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    Old 01-09-2014, 05:47 PM   #1
    Tim025
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    Cool cervical laminectomy

    I had a c-3 thru c-7 posterior cervical laminectomy, no fusion, on 10-25-13 ( 10 weeks ago ). I wore a stiff neck collar 24/7 for 8 weeks and started PT 2 weeks ago.
    I was relieved to read the postings of AKGIRL as I have been having many of the same post op issues that she described i.e. "buzzing" in my leg and "burning" in my hands as I expected that I would recover from this major surgery by this time--not very realistic. I appreciate AKGIRL's post as it makes me realize that it is imperative to be patient and give my body time to heal.
    If you are still around AKGIRL, or anyone else , I am concerned about the "dent" in the back of my neck--is this normal for a cervical laminectomy?
    Timandco

     
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    Old 01-19-2014, 12:56 AM   #2
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Tim, I would be happy to answer any questions you have. I also have had a cervical laminectomy from C4-T1 no fusion but mine was done just over 2 years ago. I was told not to use a collar as my neck muscles wouldn't strengthen. But who knows they have been wrong lots of times. I still have physio but they are stopping next month as they say there is not much more they can do for me. I will be happy to help you will anything you need to know. Just message me.

     
    Old 01-19-2014, 11:15 AM   #3
    Tim025
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    Cool Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hey Berta, thanks for the reply. I hope that after 2 years you have healed well enough that you can live somewhat normally. My surgeon claims that "eventually" I will be able to do everything that I was able to do before the surgery ( I am a healthy, active 58 year old ).
    Friday was my 12 week anniversary and I am having many issues that are causing me concern, hand burning pain, shoulder pain, muscle twitching/spasms, "buzzing" in my legs and of course pain in my neck from the surgery.
    I guess this is all to be expected and I am just being impatient.
    Do you have a dent in your neck where the lamina was removed?
    Have you experienced any of these issues?
    How long would you say the realistic "healing process" is?
    Do you have any regrets about this type of surgery?
    I am a worrier.
    Thanks again, Tim

     
    Old 01-19-2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Tim,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I think the easiest way to explain how I was around that time is to send you some of my diary (hope you don’t mind) around the 12 weeks to 16 week mark. (I been getting a lot a pain in my chest and left arm. I am not sure if it is coming from anxiety (trauma) or my surgery. Every time I try to push myself to do just that little bit more I get crushing pain across my chest and back and into my left shoulder and down through my underarm and bicep then pin and needles into my hands. The pain eases a little after I rest for a bit.
    I haven’t been doing much of anything the past two days as I have had a lot of chest pain which seems to be connected to my ribcage. When I pick something up, I get a rush of pin and needles through my hands and up my arms. I have also been getting a lot of buzzing going up my right leg and a pulsating nerve under my right foot that is relentless.
    The buzzing in my arms and legs hands and feet isn't getting any better. It gets worse if I bend forward or pick up something that weighs more than a small cup of coffee.
    Walked 30 meters today. I felt like someone had put an axe through my chest into my back. The worst pain, it seemed to go right through to my spine.... excruciating. I am definitely not ready for walking that far yet. I still have pain and I took tablets. That was 5 hours ago, nothing touches this pain.
    The back of my neck now has parts of it where it hurts like something has stung me. That has only been happening the past week or so. The electric shocks are severe and take me by surprise. Went to see the Neurologist he has said I have L’hermittes, people with MS have it but because I have myelomalacia I have the same symptoms.)
    That was some of the symptoms I had and I am still experiencing most of them. The dent at the back of the neck I do have as well. I have photos. Everybody is different with their recovery and I would expect your operation was different and probably for different reasons. After 2 years I still have to lay my head down several times a day and can’t sit upright for too long unless I lean my head back on something. I am reasonable fit still and BMI of 22 so not overweight. My doctors have told me extra weight is an another problem you don’t need with spinal pain.
    There is so much to tell but my post is too long already. Hope this helps. Believe me you are not alone.

