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    Old 03-02-2003, 08:58 AM   #1
    liz777
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    Red face cervival surgery-SCARED

    Hi everyone!!

    I am so scared-

    I had a terrible pain in my neck/shoulders for the entire month of December. Then my thumb and index finger went numb and my forearem had a loss of sensation-also terrible pain down my arm.

    I had an emg and it showed nerve damage. I was then told i needed a sensory test and mri.

    Sensory test was normal-mri showed disc degeneration and herniation at c5/6 and 1mm cord compression.

    Been going to physical therapy-neck and shoulders never felt better but my elbow burns all of the time-sometimes my whole arm. I also have tingling on the other side of my body on the back of my thigh.

    mri was done of thoracic and lumbar and that came out normal.

    Was referred to spine surgeon and after examining me and taking an xray he says i need anterior discketomy with fusion of thigh and plate. He says i have significant weakness in my arm.

    Does this sound right? Everyones tells me to get a 2nd opinion but that may take another 5 weeks and my arm hurts so bad. I also don't want to have permanent damage.

    My uncle is a spine surgeon and he looked at my mri and said i didn't need surgery??!!! But he has not seen the dr's notes from my last visit yet. Anyway, I am so confused-can someone tell me about 2nd opinions and making sure your surgeon is ok? he has a fellowship in spine surgery if that means anything-apparently it did to my uncle!

    Thanks so much-any any advice would be most appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
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    Old 03-02-2003, 11:30 AM   #2
    SORENECKMAN
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    Quote:
    Originally posted by liz777:
    Hi everyone!!

    I am so scared-

    I had a terrible pain in my neck/shoulders for the entire month of December. Then my thumb and index finger went numb and my forearem had a loss of sensation-also terrible pain down my arm.

    I had an emg and it showed nerve damage. I was then told i needed a sensory test and mri.

    Sensory test was normal-mri showed disc degeneration and herniation at c5/6 and 1mm cord compression.

    Been going to physical therapy-neck and shoulders never felt better but my elbow burns all of the time-sometimes my whole arm. I also have tingling on the other side of my body on the back of my thigh.

    mri was done of thoracic and lumbar and that came out normal.

    Was referred to spine surgeon and after examining me and taking an xray he says i need anterior discketomy with fusion of thigh and plate. He says i have significant weakness in my arm.

    Does this sound right? Everyones tells me to get a 2nd opinion but that may take another 5 weeks and my arm hurts so bad. I also don't want to have permanent damage.

    My uncle is a spine surgeon and he looked at my mri and said i didn't need surgery??!!! But he has not seen the dr's notes from my last visit yet. Anyway, I am so confused-can someone tell me about 2nd opinions and making sure your surgeon is ok? he has a fellowship in spine surgery if that means anything-apparently it did to my uncle!

    Thanks so much-any any advice would be most appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !
    Lizzie
    The pain may get better on its own without surgery.. that may take some time,, but definetly get a 2 nd opinion I guess all factors would decide your surgery
    age, occupation, physical condition, future problems etc Get a 2 nd opinion and see if surgery is the best way and if it is don t be afraid its an overnite stay and they don t have to use your own bone they use donor bones and its very painless Hope you feel better
    __________________
    ACDF WITH PLATING AND DONOR BONE C5/6
    2/25/03

     
    Old 03-02-2003, 08:37 PM   #3
    liz777
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    Thanks so much!

    I am 35 and I have no idea how this happened-I can handle the pain-I just get a little worried when I hear I might have permanent nerve damage if I wait too long. I guess c5/6 is only controlling some of my arm so maybe I could still fuction? It's all so confusing and scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess I am a big wimp!

    Liz
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    Old 03-02-2003, 08:41 PM   #4
    liz777
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    ps-former flaight attendant-now mom-good health except for the goiter that was found on my mri!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i now have hypothroid too!!! I knew I was getting old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The surgeon also siad my spine was straight and he could correct it more to a c shape. Does that help?
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    Old 03-03-2003, 07:27 AM   #5
    melanie dawn
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    HI Liz,
    welcome!First off am I right that you have been having symptoms since Dec.? There are conservative treatments and these are often tried before the surgical approach. However, cord compression can be serious, and if you are symptomatic of compression,(leg problems,swallowing,GI disturbances etc)surgery is considered .
    Even with cord compression that is symptomatic, some peoples symptoms stabilize and do not progress for years, other people have fairly rapid progression.
    Only you can decide if surgery is right for you,based on your symptoms and how it effects your life. And i would never consider surgery without a second or even third opinion.
    So follow the conservative treatment for now, and book a second opinion as soon as possible.Search online and learn as much as you can, the knowledge will help you to understand your symptoms and any changes you should worry about. Also it will enable you and help you to make informed treatment decisions.
    YOu mentioned an uncle who is a spinal surgeon, if i had this uncle I would certainly be picking his brains!
    Good luck to you, and take care! Mel
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 03-03-2003, 11:39 AM   #6
    BABS42
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    Liz,

    You are not alone. I understand your fear (totally). I think Mel was right, you will know whats right for you. Noone knows what it's like living "your" life. So be thorough in your research, as i'm sure you are, and pray for the answer of just what to do. Someone special told me thats my fears will subside when I accept what I need to do, and have the confidence in my NS. Wish you well. Babs

    The more I read this board the more I learn.
    __________________
    Jan 03
    C5-6 DISC Protrusion Touching Spinal Cord.
    C6-7 Buldging Disc w/ spurs
    2 types of Neuropathy on upper R-with some nerve damage. Nerve damage more severe on upper L.


