?). I can't sit for long, and I can't stand up for long. I have to be lying down or bent over (forward) or moving, and when I walk, I feel/hear popping in my mid-back, like when you crack your knuckles. Also have some dizziness at unpredictable times - like when I'm in Walmart!

    I also play the violin with our local University symphony, at church and a community orchestra. Yes it aggravates the symptoms, but my docs have said it won't make the underlying problems worse. I've had to give up almost everything else - I don't want to give up playing my violin too!

    Did I mention I've had fibromyalgia for 17 years???

    That's my history.

    My neurosurgeon has me scheduled for a myelogram/CT scan this coming Wednesday. I stay overnight, then he comes in very early Thursday to discuss the test results with me and proceeds to surgery that morning. This is how he does things. I asked if I could just come and have the tests, then think about everything for a few days/weeks. He says there's no point in doing any further testing unless/until I'm ready to "fix whatever we can fix." He does have a point, but still...

    I know he probably has to tell the OR staff *something* when he reserves a room, and I found out that I'm scheduled for an "anterior cervical fusion." Funny that he has not definitively told me what he expects to do. I expect him to offer me some options Thursday morning after he sees my test results and maybe that will be one of them. I just feel like I'm the last to know.

    He did say that he thinks that the majority of my pain is coming from my neck, so I guess that's why he's anticipating the cervical fusion. I am not convinced though, especially when I often feel like someone has stuck a huge butcher knife in the middle of my back! The shoulder and arm pain I can understand. But I have no pain radiating to my legs, no numbness in my legs, no bowel/bladder problems. It's all mid-back and up.

    So...please, if anyone has/had similar symptoms and had a cervical fusion, please tell me how this all makes sense! And how bad is a myelogram these days? The nurse says it's like an epidural now, but you have to lie down for several hours afterwards to avoid "the headache." I can handle that. Not sure what to expect if we do proceed with a cervical fusion - how bad is that? Why remove the whole disc anyway? My bone or donor bone? How long in hospital? How long recovery?

    So many questions, I apologize. But I would greatly appreciate any answers or advice or wisdom or prayers or anything!! Thank you.

    Bev

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 04-09-2004, 07:07 AM   #2
    Duckdog
    Junior Member
     
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Wisconsin
    Posts: 29
    Duckdog HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    It seems odd that the doc wants to proceed as fast as he does, even if surgery is the best option. My insurance would not have paid for a surgery without pre registration, and that needed to be done 5 days in advance of the procedure.

    As far as the pain in the middle of your back, I blew out my C6-7 disc, and I never really felt pain at that location. It was in the arms, legs and in the area below my neck between my shoulders. In fact, I had a ACDF 3 weeks ago at C6-7, and I still feel pain there...probably worse than before. My arms and neck started hurting a tad now too, but I think it's from muscle spasm more than anything else, as hot showers relieve that pain for a while.

    I did not have a mylogram as doc was able to get a good idea of the problem from an MRI. In fact, when we went throught the films, I could spot the problem before he pointed it out.

    As far as the surgery itself, it was not bad at all. I used a donor bone and have a titanium plate. I was pretty much told I was going to have the plate, and it seems like it would add a lot of strength to me, so I sure did'nt object. As I mentioned, I'm 3.5 weeks out and I can get rid of my soft color for the most part, but I still sleep in it and wear it when I think I need to. I am able to drive, but I only do it when I think it's needed.

    My N.S. did not push me into surgery, but I did decide to have it done at our first meeting, as I did not like the idea of that disc pushing into my spinal cord, and I was tired of the arm pain. I had him shcedule the surgery for 2 1/2 weeks out, and here I am.

    One piece of advice..I would have your significant other attend the appointment with you. My wife went with me for all of my appointments and I'm glad, as she also came up with very good questions that I did not think of. Also, it's kind of a check and balance to make sure that your hearing what the doc is saying, and not misunderstanding him/her. Good Luck

     
    Old 04-09-2004, 07:54 AM   #3
    grace2
    Member
     
    Join Date: Nov 2003
    Posts: 75
    grace2 HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    Secondfiddle, I had an ACDF of C5-6 & C6-7 in March. I'm getting read for work, so can't type everything right now. I think there is a thread from me on page 2 called "two weeks post op ACDF & Fusion Stimulator" or something like that. I am 3.5 weeks post op right now and getting back to normal. I am working 3-4 hours per day and doing everything at home I did before - maybe a little slower but that's about it. I still have some pain, but it's decreasing. I am tight, but I think it's muscles and I will probably go for physical therapy after my next appt to loosen them up and gain strength.

    I didn't have a sharp pain in my middle/lower back, but I did experience some numbness there off and on. I have only noticed it once after the surgery (shortly after) so I assume it was connected. Maybe yours is too.

    I'm sorry you are in such pain. I hope he is able to help.
    Grace


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duckdog
    It seems odd that the doc wants to proceed as fast as he does, even if surgery is the best option. My insurance would not have paid for a surgery without pre registration, and that needed to be done 5 days in advance of the procedure.

    As far as the pain in the middle of your back, I blew out my C6-7 disc, and I never really felt pain at that location. It was in the arms, legs and in the area below my neck between my shoulders. In fact, I had a ACDF 3 weeks ago at C6-7, and I still feel pain there...probably worse than before. My arms and neck started hurting a tad now too, but I think it's from muscle spasm more than anything else, as hot showers relieve that pain for a while.

    I did not have a mylogram as doc was able to get a good idea of the problem from an MRI. In fact, when we went throught the films, I could spot the problem before he pointed it out.