     
    Old 01-19-2014, 05:31 PM   #5
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    Smile Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi again Tim, you asked in your last message whether I regretted my surgery. I had a choice; to wait to become a quadriplegic from this or have the operation as soon as possible (because any damage that was being done at the present could not have been reversed with an operation) and hopefully it would stop the cord compression and myelomalacia. Of course, I chose the latter. So I really didnít have much of a choice to make. Spasticity was already starting. If I had a fusion, I wouldn't be moving my head and torso separately at all. But the surgeon said maybe it is on the cards further down the track. It is not something I want though.
    The operation has had its problems, too many to mention. I have been trying to write a diary as you know to try and deal with everything. I have had my fair share of health problems in my past but have always kept an optimistic approach believing that it all has made me an emotionally stronger and more secure person.

    I didnít think I could get through it at the beginning but it does get a little better with time (or maybe our bodies just start adapting) hmm....not too sure about that!

    Donít worry Tim that only makes things worse! Take one day at a time. If things donít feel right to you, get it checked out or at least talk with someone to help ease that worry. If the doctors say it is fine and you donít feel okay with that then get checked again by a different doctor. I canít tell you how many times the doctors have been wrong and I have been misdiagnosed even Neurosurgeons!

    A lot of medications will give you different side effects as well with buzzing but I would say because of your procedure you will have those sensations but decreasing for the next 3-12 months before the nerves start regenerating again. It all takes time. Sometimes it is less sometimes they donít repair depending on the damage that was done before the operation or even during.

    I have a large lamina protruding out from my lower neck it must be T1 (I still have part of T1) or T2 and then my neck dips in maybe that is the dent you speak of? The xray from the side show the back of my neck as being nearly all black and then bones lower. Scary thought if we fall or get a whiplash as there is nothing but skin covering the cord now. I also had a couple of the facets removed and the surgeon had to cut through the muscles as well so my recovery did take a long time. Perhaps you can tell me about your operation?
    Roberta

     
    Old 01-20-2014, 12:08 PM   #6
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    Cool Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hey Roberta,
    Thank you sooo much for your response, again, it helps a lot to hear what someone else has experienced after this type of surgery.
    It's sounds like you have gone through a much more severe amount of pain than I have, which makes me feel a bit of a wimp.
    It appears that we were under similar situations as to going through with the procedure, as I also was advised that I could become a quadriplegic if I didn't have surgery asap to prevent further cord damage and myelomalacia, and my neurosurgeon has said that a fusion is possible down the road for me too---yikes. Like you, I have seen the x-ray from the side showing that I have no bone in the back of my neck from c-3 to c-7 which IS scary.
    I am on a drug called Lyrica at 300-to 400mg per day that does control the burning pain in my hands, my right shoulder pain seems to be going away slowly, the "twitching" in my left quadriceps continues daily with some occasional cramping, the "buzzing" in my right thigh appears to be easing, and the pain in my neck from the surgery also seems to be letting up bit by bit. Now that I am out of the neck collar and going to PT twice a week I am driving again and I started back to work last week, however I discovered that I can't get through the day without laying down and resting for awhile or my neck pain really gets bad. Because I was advised to have this procedure a couple of years ago and put it off to try chiropractic decompression my neurosurgeon thinks that the burning in my hands my never go away but maybe get a little better as time goes by if the nerve damage is not permanent.
    Thanks for answering all of my questions, your thoughts and insight are sincerely appreciated as it helps me to TRY not to worry so much since 3 months out of major spine surgery is not that long into the healing process so I should take your advice and just take one day at a time.
    Thanks again for taking the time to write, Tim

     
    Old 01-21-2014, 09:41 AM   #7
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    Cool Re: cervical laminectomy

    Roberta, I meant to ask you if you had any luck with any sort of natural healing methods like chiropractic or acupuncture type of things?
    Tim