    Arachnoid Brain Cyst- Posterior Fossa

     
    Old 03-03-2003, 08:01 PM   #7
    liz777
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    Thanks so much-I know my problems seem to pale in comparison to so many on this board.

    I did pick my aunt's brain today (she's a nuclear physician!) and she assured me I was on the proper course treating my thyroid and seemed like weakness in my arm is a good reason for surgery-we'll see what her hubby says!

    Anyway, I have nerve compression caused by this herniation-apparently from what i understand the disc material all squirted out-and is compressing this nerve c5/6.

    My question is-what eventually happens to this material and can you function without any disc material?

    Also-how do they keep current on your spine-ie what if herniation is gone?

    Also I have a few osteophytes-will they keep coming causing stenosis?

    Thanks again and Mel-what happened to you?
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    Old 03-03-2003, 08:03 PM   #8
    liz777
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    Thanks Babs for the kind words...

    ------------------
    lizzy
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    Old 03-04-2003, 09:19 AM   #9
    melanie dawn
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    HI liz,
    tried to answer this twice, but having trouble posting.
    First of all, the gel from a ruptured disc can be reabsorbed. And the best and easiest way to monitor your spine is by monitoring your symptoms, increasing or decreasing.
    By what happened to me , i'm assuming you are asking what is wrong? Here goes.
    In sept.2000 i was involved in a four car pile up. Originally diagnosed with whiplash. My symptoms continued to escalate, and finally i got an MRI after two years!(we have a severely faltering medical system)
    The MRI showed two herniated discs, centrally, and cord compression, critically narrow canal, however the report was wrong, and stated no significant stenosis.Noone ever looked at the films, they just went by the report. So my Dr felt i was exagerating my symptoms. I finally pulled my films, taught myself to read them, and then learned what it meant. LO and behold, I found that I had critically narrow spinal canal. I sent my films to Chicago, with a note describing my symptoms. They called me and said I needed urgent surgical intervention. I went to Chicago, had Mri redone. Came home diagnosed with critical canal narrowing, advanced cervical myelopathy, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia. they found that I have higher level myelopathy, so have involvement of the cranial nerves, which have a major effect and control over bodily function. The heart palpitations and rapid beating that I thought were stress related, are actually from the cord compression. I have no gag reflex, and was told to be careful because that makes me a high risk for choking, it can also progress and cause some paralysis of the thraot, no swallowing ,problems with voice etc. I have no spinal fluid arounf the cord in the damaged area, which means that the CSF is not able to drain,so have increased intercranial pressure. Which results in a permanent sense of being very congested, sinus's,ears etc, with the headache to go with it. I am now wearing a collar 24 hrs a day, have a walker to get around. And a very firm warning that any fall or hyperextension of my neck would be extremely dangerous and could result in paralysis. So now I am waiting for the paper work from Chicago so I can apply to go there for my surgery. which I understand will be somewhat brutal. I need a 5 level laminectomy(with bone removed instead of hinged), implantation of steel rods, a cage, plus three level discectomy with fusion from donor bone, plates and screws. To be honest, I am scared to death of the surgery, and more scared of waiting. I am also trying really hard to deal with an overwhelming sense of anger that my own health care system failed me so badly. ONe DR even told me I had unresolved relationship issues(from a divorce 10 yrs ago), that i was manifesting into physical symptoms.
    So there you go , that is my story.Not a very pretty picture. But for all of that, I am here and still fighting and laughing. Things could always be worse. And having the answers now is some relief.
    Please take care of yourself, hope to hear from you soon, Mel
    __________________
    Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
    Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
    loss of lordotic curve
    Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

     
    Old 03-04-2003, 04:52 PM   #10
    Hunnibee
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    <<critical canal narrowing, advanced cervical myelopathy, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia. they found that I have higher level myelopathy, so have involvement of the cranial nerves, which have a major effect and control over bodily function. The heart palpitations and rapid beating that I thought were stress related, are actually from the cord compression. I have no gag reflex, and was told to be careful because that makes me a high risk for choking, it can also progress and cause some paralysis of the thraot, no swallowing ,problems with voice etc. I have no spinal fluid arounf the cord in the damaged area, which means that the CSF is not able to drain,so have increased intercranial pressure. Which results in a permanent sense of being very congested, sinus's,ears etc, with the headache to go with it.>>

    I have never posted to this board but have recently been reading them. I am being scheduled for a ct-mylogram for my neck and back..just waiting on the call. I could not believe how I related to Melanie's post. The last few days have been horrible. I have been out of work a month this time and these boards sure do help you not feel so alone