    As far as the surgery itself, it was not bad at all. I used a donor bone and have a titanium plate. I was pretty much told I was going to have the plate, and it seems like it would add a lot of strength to me, so I sure did'nt object. As I mentioned, I'm 3.5 weeks out and I can get rid of my soft color for the most part, but I still sleep in it and wear it when I think I need to. I am able to drive, but I only do it when I think it's needed.

    My N.S. did not push me into surgery, but I did decide to have it done at our first meeting, as I did not like the idea of that disc pushing into my spinal cord, and I was tired of the arm pain. I had him shcedule the surgery for 2 1/2 weeks out, and here I am.

    One piece of advice..I would have your significant other attend the appointment with you. My wife went with me for all of my appointments and I'm glad, as she also came up with very good questions that I did not think of. Also, it's kind of a check and balance to make sure that your hearing what the doc is saying, and not misunderstanding him/her. Good Luck

     
    Old 04-09-2004, 06:32 PM   #4
    carol632
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Nov 2003
    Location: Missouri
    Posts: 2,128
    carol632 HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    My 2cents may not be welcomed, but I have to say that I am a bit put off by your doctors attitude...I would not go in for tests and be rushed into surgery the next day. What's his big hurry? What does he mean no sense in running tests if you aren't going to fix it? Has he never heard of sitting down with his patient, going over the results, and offering options? His attitude seems to be that he isn't going to "waste" his time on tests if he can't nail down big bucks with the surgery.

    You should have the tests, refuse the surgery and get a second and yes, even a 3rd opinion. As a nurse, you should know your rights as a patient, and one of them is to refuse to be rushed! Truth to tell, it makes me very nervous......

    Just my own humble opinion.
    Carol
    __________________
    2 lami's, 3 fusions
    bone spur removal
    cerv. fusion, 1 level
    morphine pump

     
    Old 04-09-2004, 09:46 PM   #5
    secondfiddle
    Member
     
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 53
    secondfiddle HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    Thank you for your quick responses!

    I understand your concerns about the doc "rushing" me into surgery. Let me say again, that it has been over two years since my injuries, and I am definitely NOT getting better, actually getting worse. He has seen my MRI's and examined me twice during that time, and his opinion remains the same, that being that he thinks the majority of my pain is coming from my neck. Of course, I can refuse the surgery at any time up until they put me out, and I might. But the thought of pain relief at the other end sure is nice

    About the insurance, they are pre-certifying the myelogram/CT scan, and I was told by the nurse that they will pre-certify the surgery too. Maybe they have already done that - based on what he expects will need to be done, just like they did in reserving the OR. I do plan to call Blue Cross on Monday just to be sure everything has been done.

    The surgeon did say at one point that if he found a surgical problem in the thoracic area, at or near my previous surgery, he probably would NOT be able to fix it due to the scar tissue. That kind of scares me too - if there is something going on there (the knife in my back) - thinking that it cannot be fixed. Maybe I should call my previous surgeon?? I actually would have gone back to him but he's in Ohio and I'm in Louisiana now!

    I'm just so d--- tired of all the pain and being out of work.

    Here's the diagnoses the surgeon put on his report -

    1. Herniated cervical disc vs. segmental cervical instability.
    2. Fibromyalgia with increased symptomatology.
    3. Post-operative thoracic laminectomy status.
    4. Segmental thoracic instability, suspected.

    I'm not sure what the "segmental instability" means - cervical and thoracic. I would assume it does not bode well for going back to nursing. If he fixes whatever in my neck the thoracic instability would remain.

    And yes, my husband will be going with me, and I am going to write down what he tells me after looking at the films, and what he recommends (any options I might have), then tell him to get lost for half an hour so I can think. I don't like making major decisions at 6 A.M., but at least with notes and my husband, I'll feel a little more comfortable about it. And if I'm NOT comfortable, I will just tell him I need more time to think about it, and check out!

     
    Old 04-14-2004, 08:41 AM   #6
    more
    Senior Member
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts: 274
    more HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    Sounds like to me your doctor wants the mylegram and CT to confirm there is no other damaged discs that he will encounter during the surgery.

    I had ACDF 2 years ago and after looking at the MRI my doctor requested a mylegram and CT before the surgery to get more information before entering. He indicated these tests will confirm the MRI and show the discs closer so he would be able to see if he needs to do one, two or three discs. He ended up doing two and indicated without the mylegram he would not have been able to make that decision until after he was in the operating room.

    It is good he wants these tests beforehand to be more prepared.

    Good luck. Come back again and let us know how you make out.

     
    Old 04-15-2004, 09:28 PM   #7
    garion64
    Inactive
     
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 34
    garion64 HB User
    Re: Newbie with questions and needing support please

    im also a newbie at all this im haveing c4c5 done in 3 weeks

     
    Closed Thread

    Related Topics
    Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
    Hi I'm a Newbie needing advice re spinal fusions please........ Angelina 101 Back Problems 11 08-01-2008 04:24 AM
    Newbie needs help with MRI results please! moonchaser Spinal Cord Disorders 24 02-22-2007 09:42 AM
    Newbie Here... Looking for Advice, Have a Ruptured C6 Frostsicle Spinal Cord Disorders 17 01-09-2007 07:37 AM
    I need a thyroidectomy.....please help with questions. rolos_girl Thyroid Disorders 4 08-26-2006 08:45 AM




    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is Off
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are Off
    Pingbacks are Off
    Refbacks are Off




    Sign Up Today!

    Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

    I want my free account

    All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:40 AM.





    © 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
    Do not copy or redistribute in any form!