     
    Old 01-21-2014, 05:00 PM   #8
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    Wink Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Tim, I am so glad you are feeling a little easier about things and I donít think youíre a wimp at all! I thank you for getting me back into reading my diary again as I left it for awhile because it was all getting a little depressing for me but now I find after reading it again I realise how far I have come along. So I would definitely recommend it (if you have the time ) it is good therapy. Which is part of the natural healing process I used.
    The one I found the best for stress was ďMindfulnessĒ I suffer with PTSD as well as a result from my accident and surgery (just a little bonus). I also took control of my medication once my head was clear.
    I found the doctors want you to take lots of tablets all the time and a lot of them either made me sick or I had side effects that were worse than the problem to start with. I have epilepsy so Topamax is something I need to take. I tried Lyrica and a concoction of other drugs (painkillers etc) nothing really made me feel any better and my thoughts are if they donít work then why take them. Doctor gave me Naprosyn but I was sick (they did an endoscopy) bleeding in the stomach so they gave me Nexium (one table to counteract the other) Needless to say, I chose to go off both. My kidney function was at 60 so the less tablets the better.
    Your mind is very powerful. It controls our body. Your mental state will tell how you hold your body. I find I now have a better posture than ever as I am constantly standing tall. It was a very tough transition but definitely worth the hard work. Acupuncture is something I would try and a lot of people have recommended it. Keep moving, becareful how you sit, sleep and for how long. I have lived with chronic pain for a long time and been through a lot of different surgeries and illnesses (knee, shoulder, fractured skull, aneurysm, ocular cancer, epilepsy to name a few. But this one has knocked me about the most.
    I was told to stay away from chiropractors, the physio is my friend. A good massage in the thoracic region works wonders for me. I also had a torn rotator cuff repair and subacromial decompression (doctors told me the pain and lack of movements in my arm was from the operation) so one year after and a lot of complaining they did a scan. (I guess the doctors were wrong!) You know your body better than anyone always take control of it. I am still learning. No one is infallible, hey!
    Persevere with the little chin tucks they really do work in the long run. Remember...baby steps.
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    Old 01-21-2014, 05:21 PM   #9
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Tim, I am so glad you are feeling a little easier about things and I don’t think you’re a wimp at all! I thank you for getting me back into reading my diary again as I left it for awhile because it was all getting a little depressing for me but now I find after reading it again I realise how far I have come along. So I would definitely recommend it (if you have the time ) it is good therapy. Which is part of the natural healing process I used.
    The one I found the best for stress was “Mindfulness” I suffer with PTSD as well as a result from my accident and surgery (just a little bonus). I also took control of my medication once my head was clear. I found the doctors want you to take lots of tablets all the time and a lot of them either made me sick or I had side effects that were worse than the problem to start with. I have epilepsy so Topamax is something I need to take. I tried Lyrica and a concoction of other drugs (painkillers etc) nothing really made me feel any better and my thoughts are if they don’t work then why take them. Doctor gave me Naprosyn but I was sick (they did an endoscopy) bleeding in the stomach so they gave me Nexium (one table to counteract the other) Needless to say, I chose to go off both. My kidney function was at 60 so the less tablets the better.
    Your mind is very powerful. It controls our body. Your mental state will tell how you hold your body. I find I now have a better posture than ever as I am constantly standing tall. It was a very tough transition but definitely worth the hard work. Acupuncture is something I would try and a lot of people have recommended it. Keep moving, becareful how you sit, sleep and for how long. I have lived with chronic pain for a long time and been through a lot of different surgeries and illnesses (knee, shoulder, fractured skull, aneurysm, ocular cancer, epilepsy to name a few. But this one has knocked me about the most.
    I was told to stay away from chiropractors, the physio is my friend. A good massage in the thoracic region works wonders for me. I also had a torn rotator cuff repair and subacromial decompression (doctors told me the pain and lack of movements in my arm was from the operation) so one year after and a lot of complaining they did a scan. (I guess the doctors were wrong!) You know your body better than anyone always take control of it. I am still learning. No one is infallible, hey!
    Persevere with the little chin tucks they really do work in the long run. Baby steps....
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    Last edited by Berta28; 01-22-2014 at 08:31 PM. Reason: posted twice by mistake

     
    Old 01-22-2014, 05:33 PM   #10
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    Cool Re: cervical laminectomy