     
    Old 03-05-2003, 09:44 AM   #11
    SORENECKMAN
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    LIZ,
    As Ive said before ,, get a 2nd opinion but sometimes these herniations resolve by themselves..
    Several years ago I had a badly herniated disc c 6/7 that after a few months was reabsorbed.. MRI now shows no herniation at all at c 6/7.. I had the ACDF on c 5/6 because it was causing a deformity of my spinal cord and that scared me. Doctors wouldn t even say the word ,"paralyzed" but thats what I was afraid of with this disc so thats why I had it done.
    The steri strips are off and you can hardly see a mark where the incision was. All of the stitches are on the inside.. This whole fusion thing takes a little while though so you have to take it easy.. I should listen to my own advice.. I cannot lay down all day I can t even sit still for more than a half hour or so.. Just give it a little time.. I think sometimes all neurosurgeons want to operate,, but give time a chance to heal your body.

    ------------------
    ACDF WITH PLATING C5/6
    2/25/03
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    ACDF WITH PLATING AND DONOR BONE C5/6
    2/25/03

     
    Old 03-06-2003, 01:35 PM   #12
    SORENECKMAN
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    LIZ
    I put a band aid on my incision today... So your brother was right after all,,,hahaha So kow are you feeling Take it slow and easy and see a few different drs and maybe you will have some better answers... Hope all is well
    Had a lil bit more pain last nite but feel better today
    Bye for mow

    ------------------
    ACDF WITH PLATING C5/6
    2/25/03
    __________________
    ACDF WITH PLATING AND DONOR BONE C5/6
    2/25/03

     
    Old 03-06-2003, 08:50 PM   #13
    liz777
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    Mel,

    What is really going on in your neck of the woods????????????????????????????????

    An mri after two years??? You have to go to Chicago?

    I am sooooooooooooooooo sorry to hear about all of your pain and it just amazes me to think that you cannot receive treatment in your own country for all of your ailments-that is so terrible.

    Please keep us up-to-date-I really am so interested and I really am so sorry you have been through all of this

    liz
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    Old 03-07-2003, 07:03 PM   #14
    liz777
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    First of all, the gel from a ruptured disc can be reabsorbed. And the best and easiest way to monitor your spine is by monitoring your symptoms, increasing or decreasing.
    By what happened to me , i'm assuming you are asking what is wrong? Here goes.
    In sept.2000 i was involved in a four car pile up. Originally diagnosed with whiplash. My symptoms continued to escalate, and finally i got an MRI after two years!(we have a severely faltering medical system)
    The MRI showed two herniated discs, centrally, and cord compression, critically narrow canal, however the report was wrong, and stated no significant stenosis.Noone ever looked at the films, they just went by the report. So my Dr felt i was exagerating my symptoms. I finally pulled my films, taught myself to read them, and then learned what it meant. LO and behold, I found that I had critically narrow spinal canal. I sent my films to Chicago, with a note describing my symptoms. They called me and said I needed urgent surgical intervention. I went to Chicago, had Mri redone. Came home diagnosed with critical canal narrowing, advanced cervical myelopathy, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia. they found that I have higher level myelopathy, so have involvement of the cranial nerves, which have a major effect and control over bodily function. The heart palpitations and rapid beating that I thought were stress related, are actually from the cord compression. I have no gag reflex, and was told to be careful because that makes me a high risk for choking, it can also progress and cause some paralysis of the thraot, no swallowing ,problems with voice etc. I have no spinal fluid arounf the cord in the damaged area, which means that the CSF is not able to drain,so have increased intercranial pressure. Which results in a permanent sense of being very congested, sinus's,ears etc, with the headache to go with it. I am now wearing a collar 24 hrs a day, have a walker to get around. And a very firm warning that any fall or hyperextension of my neck would be extremely dangerous and could result in paralysis. So now I am waiting for the paper work from Chicago so I can apply to go there for my surgery. which I understand will be somewhat brutal. I need a 5 level laminectomy(with bone removed instead of hinged), implantation of steel rods, a cage, plus three level discectomy with fusion from donor bone, plates and screws. To be honest, I am scared to death of the surgery, and more scared of waiting. I am also trying really hard to deal with an overwhelming sense of anger that my own health care system failed me so badly. ONe DR even told me I had unresolved relationship issues(from a divorce 10 yrs ago), that i was manifesting into physical symptoms.
    So there you go , that is my story.Not a very pretty picture. But for all of that, I am here and still fighting and laughing. Things could always be worse. And having the answers now is some relief.
    Please take care of yourself, hope to hear from you soon, Mel

    Mel,

    Are you from canada? I just can't understand why it took 2 years to get an mri and I really can't understand why surgery wasn't offered after you did get it.
    Please forgive me if you already told the board your plans but what are they? Can you have surgery at home now that you have demonstrated you have a problem?




    ------------------
    lizzy
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    Old 03-07-2003, 07:05 PM   #15
    liz777
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    Cool

    soreneck,

    what happened to you? so your one herniation was reabsorbed-i wonder if mine is? did your symptoms go away? What happened to the other disc? Were you in an accident?



    ------------------
    lizzy
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