    Roberta, I continue to look forward to your posts as they provide such enlightenment for the path I have already stumbled through and the road that I have yet had to travel, it helps keep me centered and hopeful. The Lyrica seems to help the most but I will continue to experiment with it's cause and effect properties on me. Because of the hot burning on the back of my hands I am forced to lake the sleep aid Zolpidam most nights, I am hopeful that with time, the decompression to my spinal column will at least lessen the burning pain enough so that I can sleep with nothing more extreme than a melatonin supplement, but again this may be hopeful thinking but as the movie Shawshunk Redemption says, "hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things" I think I am going to go on believing that movie line a little more because of the hope your posts give to me to me.
    I am know looking more optimistically toward these next few months as to a very slow healing time frame, as you say----baby steps
    Thanks always,Tim

     
    Old 01-23-2014, 01:57 AM   #11
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hello Tim, Wow! Can’t believe you quoted Andy Dufresne (my all time favourite movie, “The Shawshank Redemption”) and I watched it only a couple of weeks ago for the “tenth time”. I can relate to this one also from the movie, “I was in the path of the tornado... I just didn’t expect the storm would last as long as it has”. You see a truck rear ended me while I was riding my motorbike at 100kms, so it was sort of like a tornado to me. My kids have told me to start writing a book and call it “Just my luck”, unlucky to get all the things I have had but lucky to survive them. At least when I don’t look and feel the best I can say, “I feel like I have been hit by a truck” and literally mean it!
    I was reading through my diary again and I too had the burning in my hand. The left palm and up the inside of my arm, it started easing around 4 months. There were also problems with showering, it was dreadful for a long time. I had to have someone helping as the electric shocks were horrible, couldn't close my eyes as I would fall to the side (still do I just don’t close both eyes...lol). Always feel watering dripping down my back. (But there isn't any!) I couldn't even brush my teeth properly as I couldn't put my head forward. Made it very hard to spit out. Yuck! When I think about it, I wasn't in a nice place. So I think I know who the wimp is!
    I couldn’t believe it when I read that you were back at work. You are incredible...and driving as well!! I’m afraid there is no work for this blonde siren from down under. They have put me on a disability pension so it is a boring life to the one I lived before. I was a professional singer. (I get the good parking spots now)
    Two years and 2 months on and a few things have changed, the pain is less, I can walk a bit further, have started to drive again but no motorbikes. I had to sell both my bikes and buy myself a new car with a reversing camera. (The neck doesn't want to turn around like it used to) I can’t drive long distances though the pain is still heavy across my shoulders and chest and I have a continual need to swallow as I feel there is constant pressure on my esophagus...I think??? Possibly something I should be looking into. So messaging you Tim is making me realise I need a check up and another MRI as a few things has been nagging me lately. Still have a feeling that I am walking Brillo Pads with constant buzzing under the right foot too and getting that breathless feeling again on exertion.
    Perhaps you can help me with something? Did you get really out of breath with your cord compression? Were your feet and arms jerking and cramping all the time? I suffered with TBI as well, (not too bad) so a lot that happened to me in the beginning is a little fuzzy. That’s what the diary was about.
    I am glad that the Lyrica works for you, I found it didn’t do anything for me except put weight on and bloat me. So after a few months I went off it. Sleep deprivation only escalates the pain. I have a lot of problems with sleep. Nothing seems to knock me out. If sleepers do one night then they don’t the next and most of them are highly addictive (been there done that). I tried everything from being in routine, eating special foods to exercising at different times in day. Meditation and listening to calming music with pleasant smells is very relaxing and has definitely helped me with pain. But I can’t help you with the sleep problem, maybe you can give me some advice? Please... Roberta
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    Old 01-24-2014, 05:51 PM   #12
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hey Roberta, glad your such a fan of Shawshank---great movie
    Sorry to hear about all your bad luck, life is not fair but you are truly a survivor which says a lot about your inner strength, and funny too!
    Today is week 13 out of surgery, I just finished my second week of work and I am still struggling with exhaustion, neck pain and some vertigo if I can't lie down and rest every so often. My shoulder seems to continue to improve if I don't overextend it and the buzzing in my legs continues to lessen, however the burning in my hands ( more so in my left than my right ) is driving me NUTS and the only way for me to get any sleep is with the Zolpidam ( which does knock me out but I am taking it WAY TOO MUCH ) so I am encouraged by your notation that your hand pain began to ease around 4 months.
    Although I am not much good at writing things down, my wife is doing a great job keeping a journal of this whole process and in reviewing her notes there is no mention any breathlessness and I personally don't remember any of that going on. I have had some minor jerking with my hands and feet and some strong cramping on and off in my left quadriceps muscle which seems to concern me more than my Physical therapist.
    You have helped me SOOOO much that I wish I could help you with your question on sleep but I am afraid I have tried everything I can think of with no success other than the pills----sorry about that.
    I think another MRI is a good idea for you and probably not a bad idea for me either
    Stay strong and thanks again,
    Tim

     
    Old 01-24-2014, 11:38 PM   #13
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Tim, I suppose the old cliche "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" really has true meaning then. Lol. There is no use in worrying about things that have already happened just need to focus on what we want the future to be and work towards getting better and better.
    I can remember when I was readmitted into another hospital after my surgery (another story I can tell later if you want to hear about it) one of the nurses told me that the front of the thigh area, arm and hand numbness and burning I was feeling could be from the position they placed me in for the operation. Sometimes the nerves can be inadvertently be compressed. It happens to some people and they take up to a few months for them to resolve. So, maybe that was the case with me and perhaps it may be with you also. Just a thought. I also checked out your sleeping tablets. Geez! No wonder you sleep, they sound like pretty powerful stuff. Be careful with them. You may be swapping one problem for another.
    I was on Rivotril with Tegretol for my epilepsy many years ago until another specialist told me to get off the Rivotril because I was blacking out some of the time and was finding it hard to remember things. (First doctor never told me that could happen) that is why I will always be in control of my medication and don’t rely on doctors to tell you what medications do, because sometimes they just don’t have the time. Finally weaned myself off them but took me a long time, withdrawals and no sleeping. Maybe okay for a short time but “I” wouldn’t take anything for too long. Bad experience for me but I have learnt from it and that is what life is about...learning something every day even if it is the hard way.
    I truly feel for you when I read how your neck aches and you hurt and need to rest. The memories of that pain are still with me, thank goodness they “do lessen” I can’t imagine how you are driving and working. Sitting here now for this long typing has been way too long. I actually feel like someone has hit me with a cricket bat under the back of my head. Not nice, and the burning is starting behind my ears and eyes. Neurologist said it is occipital neuralgia, to me that is a label and I call it a really bad pain in the neck.... and head. lol. Catch you soon, Roberta.
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    Old 01-26-2014, 06:20 PM   #14
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    Cool Re: cervical laminectomy

    Hi Roberta, as usual I appreciate your sage advice as it always helps me keep my focus. You are right that I need to be careful with the pills as the doctors don't seem to hesitate to prescribe one drug after another.
    I am starting the process of cutting down on the Lyrica as I feel that I am taking too much for too little benefit. If I can manage the pain after that then I will be able to cut down on the Zolpidam ( Ambien ) for sleeping and maybe enjoy a nice glass of wine for relaxing before bedtime.
    That is very interesting about the position that our bodies are put in for surgery which is definitely food for thought, and I am interested about your surgery process of being readmitted into another hospital as it sounds rather bizarre.
    Now for the crazy stuff. My sister, who is a very physically active 68 year old, is an "expert" in natural healing supplements has convinced me to drink a liquid mix of unflavored gelatin every morning because she believes that it helps to heal bones and joints. I have decided to try it because my other sister (64 y/o ) who typically is very skeptical of Colleen's beliefs, has experimented with this gelatin supplement and is convinced that it does work but it takes about 30-45 days to have an effect---sounds kinda nuts but I will keep you posted if your interested.
    I hope that you are still able to sing even if it's just for yourself because that that is good for the soul. I don't sing but my release has always been golf which I am not able to do , YET , and I miss it terribly
    Keep "plugging" away and I look forward to your next reply.
    As always, THANK YOU
    Tim

     
    Old 01-27-2014, 06:19 AM   #15
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    Re: cervical laminectomy

    Well Tim that does sound interesting, gelatin! Actually, I have heard about it and just did a bit of research on it as well. Personally, I’m a bit sensitive about where it comes from as I was a vegetarian for a lot of years and the thought makes me an iddy bit delicate. But I think I can get over it, and I will actually try it as it sounds like it does great things and natural too. With just one or two tablespoons, worth a try!
    Here is my little story about my hospital adventure. After the operation I can remember lying down in the recovery room with a nurse washing my hair and could hear two nurses talking. I said, “What are you doing”? One of them replied that they were washing the blood out of my hair. I was told the Mayfield clamp slipped and cut my occipital artery and they had trouble stopping the bleeding in surgery. 5 stitches later. My blood pressure had also dropped very low and they had to change the position of me for the operation and give me a lot of fluid to build up my blood pressure again.
    That was the start of it. For the next couple of days it was hell. My vision wasn’t good, I was seeing double. But was told, “Oh, you have just had surgery”! I just wanted to get out of there. The doctor made me stay a little longer but I finally when home on day 6. I still wasn’t right. Double vision and couldn’t walk in a straight line. But I sort of didn’t know because they took me to the car in a wheelchair. I must mention as well that I have a bad reaction to most painkillers and vomited a lot so they had a drip in most of the time giving me lots of fluid.
    Home at last but still feeling really bad, you remember what it’s like? Plus same symptoms as in hospital, double vision, could only walk a couple of metres and had to hold on to things. Second day I got up to go to the toilet which is only one room away from my bed and I couldn’t focus, I called my daughter. She called the surgeon then the ambulance, so off to a different hospital.
    On arrival they did a lot of blood tests. I had vertical nystagmus, very high blood pressure when usually my b/p is low. At first they thought I had a stroke, so for the first 24 hours I was treated as a stroke patient. (seizures and strokes sometimes have similar symptoms) The doctor came round and said that my sodium levels were very low and my tegretol levels were very high and that was the problem. Tegretol toxicity and hyponatremia, caused by too much water.
    The doctors had to take me off my Tegretol tablets as I had the toxicity to them (I couldn’t understand how that could have happen as I had been on them for 18 years). I was not happy with that as I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be if I had a seizure after the laminectomy and then day 2 the withdrawals started. I couldn’t sleep. I had pains in my stomach, numbness and pins and needles around my face. Bad nightmares when I finally did sleep! I was sent for an EEG the next day and a brain MRI. The Doctor put me on Topamax a new tablet. I was also told don’t drive until I am seizure free and then for a period of time after that. Couldn't sit for more than a couple of moments, walk or drive. GREAT!!! Be positive. Sure I will!!
    I was in hospital for another week because I basically had to learn to walk again with a frame. Had a lot trouble turning corners, just couldn’t do it. I am still not sure if it was the hospital for giving me all the fluids, surgery, hyponatremia, tegretol toxicity, PTSD, TBI, myelomalacia or the cord compression that caused my problems but I guess it doesn't matter now. “Just my Luck” I asked the doctor what would have happened if I hadn't got to hospital, he very casually said you probably would have gone into a coma. Nice one!
    There was more but that is the majority of it. Starting on the Topamax really messed my head up and I had lots of seizures to start with. That is another story, another time. The good news is the Topamax worked after a couple of months. I have not had a seizure for nearly 2 years and that is the longest time. Yay!! So something good came out of it and that is a positive.
    Time for me to go, the pain is bad tonight. I went shopping without the wheelchair today with my daughter and it was not a good idea. I am paying for it now by having to take pain killers and a Valium as I am cramping up as well. But I'm still plugging away. Don't worry you will be playing golf before you know it. Well maybe putt putt...baby steps hey! Toodles for now, Roberta.
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